“Oh God, that smile.”
That’s what Robyn remembers thinking the first time she saw Andy, in a meeting she was heading at work. Shortly after, she was asked to set up a one-on-one meeting with Andy, who was a program manager at their company. Andy, who was known for being late, was noticeably on time for this one. And both he and Robyn felt an immediate chemistry.
More than two years later, at their Chalk Hill Estate wedding in Healdsburg, CA, that chemistry was still highly present and felt by everyone around them. When they look at one another, you can almost see the electric current between them. And you can also see that no one else in the room even registers to them in that moment.
I was captivated all day by both of them. Robyn has a pure, classic beauty, and a kindness and warmth that immediately make you feel at ease. I found those exact same traits in Andy – classically handsome, with a friendly openness that pulls you right in. Robyn told us she’s noticed people just want to be around Andy all the time. She’s right. There is a magnetism about him. I felt happiness, peace and calm around both of them, which made this day an absolute joy to photograph.
Something else that made this day so great was seeing the blending of two very different cultures – Swiss and Ethiopian. The differences between the cultures made the day interesting and dynamic, beginning with getting ready. In the bride’s room, which is normally more on the chaotic side with lots of women, loud music, and clothes and bags flung everywhere, things were quiet and calm, with just Robyn, her mother and two friends, with classical music playing quietly in the background. At Andy’s rental house, I walked in to about 40 people making breakfast and dancing to Ethiopian music (you can see some of this in Vlad’s wedding film below).
There was a smattering of rain all day at this wine country wedding, but it only made things more beautiful. After the intimate ceremony inside the onsite chapel at Chalk Hill, everyone made their way to the Estate Pavilion for dinner and dancing. Right around then, the sun burst through the clouds and we grabbed Robyn and Andy for sunset portraits. It was the kind of intoxicating light that photographers live for.
The night ended with shoulder-to-shoulder, boundless, celebratory Ethiopian dancing, and we left the evening feeling so happy to have witnessed two soul mates begin a life together, surrounded by such love and joy.