Courtenay has been my closest friend since birth.
Our graduating class at Mammoth High School was so small that each student wrote a short message that was read as we crossed the stage. I don’t remember exactly what our messages were, but part of it was something to the effect of, “If we’re not married in ten years, we’re marrying each other.”
It turns out ten years really isn’t as long as it sounded back then and to the benefit of Tom, ten years came and went without so much as a mention of our decade-old vow. I’m not sure if Courtenay planned it out like this, but it was right around that time that the two got to know each each other and the rest is history.
While walking the aisle with Court didn’t pan out, I did get to do the next best thing: Work as the photographer for her wedding at Tom’s parent’s house in Thousand Oaks.
The party started at the Hyatt in Westlake where the girls did hair, makeup, jewelry, and Mimosas. From there we moved on to Tom’s parent’s house to get some shots of the guys’ preparation and Court’s dress, as well as to scope out the ceremony site and find some detail shots around the house.
The whole venue was awesome. The ceremony went down on a beautifully manicured plateau overlooking the hills north of Thousand Oaks. The altar, with its incredible, custom floral arrangement, sat on a small grassy knoll overlooking the guest seating. Tom’s parent’s house was just across the street and their backyard, where the reception was held, was intimate, cozy and relaxed. It’s just as they hoped the wedding would be.
Tom and Courtenay put a lot of thought into several small details of the wedding and I think it’s that kind of effort that will really be remembered down the line. The officiant, a pastor from a San Diego church, was charismatic and lively. Tracy, the wedding coordinator, ran a tight ship and was a huge help to us during the formal portrait hour. The shot-ski (a ski mounted with shot glasses) started and ended the party. And the ceremonial combining of sand at the altar, with beach sand from San Diego and mountain sand from Mammoth’s Horseshoe Lake, was a thoughtful metaphor that resonated with the beach-and-mountain-dwelling guests.
That’s it for my side of the wedding. It was such a fantastic day that I had been looking forward to since Tom proposed on New Years Eve, 2010. Courtenay finally found the guy that could keep up with her on the mountain (skiing and snowboarding), and I couldn’t be happier for them.
Josh will have his photos up Thursday and then we are off to Las Vegas Friday for Allie’s wedding which should be another awesome experience. It will be another backyard affair, and we’ll be venturing out to Red Rock with the wedding party for some portraits before the ceremony. Check that out next week.
Thanks again, Tom and Courtenay. Enjoy your much-deserved Hawaiian honeymoon and travel safely.