I've been shooting weddings for 7.5 years, yet there is something about shooting a childhood friends that sets an experience apart. The bride of this special day, Natalia, and I grew up together since we were 7 and 8 years old. If you asked both of us, we met at the pool and weren't each other's biggest fans at first. I asked to borrow her goggles, she denied (Ha!!). We quickly found out we were neighbors (lived two doors down) and from there we were inseparable. Naturally in true Ashley fashion I get emotional at every wedding I shoot, but this one especially. Natalia and I have gone from little girls, to teenagers, to grown adults and strong women. During those periods of time, we have seen the greatest things life has to offer - like falling in love, and we've also seen the not so great times life inevitably throws at us. As we grew up, our relationship ebbed and flowed as most childhood friendships do, but we were always bonded on some level. Our moms are also very close friends! I can honestly say I am so proud of Natalia for all of her accomplishments, her strength and ability to overcome, and the beautiful and smart woman she is today and always has been! And I bet if I asked to borrow her goggles present day, she'd give them to me. Ha!
I don't want to get off track here, but definitely wanted to note those things before diving into talking about her and Mike.
Over the years I had briefly met Natalia's boyfriend, but really didn't get to know Mike more intently until after they were engaged! Together for ten years, it is very evident when you hang around these two long enough, you learn that they are the BEST of friends. There is nobody else in their life that could ever be the level Natalia is to Mike, and Mike is to Natalia. There is rarely a time that passes where they aren't laughing. I'm really happy that Natalia found her other half in Mike. He really is a great person, who is welcoming and friendly, calm yet certainly knows how to have a good time! It's not hard to see how much he loves Natalia, and I KNOW everyone around them can also see that.
Their wedding took place down in San Diego area at a venue I had never shot at before! Grand Tradition offers gorgeous, lush greenery everywhere on the property, which made for such beautiful shots the day of. You didn't need any crazy decor since the venue standing alone was so beautiful and well kept! You will notice below. The entire day went seamlessly and it truly was a perfect day. Family and friends made the night unforgettable and so much fun for the beautiful couple! Honestly...FUN is an understatement!
How amazing did the bridal party look?! From the navy suits, the gorgeous neutral bridesmaid dresses, and don't even get me started on Natalia's wedding dress - there's no denying this was a great looking group!! And everyone was super sweet, fun, and collaborative to work with. :)
Below are some highlights from their big day as I work on completing their gallery! Natalia and Mike, I love you both and can't wait to see what life has in store for your marriage - so many exciting things to come for you both individually and together! Thank you for having me document your special day and asking me to play this important part.
Venue: Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens // Wedding Dress: W Too by Watters // Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu // Makeup: Makeup by Tawnie // Hair: Madelyn Enochs // Flowers: Sheri's Flowers // DJ: Timmy D Productions //