So this story began years ago...
Carrie and David had been friends for years before silently falling in love with each other. In fact, Emily - David's sister - was Carrie's best friend (and now they get to be real life sisters - I know, freaking awesome). Hearing their love story unfold through three amazing toasts during the reception was absolutely beautiful. Emily mentioned in her toast that she was actually the last one to realize that these two were in love - while everyone else seemed to notice something a little different about Carrie and David's feelings towards each other. Shanna, who was one of the beautiful bridesmaids, told the story of when she realized David was head over heels for Carrie. Shanna said that there was a moment where Carrie was dancing around being her awesome self, when she saw the way David was watching Carrie. Shanna knew at that moment that David was in love. Then Haley, David's best man, gave the sweetest speech. (side note: I remember on one of the drives down to Big Sur, Carrie mentioned that David's "heart map" had often gotten them lost when on the road traveling). Haley ended his speech with saying that David's "heart map" did one thing right, and that was leading him to Carrie. (Y'all, this group of friends is literally like the real life FRIENDS show. Seriously, some of the best people I've ever gotten to hang out with).
But lets back this thing back up. So Carrie had reached out to me wanting to ask me a crazy question. As soon as she asked if I would travel across the county to shoot a wedding, I said YES. I first met Carrie, Emily, and both of their sweet mothers through church. We had all gone on a mission trip to Antigua, Guatemala together back in 2015. Little did any of us know that we would be hanging out in Monterey and Big Sur, California 3 years later!! Her and David had decided to do something a little different and get married in Big Sur on Pfeiffer Beach. David's uncle married them, her mother Carole planned almost every aspect of the wedding, and they were surrounded by 31 of their closest family and friends on the most epic beach as they said their vows. Wanting to keep things intimate and more so "in the family", they chose to ask me to capture it all. God. Is. Good.
So, June came around and we all set off to meet in California. I flew into San Fransisco, along with Carrie's mother, sister, the flower girls, and her good friend Mel. We then made our way to meet the rest of the gang at the cutest little hotel - The Wilkie's Inn - in Pacific Grove, California. They pretty much had an entire block of the hotel which just added to the intimacy of the entire wedding week. I got the chance to meet friends, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We laughed, shared stories, ate some pizza, and explored the area. The wedding party and I walked down to Lovers Point to see the famous California sunset - something I've never gotten to witness here in Florida. We climbed out onto the biggest rocks and took some stellar photos.
The next day, we set off to meet the florist and check out Big Sur Bakery where the reception would be held. PS they have the best coffee and pastries. After that, we made our way down to Pfeiffer Beach to see the ceremony location. ABSOLUTELY INSANELY BEAUTIFUL. Pfeiffer Beach is known to be shut down to the public once the parking lots are full. Due to that, Carrie and David had to change their ceremony time to around 9am versus 3 or so in the afternoon. God totally had that all in his hands! Had Carole - Carrie's mom - not spoken with one of the park rangers, we never would have known to change the time and the ceremony wouldn't have happened on Pfeiffer Beach.
While we were there checking out the ceremony location, we ran into The Miller Brothers who were traveling all over the country in the coolest van. (we had actually just saw them at the gas station right by the Big Sur Bakery.) Carrie was dying to have some wedding photos taken with a van just like theirs! So, David being the awesome person he is, asked the guys if we could grab some photos with the van. Unfortunately they would be gone the next day, so wedding photos wouldn't happen. BUT we were able to get some awesome photos that morning!
After the delicious rehearsal lunch from Sur at the Barnyard, me and the girls went to stay at the Big Sur Lodge. More laughs, more stories, and lots of dress steaming. It was the funnest sleep over I've had since I was a kid! The next morning, we woke up and it was WEDDING DAY!
Sierra, Dani, and Kelsey all showed up early that morning to get Carrie and the girls looking even more gorgeous and wedding ready. David came over - don't worry, he didn't see Carrie just yet - and we took a little drive to find the perfect spot among the redwoods for their first look. Once Carole put on the finishing touch to Carrie's wedding day look - her great grandmothers necklace, we set off to find David in the redwoods for their first look and private vows. (The necklace was the sweetest touch. Carrie's great grandpa was a watchmaker, but he didn’t have enough money for a engagement ring. So he used watch pieces to make a necklace and proposed with that. It had one small diamond with seed pearls.)
