Planning your own wedding isn’t for everyone. You deal with hireage, staff, decorations, catering, sound, lighting… and learn all these skills for one night only. It’s no wonder why package weddings are so popular.

But… I have to confess that hands-on weddings are my favourite. The ones were every element has a story behind it. To look around and know that this wedding truly reflects the couple and their family… that seems so, so special to me.

Christy and Brian are couple you can’t help but love the moment you meet them. They’re down-to-earth, but share an infectious joy for life. Working in LA, they met through a Craigslist ad for a sofa. Their gorgeous down-to-earth personalities immediately clicked, and it wasn’t long before they realised that they had something quite special.

Their wedding was held last weekend in a piece of paradise just an hour or so north of LA, on a friend’s ranch. It truly was a hands-on wedding. Every single element reflected them, and it was all the more wonderful because of it.

I was introduced to these two through mutual friends in LA, and my gosh it was such a treat to absorb and photograph a North American wedding. The differences between New Zealand and American weddings are there… the different light, the speeches… even the number of bridesmaids. But there are far more similarities. The emotions. The joy. That lovely universal stuff.


Oxnard rental property roof view

After a late night rehearsing, setting up and exploring, the wedding day began bright and early out in the seaside township of Oxnard.

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Warming up for important flowergirl duties… x

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Mid-morning I caught up with the boys, just a couple of minutes up the road…

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So many of Christy and Brian’s guests had crossed the country to be with them. It was gorgeous spending a few days getting to know these amazing people. x

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I love this one above of Lily so much… the expression as she saw Christy put on her gown!
Bride and bridesmaids

After hours of setting up, the ranch had been transformed into a stunning venue.

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Brian’s grandmother is a gorgeous, elegant lady… and she’s the grand old age of 96!
Flowers at California ranch wedding

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Christy and Brian take life seriously… but also share an awesome sense of humour. Their ceremony – run by Christy’s father – was a perfect mix of the two. xx

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Aperture rings!!!!

Sunset wedding photos in California ranch wedding

As the guests enjoyed canapes and the couple’s signature cocktails, we spent a few minutes enjoying the setting sun.

Christy and Brian's California wedding\

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After a beautiful spread, a few lovely speeches…


A doughnut pinboard for dessert…!

Doughnut pinboard at wedding

… and then sparklers in hand, the guests joined Christy and Brian outside for a first dance under the stars.

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There are hundreds more photos to share… but I’ll leave it there. Thank you so much Christy and Brian for having me there to capture your wonderful, wonderful day. xx