FIRESTONE VINEYARD in the Santa Ynez Valley, was familiar territory for gorgeous bride Amanda as her sister had previously worked as the tasting room manager there. It wasn't hard to convince her husband-to-be Daren once he saw it in person. Allowing them to continue on past 11pm, cocktail hour in the barrel room and an intimate courtyard for their smallish guest list all added to the attraction. 

Southern California wedding photographer MALLORY DAWN who captured their day tells us, "Their wedding was such a special event for the guests because Daren's side of the family came all the way from Kansas to witness this marriage. These two are the perfect pair! Their love for one another is contagious and they are always laughing. It was truly an honour to document their special day!"

HOW DID YOU MEET? Daren and I met online through a dating app. He is a born and raised Midwest, Kansas boy and I am a Central Coast, California girl who would never have met if it had not been for our common interests. We both love our families, the lake, and work in the medical field. We are the stereotypical Firefighter who fell for the ER Nurse.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL: Being from California, wine and wine tastings remind me of home. I love me a charcuterie board with a glass of Malbec. So Daren searched online and found a nearby town that had a local tasting room with a small vineyard. He wanted his bride to feel like she was home, even though her family lived states away. Daren proposed between two rows of vines and got down on one knee with a custom oval solitaire setting, along with a hidden photographer to capture the moment. Of course, I said YES!

TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS: I went to six different bridal salons, two in Cali, three in Kansas, and one in Oklahoma. I finally found the most simple lace dress with delicate spaghetti straps at KC Bride in Kansas City, bridal salon number seven. For being 6’0 and having curves, I wanted to feel elegant and soft, not tall and in charge. I wanted a dress that one day my daughter or grandchild would want to have a piece of. Lace is always timeless.

DID YOU HAVE ANY DIY ELEMENTS? Yes! The menu décor on the reception tables were a successful pinterest attempt. My dad made all the dessert displays as well as the Arbor and the seating chart was handmade by Daren together with my Dad and maid of honour. All the tiny details in that seating chart made my vision come to life.

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS: Soft, elegant, and traditional. What girl doesn’t love peonies?

FAVOURITE DETAIL OF THE DAY: We loved the arbor and the flowers that were placed on top. That is where all the family photos were taken. Truly made for a beautiful centerpiece to such a beautiful wedding.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO A COUPLE PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Do not stress the little things. Higher a wedding coordinator and REMEMBER to have your wedding license signed. That was almost a disaster! We are legal.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? Daren and I would have to agree that the most memorable moment for us was finally seeing each other for the first time. We decided to not do a first look, which made those few seconds last for a lifetime.

ANY OTHER DETAILS THAT HELP TELL THE STORY OF YOUR DAY? We can’t mention our wedding without the speeches by the Made of Honours and the Best Man. What is a wedding without embarrassing moments shared with loved ones.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR HONEYMOON: We went to Couples Negril in Jamaica. Couples is an all inclusive, adults/couples only resort. The water was crystal clear and the sunsets were breathtaking. We had a very relaxing honeymoon, just us two.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE OR DO DIFFERENTLY? Even if we could change some things, we wouldn’t because the day was perfect. Daren and I are so thankful to have the friends and family that traveled for our special day. We truly are lucky and now happily reside in Kansas!

A huge thank you to Southern California wedding photographer MALLORY DAWN for sharing this beautiful wedding with us. Mallory is passionate about shooting weddings and prides herself on making her couples feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera, so they can truly enjoy their wedding day! "I would describe my style as bright, soft, romantic and elegant. I can honestly say that I value the relationships I create with my clients. I only photograph a limited number of weddings each year to ensure my couples receive the best service possible. I am so passionate about what I do and I would be honoured to document your love story." If you're a bride looking for a Southern California wedding photographer be sure to check out our vendor guide of which MALLORY DAWN is a valued member. You might also want to check out this Downtown Los Angeles wedding with an old Hollywood vibe.