Mike is a friend of my Dad’s, back from when they worked together at Fox Sports Radio in Merced. When he asked me to photograph his & Saundra’s casual nuptials, I knew I had to be apart of it! They were married at high noon at the Bloss House in Atwater, and were planning a low-key, informal ceremony. I found out a few weeks beforehand that my Dad and some of their friends had decided to dress up as rockstars as a surprise to Mike & Saundra. Mike is a musician and general appreciator of all things music-related, and Saundra is a blast in a glass so I just knew they would get a kick out of it.
Saundra & Mike had mentioned to their friends that they had initially thought of traveling to Vegas to be married by Elvis, but decided against it after reviewing travel costs, etc. Upon hearing this, Don (good family friend of ours and the officiant of the wedding) decided he would dress up as Elvis to make their dreams come true. My Dad and others followed suit, and dressed as Mick Jagger, Slash, Gene Simmons, Amy Winehouse, Cheech Marin, and James Hetfield. I considered dressing up as Dolly Parton, but figured that would take too much effort for someone working the ceremony. Then I remembered the time I tried to look like Miranda Lambert and put my hair in pigtail braids with a bandana, and ended up looking more like Willie Nelson’s long lost daughter, and knew it would be an easy look to pull off. So I dressed up too!
Upon arriving, I took my vest off and went to find Mike & Saundra. They thought I just liked my hair like that, and I was glad because the rest of the gang wanted to all walk in together to surprise them. I made sure I didn’t give it away and once everyone came out (to many laughs and shock from the bride & groom and other guests) I threw my vest back on and got to work. They had a giant cardboard cutout of Elvis up where the ceremony would take place, and Saundra even mentioned to me (before the others came out), “You’ll have fun with Elvis!” I just responded, “Oh, you have NO IDEA how much fun I’m going to have.” Don waited to make his appearance as the real Elvis until just before the ceremony started, and even brought his motorhome so that he could change to really make it a true surprise. Now THAT’S a dedicated friend!
I loved that Saundra & Mike had donuts and coffee for everyone, and that they wrote their own vows to each other. Even though the ceremony was done in “full Elvis”, it was great to have a little piece of them in there to really feel their love for one another. I also loved when we were doing photos of the two of them after, and the two of them couldn’t stop giggling–I even heard Mike say between chuckles, “This is actually really fun!” SEE?! I’m telling you, fun is my main goal in life so that’s what I always shoot for.
Thanks for having me be apart of your day guys! Love you both! xo
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