When I first met Janelle & Jeff on a Skype call from their home in Georgia, they told me they wanted their have their Monterey Peninsula wedding on the beach, take photos in the trees and end at a karaoke bar. Now if that doesn’t sound like an awesome time, I don’t know what does.
There’s so much I want to say about this wedding. Let me start by saying that Janelle & Jeff are totally funny, charming and warm people. Their enthusiasm — frequently punctuated by Janelle’s fist-pumping and moaning — is infectious. I was so excited to meet them.
Their family and friends turned out to be cut from the same cloth. The wedding was small — just under 30 people — and right away I was made to feel like I was part of the group.
We started the day at the InterContinental The Clement, where we did a first look photo on the balcony overlooking the Monterey Bay. We moved on to the ceremony site, The Beach House at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, a small, hidden jewel of a venue that sits literally right on the beach. Giant picture windows allow guests a wide view of the Monterey Bay; a sprawling Cypress tree on the inland side provided a beautiful backdrop for the ceremony.
Let me just make a bulleted list of some of the awesome things that happened next:
• Janelle & Jeff had a skit prepared for their ceremony entrance. Janelle walks down the aisle with a video camera, filming everyone, asks where her groom is, then pulls a stereo remote from inside her dress. She cues the song “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect, Jeff appears, Janelle pretends to cast a fishing rod, Jeff catches the bait and jumps around like a fish as Janelle reels him down the aisle. A hilarious surprise for everyone.
• At the end of the formal photos, guests climbed into the Cypress tree for an epic group photo of everyone at the wedding.
• Everyone did the same on the beach side, walking through the sand and onto one of the large coastal rocks for another epic group shot.
• We enjoyed custom-designed cookies with funny pictures of Janelle & Jeff, made by their friend Lindsay.
I could go on. After the reception, we headed out for our photo excursion, which started in Crocker Grove along 17 Mile Drive. It’s the home of the largest and oldest Monterey Cypress trees in the world. Epic shots among beautiful trees. From there we had planned to head to Big Sur, but fog and traffic caused us to reroute to Lover’s Point for some beautiful coastal shots, as well as a hilarious homage to Russian Wedding Photos with the help of Janelle’s stepdad Big Guy.
After a delicious dinner at Massaro and Santos on the Pier, everybody headed back to Janelle & Jeff’s suite, where the couple surprised everyone again by pulling out a suitcase of costumes and props for people to wear to karaoke. There were pirate costumes, leis, masks and beads and trinkets. Jeff dressed as a hot dog. Bob dressed as Hamburger Helper and chest-bumped him. Just as we were about to head out to The Brittania Arms for karaoke night, word came in the a busted water main had shut the place down.
Rather than get disappointed, Janelle & Jeff called an audible and took their costumed mobile party to the next bar on the block and had a dance party in front of the live band playing at Sly McFlys.
So much fun. Such great people. Amazing memories. Check out my favorite photos from the day below.