Chris and Jeffrey | — Vesta Irene —

Chris and Jeffrey


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When Jeffrey announced on Facebook that he and Chris were getting married in Murphys, California, I knew I wanted to shoot their wedding, because Vesta and I love Murphys. We go there a lot. A friend of ours, who also likes fine wine, once told me Murphys is like Disneyland for us. And that’s true.

Just a quick stroll down Main Street and you’ll see Murphys is a wine lovers heaven. It seems like every third or fourth business on that street is a tasting room.

I was just itching to send Jeffrey a Facebook message reminding him that Vesta and I are wedding photographers, but Vesta said, “If they want us, they’d call us, we don’t go chasing after weddings, it’s unseemly.”

“But they’re getting married in Murphys.”

“Relax, if it’s meant to be they’ll call.”


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We first met Chris and Jeffrey at Tronix on our anniversary. We smuggled in a BV Cab, but since I said on Facebook we were going to do that, I shouldn’t have been surprised when Vonnie handing me two empty wine glasses when I went up to the bar to say hello. Back at our table, I saw we had company. Two handsome young men.


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Vesta told them it was our anniversary and by coincidence, it was their’s too. So Vesta took their picture and we became friends on Facebook.

The next day, Jeffrey sent me a FB message, asking us if we’d be interested in driving to Murphys to shoot their wedding and needless to say, I was overjoyed. I messaged him back, telling him we’d be more than delighted and that Murphys is just about our favorite place on Earth.


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If I seem to be gushing about Murphys, I can’t help it. It’s just simply a great place, even if you don’t drink wine, you’ll find it’s a great little town.

Devon, he’s twelve, was staying with us for the summer, so we decided to make a vacation out of it. So we booked in at the Murphys Historic Hotel for two days. Usually we stay at the “V” (the Victoria Inn), but since they were getting married at the Murphys Hotel, we decided to stay there.


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And it’s good we did. It’s always good to try something new. The “V” is a great bed and breakfast hotel, but the Murphys Hotel is great too and it’s a completely different kind of experience. Not better, not worse, but very different and very fun. 


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The drive from Reno to Murphys takes between three and four hours, depending on how you go and we went the long way this time, because we didn’t feel like taking the twisty mountain road we usually go on. In Murphys, we met Chris and Jeffrey at Twisted Oak, which is our favorite winery. They were having a get together their with several of their friends on the day before the big day.


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We’re photographers, but we like to drink wine too and we belong to Twisted Oak’s wine club, so shooting there was more fun for us than a photographer should be allowed to have when he or she is working. We each had a glass of their River of Skulls, which is a very fine red wine made from 100% mourvedre grapes. If you haven’t tried it and you get a chance, I can double guarantee that you’ll just love it.


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We left the party at Twisted oak and headed into town, where we got our room and to our great surprise, it was right next to where the hotel held their wedding ceremonies. If we weren’t photographing the wedding, we could have watched it from our room.


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On the wedding day, Vesta and I are used to shooting the bridal couple getting ready and since neither Chris or Jeffrey was going to be getting their hair or makeup done, we decided to shoot Chris’s mother as she had hers done a the local beauty parlor and that was a lot of fun and she seemed to enjoy the heck out of the attention.


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From the salon we went to the guy's room and shot them getting into their wedding clothes and then we shot them toasting with a few of their friends. This was going to be a great wedding and we were looking forward to it.


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Brothers.

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As I said, in my first post about Chris and Jeffrey, we could’ve gotten some pretty good wedding shots right from outside our window. We didn’t shoot from our room, of course, but since the reception was held in the same courtyard, it sure solved the problem of where we put our gear, so we could change lenses without getting too much in anybody’s way. We just left our camera bags on the bed. Luxury.

Every wedding we’ve ever photographed started late. It’s like a rule, but these guys were only about five or ten minutes behind schedule and I think that was due to a last minute toast. They’d come all the way here to get married and they had a party to get started after the ceremony, so they weren’t going to keep their guests sitting in the hot sun for any longer than necessary.


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The officiant was a wonderful woman named MaryAnn Jackson and she’s local. I say wonderful woman, because when I asked her if it would be okay to go behind her during the ceremony to take photos, she said, I could do just about anything I needed to do to get the best pictures possible. “Their pictures are important,” she said. I coulda kissed her.


