Amanda and Shawn | — Vesta Irene —

Amanda and Shawn


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Shawn and Amanda got married in Fernley, which is a small town about an hour east of Reno. Amanda got ready at her grandfather’s, with her bridesmaids in attendance. If possible, we like to be with the bride as she starts her special day and we were with Amanda as she did her makeup and hair all the way till she left for the golf course and her outdoor wedding.


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Unlike a lot of brides, Amanda did her own hair and makeup. Probably because she’s better at it than just about anybody she could have hired. She had her hair in victory rolls for her engagement shoot and we thought she might do it that way for her wedding as well, but she had a different, but just as stunning, ‘40s look for her hair on her wedding day, as you can see from the photos below. 


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Chelsea, Amanda’s maid of honor, was gorgeous as well on Amanda’s wedding day and it wouldn’t be too long before we were to be back in Fernely doing her wedding photography, but that’s another story.


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Shawn got ready at the golf course, as did his father and his groomsmen and you could sense his anticipation as he waited for his bride. Most men, we find, are a little nervous and most do just fine. Shawn was exceptional. He is a handsome man and he was a gorgeous groom.


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Wayne, Shawn’s father, was a joy to photograph. Like Shawn, the camera loves him and photographers can’t help but zero in on people who their cameras want to have an affair with. Wayne could star in a John Wayne type western move or steal the show at his son’s wedding. However, he did not steal the show. He was the perfect dad, letting his son have his day with his bride.


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While Ken was shooing Shawn, his father and his groomsmen, Vesta, Amanda and her bridesmaids arrived and they were, of course, in a different part of the clubhouse, because, as tradition dictates, the groom isn’t supposed to see the bride until she walks down the aisle with that special music playing in the background.


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The Fernley golf course has a pretty big clubhouse and it was easily able to accommodate the bride and groom with each in their own areas, along with all the hustle bustle which goes with getting a reception ready. Although we don’t have photos here, we took a lot of the reception prep, the food set up, the cake and everything else that goes with setting up a dinner and dance for a wedding reception.


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And naturally, Vesta peeked in on Shawn and his groomsmen and took a few shots and Ken stole a few looks at the bridal party and took some photos as well. These are the moments, just before the groom takes the stage, when everybody has the tingles, the photographers as well. Every wedding is different, but those tingles go with all of them.


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It’s those tingles that make weddings special. They are all different, but they are all special, all exciting. Every wedding is a photographer’s dream shoot. 


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As for the ceremony, as usual we talked to the minister beforehand and we asked if it would be okay if we stepped behind him a few times during the ceremony and took some pictures from that viewpoint. Some ministers don’t like it, but we find if we’re polite and promise to be as unobtrusive as possible, most are okay with it.

And we don’t abuse the privilege, because we might windup shooting a wedding in the future with the same minister and we want him remembering us as the respectful photographers who were pleasant and friendly. In this case the minister was a great guy and he let us do whatever we wanted.


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Also, as for this stepping behind the minister for some photos business, we find that it’s especially important when the officiant tells the groom that he may now, “kiss the bride.” We like to get the kiss from two different viewpoints. That’s one of the advantages of two photographers, you get two different viewpoints of your wedding and also twice as many photos.

Another advantage of two shooters is that we have twice the chance of capturing that special moment. There are always a couple, you know, like when the groom’s parents tightly hold hands during the wedding vows or when a child smiles up at her aunt just before she kisses her new husband or when the groom’s grandmother shed’s a tear during the ceremony. These are the kind of photos we like to capture.


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Amanda is so pretty, she steals the show of every photo she’s in. It’s not that Shawn isn’t a handsome young man, he is, but Amanda wore a radiant smile through out her special day and if that wouldn’t have been enough for someone to see just how happy she was, they could have given her eyes a glance and they would have known for sure, that she was one happy bride.


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After the ceremony, we usually do the formal photos with the bride, groom, their wedding party and their friends and family. Some wedding photographers try to hog the happy couple during this time, keeping guests who’ve come to the wedding with cameras or smart phones at bay till they’re done shooting these photos.

We take the opposite approach. We invite anybody who wants to take photos of the bride and groom to join us. After we set up a shot, we ask those being photographed to look at maybe Ken first, then Vesta, then Aunt Ester or Uncle Harry or whoever else with a camera wants to shoot.

And I mention the above, because there were quite a few people with cameras who wanted to join us and you know, you just can’t say now to the bride’s grandmother, can you? Besides, it's our opinion that the bride wants as many photographs as possible. She didn’t hire us so we could keep her grandmother from taking pictures too.


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Amanda and Shawn’s reception went on till around midnight and their family and friends made us so welcome that we felt like we’d known them all our lives by the time we left.

We like everything about a wedding, from shooting the bride and groom getting ready, to the ceremony, to the formal photos, but the reception is by far our favorite part. It’s like a party where everybody is as happy as can be. There is nothing that can lift your spirits more than a room full of cheering, happy folks which includes a girl in a white dress.


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We’d been to Fernley before, for Samantha and Ryan’s wedding and we had a great time with them as well and we went back to shoot Jake and Chelsea’s wedding. If everybody in Fernley is like the people we’ve met while working at these to weddings, well it’s easy to understand why people like living there.


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There were too many people at Amanda and Shawn’s reception for the golf course to handle in their dining room, so the overflow had to eat outside and since we were, in a manner of speaking, the hired help, we decided to do the polite thing and eat outside in the dark.


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As it turns out, the polite thing was also the smart thing, cuz all those outside eaters were way cool people and we had just about one of the best nights of our lives eating and drinking with them. And let me tell you, some of those folks in Fernley know how to put away a few drinks. And they sure know how to have a good time and how to make a stranger feel welcome.


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It was very late when we got back to Reno. Usually, we put the photos onto two computers before we do anything, but this night we went straight to bed and slept like angels. Weddings, if you get a chance to go to one, show up, you won’t be sorry. And if it’s in Fernley, be sure you don’t miss it.



Vesta Irene Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529