Leila + Brendan // Grand Island, Northern California

May 18, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Brendan and Leila's story of falling in love is quite possibly one of my favorites. Maybe it's because I'm partial to lake life and water sports, or maybe (most likely) it's because of how it speaks to the perfect match these two are. Their story started as chance meeting and ended up in them getting married at Leila's childhood home turned wedding venue in Grand Island, California. Her sister, Tara, described the stars aligning during her wedding speech. Leila and Tara were sitting on a dock talking when a classic waterski boat started getting closer.


Leila (and the man on the boat - Brendan) are both expert water skiers, so Leila's trained eye recognized how unique the vessel was, yelled out "Got any women's skis on that boat?". Brendan replied "No, but we've got some men's you can try!" which is possibly the coolest initial "What's up?" any married couple has ever had in the history of time.


Everything about the who Leila is and why she asked me to be her wedding photographer made sense when I learned how she grew up. Having grown up around the water, loving yoga, riding horses in farm country outside Sacramento made her a special one. One I could relate to. The fact that Leila converted her childhood home into this wedding venue also spoke to me and made me so excited to capture the memories in this rad story of theirs. When I met Brendan, I smiled a ton. I immediately saw the connection they described. In an initial email, I had Leila ask Brendan how their friends would describe their relationship, and he said: "Besides being the perfect match?!".


They are so loving towards each other, fun, and being around them, and you can tell the balance they have between their relationship to each other and those around them. Brendan and Leila care so much about their friends and family, their relationship together, but also who they are as individuals. They for sure bond over their mutual loves of waterskiing and snow sports, and especially over their new addition to the fam – a 12-pound little terrier mutt named Ruxpin who will steal your heart in a second.


I love doing wedding photos like this when there are so many personal aspects to the details of the wedding venue, the flowers. These are days where you can feel the spirit of the bride and groom, friends, and family everywhere. Every wedding day is a beautiful little storm of activity and love, and this one had extra parts laughter, stoke, and backstory.


Leila's farm is now a 100 acre beautifully landscaped piece of land featuring a vineyard and gardens of organic veggies. It made a perfect place for friends to come from all over the country – Truckee/Tahoe, New York, Wisconsin, Florida – and gather to celebrate the bride and groom. The day started with the Leila and the bridal party getting ready in The Farm Bridal Suite as the groomsman sipped whiskey around an old grand piano. 


There were a few things about the day that made it extra special. First was Brendan's grandma "Nana", Lois Jackson, in attendance. Having their oldest living relative there was really special to them. I love watching them interact with her and could feel the love and cherished moments this brought. Another thing was the landscape, the plants – namely the roses – were all in bloom casting an amazing aroma all around the property. Added to this was that fact it rained, hard.


Not necessarily what you would ideally want for a wedding day but waiting underneath the tents (they had seen the rain coming a few days prior) waiting for the couple to say their I do's was electric. Leila's mom said in her speech as we were intimately huddled together under tents, " Many good things happen in tents. Deep conversations have been had, important decisions have been made, treaties hav been signed, babies have been born and raised, peace pipes have been smoked.


Leila and Brennan read some vows together in private during a first look, but then also shared some with the full group. The moment Leila walked down the aisle, they kissed. Everyone laughed, and Leila exclaimed, "Oh no! Were we supposed to do that?!". It was hilarious. I guess you are supposed to wait to kiss until "The Kiss" They couldn't keep from waiting that long.


The air was thick with the smell of all the rain and roses as Leila and Brendan stood under the doorway of their parents' beautiful white farmhouse. The ceremony was sweet and fit in perfectly with the rest of the day, feeling perfectly made for these two. Leila's ring was her grandmothers, which added in another unique and personal detail to the day. When they had their *official*first kiss everyone cheered, umbrellas in hand, as they kept kissing under a shower of roses thrown by their wedding party. The excitement and happy attitude carried on their happiness into the night.


The speeches were great. I especially loved Leila's dad talking about Brendan's vocabulary and how he was still trying to figure out the difference between "sending it" and "crushing it" which got a big laugh from Brendan. Leila's mom did all the beautiful florals. I love when the family does little details like this. The food, drink, music, and dancing were all rad. They had surf and turf for dinner (so good), and charcuterie boards and a classic white three-tiered cake with her mom's flowers decorated all over the cake. Their first dance as husband and wife was to "How Sweet it is."


So stoked on this beautiful day. As far as weddings go, it was both sent and crushed. Love you two.

Wedding Team

Venue: Retreat To The Farm

Floral: Leila's Mother

Makeup: Kate Nash

Hair: Carla Did it 

Catering: The Hidden Tables



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