I met Ashley and Jeff and Barb and Greg’s Fairwinds wedding. They had recently gotten engaged, were over-the-moon happy and very machine love. I still remember Ashley’s dress, it was that cute. I was honored to photograph their wedding at a private estate in Half Moon Bay the following summer, which was amazing! We took a wild, very chilly and windy ride on an ATV down to the beach for an intimate moment for them in a lovingly made circle of treasures from the sea and fields, and some portraits. Ashley tells us more about their wedding day further down:
How did you and Jeff meet? Did he propose in a special kind of way?
In 2009 I came to Half Moon Bay to spend the summer with a friend. I got a job at a quirky restaurant/music venue in Redwood City and explored the Bay Area in my free time. I was going to move back to Colorado in September, but God had other plans for me! One weekend before, Jeff came into the restaurant. He was charming and sweet, and something about him intrigued me enough that he was a part of my decision to extend my time. Our first date began in Half Moon Bay; he took me on a motorcycle drive to all his favorite spots along the coast, ending the day at La Nebbia Winery, which four years later would be the setting of our rehearsal dinner!
What an amazing location for a ceremony! How did you find it?
After we got engaged, I started working for our friend’s winery, Liquid Sky Vineyards. The vineyard itself is in Sonoma, but he also owns the house on the cliff in Half Moon Bay, the Liquid Sky wedding venue. When he heard of our engagement, he very generously offered us the use of the house! It was another dream come true, a stunning, intimate setting in Half Moon Bay, which had become dear to our hearts. The view is breathtaking and although we knew we’d be fighting the cold and the fog, this was meant to be the location for our big day!
I love the spiral of chairs for the ceremony. Whose idea was it?
The spiral chairs were actually Jeff’s idea! The friend I had moved to California with had also ended up working for my boss as the wedding coordinator (which could not have been any more perfect). She showed us a picture of a previous wedding with the spiral seating, but for a much smaller crowd. I wasn’t sold, but Jeff really liked it, and so we went with it. I’m so glad we did — it was one of our, and many guests’, favorite parts of the ceremony! After we said our I-dos and walked back through the spiral it became our receiving line where everyone cheered us on and hugged us, it was really special and unique!
… and of course the circle down on the beach. Can you share its meaning?
This was one of our most amazing moments! Close friends of ours thought it would be important after the ceremony to take a moment to be husband and wife, to really let everything set in, appreciate the day and just breathe. This couple (who also gave us the idea for the unity vase we drank our communion from!) was sweet enough to come early the morning of our wedding, walk down the steep hill to the beach, collect items that had washed up from the ocean, then used them to make our Marriage Circle. They even swept the sand afterwards so there were no footprints! When Jeff and I entered the circle we immediately felt a calmness, and were able to focus on our joy and each other. Though we didn’t know what we’d do in our circle, we just held hands and prayed. It was a beautiful, surreal moment together that we’ll always cherish.
You looked stunning! Where did you find your dress and shoes?
I had no idea what style of dress I was looking for, only that I wanted a vintage look with lots of lace. One day, I stumbled upon Bridal Project in Burlingame, a consignment wedding dress shop. It was such a cute and quaint little spot, I loved it! The owner helped me pick out a few different dresses and insisted I try her favorite lacy gown, despite my resistance, because I didn’t want a strapless dress. Of course, when I put it on, I knew it was “the one!” The owner promised they could add on straps for me. I returned with my parents, retried several dresses, and we all agreed on the lacy gown. It was the easiest decision of our whole wedding! I still love the dress so much I haven’t boxed it up so I can see it hanging in my closet.
The shoes were a little harder to find; I wanted something very old fashioned looking, and ended up finding them online. My sister and I decided to bedazzle the heels and added I Do- stickers to the bottom.
Did you have any personalized or custom-made pieces?
Jeff and I are both into vintage/classic things, so it was important to me to use items on my wedding that held meaning. I chose my mom’s pearl necklace, as well as the same garter she wore at her wedding. Now that I have a daughter, it feels good to know she can decide to wear those same items on her own big day!
And how about that awesome car!
The car belongs to a friend of ours who was sweet enough to let us use it, and he even drove us to our reception, with champagne! He has a small collection of antique cars, but this one was exactly what we wanted, classic and elegant. It is a Bentley … possibly a 62, but not positive!
Who is the flower girl?
The flower girl is the sassy and adorable Laila! After I moved from Half Moon Bay I became a live-in nanny for a wonderful family in Burlingame. I eventually left to finish my degree and move in with Jeff, but I stayed close with the family, and since I’d watched Laila growing up it seemed perfect to have her in our wedding. Though I couldn’t see her big debut I could hear the laughs, and later heard she was a big hit! Her big brother Zachary was our ring bearer, they were so cute!!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?
I don’t think I could narrow it down to one specific moment! But one of my favorites was when I first walked out of the house with my Dad and everyone stood up to look at us, in the center of the circle I could see Jeff standing on tippy toes to see me, and the smile on his face was so eager and endearing. That image of him looking for his bride will always be in my memory. It was such a brief but special moment.
Do you have a favorite photograph?
My favorite photograph is the one of Jeff and me after we walked back through the spiral of our loved ones and he picked me up and spun me around. In that moment the realization that we were married really hit us and I could feel Jeff’s excitement when he lifted me up. We just laughed and kissed and were so genuinely happy. You happened to catch the perfect moment when he lifted me and hugged me close, I love it!!
ceremony location: private estate · reception venue: Cetrella