Their first look was by far the sweetest and most emotional first look I've ever gotten the honor to witness and capture. David's face says it all! Just wait until you see his excitement! Carrie twirled around so he could see her gorgeous Hayley Paige gown. Also, she wore vans. She's my spirit animal. They had gotten each other gifts and surprise! They both got bibles. I'm pretty sure their marriage is of to a great start already. Can I get an amen?? Once they started their private vows, it was so apparent God had totally brought them together. I'll be honest..I cried. (Totally didn't let you see that Carrie and David lol love you guys!) And just like that, the nerves were gone and these two were ready to meet up with the rest of the gang on Pfeiffer Beach and do the dang thang. (Shout out to Haley and Emily for helping with the first look! You guys are the Real MVP's)
There we were, standing on the most amazing beach I've ever laid eyes on. Carrie and David vowed their forever to each other, literally surrounded by their closest friends and family. They had a sweet rose ceremony before during, to celebrate their two amazing mothers - Carole and Debbie. We laughed. We prayed. We CRIED. Then these two beautiful souls became one. I've never seen God show up quite like he did this day.
While everything honestly worked out so perfect, there were a couple hiccups. I had left my camera case in Amanda's car, along with some other things we all left in there. Well, Carrie's brother drove back to Monterey with the key. He said he was just so caught up in how beautiful the wedding was - I don't blame him lol. So we all got lunch at the Big Sur Lodge - which ended up being perfect timing - while Amanda got Chris on the phone. Side note - there is literally NO signal along the Big Sur coast. So we couldn't get ahold of Chris until he was almost all the way back to the hotel in Pacific Grove. We pretty much just laughed the whole thing off. For that to be the worst to happen, we were pretty dang blessed.
After some much needed lunch - and Carrie's pancakes with "hot dogs" - we explored around the forrest and found some insane spots for bridal party photos. (They weren't really hot dogs, but Trevor and I agreed that's exactly what the toppings looked like). Chris made it back, then he drove me, David, and Carrie around Big Sur to hike around for their bridal portraits. We of course had to stop by Bixby Bridge, where Carrie got to be a real life Snow White. The cutest little wedding crasher showed up! The fattest squirrel we've ever seen popped up and came to say hello during the middle of their portrait session. Like what the heck. How awesome?? We also made our way to Garrapata State Park, where Carrie and David stood epically on the side of a cliff, laid down in a field of yellow flowers, and stood under the coolest tree. After some dancing around, hiking, and doing their best Nicolas Sparks book cover impressions, we made our way back to the Big Sur Bakery for the reception. One of my favorite moments of the reception, was when Dave and Debbie - David's parents - got to dance to their wedding song. Then there were three generations of Petkovseks on the dance floor and it was the sweetest sight.
Here are some of my favorite photos from those 4 days of awesomeness.
DAY 1 | Pacific Grove, California
DAY 2 | Big Sur and Carmel-By-the-Sea, California
Here the bromance steps in to help us figure out the perfect spot for Carrie and David to get all married and such. And below is the rock we used as a marker. "THIS ROCK"
THE VAN. YOU GUYS. THIS WAS THE COOLEST VAN EVER WITH THE RADDEST DUDES.
SUR AT THE BARNYARD | CARMEL BY THE SEA, CALIFORNIA
AREN'T THEY ADORABLE!!!!
THE WEDDING DAY | Redwood Forrest and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California
THE FIRST LOOK AND PRIVATE VOWS
THE RECEPTION | BIG SUR BAKERY
I AM MY BELOVED'S AND MY BELOVED IS MINE
Reception Venue/Catering/Cake | Big Sur Bakery
Ceremony Location | Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Rehersal Lunch | Sur at the Barnyard
Bridal Gown | Blush by Hayley Paige From the White Magnolia
Florals | Big Sur Flowers
Hair | Kelsey Sanchez
Tuxes | Generation Tux
Bridesmaid Dresses | Show Me Your Mumu Weddings