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Marriage Matters: 45+ Years of Adventure + Love

Anyone who knows me knows how much I absolutely adore Valentine’s Day. And while yes, I’m quite the fan of flowers and sweet treats, it’s love stories like this one here that truly pulls at my heart strings and gives me so much joy. This one, told by the dapperest of gentlemen, and the pure love captured in Julie Paisley’s pics, are the best #relationshipgoals I ever did see. Sound a little too good to be true? Read on – I promise you it’s not only worth it, but you’ll be smiling all weekend long.

From Fred… This story begins on a cold winter’s’ night in March of 1967, in a small, remote town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Marquette, Michigan to be exact. How a boy from Deptford, New Jersey and a girl from Floresville, Texas happen to cross paths there is beyond me, but this is where this story begins. Did I say it was a cold winter’s’ night in Marquette? Cold may not begin to describe what it’s like in the Upper Peninsula, take my word for it, when I say cold I mean cold. Snow, about 200 inches a year, and the temperature that night was probably around 8 or 9 degrees… yes, it was cold.

There was a dance that Friday night at the Airman’s Club. A small version of a Non Commissioned Officers Club on K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, smack dab in the middle of the Michigan State Forest. And… it didn’t take long to make eye contact with a woman, who, little did I know at that time would become my wife of 45 (+) years. Yep, I was hooked. Call it fate, a chance meeting, destiny, happenstance, call it what you will, that chance meeting changed my life forever. There she was dancing in the middle of the dance floor creating a scene, and stopping traffic. Well, whatever she was doing was mesmerizing half the male population of K. I. Sawyer AFB, (the other half must have been sleeping), and of course being the suave, sophisticated Mr. Cool boy from New Jersey that I am, I asked her to dance. (Of course I was immediately turned down)….

But… persistence pays off, and before the night was over, we danced and talked and laughed. She made fun of my New Jersey accent, and I made fun of her… well, there was nothing to make fun of. Let’s just say, it was great. And, from that moment on our lives have been full of one shared memory after another. Some of the coolest, fondest, most wonderful memories anyone could ask for. I’d like to take a moment or two to share some of those memories with you.

Let’s see, where do I begin… from the Ice Carvings at Northern Michigan University, smack dab in the middle of Marquette, to about two years later, in August of 1969, when we were married in her home town of Floresville, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. It was a dream come true for me. Of course, I should mention that it was the middle of summer, 105 degree heat in Floresville, and me in my dress Air Force blues. But 105 degrees… really? But that was the day I can say my life actually began.

From that day forward we shared memories halfway around the world and back again… several times over. We spent many unbelievably special evenings on the beaches of Waikiki on the island of Oahu. Crisscrossed most of these 50 United States over the years, and made a second home for ourselves in Europe. Ramstein, Germany to be exact. In between all that we have been showered with good fortune that most couples can only dream about.

From Michigan to Goose Bay, Canada. From Washington D.C., to Hawaii, and many spots in between, we’ve had a blast along the way. Three Children and six grandchildren later and we’re still together, and enjoying a life together that most folks envy, and many families only hope for. I have a funny feeling that this journey is far from over. We have so much still to see, so many places to experience, and still so very memories to share.

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More Marriage Matters moments right here!

Photography: Julie Paisley | Venue: Carrington Crossing

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Intimate + Sweet Lombardi House Summer Wedding

The flutter sleeves on this dreamy dress captured my attention immediately but it isn’t the only detail I’ve been pinning to my Pinterest boards from this bright celebration. And once I learned the Bride herself is a photographer, it all made sense. She designed her wedding with light and color being of utmost importance, and it paid off, because these pics by Steve Steinhardt are brilliant. I could go on forever fawning over it all, but you can see for yourself, with all the beauty in our Vault right here!


From The Bride…As a wedding photographer myself, I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience many different unique and beautiful approaches to planning your wedding day. When Tyler and I found each other and fell in love, after he popped the question I felt so overwhelmed about the wedding planning process and all the decisions ahead I didn’t even know where to start! But after taking a step back and narrowing our focus to what we really wanted our big day to look and feel like, and what would be most true to us, we decided to take a simple, organic approach to our wedding. We used as many friends for vendors as possible so we were surrounded by people who knew us on a personal level, and we tried to make as many of the details by hand as time permitted so that our guests were surrounded by a world we created for them. Tyler’s warm, loving nature tempered my stress and made the planning fun!

