Jen + Andrew’s Romantic Sunset Wedding – Gold Creek Pond

A wedding VERY close to our heart – Jen + Andrew, close friends of ours who invited us to not only capture their wedding but be IN their bridal party too!

After almost 8 years of waiting and surrender and trusting Jesus with their lives, together for 3 years then apart for 3 years, it was the most beautiful moment of elation (and exhaling!) when they became husband and wife.

No two people are better crafted for each other then Jen + Andrew. Their wedding day may have held unbelievable beauty, but their marriage is going to have so much more and will impact so many generations. It was a privilege to stand beside you in your bridal party, and in front of you as your photographers.

Jen’s dress by Theia Couture from The Dress Theory is one of my favorite dresses of all time. She wore the Ada Top and Marlena Skirt and I was with her when she tried it on for the first time. I still remember how she lit up and said, ‘Andrew is going to love this.’ Our other favorite element was the INCREDIBLE flowers + arbor by Grace and Blooms!

Hannah from Urbanista Weddings went above and beyond for Jen’s hair and makeup. We all were completely enamoured by Jen’s hair the entire day (I still dream about it!) 😉

It was so beautiful to see Jen wearing her Homebodii robe, the same design as the one I wore the morning of our wedding!

The photo below is one of my favorites from the day. It may seem staged and perfected but beneath it are years and years of laughing and crying and vulnerability and true connection. These women and the other bridesmaids not pictured have shown me how beautiful true friendship can be.

 “You are fully and wonderfully made in the image of God and as you walk down the aisle today you will radiate the beauty of God for all to see.” Andrew’s letter in the morning made Jen cry and then made all of us cry.

Meanwhile Camron was with the boys drinking whiskey and playing golf 😉

Andrew arrived over an hour before Jen and I did (we were very, very late haha!), so Camron took a ton of incredible portraits of him. This was our favorite, capturing his joy as he waited for his bride.

And then there was this long, exquisite moment of silence. Jen stood, waiting, breathing it all in. Everyone held their breath. Their first look was so quiet, so intimate and so holy – we’ve never seen anything like it. For almost 10 minutes we didn’t say one word to them – they just held each other and looked into each other’s eyes and took it all in.

We shot them as they laughed and talked and held each other – we shot them exactly as they were. Some moments need no direction, no promoting, no speaking. They need to be captured exactly as they unfold. These sweet moments were such a holy thing for us to watch – the presence of God was so powerful in that field and we could feel His excitement and anticipation towards a marriage He sees as VERY good. Meanwhile, Stephen Marti, the most talented guy we know, played guitar in the background.

^ Another moment of appreciation for that amazing braid. Right at this moment then September sun was setting and peaked through the trees – it was our only moment of direct sunshine the whole entire day. It lasted about a minute and it was amazing 😉

With the light fading fast we knew we didn’t have long to enjoy time with just the bridal party, but even with the few minutes we had it was hilarious and fun to all be together. Camron captured the photos of the girls and I shot some of the guys. I love that I had these moments to jump into my white dress and stand by Jen’s side as her bridesmaid. I’d forgotten how fun it was to be a bridesmaid, and those FLOWERS by Grace and Blooms were just a dream!

We made our way to the ceremony 1.5 hours after it was meant to start – but instead of the change of schedule (aka we were way late) being a difficult thing, it ended up being the most beautiful part of the day because their ceremony was at the perfect post-sunset moments right before dusk.

This was what we saw when we walked out to the ceremony spot at Gold Creek Pond:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies (and mountains!) proclaim the work of His hands.” Amen and amen!

Jen + Andrew wanted a super small and intimate wedding with only their closest family and friends. It was like a gathering of family, a quiet display of how deep relationships transform us the most.

Jen + Andrew have been heading to this moment for the last 8 years. Their vows were a beautiful picture of the love of God for us – constant, faithful, passionate and unconditional. It was an emotional and sweet exchange that continually pointed back to Jesus.

Then came our favorite part and the part that had the greatest impact on Jen + Andrew’s first day of marriage – when their whole bridal party (except us!) laid hands on them and prayed over their lives. It was a moment of beautiful dependence – they need God and need others to experience marriage for everything it was designed to be.

“Many people will tell you to focus on your marriage, to focus on each other… but we discovered that focusing on God made our marriage amazing. Draw close to Him and let your marriage be the overflow of that.” Francis Chan

The declaration that they are no longer two but one, husband and wife, was the best moment and one that no photo can truly ever capture. We know from personal experience it’s this cosmos-shifting, earth-changing, forever-transforming moment

Andrew told us he was going to kiss Jen at the end of the isle, so we put on our Sigma 24mm f1.4 lens so we could get a nice wide of the moment. But he forgot (I’m sure because of his elation), so it wasn’t until they were here that he pulled her in and kissed her – which made us fall in love with the moment even more, their family and friends out of focus.

After this moment we shot family and friend portraits, then we had exactly 21 minutes until we completely and totally ran out of light. 21 MINUTES! We were on a high the whole time, capturing the essence of Jen and Andrew in this exact moment in time in 21 MINUTES. We were enamoured by the hexagon pampas grass arbor that Anna from Grace and Blooms created. Andrew and his dad put the structure together and Anna perfectly outfitted it with the pampas grass.

I think when people look at our work they think every photo we take is giggling and fun with lots of movement. But we’ve found the most important photo to take for the generations to come is exactly this – simple and sweet:

Jen’s favorite photo from the day is this one – we shot the exact same moments on our cameras. I with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 art lens, and Camron with the Sigma 85mm f1.4 art. I love the two of them together telling the whole story of that sweet moment.

The first time Jen and I met I took a photo of her at Lake Diablo, with braided hair looking out at the water. 3 years later, by a different lake, I shot her again. It was a sweet full circle of our friendship.

At this point it was completely dusk and we’d almost completely lost light. But Jen + Andrew wanted to pop champagne and celebrate in the fading light. They had two bottles and as we were walking towards them one popped compltely on its own! So they took the second and popped it EVERYWHERE 😉

Then my genius and adventurous husband told Andrew to shake up the first, already-popped bottle of champagne. Before he’d even begun it went everywhere – completely saturating me and Andrew and thankfully just missing Jen’s dress! We all smelled like champagne and it was the very best way to end the night.

We went to a small dinner with the bridal party then slept the entire next day before attending/capturing their big reception party on Saturday. We are unspeakably honored to have been their wedding photographers and in their bridal party – standing beside them AND in front of them on this holy and beautiful day 😉

If you’ve made it this far, we want you to know it’s not about the insane view or her fairytale dress or the pampas grass or the wedding arbor of dreams. The power of these moments was the presence of God, who designed marriage and created it to be the most beautiful picture of how He loves us (unconditionally, not based on a contract but on a covenant). Jen + Andrew’s vows were holy, and as we ran around them like giddy children with cameras in the fading light, they just stared at each other and soaked in not just the last moments of their wedding day, but the FIRST few moments of their marriage.

We could tell you that our dream couple elopes in the mountains with pampas grass arbors – but that’s not really true. Our dream couple cares about truly slowing down to be present, and cares even more about their marriage then they do their wedding ❤️ Andrew + Jen – you are our dream couple!

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Athena xx