Under the broad limbs of an enormous oak tree, Victoria and Dave exchanged wedding vows before an audience of guests huddled beneath umbrellas against the chill of a light summer rain.
Victoria, an actress with a charming Tennessee accent and a very expressive face, and Dave, a salesman with an intense gaze and a jaw like Clark Kent, wanted to bring their friends and family north for the weekend – away from the busy environs of San Diego to the quiet of the Santa Ynez Valley.
They settled on “rustic chic” as a theme for the wedding and booked the historic Union Hotel in Los Alamos, a 19th century-era establishment that once housed weary stagecoach travelers. They married on a nearby blueberry farm set in a serene valley among the rolling hills of Santa Barbara County.
Instead of walking down the aisle, Victoria surprised Dave by approaching from behind him, crossing a bridge that spanned a pond on the property. Dave later returned the surprise, disappearing at one point during the evening reception and then emerging in a full gorilla costume.
In the cozy lobby of the Union, the crowd danced late into the evening to the rhythm of a live blues band.
Mauricio Arias joined me for this one, and in addition to providing many of the images you see below, he earned the nickname Johnny Depp from an enchanted bar maid at the hotel saloon.