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Vesta and Devon took seats in the second row, which was plenty close enough for Vesta to get great shots without leaving her chair and I could have done the same on the opposite side of the aisle and our photos would have been just fine, but when the officiant has given me carte blanche, I’m gonna get close on occasion and I’m gonna shoot from behind the ceremony, so I can get the guests in some of the shots.


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I try not to be too obtrusive, though I recognize sometimes I do block guests from getting the photos they’re looking for and I always apologize to anyone afterward who says they didn’t get the shot they wanted because of me. But nobody complained. Everybody was just too darned happy and understanding to be upset by me getting in their way.


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And after the wedding both Chris and Jeffery said they didn’t even notice me and I didn’t find that hard to believe, even though a couple times I was only inches away as I worked, especially when they exchanged rings. People in love never notice the photographer, because they only have eyes for each others.


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MaryAnn, though, she did notice me and she managed to get out a smile whenever I had the camera pointed her way. I can’t say enough how I wish all officiants were like her. If you’re getting married in Murphys, please give MaryAnn Jackson a call, you’ll be glad you did.


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Anticipation was running high when Chris and Jeffrey came down the aisle and I’m telling you, never have you seen two such handsome men wearing such wide smiles. And never have you seen two such handsome me coming so close to breaking down during the ceremony.


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Guests were fighting the tears too. Some lost, like Vesta, but the great thing about her as a photographer is that she can cry and take pictures at the same time. It’s a rare talent and it takes time and experience to develop.

I’m telling you now and I’m telling you true, by the end of the ceremony, Vesta wasn’t the only one crying tears of happiness. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. Even twelve-year-old Devon was rubbing his eyes.


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After the ceremony, the excellent staff, who I can’t praise enough, came in quiet and quick and whisked away the chairs used by Chris and Jeffery’s guests to view their ceremony and replaced them with tables, complete with silverware, glasses and centerpieces for the reception. It all happened while the wedding couple were getting hugs and congratulations from family, friends and us too.

Both the ceremony and, of course, the reception, were held in the Murphys Hotel courtyard, which is right on Main Street, so any passersby could stop and view the ceremony and the party which started afterward and several did. It was almost like the whole town was involved and at the risk of sounding a little corny, it was kind’ve magical.


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I wish we had a venue like that in Reno, it would be a photographers dream, because the way the sidewalk ran right next to the courtyard it almost had a Parisian feel to it. The outside bar, especially after dark, had a sort’ve Caribbean aura about it. It was perfect, like being married in Paris on St Barts. I can’t imagine a nicer place to get married.


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And because their wedding was held in Murphys and because Chris and Jeffrey are connoisseurs of fine wine, for drinks they had Cab, Pinot and Merlot, all three very good. They had Chardonnay too at least I think that’s what the white was, we didn’t have any, but judging from the reds they’d picked, I’m sure it was great.


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Usually, Vesta and I save the wine drinking till we get home. Number one, usually we have to drive and since we were the victims of a drunk driver and spent six week in hospital because of it, we don’t do that at all and two, it’s not very professional for your wedding photographer to be even a little bit tipsy as he’s taking your photos.


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We did drink at Laura and Jade’s reception, but it was in cold, cold wintery North Dakota and our hotel was right next door to theirs and the reception ran into all hours of the night and since we stayed till like midnight-thirty we though it was okay, you know, since it was only a two minute walk home. And we did drink the excellent wine at Chris and Jeffery’s reception, because we were already home and because we knew an awful lot of the guests, so it just seemed like we were part of the party.


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And during the party this guy came up to Vesta, a glass of red wine in hand, and asked her to take is picture. She did. And he asked to see it. She showed it to him.

“It’s too bad I’ll never see this photo,” he said.

“Why won’t you?” Vesta wanted to know.


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“Because I crashed this wedding.” The he go up, went over to the DJ, asked to borrow the mic so he could toast Chris and Jeffrey. And he did, then he sang them as sone and was very good.

I took a seat next to this rather elegant looking woman. She smiled and I told her the guy singing was a wedding crasher and laughed.

“What’s so funny?”

“I am too,” she said.

“What?”

“Yeah, I crashed this wedding.”

Later, as I was taking a photography break with a glass of wine, Jeffrey told me they had some wedding crashers. I asked him did he mind and he said, “No, not a bit.” He just hoped they had a good time. Is that class or what?


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