Friday, August 08, 2008

Kate and "Coalmine"/ Tony, Wellspring Renewal Center, Philo, California

(check out the slideshow!)

My friends Kate and Coalmine (real name: Tony, but we only know him as Coalmine... it's kind of a band name that just stuck) got engaged two years before their wedding date, and asked me to be their photographer shortly after. So it was with much preparation and anticipation that their fabulous wedding weekend finally came, and it was amazing! The whole wedding felt very timeless/ classic, retro, relaxed and easy... which I think is what they set out for it to be, so, mission accomplished!

Kate and Coalmine rented the Wellspring Renewal Center in Philo (on Highway 128 on the way to Mendocino, where Kate is originally from) for the whole weekend, allowing their guests to come up on Friday (the 4th of July) to camp or sleep in the center's cabins, and stay through Sunday the 6th. This allowed everyone to relax, swim in the river, help decorate and clean up, and just generally have an amazing time.
Sadly, Devon and I just stayed during the wedding day, since we had so much gear I didn't think it would make sense to kick it longer...

I had a really hard time narrowing down the photos, so I hope you'll definitely take a look at the slideshow. I think that the long engagement allowed the couple to really plan at a leisurely pace, focusing on what was important to them (guest fun, beautiful location, lots of great music, etc) and what wasn't a priority. To that end, I was one of the only "vendors" (though I am also a friend) - Wellspring provided the food (delicious, simple taco fixings - cheap, easy, and so so tasty!); friends brought cupcakes in kind of a dessert potluck; Kate's mom did a great job with the flowers; and the couple's friends played music (both live and in iPod form). Besides the Spindles, we were treated to a live show of St. Peterbilt's "trucking tunes", and, as the night grew a little quieter, the lovely Emily Jane White's songs. So fun!

One of my favorite things from the day (there were many) were these simple but colorful paper lanterns hung in the trees. I could not stop photographing them! The beauty of the location itself (redwoods, river, gardens) didn't need a lot of fixing up, but these bright spots of color gave the event such a timeless, beautiful, country feel:

There were also little birds and delicate bouquets throughout the venue. Kate and Coalmine really lucked out in that the weather was amazing and perfect the whole weekend - so only the music was inside, but the guests could still lounge around in the summer night outside and hear everything. So fun!

Kate's dress!... I can't gush about this enough. She had picked out another one that was lovely and very "wedding-y", but just didn't feel like her... then she found this one and it was perfect.

Map of Wellspring - I kind of want to live there (though, sadly, they are not in operation after October unless someone buys them and keeps them available for rental - anyone feeling like moving to the boonies? - literally, Philo is right outside of Boonville):

Right before the ceremony started, the officiant (a friend of Kate's) asked how many of the guests were related to Coalmine - I guess he has quite a big, Italian family!

The cutie pies kissing, and newly married:

I love this shot! - coy and sweet and romantic.

We also played around with my 1920s wooden 4x5" camera and got some fun, old-timey shots:

More lovely details and scenes - you don't have to add much when you have your wedding in such a beautifully natural location!

I love this idea - they printed out "through the years" pictures of each of them and wrapped them around candles for each dinner table. Also, there was no assigned seating, so everyone felt free to eat whenever and sit wherever they'd like - there were even some fancy blankets and throw pillows to create an outdoor lounge!

Their first dance was adorably goofy and cute - I still don't know if they rehearsed it or just spontaneously went with the groove!

Beautiful flags decorating the reception area at Wellspring:

Down to the river before sunset:

More reception shots:

This was after my photo shift technically ended, but I couldn't stop taking pictures. I took this random one in my friend Dani's cabin, and it really takes me back to photos from the 70s and my childhood...

What a blast! There are so many photos I'd love to share, and details I'm surely forgetting (like the beautiful red bridesmaids' dresses, the Dia de los Muertos cake topper, all the fun stuff for the kid guests to do...), so please please check out the slideshow!

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