Stroudsmoor wedding photographers: Ridgecrest with Marissa & Joe

A joyful, free-spirited fairytale wedding at the Stroudsmoor Inn

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This sweet, playful wedding combined Joe’s rustic style with Marissa’s glamorous style perfectly– there were sequins and sparkle and fall leaves and woods, it was such a perfect fit for them!  They view marriage as a forever partnership, so their deep respect and friendship is at the core of it all– that and their generous hospitality and focus on their guests really stood out to me as unique details from their wedding.

They were drawn to my work initially because they wanted a photographer who would deliver artistic, unique images that show emotion and personality.  They like how I play with color and get creative with my photos.  I had a creative idea for their wedding bands that brought in the creativity & color that they loved and their fall theme and color scheme as well…

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Marissa’s preparations were all done on site at the Stroudsmoor Country Inn.  Marissa chose Lauren’s Make-up Designs as her make-up artist, I’ve worked with her on several weddings before, she always does such a beautiful job and is a true professional– I also love this unique window in the loft of the bridal suite… 
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Joe’s thoughtful, generous nature could be seen throughout the day, but particularly in his wedding gift to her.  Joe knew she loves Bixlers Jewlers (they designed her custom engagement ring) and Joe chose a unique  pearl necklace with the helps of his brother, and best man, Zack.  Here Zack’s wife, Swati is helping her put it on.  Marissa didn’t have a necklace to wear and it complimented the feel of her dress perfectly, so as soon as she opened it she immediately put it on, she was so appreciative, it was a sweet moment.
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Marissa, also has fabulous taste… I love her bridesmaids dresses!Susan Lebel of the Stroudsmoor Country Inn was their florist and she did an amazing job.  With Susan and the other vendors Marissa and Joe shared their overall vision for the day, but trusted the vendors expertise into making that vision a reality.  
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Marissa wanted to find something unique and keep the cost of being a bridesmaid down for her ladies.  She bought her ladies these gold sequined pencil skirts as a Christmas gift last year, they were actually from Limited when they had their holiday attire featured, then Swati & her sister helped Marissa choose the tops (they were from Express)
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Marissa you are beautiful on the inside and out!!!  Marissa is down to earth and kind, she is always putting the needs of others before her own and it was incredible to see her have her own, real life fairytale moment.  She saw this stunning gown in a wedding magazine and fell in love, she liked how fun and different it was and liked how the taupe/gold overlay was unique and went so well with the fall tones of her wedding.  It is a Vera Wang Gown and perfectly suited for her.
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Now it’s joe’s turn…
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Joe is a person with a huge heart and friendly, welcoming demeanor, he has a smile that can light up the room and is genuine and down to earth.  I also love a nice bow tie, he topped his look off with a boutonniere that gave a nod to he and Marissa’s love or wine.
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Joe’s groomsmen are well educated, intelligent guys looking dapper in their tuxes and they are also total goofballs.  Funny enough, this is not the only time people picked up Joe during the day.  He is light hearted and fun, he doesn’t take life too seriously…
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I really like the personalized, rustic packaging for the groomsmen’s flasks, they perfectly fit the natural, fall theme of the wedding.  The flasks themselves were actually videogame themed and brought back memories of playing Nintendo together as kids and teens.
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Marissa shared that their first look experience was amazing and one she’d recommend highly to other couples.  Practically speaking, they were able to get all of the awesome photos that they wanted AND enjoy cocktail hour with their friends and family.  This is probably the only time all of these people will be gathered together and to get an extra hour to spend with all of them was a no brainer for these two.

