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The Biggs Wedding – Annapolis, MD

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Another Disney lifeguard wedding for the books!
In the last several years I’ve had the pleasure of watching several of my friends from DisneyWorld get married – and this past weekend the next person to add to that list was my good friend Chris Biggs when he married Brandy.

I met Chris (who we’ve always just called Biggs) 11 years ago when I was a lifeguard on the Disney College Program. He was a lifeguard at Typhoon Lagoon, and I was a guard at Blizzard Beach – Disney’s two water parks. However, we worked together the first several months and had enough mutual friends that we still saw each other and remained friends throughout the year.
In the years that followed working for Disney, Biggs was one of the core group of guys that stayed in touch with each other, planned additional trips, and did our best to keep our friendship strong despite all of us living hundreds or thousands of miles from each other.

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The Joe-Fischbach Wedding – Napa Valley, Calif.

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Stephanie FINALLY let me photograph her. But, really, she didn’t have much of a choice..

I’ve known Stephanie for 11 years. She’s one of my best friends and probably my closest female friend. And I’ve been bugging her for yearsss to let me photograph her and she pretty admittedly refuses. Hahaha. Clearly she loves me.
I’ve known Adam for nearly 7 years now, he’s been exceptionally kind to me during our friendship and has become someone I look forward to seeing with Steph on my trips back to the Bay Area. I mention this because it’s very rare that female-friend’s boyfriends get along with me. Adam and I get along great and he understands my friendship with Stephanie goes back many years. And in reality, he “wins” that game anyway. Stephanie and Adam have been friends since childhood… like 5 and 6 six Steph and Adam have pictures together. It’s one of those disgustingly cute things. Even though they’ll laugh and tell you there was never any sort of childhood crush or anything, it’s still cute that they have those kind of pictures from their past.

Also, Adam (unlike Steph, yep, calling you out again Stephanie) has let me photograph him! Hahaha. Adam owns several motorcycles and a couple years ago I wanted to test a new camera rig and remotes I had just bought. So Adam was happy to go out and let me practice with him.

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Stephanie will of course just say “Well Adam got to wear full gear so you couldn’t even see him!”

Either way, Stephanie and Adam got married just over a week ago in Napa Valley – and I was fortunate enough to be their photographer. While they were picking out dates for the ceremony a year ago they kept checking with me and my availability. I told them I would understand if, because of my busy Fall, they chose someone else if I couldn’t make it. Steph basically “John. We’re choosing a date you’re free. We want you there to shoot for us.”

Their wedding day in Napa Valley was gorgeous, too.
I think I was just as excited for them to be married as they were.

The ceremony was at a location in the hills called Aburge de Soleil, a restaurant and small vineyard in the hills. But, a lot of stuff there has a small vineyard, right? haha.
We started bright and early that morning since it would be a mid-morning ceremony. So that meant that I was up at 4 am to be ready and meet the girls at 5 am in Steph’s room as they did hair and makeup. Rebecca and I started the day at Starbucks – where she quickly pointed out that I was way too happy and awake for that time of day. In my defense I was stoked for Adam and Stephanie.

The wedding morning, ceremony went really smooth and very quickly. It seemed to be exactly what Steph kept telling me she wanted… something small with family and a few friends. And even though their small wedding was still bigger than they wanted, it was beautiful, and people had a great time.

I’m not going to write a bunch more because I’ll leave all that for captions.

Be warned, though, as there are a ton of photos to follow.
I love Stephanie and Adam and it was just too hard for me to narrow the photos down. So there are nearly 300 shots of their wedding weekend after the break.

Read on! …if you have time, and enjoy the shots!

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The Thesing Wedding – Clearwater, FL

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So, last month I was at the Thesing wedding – pronounced “Tess-ing”…
Did you guys know that we’ve all pronounced Aaron’s last wrong for ten years and he never bothered correcting us?! I’m completely serious. Aaron NEVER corrected us… ten years… TEN years, guys. Joe and I couldn’t believe it.
Seriously. We – as in “all of us from lifeguarding” – have pronounced it THES-ing… apparently the “H” is silent. Ha! Joe and I, in shock (TEN!!!) asked Aaron why he never said anything. Aaron laughed and said “Well, how often do you guys really use my last name… and it’s not like you don’t know who I am. So it didn’t matter”.

Just wait til my wedding, guys. You’ll find out that you’ve pronounced my name wrong all these years, too!

So a little back story for those of you who don’t know much about me and my past. I lived and worked in Florida briefly during college. While working as a lifeguard and lifeguard trainer for the Disneyworld Water Parks I made some of my closest and best friends that I still keep in touch with and visit to this day. The choice of going to Florida during 2003 was easily one of the most significant impacts on my entire life.

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Above: Ryan, Me, and Aaron – somewhere on Disney property. I’m fairly sure it’s at Disney Quest. 

