We all are drawn to different elements of our partner. Their lips, their nose, the way they say a word, that special smile, the way they laugh, or just that cute little face they make when they see you. I love that there is something unique that makes each person happy in a relationship. For Brandon and Rhiannon, this campground just north of Jenner was a tipping point for their relationship. It is the place where they shared their reasons they felt connected to each other, and how their love worked for them. It was the fire and the starlight that allowed a deeper connection to start anew with each other, and that has lead them to today. This day was one filled with adventure and rain. We went on a hike along their favorite trail just outside of Jenner, CA in the redwoods and ended in a very important place…Narnia. You have to park on the edge of a cliff, duck under a tree, walk out along a ridge, duck under a forest-like bush and then come out onto this amazing sandy bluff filled with crashing waves. I felt like I was in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe going under the bush/tree and out onto the final bluff. It was an amazing end to a rainy start of our day. It is crazy how the weather somehow just worked out perfectly in the end. More important it was that adventure that drives their relationship and this engagement session. Thanks so much for sharing yourselves and Narnia! Lisa can not wait to see you again this fall! Thank you for sharing the ocean cliffs of Jenner with us!
Family is an important thing to me. Lisa knew pretty early in our relationship that I did not define it in the way that many people do. I was from a small family, and most of them lived in the UK. For our wedding, there were only four people there representing my relatives, but my family was there. To me, family takes two people getting married to start the collective that many define as family. I believe that truthfully. You do not need to have kids to be a family, you just need a bond that is stronger than friendship, and one that connects your hearts to one another. The people I call family are those in our family tree and those friends that have mostly been with me for a decade and more. They are all people that I will love no matter what. I believe that family does not have to be defined by blood. In fact, in Lisa’s family on her mothers side, everyone is an aunt or cousin in some way. It doesn’t matter, we are all family. Meeting Matt and Erin only furthered my belief of family is what you want it to be. Very early on Matt introduced Erin to his two adorable children and they quickly wanted her to be family. Erin didn’t become family, she instantly was family. You can see below how tight of a family they had become before today. It shows in all of these photographs that family was deeply ingrained in their hearts. I sit here almost in tears knowing how this story of family was not created at this wedding ceremony, but it was carved out over time, as Erin opened her heart to not just not just Matt but his two children as well. They use adventure as a driving force for happiness in their lives together as a family and they use creativity as the glue that lets it all stick together.
Lisa and I will never say no to having an engagement session in the neighborhood of our couples. We think home is such a special place. So many of us choose where we live not just for the home itself, but for the neighborhood we will be spending so much of our time. The area Evan and Elise chose to call home was Russian Hill, just a block and a half from the top of Lombard. The crazy thing is, Elise was able to get her handsome Texan to move out to California to make a new home together and Evan has quickly grown into his new Californian home. Everything is perfect except the lack of truly amazing BBQ. That may be debatable, but I will be honest I have not had true Texas BBQ and I know it is in a class of its own. In all of this I will say that Evan did an amazing job on the proposal.
Evan had setup a little trip away for the weekend in Capitola with friends for a weekend. To beat the traffic they headed down the peninsula early and suddenly they were receiving emails and texts from friends who would either be late or wouldn’t make it until Saturday. Evan still had the wool pulled over Elise’s eyes as she felt it was going to now just be a romantic evening alone. Once they were almost in Capitola, Evan started talking about how badly he had to pee. They parked the car and he quickly bolted into the house. A moment later Elise headed into the house – toting all of their bags and briefcases – she quickly found out Evan had skipped the bathroom and was standing in the backyard. The yard was completely decorated – ribbons and photos hanging from the roof, flowers and a giant “E&E” made out of marquee lights. Elise tentatively ventured outside to Evan, where he got down on one knee, said some of the sweetest things, and asked Elise to marry him. After a few happy tears and a very enthusiastic “yes!” Elise called her family and closest girlfriends. (this is where everyone had to be all chuckling when they received their phone calls. Evan had her change for a romantic dinner he’d planned at a restaurant across the street. At the restaurant, the host showed them to their table. As they stepped outside, Elise and Evan were greeted with a huge “surprise!” and we were immediately surrounded by Elise’s family, Evan’s family (in from Texas), and many of their friends from SF.
All I can say is that Evan did amazingly well to create a memorable experience for Elise. Thank you two so much for sharing your home, and neighborhood with us. We had so much fun getting to know why San Francisco is so special to you. See you both soon!
Tell me that you never want to leave me. You and I, we are here till the end. I am not going to lie that my life is in this amazingly crazy amount of head spinning, as we ask ourselves why we have done this to ourselves. We have chosen to take everything we have come to know as normal and make a change on every angle possible. We have decided to sell our house in Elk Grove, to buy a new house in Sacramento and most importantly to open a new office in Sacramento and get The Goodness a new home. Marriage too is about change, though for the most part we feel it is a much slower and easier change to handle than the bag of crazy change we are carrying on our shoulders right now. Marriage is a slow burning change that you don’t wake up one day and say, “aha, so this is what it is to be married”. Instead, it is this fondness that, for me, grew and grew out of a desire to have my heart filled the particular brand of craziness my wife brought to the table, while she too, for some reason, wanted to be a part of my craziness too. We wanted to keep dreaming up crazy dreams together each new day. I wanted the adventures to continue, and I knew marriage was something that would become amazing, but I did not know why at first. Marriage grew, just as our family is now growing, and allows a new knot to tie us together, a knot that strengthens each day. I look back now and am flabbergasted that almost 1/3 of my life has been spent with Lisa by my side. The time passed is both a blink of the eye, and a trail of endless memories filling my mind with not just joy, but pain too that has strengthened us. I will never forget that we have had hard days together, both in tears, but it was ok, we tell each other that we are still here to support the other. It is ok that we do not know what we are doing, and figuring out each new day what it is to be a husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, boss, and coworker. We have learned to embrace the uniqueness we each have to offer as we fill the others greatest weakness. This is marriage, and it is our love. The crazy thing is we get to see that love, and that crazy so often, which is a reminder that many of us choose a partner that helps make us stronger. Seeing that in Joe in Monica is an understatement. I hope you love their Park Winters love story. It is a story that took one adorable 80yr old landlord to set these two on on a blind date, and here you can witness their marriage. You could not be more thankful for you two having us out at Inn at Park Winters to help capture your family and friends celebrating your love!