Ashley and Austin's wedding was not to be missed! Everything they wanted in a wedding venue was found at Olympia's Valley Estate, located in Petaluma, California. From the beautiful farmhouse where Ashley and her girls got dressed, the scenic ceremony site nestled between willow trees overlooking the pond, to the historic barn that was groovin' to the band all evening long, Ashley and Austin found the most perfect place to say "I do" on what was the most perfect day in May.
I was really honored to be chosen as their wedding photographer. I have known Austin's family for years, and while their original wedding plans were going to happen locally, when Austin and Ashley found Olympia's Valley Estate, it was meant to be! I love to travel, and I've photographed a number of weddings in the Sonoma/Napa area, so this was exciting for me to be at a new-to-me venue with limitless creative possibilities!
Adjacent to the farmhouse was a cute cottage where the guys were getting ready, and while Ashley was finalizing a few details, Austin was having a toast with his guys. A great way to start the festivities.
Who else loves a first look? The bride and groom both wanted to do a first look, or seeing each other for the first time before the ceremony, and it was so sweet! Ashley was so radiant while she walked to Austin. The farmhouse has a long deck that wraps around half the house and it was the perfect location for them to have a little privacy as family and bridal party were anxiously waiting to see them together.
The moment I had been waiting for all day - flower grandmas! All jokes aside, I love a good twist to something that is considered traditional, and for couples that don't have young children for this role, or are having an "adults only" soiree, there are many fun ways to include other important family members or friends that may not be in the bridal party. Seeing these two vivacious ladies thoroughly enjoying themselves as they tossed flowers down the aisle brought so much joy for the guests and myself.
This ceremony was so special to hear and see, as all of the siblings of the bride and groom had a role, from the groom's brother officiating the ceremony, to the bride's sister singing. Family was really important and very treasured throughout the ceremony and reception.
I spent just a few minutes with the bride and groom after the ceremony, so they could enjoy their cocktail hour, which was something really important to them. The lawn in front of the farmhouse was still a lush green, and I loved the dappled light patterns on the grass. But I was super excited to go under the willow tree before it was too dark, and it ended up being some of my favorite photos from the day. There are a lot of "expected" photos from a wedding day, but I always love to try something new, and I love the effect I created on the two black and white photos under the willow tree.
Did I mention the reception was in a barn? This barn has been beautifully renovated, and the space inside was so expansive, they were able to include a band for their evening festivities without sacrificing their guest count. A win-win! Ashley's details all tied back to a vintage/rustic theme, with a rustic wire frame seating chart, organic floral decor, vintage Airstream photo booth, and a cute loveseat for the couple to share.
Truly my favorite part of any wedding - time with just the bride and groom. Between the courses for dinner was the perfect time to grab Ashley and Austin for their big sunset series, which included a canoe at the willow pond! Sunset at Olympia's Valley Estate was magical. Everywhere I looked was perfect sunset light, and I did it all - the glistening willow pond, the boho hammock, the lavender walkway leading to the farmhouse, to using the storage area of the working farm.
'Best Day Ever' sums up this wedding perfectly. Fun dancing, popcorn, a rockin' band, and the best friends and family.