It’s not much of a secret that I would have liked to have properly eloped when Dustin and I got married. But our families were so excited we’d found each other and they really loved the idea of a big wedding so we compromised (as one so often does when it comes to their wedding) with a small ceremony and a huge reception. In the dozen years since our own wedding, it has been such a wild pleasure to be part of SO many other people’s wedding days. But I must admit, there is something absolutely magical about elopements and intimate weddings that bring me incredible joy. This wedding was no exception to that feeling. In fact, it was the PERFECT way to start our 2017 wedding season. Amanda and John decided on a very intimate wedding in the California redwoods and gave Dustin and I the great pleasure of being part of their big day. They traveled to the far Northern California coast from New Orleans to become a husband and a wife. A handful of close family and friends joined them for the experience. They rented a house where everyone stayed together, shared meals, stories and SO many laughs. Amanda’s mom took much care putting together a colorful wedding bouquet and flower crown for her. Her sisters were there to help her dress, her mom placed the crown on her head. We all traveled to a grove of ancient redwoods in the rain and let those giant trees shield us as Amanda and John promised their lives to each other. Dustin had the distinct pleasure of officiating their ceremony as I photographed it. Watching my own sweet husband bind two people together makes me heart swell with so much love and pride! He takes the job so seriously and puts so much care into the little moments of the scared work of uniting a family. When I was editing the video above I was moved to tears when the second after he pronounced them married he looks to me with the BIGGEST smile because he got to give these two the gift we so cherish – the gift of a marriage to the person in all the world that loves you best and you want to live a whole life for. There aren’t enough words for the gratitude we have to couples like Amanda and John who open their lives and the hearts to us. Who have us – people they have just met – stand beside them during one of the most defining moments of their lives. We are humbled to be there and so happy to stand as witnesses to your love. I am thrilled to share some of my favorite images – both still photos and video – of this amazing day. Amanda and John thank you! We are so happy for you! Congratulations on the beginning of a long and happy forever.