Earlier this year I photographed Alyssa and Jamiel’s wedding at one of my favorite venues, Atwood Ranch. These two are definitely meant to be together. The family bonds on both the bride and groom’s side were the strongest I’ve ever witnessed. Alyssa worked with Jamiel’s mom, sisters and brothers before she even knew Jamiel existed. His family said they’d be perfect together. Eventually, they met, and while they realized the family might be on to something, Alyssa and Jamiel avoided each other for a year and focused on their careers. After meeting up again, a few years ago just before Christmas, they became inseparable. Alyssa shared that they both knew from the beginning they were meant to be together. They feel that they’ve waited lifetimes to find each other and spend forever loving each other. Super sweet. The story of the couple’s engagement is just as sweet. Here’s what Alyssa shared with us:
“Our engagement was magical. It happened the day after our actual 3 year anniversary. He spent the whole day trying to throw me off his game plan… he managed to get me to our favorite place to go on a walk when we first began dating, without me being suspicious (not an easy task!). As we were walking he recounted the story I told him about my grandparents when we first took that walk. I had told him about my grandparent’s love and how as my grandma was climbing the stairs into the party bus during a wine tasting tour for their 60th wedding anniversary, my grandpa reached up, pinched her butt, and gave her his mischievous smile. I said that’s what I wanted in the man I married: someone who would reach out and pinch my butt after 60 years of marriage with a smile on his face. We held hands and walked toward our special spot on the beach. Under the full moon, Jamiel told me he wanted me to be the last person he kissed for the rest of his life. I almost ruined it, still not aware of what was happening, by saying “of course you will be.” Then he pulled out the ring. He says the look on my face was priceless…complete astonishment! Then I was crying and reaching for the ring before even saying yes.”
So this blog entry is for you, Alyssa and Jamiel! Thank you for sharing your love story with us. I love that you have a strong connection with horses and family and that you incorporated both into your wedding celebration. You chose the perfect venue for the occasion and a wonderful team to pull everything together Thank you for choosing me too!
For more information about the wedding planning and design, check out Alyssa’s notes at the end of this blog entry.
Wedding Planning: Northern California, wine country in particular, became our special getaway destination over the years as we visited my grandma who still lives in Oakmont. When considering our wedding location, we knew we wanted to be in wine country so she could attend. Outside of that, we were looking for a place that had vineyards and barn for the reception. After looking around, Atwood Ranch was the only location that had everything we wanted. Atwood Ranch is stunning and we were willing to be flexible with our date just to be able to get married there!
One of our favorite wedding planning moments was the weekend we spent at Atwood Ranch in early March. That’s when everything became real. Julie is an incredible wealth of knowledge with everything pertaining to wine country. We went with her suggestions for vendors using Sage for catering, Tara for photography, DJ Von Woo for music, Terry’s quartet for music during the ceremony, Perfect Endings for the Cake, Forget Me Not cakes for the pies, and Maria for the flowers. We spent the weekend with Julie choosing lighting, decorative accents, tasting food and cake. It was incredible how easy it was for us to make all the decisions for the wedding. Jamiel and I have a very similar aesthetic. We wanted to keep the colors and decorations natural with greens and whites just to accent what was already there. We did not want anything too “matchy matchy” from the decor to the variety of colors for the bridesmaids dresses.
We did a lot of research with respect to the photography though! Jamiel works in the camera department on films and definitely has an opinion and eye when it comes to photography. What we loved about Tara’s photos was her ability to capture candid moments and portraits. She also does a fantastic job of framing photos to highlight not only the people in the photograph, but also the stunning scenery in which the photo is taken. Tara also frames her photos in an interesting, artistic manner. We were drawn to her eye and creativity and knew that we would have stunning photos that did not feel too contrived and would capture the whole feel of the day.
In addition to Julie, my mom was a huge help with the wedding planning process. She thought of so many details that we never would have considered. The whole wedding would have never happened without my parents. My mom was especially helpful in the beginning when there was a time crunch to contact vendors and create contracts. With the hours Jamiel and I work, we were not able to get ahold of anyone in a timely fashion during working hours :) We could not be more appreciative of everything my parents did to create the most magical day of our lives.
Horses: I grew up horseback riding probably before the time I could walk. They have always been that special part of my life outside of the “have tos” of life. My dad and I used to go horseback riding together out on the trail every Saturday morning while I was growing up. About 6 years ago, my dad began a breeding program to raise the numbers of our family’s breed of horses, the Camarillo white horses. It has been great to see that program develop over the past few years and spent time with the adorable foals in the spring! When Jamiel and I began dating, he wanted to learn to ride and work with horses. We started from the ground up and now he and I are able to enjoy trail rides together! He also helps me during my hippotherapy sessions with the kiddos I work with!
Wedding Day: We could not have been happier or more surprised with how everything turned out on our wedding day. As Jamiel and I reflect on the day, we are overwhelmed by the love and support of our families and friends. By choosing to keep our guest numbers low, we were truly surrounded by those closest to us. It was so special to see all of our loved ones just enjoying themselves. The entire weekend passed so quickly! We are so grateful to have all the beautiful photos from Tara and our friends who captured the beauty and love of the day!
Venue: Atwood Ranch
Photography: Arrowood Photography
Second Shooter: Myleen Hollero
Event Planning & Design: Julie Atwood Events
Horses: Atwood Ranch Quarter Horses
Florals: Maria Philbin
Ceremony Music: Nob Hill Quartet
Menus & Signage: Persimmon Press
Catering: Sage Catering
Bar Service: Best Beverage
Cake: Perfect Endings
Dessert: Forget Me Not Patisserie
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Lighting: Twilight Design
Sound & DJ: Sound Expressions | Boutique DJs
Sofas & Lounge Furniture: Designer 8 | Blueprint Studios
Styling, Antiques & Vintage Lighting: Julie Atwood Events