This Beautiful First Look Made Us Ugly Cry
March 7, 2018
RomanticWeddings in WineriesSpring Weddings
Raise your hand if you've ever found yourself watery eyed after seeing a couple moved to tears during their first look. Our hands are definitely in the air, and this first look captured by Kelsea Holder Photography was one such time. Then we read the groom's reflection on the moment (included below!), and we were full on ugly-crying. Do not miss out on all this beautiful love, friends – but grab a box of tissues first!
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From the bride... When Joey and I first talked about what kind of venue we wanted and what kind of feel we wanted our wedding to have, we immediately agreed upon a these two characteristics: first, that it be an outdoor venue in central California with a beautiful view that exuded a sense of class, warmth, and togetherness; and second, that it made our guests feel like they were being whisked away for a weekend to some far off land but not have to travel more than half a day to get there. I searched for a week straight for the perfect place, and when we came upon Sunstone Villa, we both knew immediately that this was the place of our dreams. We visited it within the week, fell in love, and booked it. Aside from the fact that every angle of the venue is beautiful and flooded with warm light, the selling factor for us was that we (plus eight guests) would be allowed to spend the weekend in the beautiful five-room villa. We saw this as the perfect opportunity to have members from both sides of our family spend the weekend together, visiting with each other, since some had had very few opportunities to get to know one another previously. We figured what better place to get better acquainted than in paradise!?

The inspiration for the wedding itself was a blend between our personal tastes and the "feel" the venue already lended itself to. Because of how breathtakingly beautiful Sunstone is, we knew we didn't want to do anything to distract from its natural beauty, so we selected elements we felt were complementary. We chose a neutral color palette of creams, gold, blush, taupe, greenery, and natural wood, and whenever possible, we did our best to blend rustic with understated pops of class and glam. We were so proud of the final look and enjoyed watching all the little pieces come together on the big day.

We wanted to get creative with our escort display and do something featuring books since they've always been so symbolic of learning, journey, and love to us. We bought over 100 different types of old, Reader's Digest books and turned them into hollowed books that would hold antique keys inside, labeled with each guest's name and table number. This project involved many hours of labor and love scouring thrift stores, libraries, and Craiglist ads for the books and spending countless weekends and weeknights after work gluing pages together, waiting for the pages to dry, and carefully razoring out page after page until each book had enough space to hold a small key inside. We added small labels to the spines of the books with each guest's last name and first initial and then alphabetized them on a huge, beautiful, custom bookcase Joey's parents gifted us as a wedding gift. It was such a fun project to imagine, design, and execute, and we were really blown away by the final product. The bookcase and each hand-carved book stood proudly on display at our reception, and we loved hearing how much our guests loved and appreciated the special touch. The bookcase now sits in our home, and we love that it serves as a beautiful reminder of our special day.

From the groom (on the first look)... I could hear Lisa and her girls making last minute adjustments to her dress as she prepared to descend the spiral staircase. I remember waiting for what felt like forever at the time. I spent those several minutes reflecting on the first time I had ever seen her, our true "first look". She was wearing a black zip up sweatshirt she borrowed from a friend, basically the opposite of a beautiful white wedding dress. I remembered staring at her throughout the night as she laughed and talked to other friends. In those moments before our first look, I couldn't remember what it ever felt like to not know her beautiful face. Then, at the peak of my anticipation, she rounded the corner and flashed a huge smile. Primed by the preceding emotional reflection period, I burst out into an epic ugly cry as soon as I saw her. We both laugh-cried together as she did a spin to show me the details of her beautiful dress. Her beauty, charm, and elegance were all perfectly framed in her wedding dress, hair, and makeup.

From Kelsea Holder Photography... After the bride and groom spent some moments together talking, we could hear clapping booming down the hallway. With each clap getting louder, we then heard the chanting of their names. They ran down the hall and were greeted by the entire wedding party who were bursting with energy. Overall it was a beautiful display of love for one another followed by the love and support of all their dearest friends. The immense energy and pure joy filled the room to the brim!