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Maggie Sottero

Paulina + Chad // Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament + Grand Island Mansion

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Paulina + Chad // Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament + Grand Island Mansion

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Paulina and Chad are a rare breed. Both have that hard-to-find combination of hard working, compassionate, thoughtful, and humility are simultaneously the most hilarious people you’ll ever meet. Oh, and there’s also the fact that they are two of the most stunningly beautiful people on the planet.

I’ve been waiting for this wedding for what seemed like ages. The day began at the Citizen’s Hotel, where both the bride and the groom got ready and had views overlooking Downtown Sacramento. From there, we walked to the ceremony, where they had a traditional Catholic wedding at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The Bride and groom saw each other for the first time, said their vows, took communion, and exchanged rings. After the ceremony, we moved over to the reception. For those who’ve never been to the Grand Island Mansion…Well, let me tell you. It’s straight up magical. Right on the delta on the outskirts of Sacramento, it's a gorgeous four-story Parisian-style mansion that’s the perfect place for holding your reception.

I TRULY couldn’t be happier for the bride and groom! [who are currently honeymooning in the Dominican Republic] A most sincere congratulations to Mr and Mrs. Ratcliffe. Your day was so dang beautiful and I am so honored to have shared it with you.

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Lauren and Bryan// The Maples Woodland

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Lauren and Bryan// The Maples Woodland

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the fun:

The first word that comes to mind when I think back on Lauren and Bryan’s is FUN. It was one of those weddings where, even when I was off the clock, I was sucked in to the the vibrance of their beautiful day. Once the party started, I really didn’t want to leave. They had alive band, Trace Repeat, who KILLED it and added such a lively component to their reception.

One of my favorite things to do is ask couples the story of how they met. Partly because I love seeing the two different perspectives, but mostly because I just really enjoy getting to know my couples and their story.

how they met:

Lauren: Armadillo Music is where we met back in May 2012. I still remember introducing myself to my new, incredibly handsome co-worker and being instantly nervous around him. This funny, handsome, great-taste-in-music and over-all wonderful guy had me smitten from day one. I knew quickly that I had to get to know him better. Our first date lasted seven hours, and that was the beginning of our journey together. Six years later we are a married couple!

Bryan: When I first saw Lauren, she had green hair, and was wearing a sweater any Grandmother would be proud of. She was many things all at once: fiery, well-spoken, engaging, and genuinely interesting. However, Lauren is wrong. Our first date was nine hours-- I know because I timed it. If I could spend nine hours of any day with any person, it would be her. So here we are taking the first of many first steps in our 'new' life as the independent but intertwined, slightly unhinged, but lovable couple that we've come to be.

How he proposed:

Lauren: The engagement happened on the Tower Bridge in Sacramento, CA. After numerous failed attempts to get me to stop taking photos and focus, Bryan managed to "pop the question" on the bridge. I believe my words were "it's happening?!" rather than yes.

Bryan: I spent a considerable amount of time rehearsing what I was going to say when the time came. To this day, I remember bits and pieces. In my head it was going to be profound, and encapsulate our journey to this point, a grand gesture. Fun fact: she never said 'yes' until much later. I like to think that I wooed her speechless, so I'm sticking to that. Under the setting sun of a pleasant but hot Sacramento evening, in the middle of the of the mustard yellow Tower Bridge, we got engaged. Shortly after rising off the concrete, a boat below us playing some truly awful rap song came into view, and we laughed heartily as if I had planned it. We also had the worst champagne hangovers of our lives the next day, we laughed about that, too, but much later. I'm a lucky man.

The Kindest of Words:

I asked Lauren if she would be willing to share with me her experience with me as her photographer. To my surprise, Bryan insisted on writing it and I think you’ll love it as much as I did:

Bryan wrote, “I never met the photographer; but I trust my wife. When she came back from meeting Vanessa for the first time, she said "I think I've found the one." Similar words are only spoken at the altar, and rarely with such enthusiasm. So, naturally, I was optimistic. The day of the wedding was a blur, and when I saw commanding red hair descend into my bachelor cave, (and it did have the dinginess of Frank Sinatra's bomb shelter) first thing she did was assess her environment, and said something along the lines of 'we can make this work.' Of course, Lauren chose her. The bachelor room was small, dimly lit, but cool in a very industrial way; with piping lining the walls, painted the same shade of grey as the rest of the interior. This should be a photographer's nightmare, but it just proved to be a welcomed challenge to Vanessa. When we got the photos back, I was floored with the way she made a drab, dark place, come to life with the excitement a wedding day brings. With the camera, she slinks around like a shutter-fly assassin. You can really see the delicate touch she puts in her photos, and there were so many damn good photos that it was extremely difficult to put a finger on which ones would make the walls in our home - there wouldn't be adequate space, and people's eyes would roll into their skulls, and vomit with jealously. She made us feel the moment (even more), and gave us direction, which, to me, life's a party when I have to be serious, and inexplicably, I turn into Woody Allen without spectacles, and flail about. 

This all reads as hyperbole, but good wedding photographers (like really good) are hard to come across, and there are even fewer who will take the photos that you revisit time and again. Just thinking about the overload of emotions, and awe when moving from one to the next, sitting next to my Wife, is a ride worth more than the price of admission. We were in very good hands, and I can't recommend Vanessa enough!”

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Venue: The Maples Woodland

Wedding Planning and Day of Coordination: Jessica of Joyeux Events

Hair Stylist: Liz Cordis

Makeup Artist: Jen Hooker

Florist: Katie Koch of Flower Mama

Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero

Live Band: Trace Repeat

Videographer: Captain and Cat

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