Amy and Rich | — Vesta Irene —

Amy and Rich


Amy and Rich got married in small, but beautiful Graeagle, California. It’s a picturesque little town almost out in the middle of nowhere. Actually, if you head northwest from Reno on Highway 395, toward Susanville and take a left at Hallelujah Junction and go about fifty miles, you’re there.

Graeagle has no fast rood restaurants, that’s right, no Micky D’s. No Taco Bell. It’s small, quaint and there is no Walmart or any of those other businesses you’re used to seeing everywhere you go these days.

This young couple stopped in at a the Brewer’s Lair, just outside of town, tried the beer, liked it and they liked the grounds too, so they asked if they could have their wedding there and Susan, the woman who runs the place, said sure. So they did.


Okay, now they had a place for the ceremony, but what to do about the reception? Well, they found this barn at the edge of town, which apparently had been used for wedding receptions in the past. It was big. It was barren. It was clean. And it had electricity. But it wasn’t perfect. It was a barn, after all. And it looked like a barn.


But they loved the town, so they decided on the barn. It was gonna be dark for most of the reception anyway, so after a while, maybe the guests would forget they were, like in a barn.


However, that wasn’t good enough for Rich. He wanted his bride’s wedding day to be perfect and that included a perfect reception. Only he didn’t tell her that. He had a grand idea and that was to surprise Amy after the ceremony with a beautiful place for her reception and he did that by transforming the barn.

He and his groomsmen spent a whole day making the barn a special place and they succeeded in hearts. As you can see from the photos, this was not an easy thing to do. Remember, I said the barn was big. These guys walked on beams so high is was dizzying just to think about, much less photograph them while they were doing it.

They strung gauzy bunting from the ceiling. They decorated the posts. The bridesmaids did the flowers. They brought in tables, chairs and everything else you’d need to have a perfectly wonderful reception and they kept it all from Amy. Never was a bride so surprised on her wedding day.

They even set up a place to play horseshoes behind the barn, which, as it turned out, was a great idea, because people played and drank and had a super time.


Before the ceremony, Amy got ready in the cabin they’re rented for their wedding night and Rich got ready in the place his groomsmen had rented. Both places were beautiful and made for great photos. In fact, the whole town was beautiful. We’d never heard of Graeagle, but we have now and if you’re a bride reading this from the Northern Nevada or California area, you might want to give this quaint little town a look, because they have a brewery, which now does weddings and they got a barn, which is sitting, waiting to be made over into a reception again.

















Vesta and I drove up to Graeagle the day before Amy and Rich tied the knot to both shoot the rehearsal and to check out the lighting conditions, which is something we always like to do if the wedding is going to be held outside during daylight hours.

And what we found was bright, bright sunlight, which isn’t always awful, but it’s not always the best shooting conditions either. Don’t get me wrong, we can shoot in the glaring sun as well as anybody out there, however we just plain don’t like it when the sun is shining right in the bride’s eyes, because squinting never makes for good photos.

But we’ll do what we have to. However, that night, Vesta and I did half a Hopi Rain Dance. You gotta be careful with this rain dance business, if you go all the way, it’s gonna rain and that’s not good either, but if you stop at just the right time, then it gets overcast and just threatens rain and that kinda weather is perfect for wedding photos.

And that’s the kinda weather we got when we showed up the next afternoon at the Brewer’s Lair for Amy and Rich’s wedding. The first thing we did was to have a beer and toast the Hopi Rain Gods and give thanks, cuz if you don’t do that, they might not be so accommodating the next time you need their help. You’d be surprised how many people ask for help, get it and then don’t give thanks. Not me and Vesta, we always say thank you.


So this wedding day started out with perfect weather for a beautiful bride and a handsome groom. The location was gorgeous and the beer was outstanding, which was a good thing, because it took Amy longer to get ready than she thought, but nobody was upset, because that outstanding beer was only a few steps away.


Vesta and I sampled that beer, and I’m here to say, if you’re ever up Graeagle way, stop in at the Brewer’s Lair and sample the beer they make. I’m betting you’ll buy some. We did.


When Amy arrived, she showed up to wonderful wedding photographer weather, happy guests, several with a beer in hand and a devilishly handsome groom and as you can see from the photos below, the ceremony was more than gorgeous and it went off without a hitch. Minister Tom, who also happens to be Amy’s uncle, delivered a somber, yet humorous ceremony, which I’m sure is not an easy thing to do, you know, getting his listeners to both reflect on the seriousness of marriage and to laugh at the same time.


But Tom did it in spades and in hearts too. By the time the short ceremony was over, Vesta and I were thinking that we wanted to look up his church, because if you’re going to worship, it helps when the minister doesn’t bore you to tears, which is something nobody will ever say about Tom. And if you’re thinking about getting married and you’re looking for a doggone good officiant, give us a call and we’ll pass along Tom’s number.


























Wedding receptions are usually a lot of fun and Amy and Rich’s was no exception. In fact, theirs was more fun than most. Maybe it was because everybody knew how much trouble Rich and his friends went to to turn the barn into a gorgeous reception hall. Or maybe it was because Rich had something going on for everyone. Dancing inside, horseshoes out back and an area for the kids to play, great beer, fine wine and a delicious meal.

Friends and relatives came from miles around and miles away to celebrate with Rich and Amy and each and every one of them demonstrated over and over throughout the evening just how happy they were to be there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody hugged as much as Amy, Rich too for that matter.


It’s true, Graeagle is out in the middle of nowhere and it is a beautiful little town nestled in the middle of tall pines and you won’t find any fast food restaurants, that’s right, no Mickey D’s, no Taco Bell. And it’s also true that, despited the Brewer’s Lair, which is a mighty fine brewery, Graeagle is no party town. But is was this night, because Amy and Rich’s wedding reception was the mother of all parties.


Amy was radiant all evening long and one look at Rich and you knew you were looking at the happiest man alive. They danced and danced and danced more than I’ve ever seen a bride and groom dance and they did it like nobody was watching and when they weren’t dancing they were mingling with their friends, getting, like I said above, hugged and squeezed and hugged again.


And the lighting in the barn was perfect for photos. The whole evening was a wedding photographer’s dream. You didn’t have to tell anyone at this reception to smile for the camera as this was one gosh darned happy, smiling crowd, all of who seemed to want to have their pictures taken.


Earlier, when Vesta and I saw the barn and how Rich was fixing it up to surprise Amy, we knew we were going to get good photos. Sometimes a couple don’t think about the photos after the wedding and they hold their reception in a dark hall. We can work in dark places, we do have flashes after all, but bright and airy just seems to lend themselves much better to happy and full of joy then big, but cave like places. Just something to think about if you’re planning a wedding reception. My two cents anyway, which are, after all, a wedding photographer’s two cents.

And as long as I’m throwing out a few thoughts like pennies, here’s another one. Rich and Amy did the bouquet toss and the garter throw well before anybody had gone home. I’m only mentioning this, because I think it’s good idea. It might have been the DJs idea, but it was a good one, because they had quite a crowd for both events.

Anyway, I’d like to say again, as far as receptions after weddings go, this was one of the best. 

















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