Michelle met Jake when he came to service her family’s pool. Michelle jokes that he fell in love with her when he saw her in her bikini. It’s lucky that she happened to be at her parent’s house that day. Because after that moment, the rest is history. They dated for almost four years before Jake popped the question. On the night of their engagement, Jake and Michelle got together with their mutual friend, Maddie. Michelle said that Jake was acting super nervous and weird the whole time; she started questioning what she was doing with him in the back of her mind. Little did she know, Jake and Maddie were in cahoots. Michelle had helped pick out her ring, so she knew when Jake picked it up and was sure he wouldn’t be able to surprise her. Later, while at local restaurant, Papa Lennon's, Michelle’s mom texted and asked to see her, stating she missed her so much. Maddie encouraged they all go visit, to which Michelle gave in. Once at her parents home, they all sat in the living room. Her mom asked about Maddie’s phone, which Michelle thought was strange. So, Maddie had an excuse to capture the following moment: Jake, almost annoyingly, pulled Michelle off the couch so she would be standing as he dropped to one knee. Michelle, in total disbelief, said, “Shut the **** up.” She thought he was joking—until he opened the box and she saw her father grinning in the background. Jake had a whole speech prepared, of which she can’t remember a thing. Everyone was overwhelmed with emotion; even her dad shed a tear. So, so simple and sweet.
Brooke knew Michelle from high school, and they happen to be neighbors, so when Michelle reached out looking for help with her wedding, planning felt effortless. Most planning meetings were at one or the other’s home and usually included wine and snacks—how fun! (That is, if they could focus on planning, rather than watching American Horror Story.) Michelle envisioned a rose gold adorned, classic yet casual, and somewhat western inspired wedding theme. During the planning process, she actually bought a horse! Brooke and Michelle joke that she could have had the nicer ceremony chairs if it wasn't for her unplanned passion-purchase. As soon as the couple got engaged, Michelle booked Topa Mountain Winery (TMW) as their reception venue. Originally, they planned to have their ceremony at Meher Mount, but had to change plans after the Thomas Fire of 2017 burned through that venue. Luckily, Topa Mountain Winery offers a stunning ceremony site and was more than happy to accomodate.
Deciding on an officiant was one task that became a bit of a hurdle for them. White Sage, of course, provided their preferred vendor list. The couple carefully interviewed each potential officiant and continued to weigh the options of asking a family member or friend instead. They really wanted someone they knew, but no friend or family stood out for this role. Although they liked the officiant referrals, they really felt like a connection was missing. It was around this time that Brooke was helping to plan her own mother’s wedding in Texas. Seeing how difficult this decision was becoming for Jake and Michelle, Brooke offered her services, as she had just become ordained to officiate for her mother. This was just the thing, because the couple jumped to accept immediately. That was it: Brooke was their officiant.*
Michelle and her ladies got ready in a beautiful suite at the Emerald Iguana in Downtown Ojai. This stunning architectural work by Mark Whitman made a magnificent backdrop for details and portraits. Jake and the guys actually got ready at TMW. The ceremony, although quite warm in the Ojai sun, was the highlight of the evening. Immediately following, guests enjoyed refreshing wine and frosè (Rosè slushie), while family took photos in the vineyard. It was truly a perfect "pink moment" sunset as celebration went into the night, under the full glowing blood moon. Dancing, drinks, and yummy comfort food dinner from Deer Xing (local farm to table restaurant—The Deer Lodge’s new food truck). The sweet night was topped off with cake and cupcakes from Sugar Lab Bake Shoppe--what a treat!
*Note, we do not currently offer officiating services. In a special situation, this option could possibly be available—with additional planning staff, of course. Balancing coordination and mentally preparing to join Michelle and Jake in marriage was more than Brooke is used to, but now looking back through photos, she reflects on it being “beyond rewarding!”
Congratulations again, Michelle & Jake!!
Photography: Fancy Free Photography
Getting Ready Venue: Emerald Iguana
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Topa Mountain Winery (TMW)
Flowers: Ojai Blooms
Hair: Lashes to Locks - Nicole Harvey
Makeup: 805 Makeup
Cake: Sugar Lab
Catering: Deer Xing
Dress: Bella Mucci's Bridal
Ring: Jewelry Couture