The perfect backdrop for our vision was The Lombardi House in Hollywood, CA. The size of the space was perfect for our guest count of 130, and the color palette was exactly what we were looking for, with bright white walls and lush green grounds. Given my line of work, photography was the most important thing to me and I designed 95% of the wedding day decisions around it. Time of day, lighting, color, timeline, it was all designed around optimal photography! And there was no photographer I could have trusted more than Steve Steinhardt, my dear friend, mentor, and photo-idol. Steve captured our wedding day perfectly, down to every last detail! We are so in love with the images and will treasure them forever.

After all of the planning and preparations, the big day was everything we dreamed of and more. To be surrounded by our closest friends and family from all over the country was so surreal, and to make our lifelong vows of love to each other in their presence was an honor. We are so glad we kept our wedding day simple. We invested our time and resources into the details we valued most, and tried our best to take on a manageable amount of tasks so the process wasn’t ruined by stress.

My favorite project was my dress, which began as a strapless ballgown I found at a small boutique in Utah, then worked with a seamstress here in California to strip out several layers of tulle and add on the flutter sleeves with lace appliqués I had designed for the dress. It came out exactly like I imagined! Other handmade details we loved were the wooden planters in the shape of our initials that my friend Patrick made for us, and the little bags of rose petals we fixed to the backs of the chairs so people could throw them after the ceremony.

Looking back I’m still so overwhelmed with gratitude for our families and friends who helped us pull this together. Most of all, I’m grateful to have found my perfect companion and forever love, Tyler. He makes every day an adventure and I couldn’t feel luckier to get to spend the rest of our lives together.

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More California weddings here!

Photography: Steve Steinhardt | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridals | Cake: SugarKup Bakery | Invitations: Wesley Bird | Makeup: Meghan Nguy | Hair: Christine Nelli | Venue: The Lombardi House | Air Plants + Vessels: Airplantman | Rentals: Premiere Party Rents | Veil: BHLDN

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Organic Elegant Inspiration at Sunstone Winery

Let’s go on a journey this afternoon with Kurt Boomer. Captured at his film photography workshop, these pics tell a story, from intimate bridal boudoir moments and gorgeous sunlight shining bright, to a relaxed yet elegant wedding celebration, wrapping up our dream-filled day as a family. Designed by Joy Proctor, with florals by Amy Osaba and Found Vintage Rentals’ pretty pieces, this whole shoot transports us to another time and place; let’s start at the very beginning and end in our beautiful Vault right here.

From Kurt Boomer… My love for film knows no bounds and that inspired me to teach workshops that focused on the medium. In the mind of keeping film alive, I wanted to teach those photographers who see the beauty in film that regardless of night or day, it is a truly amazing way to capture any image. What better place to learn and to shoot indoor light, outdoor light and everything in between than Sunstone Villa. The Italian stone of the interior, the beautiful light of Santa Ynez that bathes the exterior in warm pastel hues. Joy Proctor Design was the force behind all of the gorgeous shoots and it’s always a thrill to see what she comes up with. We started with a delft china inspiration for the dinner table set up and went from there. We incorporated a moody and romantic boudoir shoot in the gorgeous interior of Sunstone to start. Worked in the beautiful olive groves in the waning sunlight. Led a gorgeous real couple throughout various rooms and the exterior. Gossamer Vintage and Jennifer Gifford Designs provided the most beautiful gowns along with Girl With a Serious Dream’s lingerie. Amy Osaba brought the most beautiful florals and worked her magic in all of the shoots. Written Word Calligraphy created amazingly beautiful paper goods and Neve Albums displayed the importance and beauty of tangible prints. Special thanks to Jess Wilcox for hair and makeup and Jon and Amy Cu, Mary McCloud, Mary Wynn, Joy Nicolas and all of the vendors for lending their time and help. It was truly two days of beauty all while learning film photography.

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See why we love Sunstone Winery weddings!

Photography: Kurt Boomer | Event Design: Joy Proctor Design | Floral Design: Amy Osaba | Wedding Dress: Gossamer Vintage | Cake: Enjoy Cupcakes | Invitations: Paper Birch Designs | Rings: Trumpet And Horn | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jennifer Gifford Designs | Hair + Makeup: Jess Wilcox | Calligraphy: Written Word Calligraphy | Venue: Sunstone Winery | Albums: Neve Albums | Candles: Creative Candles | Hat Box: Trousseau & Co | Lingerie: Girl With A Serious Dream | Models: LA Models | Plates: Plate Occasions | Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals

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