How do you recap the summation of a dream you've been having your entire life?

I think every little girl grows up thinking about her wedding. Boys are different--they might think of their future wife, their marriage, their married life, but not the wedding. That's mostly for the girls. Like most girls, I thought about mine, although in recent years, I was doubtful I'd see one.

But something happened when I became a wedding photographer, and it happened again when I became a wedding photographer in particular in Orange County, California. I realized how many choices were really out there! Colors, themes, locations...hundreds and thousands of different permutations of combinations I could select from.

I froze.

What could I do? What kind of wedding could I have that would even come close to the beautiful weddings I've seen over the past ten years in business? I don't have the money, the style, or the resources that my clients have. I have friends who have seen everything under the sun. What would be different?

Then I realized what it was.

The wedding could be about US. Me and Jeff. One of the things I teach in my workshops is that the single greatest asset everyone has is the ability to be the best THEM of anyone in the world. I'll never be a better anyone else than they are, and nobody could ever be a better me! So Jeff and I decided to have the wedding incorporate all of the things that we love into our special day, and I am so excited to finally share them with you, along with our story!

(All photos in this post are ©Jose Villa unless otherwise noted. Please do not remove photos from this site without express written permission. Thanks!!)

To begin:

This wedding would not have been ANYTHING like it was without the help of two people in particular, and a ton of others who I will get to throughout the post. The first one is our Wedding Planner and Event Designer Angel Swanson. Angel...well, there was never a more aptly named person, that's for sure. Angel is hardworking, creative, calm (the ONLY person to remain calm and rational all the way through), organized, thorough, fun, silly, resourceful, and lots of other things I am sure that I'm leaving out. If you need a coordinator, she's your gal. If you need a support system, confidant, calming presence, or reassurance, she's your gal. I can't recommend her highly enough, and if you don't think you need a coordinator...well, honestly, you're wrong. Book her asap. Here's a shot of her with Jeff and I:


The second person who made this wedding happen (at times by sheer willpower and a firm hand on her computer keyboard is our Event Designer and Stylist Kabrel Polak. The creativity, resourcefulness, drive for perfection, attention to detail, crazy eBay skills, and desire for nothing less than AMAZING that comes out of her head is almost incomprehensible. When we found the location (more about the location in a later post), Kabrel didn't see a location, she saw a blank canvas. You could actually see the gears and wheels in her head starting to spin as she began to style and create something I couldn't have thought up on my most creative day, or with the finished product right in front of my face. The hours and hours she has spent on her computer, in meetings, dealing with things that make my brain want to explode out of my face are countless. Her results are priceless. Having a wedding Stylist and Designer isn't a luxury I ever though I would have, or knew that I needed, but sometimes you just luck out and get blessed with something so awesome you know you don't deserve it. I can say this: If you want to have an event where EVERY SINGLE ASPECT is cohesive, brilliantly designed, stunningly and jaw-droppingly put together, and out of this world original and creative, you should email Kabrel immediately to see what she might be able to do for you. Here's a shot of me and Kabrel together:


Unless you've ever planned a wedding like this one, you have no idea what is involved in turning a gorgeous piece of property into a wedding wonderland. Every single fork, plate, chair, light, and piece of decor had to be bought, borrowed, rented, or stolen (well, not so much stolen), and somehow brought 9 hours away, set up, and then eventually taken down and brought back. The amount of work and details are seriously ridiculous. Both of these people made them happen flawlessly and without error. In a word...amazing.

I'll be posting throughout the day, starting at right around noon PST. If you need your fix right now, head over to Style Me Pretty!