Leslie & Ryan’s Big Sur wedding

What I can say to sum up Leslie & Ryan’s wedding? There were fire dancers. Custom home-brewed beer. We saw endangered California Condors. Abe Lincoln was there. The weather was beautiful and the ceremony was touching and the setting was incredible. It was quite a day.

Leslie & Ryan got married under the redwoods during a wedding at Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur, California. These two are good friends of mine, and were the subject of a marathon engagement session a few months back.

The day started in the morning on the deck of the library, where Leslie was getting her hair done and her family was tending to flowers, drinks and decorations. We shot some getting ready photos, then hid her away when Ryan came for his pictures.

Once Leslie’s dress was on, we executed a very touching first look photo. Not all couples are OK with seeing each other before the ceremony, but the ones who are get the private moment captured in photos. Leslie stood on the stage where they were to be married, and Ryan walked out of the library to see her in her wedding dress for the first time. A beautiful moment.

Before the ceremony we had time to head south down the coast with Nate, the best man, and Jill, the maid of honor. I had picked out a spot along the road with a view of Big Sur’s rocky coastline. As we were packing up to head back to the ceremony, a pair of endangered California Condors flew overhead.

I’m going to skip through the rest of the details because I realize I could write all day about this wedding, but let me make a couple points. The Henry Miller Memorial Library proved to be an incredible venue for a wedding. The chilly coastal fog even kept itself under control until after all the guests had left, which was courteous. The food from Grapes of Wrath was delicious, as always. Everybody raved about the cupcakes from The Wild Plum. The flowers from Seaside Florist were beautiful. Abe Lincoln made an appearance at the wedding as part of an elaborate joke about an alternative wedding ceremony — Dave followed through on his promise to impersonate the 16th president.

As the night closed in on the redwood grove, Leslie and Ryan had a surprise for their guests. Fire dancers took to the stage and performed elaborate routines with flaming rings and poles. At the end of the performance, they brought the newlyweds onstage, to share in a bow in front of the entire assembly of wedding guests.

Quite a wedding, indeed.

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