You know The Youngrens. The ridiculously talented duo of photographers who turn gorgeous weddings into pure magic for years and years and years of memories with a click of their shudder? Well they’re at it again. This time in Los Angeles at a soiree at Cafe Pinot. The wedding at hand is everything we love all wrapped up in one – an adorably in love couple with style coming out of their eyeballs, FABulous atmosphere, and florals, simply put, to die for. Oh, and there is a gallery you really will want to spend some time in. BIG deal.

From the groom … I knew for a long time that I wanted to ask for Ericka’s hand in marriage, it was just always been about finding the right time, and doing it in the right way. After countless hours laying in bed second-guessing myself, long internal debates, and three or four “final” ideas on how to propose to Ericka, it was clear that each idea was missing that special element. I had a ring, I knew what had to be done, but how could I make it perfect, like Ericka truly deserved?  One of Ericka’s best friends, Christine, solved the riddle when she invited us on a weekend trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA.  I’d practically grown up in Mammoth and nearby June Lake, going on summer and winter vacations since I can remember. The beauty and tranquility in those mountains would be the perfect location. I knew just the place to propose, too: Oh! Ridge – a picturesque overlook as you first approach June Lake.  It was a great spot to take pictures from, and there was even a platform built for tourists for that sole purpose. I’d “trick” her into taking pictures with me, and the rest would be history.

We had a lot of fun activities planned for that weekend, and little did Ericka know the one she would hopefully enjoy the most was still a surprise to her.  We went mountain biking down Mammoth Mountain, rode horse back around Silver Lake, took the scenic chairlift to the base of June Mountain, cruised around town, and soaked in the hot tub. I even somehow found the time to order a BBQ beef sandwich for dinner one night. Fittingly, later that night I had to crawl my way to the condo bathroom on three different occasions, begging to the porcelain deities that be to spare me the humiliation of driving to Mammoth with an engagement ring in my possession, and then having to leave because of illness with it still in my possession. As Fate would it have, I survived, having closed the circular loop of having vomited on myself on Ericka’s and my very first date (a Helicopter ride around Los Angeles), as well as what would effectively be our very last date (at least of our pre-marital courtship).

I pulled myself together, and we headed off to Oh! Ridge (but only after, of course, the aforementioned horseback riding and scenic chairlift ride. It’s all about build-up.).  As we pulled up to the look-out spot, I realized the signage had changed since I’d last visited. No longer was it “Oh! Ridge”, but instead “Oh Ridge”. You can’t just take away the exclamation mark!  Changing the essence of my proposal from “Oh!” to “Oh” was a sure sign I was doomed. As if that wasn’t enough, Ericka wouldn’t even get out of the car to “take pictures” with me.

R: “We’re here! Let’s go take pictures!”
E: “No, I’ll stay in the car.”
R: “But…you should come…we’ll…take pictures together.”
E: “Ok.”

Apparently, I’m a very convincing guy. As we walked to the look-out, another thing became apparent: there was no longer a look-out platform. Without the platform, you couldn’t even see the lake. At this point I really started to realize how enormous the ring box in my pocket was. Standing there with a camera in hand with nothing to take a picture of, I was positive Ericka noticed the giant briefcase of a box that was in my hoodie pocket, and surely knew what was going on.  I had to make a quick audible.

R: “Let’s take pictures down by the shore!”
E: “Ok.”

Dad always said it was better to be lucky than good looking.

After getting down to the shore, I decided to drag Ericka back up the hill a ways to get a “better picture.”  100 yards of walking through knee high weeds, boulders, and bushes, I’d found The Spot.  It’s then that I realized that the piece of now limp flesh in my mouth, formerly know as my tongue, was going to fail me. For something that I know Ericka and I felt so strongly about, and something that was such a “sure thing”, I couldn’t have been more nervous.  I somehow managed to stutter, squeak, and blubber my way through the few sentences I’d tried to throw together to explain how I felt.  To be honest, I really only remember the most important part of what was said – her response: “Of course!”  That and a seemingly stern, “WAS THAT SO HARD?!” It really couldn’t have been easier, Ericka.

From the bride … After a couple months of just enjoying our engagement it was time to start wedding planning.  I knew I wanted our wedding to be in Los Angeles, a city that we both adore.  I struggled with whether I wanted a city wedding or a garden wedding and as soon as I saw Café Pinot/Maguire Garden I knew I had found a perfect location that beautifully interwove the two concepts.

One of my favorite memories of that night was in the moments leading up to the ceremony when Ryan and I sat in the restaurant hand in hand, quietly reflecting upon what was to take place.  It was so calming to have him there and I didn’t get nervous until he left to take his place at the front of the aisle!  I will also never forget my brother singing for us, dancing with my husband, and sharing an emotional and truly amazing moment post-ceremony with Ryan in Café Pinot.

Photography: The Youngrens / Venue: Cafe Pinot / Florist: Dandelion Ranch / Event Coordinator: Extraordinary Events, (818)926-2308 / DJ: DJ Timbo / Cinematography: Studio 205 Films/ Invitations: Spark Letterpress / Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender / Dress Designer: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Love by Enzoani / Men’s Fashion: Salvatore Ferragamo Shoes

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