Vine Hill House Celebration

It is my job, as one of the most coveted Sonoma County Wedding photographers, to capture special moments for my couples through my photography. Looking through the lens, I see how much they care about one another, how strong their connection is, and how much love is shared between the two of them.

My hope is that, through my images, I am able to show the world these feelings and display my couples in a natural, gorgeous way. One of my recent couples, Terry and Kelly, is a love story that is truly for the books.

They started out the classic way: friends turned into something more. After almost a decade long courtship, they are ready to seal the deal in front of their loved ones. They got married on June 12th 2021 at Vine Hill House amongst the stunning vineyards snuggled in between Sebastopol and the Russian River. They are so excited and couldn’t be happier.

Terry and Kelly met while they were both in college – Kelly as a freshman and Terry as a senior – at the University of the Redlands. They were in the same Native American Studies class and little did they know that this class, and a mere one year college overlap, would change their lives forever.

Them meeting each other was luck really, since Kelly was so young and Terry was on his way out. She was taking the class having not decided her major and he was completing his final elective credits as a senior. One could also call this instance fate. That they were meant to be in this singular class together to pave the way for the rest of their lives.

Throughout their brief time in school together a beautiful friendship blossomed and they remained in contact.

Three years later, when Kelly was a senior and graduation was on the horizon, she and a friend stayed with Terry. He played host, showed them around the city and stayed in his Victorian, “very San Franciscan” apartment where Kelly ended up falling in love with the place. She knew she was meant to live in San Francisco one day.

However, when she graduated she ended up making a bigger change and swapped coasts entirely. She ditched the west for the east coast, where she moved to North Carolina to live and work at the beach with her best friend. Despite this distance, Kelly and Terry still talked and wished each other well every year on their birthday. They share the same day!! (Now that they are engaged, they are debating on celebrating each other's days on separate days so they can each have a special celebration each year).

You would think this commonality would be the next mark of fate needed to push them together, however it still took more time, and frequent trips visiting each other, to finally solidify their relationship status.

It was on one of these trips back and forth, when Kelly was visiting San Francisco for an interview, when they ended up ditching their friend group and went on their first official “real date.” Terry was equal parts nervous and excited, but overall just thrilled to finally being in a true “date” setting with the woman who ended up being the love of his life.

It was between shared Unami burgers and Irish coffees in the Marina where Kelly and Terry realized just how comfortable they were around each other. On their first date, they laughed the night away and have been laughing together since.

Kelly eventually ended up making her way back to California, when she moved back home to Riverside. This made it easier for the couple to coordinate trips to visit each other and begin a long distance relationship. Woohoo!!

It was on one of these trips where they even had one their favorite dates together: a unique, couch movie theater in Newport Beach! Being snuggled up together, watching the latest “Star Wars” flick was one of their first dates and one they still reminisce on to this day, despite countless dates since.

Yet the distance proved to be rough and they still yearned to spend more time together.

So, when Terry found out on Valentine’s Day in 2016 that he had to move out of his “sweet” Victorian apartment, they took this as their next marking of fate. It was the push they needed to move in with one another and finally get Kelly up to the Bay Area!

From that point on, they have been going on dates and simply enjoying each other’s company. From game nights or wine nights to working out, bingeing new TV shows, and making bad jokes, they effortlessly fell in love.

One of their favorite pastimes is hiking, which they venture far and wide to do, and it ended up becoming their go-to date. They have explored various trails the Bay has to offer and on a hike together is when Terry actually proposed to Kelly.

Originally, he wanted to pop the question during a trip to Jenner, however the ring wouldn’t arrive in time. Despite trying to reschedule the trip, Kelly was dead set on that weekend so Terry had to get creative and plan a just as special alternative. The beautiful Point Reyes proved to be it.

However Kelly was getting a little suspicious over the over-planned hike. It seemed different than how they usually mapped out their weekends, which was deciding on a trail the night before. She thought a proposal might be coming, but she couldn’t be too sure.

They began their hike, found a nice secluded spot on the lake, and then set up a picnic. Kelly went to rinse her feet off in the water and, when she returned, she turned around to see Terry on one knee. He was nervous, but Kelly loved it. For them, it was perfect.

This was the moment their relationship had been building up to and it had finally arrived.

Obviously Kelly said yes!

They then finished their picnic and hike and started to make their way back home. Terry and Kelly decided to take a small detour on their way back to the city that evening to witness Kelly’s favorite time in San Francisco: Fleet Week. They made it to Fort Baker just in time for the Blue Angels, and they soaked in the sunshine and some final time to themselves before they would begin sharing their excitement with others. As happy as they were, keeping it just the two of them in that moment felt right.

But that was a fleeting notion and they wanted to start showing off their love. After basking in their newly-engaged glory, then came the wedding planning.

My goal as a Sonoma Wedding Photographer was to snap their love and respect as a couple and union. I wanted to permanently grasp the laughter they had been sharing for years and celebrate all the smiles and jokes that would be yet to come as they embark on married life together. Overall, I want to be able to capture every single feeling that they were experiencing.

I couldn’t be happier for them and I feel so honored they selected me as their Sonoma Wedding Photographer, to capture their special day.

On June 12th 2021 Kelly and Terry said “I Do” under Vine Hill Houses’s stunning Douglas firs, redwoods, and oak trees in front of everyone special to them. Vine Hill House is in a beautiful region of Sonoma Wine Country and Kelly and Terry’s guests relished at the wedding taking in the spanning views of hundreds and acres of vineyards and apple orchards. This unparalleled scenery is why being a Sonoma Wedding Photographer is so special. I get to capture people's happiest moments in some of the most breathtaking venues in the world.

Kelly looked gorgeous in her gown and her hair and makeup was completed to perfection by the awesome team at The Powder Room, a Sonoma and Napa County dynamic best friend duo that provide brides any look they could hope for from modern or simple elegance to hip glamor. Terry looked equally as handsome at the end of the altar waiting for her. They walked down the aisle amongst the floral mastery work of Dragonfly Florals and their designs complimented the venue perfectly.

Terry and Kelly’s guests were given the night off with the help of Aphrodite Bellochio babysitters and were allowed to thoroughly enjoy the food and music being offered. Guests were treated to the culinary delights from Windsor’s own KIN, whose chefs have a combined restaurant experience of 30 years and in is their goal to create “an intimate dining experience cradled in hospitable warmth and driven by both an unpretentious attention to detail and insatiable desire to please.”

After dinner, the evening was filled with laughter and dancing as the Bay Area band Vybe Society played a consummate blend of excellent and outstanding entertainment, since they have performed with artists such as Cee Lo Green and can provide up to a full 20-piece band.

From start to finish this night was truly magical. Terry and Kelly really thought over every detail to ensure that their love story, that was years in the making, was solidified and enjoyed by themselves and all their loved ones.

I loved photographing Kelly getting ready, him standing in anticipation, his first look at her, her first look at him, what their friends and families are feeling, their first kiss as a married couple, every portrait that will be shown to their children for generations, the happiness, the excitement, and ultimately the entire journey of them showing that the love that has been building between the two of them is meant to last.

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Alicia Parks