Vanessa and Andreas’ wedding celebration at the Rancho Santa Maria Polo Club was such a fun experience. Vanessa is a Texas girl who was swept off her feet by German named Andreas. They fell in love during a motorcycle road trip and moved all the way to Berlin, Germany.
I was so thrilled to photograph this union. You couldn’t really call it a wedding it was more of a celebration of their union surrounded by the couple’s friends and family in Texas. Vanessa’s mother, Anette, did an amazing job of planning the whole celebration since the bride was in another country!
A couple things stand out in my mind about this day that I’ll never forget. One was having the beautiful Indian motorcycle get stuck in the sand on the banks of the Rio Grande as we were attempting to take the couple’s portraits. Poor Andi, was so done before the pictures even began. But fear not! We had a couple guys from the farm come help push the bike out of the sand and we settled on the dirt road for pictures. It was so El Paso!
We took some gorgeous portraits of these newlyweds. As a photographer, I just love photographing in the desert. The soft pastel colors of the sand and desert plants just translate so beautifully in portraits.
The couple was so effortless together. They balance each other. Vanessa looked elegant in her lace, long sleeve, fitted wedding dress. Her black curls swept up into an effortless up do. Andi was looking handsome in his blue jacket, straight-leg jeans and silver belt buckle. Of course, they both wore boots. Very modern Texan.
We arrived back at the ranch for cocktail hour before the ceremony would get underway. Yellow-orange Margaritas, sat on a table to greet guests as they arrived. Guests mixed and mingled under the patio and the tent as the mariachi band played in to the golden hour.
Before anyone had arrived at the ranch, I was able to watch the Shaman, his wife, grand daughter and friend set up the intricate ceremony setting. Every item had a meaning at the ceremony. From the archway that they walked through to the deerskin that laid at their feet. But don’t ask me these meanings!
As the ceremony began, guests were seated. They didn’t have a wedding party, but the family and friends closest to the couple lined up to make their way through the arch way. Before each person entered the ceremony, they were cleansed by the Shaman. After passing through the archway, they formed a circle around the couple.
Sage burned in the air as the Shaman gave his blessing to the new husband and wife in front of a cute little chapel under a beautiful tree. Their hands were wrapped in special cloths. And before the first kiss, Vanessa and Andi signified their union by drinking wine out of a special vase together, which honestly looked pretty difficult, but somehow, they did it without spilling any!
The party kicked off with the first attempt of lighting the colorful lanterns, but the El Paso wind crashed that party quickly. It actually turned out to be a good thing they held off till later in the evening, because the second thing that I’ll never forget from this day were the hordes and I mean hordes of mosquitos that came out of the ground while guests were trying to light their lanterns. It was something out of a survival show. Fortunately, we all survived. I’m sure this is one part of the day Andi and Vanessa would hope to forget, but it does make a good story!
As the sun faded out, so did the mosquitos. Guests were finally able to enjoy dinner and be entertained by the groom’s fantastic speech of how he and Vanessa met and fell in love.
It was a saga of epic proportions to say the least and the groom had everyone captivated with his tale. Guests laughed at his endeavor of how he would attempt to acquire the bride’s father’s permission to take his daughter out and cried over his tales of how the two bonded over a love of music on the back of a motorcycle.
The party was kicked off with the first dance shared between husband and wife and then the rest of the guests joined in on the fun! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, good dancing is in the water in El Paso. All the guests had an absolute blast dancing and partying the night away.
And we finally got to send off those paper lanterns! The wind finally calmed down, so guests grabbed their lighters and sent off their blessings to the new couple into the night sky.
The last thing I’ll never forget at this wedding was the fire dancers from Odd Lab! YESSSS! These guys were so cool and put on an awesome show for the bride, groom and guests. The four guys each took turns doing different routines with the flaming balls of fire swinging around them! At the end, they further impressed by climbing onto each other shoulders with the fire. It was a wonderful way to end the night. Guests were wowed, I was wowed. It was definitely a wedding celebration I’ll never forget!
Cheers to Vanessa and Andreas!
Now, enjoy these picture from this awesome day!
See the rest of the photos from Vanessa and Andreas’ wedding here.