magical elopement

John & Laneil's Redwood National Forest Adventure Elopement

Laneil found me online and inquired about an elopement. She opted for an adventure elopement and I am so glad she did! We met in Trinidad for her first look and her ceremony, and then explored the Redwood National Forest in her wedding gown and John in his tux and got some epic pictures. But first, let me tell you where this adventure began.

Laneil was widowed in October 2013 and looking for a contractor for her lake house. She was referred to a Texas cowboy who had divorced one month later in November 2013. He lived near her town of Fort Worth Texas, but traveled south to work, so they talked on the phone and agreed to meet each other at George’s Bar in Waco Texas.

John saw Laneil get out of her smart car and stopped traffic for her to cross the street. They shared their life stories, and talked and laughed for hours. When time ran out on their meeting, Laneil still had a smile on her face while she was waiting at a red light not far from George's Bar. She looked in her rear view mirror and saw John walking toward her window. He had stopped behind her and was walking toward her car. She rolled her window down, and he bent down and kissed her right then and there. The rest is history.

This was the sweet beginning to their love story. I was so blessed that I got to be a part of one of their biggest chapters. We ended their adventure elopement on Trinidad State Beach, with the wind blowing in full force. It allowed us to be perfectly in the moment. There was no fixing the veil, or arranging the dress, as the wind would gust again and send them flying. Just like life, we can try to control things, but God has other plans.

Lucas&Vanessa'sRomanticRainyDayBenbowInnWedding

I have been dreaming of shooting a Benbow Inn Wedding ever since I started shooting weddings four years ago. There are two reasons for this. It is a gorgeous venue, and it is 5 minutes from my house. I was so happy when Lucas and Vanessa chose me as their wedding photographer. I was envisioning a beautiful, warm day full of sunshine which is typical here in Southern Humboldt. I kept checking the forecast for their wedding day, but the chance of rain just kept climbing until it reached 100%. I had been picturing their family gathered on the beautiful green lawn of the Benbow Inn with the bridge in the background, in the golden sunshine, followed by a romantic reception on the balcony under the starry sky. We like to make our plans, and then God likes to make his. Lucas and Vanessa took the rain in stride. They were down for anything! They had a vision of doing their first look beneath the majestic redwoods on the Avenue of the Giants. They didn’t let the rain stop their vision. I am so glad they chose to stick to the plan!

After the first look, we traveled back to Benbow for some bridal party portraits. This bridal party was down for anything and still had smiles on their faces despite the constant rain. Catrina Chavez of Above and Beyond Creations helped save the day with the vintage umbrellas which made for some romantic photographs.

After the bridal party formals Lucas and Vanessa said “I Do” in the quaint library of the Benbow Inn with a reception following upstairs. Their close family and friends traveled all the way from Central California to the middle of the United States to witness their vows and celebrate their love.

As their friends and family continued to celebrate, we snuck outside for some romantic sneak away shots which are my favorite. The rain still continued to bless their day, and we have some romantic and magical images to show for it!

We like to make our plans, and then God likes to make his. We can dream and plan all we want. But we can't control what happens in this life, all we can do is control how we react. It rained the entire wedding day of Lucas and Vanessa's wedding. But they took it in stride with each other by their side. I have 100% faith that this couple will be able to weather any storm that they face together.

Venue: Benbow Inn

Hair and Make up: Paige Paup and Calilyn Quinn Lyon