July 20, 2019
Sydney and Isaiah are two of my husband and I’s dearest friends. Capturing their ranch wedding near Santa Barbara was an absolute dream-come-true. Imagine how you’d feel when 30 of your best friends converge on a huge cattle ranch set among the golden hills of California for a three day campout and unforgettable wedding weekend.
As we all drove onto the ranch with our host of old Volskwagen Westfalias, Sprinter Campers, and School Bus conversions loaded with tools and enough lumber to build a small barn (or in our case, a dance floor and 40 benches), it started to settle in how beautiful this weekend and wedding was going to be. Once we got to the ranch, we broke out the tools. We swung the hammers, dug the holes, strung lights, built benches, and the custom dance floor came together under the setting sun of our first day. The bachelor and bachelorette parties commenced with immense joy, laughter, embarrassment, and encouragement. The following afternoon we buttoned up loose ends. After we finished setting up, we had the rehearsal dinner. The father of the groom cooked salmon on oak-fired grills. Following a delicious meal, we all danced into the night.
The bridal party got ready in the charming cabins provided by the ranch. All the bridesmaids were busy making their bouquets and touching up while the groomsmen were cracking jokes over the radios (no cell service on a 50 square mile ranch!). Joy was in the air; the wedding was here.
The evening was absolute magic. Twinkle lights hung amongst oak trees cast light upon the tables and benches we worked so hard to make, the dance floor that lived through the night, the bar made out of hay bales, Isaiah and Sydney’s VW bus (part of the decor, of course!) and the authentic taco stand feeding the hungry bellies of 175 guests. Guests shared food and laughed in the setting sun. During the speeches, many of us shed tears, and our hearts and bellies were full. After the speeches, we all danced the night away.
Despite being the ultimate DIY wedding, this was one of the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing weddings I have ever been a part of. Not only was it such a joy to watch friends get married, and to take photos on their wedding day, but it was deeply rewarding to help them construct their dream wedding from the ground up, with a ragtag crew of close friends.
Photography: Ali Beck Photography
Venue: Lazy Arrow Adventures
Bridesmaids Jumpsuits: Not Perfect Linen