Jessica first reached out to me two years ago, after she saw the engagement and wedding photos I had
done for a coworker of hers. Together for seven years, Jessica and her fiancé, Zeb, were waiting to get
married until every detail of their wedding was exactly how they envisioned it. I was so excited when the
big day finally came, and I can only imagine how much more exciting it must have been for them.
The day was October 27th , 2018, at the Davies Family Inn at ShadowRidge Ranch, in
Placerville, California, nestled in the heart of gold country, along an old stagecoach route. As described
on the venue website, “the rustic elegance of this mid-1800’s era log cabin homestead has been
preserved and enhanced by the Davies family to promote the look and feel of frontier living with the
convenience of modern times.” The venue felt like a hidden cabin retreat, with lush gardens, dark
woods, and deep greens offset by the newly turning fall colors.
I arrived in the morning to find the celebration in full swing, with the ladies of the wedding party singing
and dancing while getting ready, and the men in another cabin socializing in an underground bar that
had the atmosphere of an old hunting lodge. It became quickly apparent that this was one big family full
of so much love and support, not only for one another, but for everyone around them. I was looked
after so well during the entire day, with so many offering to help me set up, ensuring that I had enough
to eat, and overall, making me feel a part of the family for the day.
The ceremony took place in front of ShadowRidge Lodge, with a trellis arch of vines serving as a
beautiful backdrop for the wedding party, who were dressed in blush gold, white lace, and navy.
Hydrangeas were the main flower for all the arrangements and bouquets. The women of both families
played a huge role in the service. Zeb’s sister officiated (including the wonderfully funny monologue
from wedding scene in The Princess Bride), the bride’s mother walked her down the aisle, and Zeb’s
sixteen-year-old daughter Taylor was the maid of honor.
It was a beautiful service, but the part of the wedding that moved me the most were the first dances.
After the bride and groom’s first dance, Jessica danced with her mother to “In my Daughter’s Eyes” by
Martina McBride. Halfway through the song, the DJ invited all the mothers and daughters in attendance
to join them on the dance floor, at which point the bride walked over to her step-daughter Taylor and
asked her to dance. By this point, I wasn’t just using my camera to capture such a sweet moment, but to
also hide my ugly-crying because of it. I feel so blessed to have had such a beautiful glimpse into the
kind of people they are and just how much love they have to give.
During my time as a wedding photographer, I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a couple not just
by how they treat others, but by the friends and family that surround them on their special day. It was
so clear to me that all the love for them in the room was a direct reflection of the love they share, and if
love is all you need, then their family motto rings true, that “all you need is Jeno.”