Anyway, because of that decision I have friends scattered all over the country. Most of them I still keep in touch with to this very day. And quite a few of them I’ve even done photography for.
But the coolest part, for me, is the amount of weddings of these great friends I’ve been able to attend. When Aaron proposed to Danielle and then invited me as part of a very small list of friends and family I knew I would have to figure out how to get out to Florida for what would be my second of three trips to Orlando in 2013. It didn’t take long for me to convince myself to just put the trip on my credit card and go have a great time with my friends out there. I’ve been to pretty much every wedding of all my Disney friends that have invited me (in Texas, Boston, Oregon, Calif., etc.).
I wasn’t about to miss Aaron’s.

While working as lifeguards in ’03 Aaron and I were carpool buddies for several months. It worked out well since Aaron had a car in Florida and I’m punctual and always wake up on time for work. So, I would knock on his door at 6:45 each morning, and he’d wake up grab his things, and we’d leave for work at 7:30 at Blizzard Beach. Haha! He’s also been a great host to me over the years when I would visit Florida on Spring Break or during various trips. I crashed with him at his place two or three times – including during my move to England for school when I stayed at his place for several days before leaving the US.

After seeing Danielle and Aaron in March when I was in town to photograph the American Le Mans season opener race I knew I had to solidify plans for the weekend of the wedding. Danielle gave me permission to bring Joe as my date since he’s another Disney friend of Aaron’s and I don’t have a girlfriend/wife to bring anyway, lol. The week that I went out to Orlando – and eventually Clearwater – for their wedding I spent most on my laptop working and doing email.
But regardless of how busy I was with email/calls on the weekdays leading up to the weekend, the actual ceremony and two days in Clearwater with Joe, Aaron, Danielle and their families was a blast.

I had permission from both Danielle and Aaron to take some photos during their wedding, too! Which to me, is great. I’m all for enjoying the ceremony, however photography is enjoyable for me. And, more importantly, I want my own photos of such an important event in my friends lives.

So I’ll stop rambling and reminiscing about Florida, Disney, and all my great memories with my friends there. Click past the break for over 150 photos from the Thesing wedding!

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Sarah and Ernesto’s San Ramon Wedding Weekend

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Another pair of high school friends are now married, making me feel that much older. Haha!

Last weekend I spent with the Randle and Villarreal families for Sarah and Ernesto’s wedding in San Ramon, Calif. I’ve known Ernesto since elementary school – and we played sports together in Jr. High and High School. Sarah I don’t think I met until High School. However they’re part of the circle of friends my younger sister has known through school and college, so I grew up around all of them to some degree.

Last year Ernesto and Sarah contacted me about shooting their engagement photos during one of my trips the Bay Area. We had went out to Mountain View and spent a few hours together shooting and catching up a bit on life. Shortly after they discussed the possibility of me also shooting their wedding.
But when it came time for their big weekend last Saturday I finally had more time to catch up and hear about how they’ve been the last, well, many years.

I had a blast at the wedding – which I fully expected that I would. I knew several people that were guests, and a few of them I’ve shot for in the past. What made it even more fun was seeing and hearing the little things that Sarah and Ernesto did for their wedding to make it fun and meaningful to them. And even though Sarah joked with me many times that she hates being the center of attention, she definitely seemed to have fun and pretty easily ignored me pointing a camera at her all weekend! Plus it helps that Ernesto has no problem being the center of attention if needed. lol!

The weekend started out with the rehearsal in the afternoon at the San Ramon Golf Club where they would be having the ceremony at. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend – which was a welcomed change from the cooler overcast weather the Bay Area had been getting. The pastor who would be performing the ceremony was a wonderful guy named Steve who I had met last year at the Rowe wedding. After a couple run-throughs of how the ceremony would go down on Saturday everyone headed back to the South Bay where we would all meet up that evening at the Randle house for dinner to celebrate with everyone. I was able to squeeze in a quick stop on my way home to see my brother-in-law and my niece, which was nice since I don’t see them as often as I’d like to.

The next day started in the afternoon for me. I met up with the ladies as they were starting their hair and makeup. All the girls were surprisingly chill and relaxed – usually it seems like wedding parties are a bitttt more anxious. But, all the girls were just hanging out talking about stories of their bachelorette weekend trip or catching up with those who hadn’t seen each other in a while.

The ceremony later that afternoon was beautiful. It was sunny, warm, and just breezy enough to not being annoying but also keep it cool enough that the everyone was comfortable in their dresses and suits. Ernesto and Sarah opted to do a first-look to be able have their own moment with one another as they saw each other for the first time; we were also able to take some photos of everyone before things started.

I’m going to just stop here and leave the rest for the captions about different parts of the weekend. Below the break you’ll find over 250 photos of my time with the Randle and Villarreal families. I had a great time and it was really cool to be part of another pair of friend’s wedding. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting for several old friends and it’s always sweet when they’re equally excited to have me as part of their wedding.

So, read on! And enjoy the rest of the photos from Sarah and Ernesto’s wedding..

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