Taryn is one of my 2020 senior reps. Not only is she at the top of her class at Fortuna High School, she is also super sweet. We traveled down to one of my favorite river locations in Southern Humboldt and shot some beautiful shots in the sunshine. The river is always nice and warm at the end of a long summer day, and I absolutely love being able to get my feet wet while I photograph beautiful seniors. It doesn’t get much better!
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
Lucas and Vanessa met in Community College. They were both math tutors at the time and had a few friends in the same circles and saw each other in some study groups. After a few years and an Associate's Degree, Vanessa transferred to UCSC for Astrophysics. They really got together after Lucas’ first summer session at UCSD. Lucas came to visit Vanessa. They had hung out with friends and both decided to leave a little early, but ended up going to see some holiday lights at the beautiful Riverside Mission Inn. It was there that they agreed on their first "date" to Disneyland. (I am so jealous by the way! I have always wanted to do a theme park date!) Disneyland was a long fun day, and by the end of the night Lucas had picked up on Vanessa’s interest. They "officially" became a couple after a discussion and hanging out on New Year's Eve in 2010.
Lucas proposed to Vanessa in September of 2015. She had no idea he was going to propose, even though they lived together. They went to San Francisco just to walk around and explore some touristy sites like Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, and dinner at McCormick and Kuleto's. He proposed by the Hyde Street Pier. After a long night walking the streets of SF, he finally got the courage to bend on one knee when they were just about ready to go home from walking the late night empty beach. He proposed with his mother's wedding ring. He wanted to have the engagement ring be something that they picked out together to really represent them and do something else with his mom's ring that was given to him. They eventually picked out Vanessa’s engagement ring. His mom's ring has been taken apart, and her small stones are in Vanessa’s wedding band, and her gold is in Lucas's wedding band.
Lucas and Vanessa found me online and we met up for coffee to get to know each other at the wedding consultation. We met 30 minutes later to do their engagement photo shoot at the Benbow Inn. It was a gorgeous winter day in February. We really lucked out with the weather. It enabled us to get some amazing images! I can’t wait to continue their love story at their Benbow Inn wedding in May!
Semi-formals are one of the special high-lights of the high school experience. I remember all the chatter in the halls at school, all the talk and excitement everyone felt, girls talking about the latest dress styles, how they were going to do their hair & makeup and of course, who their date was going to be. It’s a night full of fun, laughter, time spent with friends and of course, dancing! There are moments in high school you won’t forget, and a semi-formal dance, is one of them! Here are some important steps to take to help make this a night you simply won’t forget!
Plan your Appearance
It’s all about the dress. Set a time and a date ahead of time with friends to go pick out the perfect dress. It’s best to start looking a couple of months before your semi-formal. There are various styles and types of dresses you might want. Be sure to choose something that you love and that you feel the most confident and comfortable in. You want to feel great in what you are wearing!
Find the perfect accessories to match. It’s a great idea to choose accessories to go along with your dress, after you picked out the perfect one and the shoes to match!
Will it be a tuxedo or suit? Tuxedos tend to be more on the formal side and traditionally worn at evening events. A suit is more casual and is considered appropriate for both daytime and nighttime occasions. If you know who you will be taking to the dance, you might want to check in with her and ask what color her dress is. You can add a little color and flare to your outfit by adding a few colors to match her dress.
Hair do’s & dont’s. Decide first who you want to have do your hair. If you are going to create your own style and do it yourself, start thinking of how you would like to have it. Once you’ve decided on a hairstyle, buy any products or supplies needed (hair spray, clips, curlers etc.) ahead of time, and start practicing so you get your desired style dialed in! If you want to have a hair stylist do your hair, be sure to book your appointment in advance to secure your spot. Don’t dye your hair right before the dance because you never know what could go wrong! It’s always best to dye your hair a couple of weeks before so you have time to fix any mistakes that might happen.
Decide how you want to do your makeup. Look at makeup styles online that you like and buy the makeup you will need to perfectly execute the look you are going for. Practice before the dance so you have it down on the day of. Be sure to only wear the amount of makeup you feel comfortable in. It’s your choice if you want to go with a lot of makeup, a little or even none. The most important part is that you feel comfortable and beautiful on your night!
Get Ready with your Friends
A little get together. What better to get ready for the big day then to be surrounded by your friends! Spend the day talking, laughing and helping each other look your best! There’s nothing like being around positive energy and creating memories you won’t forget!
Dates to the Dance
Your date. You don’t need a date for a formal dance, but if you want one start figuring out who you might want to take in advance. If you don’t have a significant other, think about a friend you could ask to go with you as your date or who you think might ask you. Choose someone who you think you will have fun with!
Going with a group. Whether you go with just your friends or with a date, go to the dance in a group. Plan your group a few weeks before the dance. Ask your friends, your date’s friends, and their dates if they want to go together. It makes doing all of the pre-get together and after activities a lot more fun!
Decide where to take photos. Once you have your formal group determined you can then decide where you want to take photos before the formal. There are many different places in Humboldt county you can take some great photos: a backyard, an elegant staircase, a garden full of flowers, on a hilltop overlooking a valley, or along the bridge near the Benbow Historic Inn just to name a few.
What’s for dinner?
Plan where to have dinner. Have dinner somewhere that everyone in your group likes before the dance. The restaurant should be near where the dance will be held. Once you have all agreed on a place, make reservations ahead of time because the popular restaurants fill up quickly!
How are you getting to and from the dance?
Figure out your transportation. There are many options for getting to formal, depending on your budget and what you are wanting. Taking a limo is definitely a fancy stylish way to arrive to the dance, but may not always be in everyone’s budget. You can always select a parent or two to drive!
Make a plan afterwards!
What to do after the dance is over. What you do after the dance is entirely up to you. Have an idea in mind of what you want to do. A group of your closest friends over for the night is a great way to end an evening! You can stay up late reminisce about your favorite memories from the dance around a bonfire in the backyard!
In the blink of an eye you will be graduating and your high school years will be over before you know it. Take moments like the semi-formal dance, and make memories you won’t forget!