The first look itself was amazing, they were both so excited for the moment and felt a sense of relaxation and peace following it.   Joe’s look says it all, you can almost hear his saying “you are so beautiful!” in this image…

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It is one of the best feelings in the world to know that you have found your partner, your helper who will be there through it all by your side, I think that sentiment is really captured in this image…
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What a beautiful bridal party!  Joe invited his family and friends to be his groomsmen, Marissa had a mix of ladies and men as her attendants (the two men were her brother and one of her bet friends, Chad).  The whole group together high energy and so much fun to be around…
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The wedding ceremony was held at Stroudsmoor Inn’s Ridgecrest venue on the Crestview Chapel site .  It has a spectacular view overlooking the valley below which had splashes of November colors as well as candles and pumpkins decorating the aisle.  The ceremony was held at dusk…
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Such joy!  Marissa is reading her vows to Joe here and she vowed to accept all of his faults and gestured  to herself and then him, meaning she’d like him to accept her faults too.  The groomsmen found that to be pretty sweet and funny as well.  🙂
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Rather than lighting unity candles, Joe & Marissa chose to create an encouragement jar– I LOVE this idea.  The jar represents life.  The river stones are the important things—God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your passions—things that if all else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full and rewarding (they put those in first).  The pebbles are the other things that matter—your education, your career, your house, your car . . .things that are important and make life fuller but would not be devastating if lost as they are replaceable (they put those in second). The sand is everything else in your life—the small things….trivial things that are easily released.

If you put the sand into the jar first there is no room for the pebbles or the river stones. The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy worrying about the little things, you will never have room for things that are important. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Take care of the river stones first, as they represent the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.  And, just when you think life is full . . . you find love. The love you find, is represented by water. It surrounds all that has brought you here today and all that will continue to surround you each and every day as you begin your new life together.

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Marissa is getting a big hug from Pat who has been her surrogate grandma over the years, giving her encouragement, and thoughtful advice throughout her life.  Pat loves Joe and couldn’t be happier for Marissa.  Marissa completely agrees and says that she can’t imagine what she ever did in life to deserve someone like Joe.  😉
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Beautiful fall centerpieces decorated the  ridgecrest ballroom.  Their cake pulled in the rustic theme, it was a hand painted design created by Stroudsmoor country inn bakery.   Marissa chose the chocolate peanut butter layer and Joe chose the pumpkin spice cake which fit the fall team and tastebuds perfectly 😉
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Joe entered the dance floor ready to celebrate, channeling his inner John Travolta and storm trooper!  He wore his stormtrooper Toms (a gift from Marissa who admittedly doesn’t know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek haha but knew he’d appreciate them) .  I love the look on their ring bearer’s face, he seems like he can’t believe his eyes haha…
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Joe was such a gentleman all day, he made Marissa feel like a princess and ending their first dance with a grand dip was no exception.  I like how you can see light coming in from the corner of the frame and bridal party applauding the couple. ..
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Having her father beside her on her wedding day meant the world to Marissa.  Here they are dancing to Tom Petty’s “Wild Flowers.”  Joe’s mom was so joyful and lighthearted throughout the day.  Marissa shared that Joe’s parents are a bright and happy part of their lives.  Marissa’s mom is also amazing, she kept everything peppy ad sparkly throughout the wedding process.
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Cake smash, haha I didn’t see it coming either Joe… he totally had fun with it 😉
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Joe’s dad’s speech was genuine and heartfelt it also had some humor as well…
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The dance floor was opened up by Michael owner of Gruvin Enterprises.  He always does a great job of getting everyone out on the dance floor and this wedding was no exception.

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Marissa’s matron of honor has a brother named Sam who is an absolut joy to be around.  He loves to dance and has dance parties in his room just about every day.  The crowd loved him and formed a huge circle around him where he was showing off his moves– everyone was cheering for him, especially the ladies.  🙂

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Joe’s dad provided a cigar bar for the guests, as the Zator men love cigars.  Marissa and Joe provided bottles of wine for their guests and thank you favors.  They have some extra bottles so that they can enjoy some on thier upcoming anniversaries, too.

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After dancing up a storm, these two were ready to come outside and cool off in the moonlight.  They were able to breathe a bit and soak it all in and enjoy the night sky and shadowy trees.  Such a peaceful, a sweet moment, that feels perfectly rustic and romantic.   Happily ever after… a perfect ending to their fairytale wedding.

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Marissa & Joe, Thank you for inviting Kris and I to be along side of you during your wedding day.  You two are such a joy to be around and a perfect fit for each other.  I wish you and your friends and family a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season :).

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