Tyler & Gretchen’s epic pool party surprise wedding inspiration shoot!

See this wedding recreation featured on Rock N’ Roll Bride!

Alright, this has been in the works for quite a while and I am thrilled to finally be ready to share this story and these photos!

 My whole life, I have felt so fortunate and grateful to know Jessie and Kenny. They are like my second parents and my best friends. They are the coolest, most fun, crazy, energetic, eccentric, honest, real, and plain old amazing people on the planet. It is no surprise that the story of their wedding is also all of those things.

Thirty years ago, on the 4th of July, Jessie and Kenny invited their close friends and family to a pool party in Laurel Canyon (even I was there… as an infant).  It was a typical pool party, filled with drinks, BBQ, friends, and fun. Somewhere in the middle of the swimming, drinking, and BBQ-ing, Jessie and Kenny casually got out of the pool and slipped inside. Just a short while after, they opened the door and stepped back out on the patio in wedding attire and announced… they were getting married!! No one but their “People Of Honor” and the minister knew! Their guests stood stunned in disbelief of what they were seeing and hearing. As Jessie and Kenny proceeded to actually take their vows, their guests, still in bathing suits, gathered ’round and took witness to what has to go down as one of the most unique and special weddings ever.

This past July, they celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, and 40th anniversary of being together!  My two friends (both named Nicole) and I were so touched and inspired by their story that we thought, What a great idea! and decided to recreate their special day with a few of our own twists. We put our amazing minds together and a super force of creative greatness was born.

 We started by gathering our decor, ordering some decorations like lanterns and beach balls online and  hit up the trusty old 99 Cents store for materials.  I threw crafting parties where a bunch of girlfriends came over and we made tons of tissue paper pom poms, ribbon wands, and paper flowers. For the tablescape, we dug deep in our cabinets and attics and found a slew of assorted vases, jars, candles and other knick-knacks that complimented our look perfectly. We also used Kenny’s handmade ceramic plates and Jessie’s antique flatware and napkins. We added some fun elements like the face mask cards and the plastic dinosaurs. Our flowers were a combination of several bunches from Trader Joe’s and some we picked locally. We scored a beautiful dress at Magnolia Gowns & Bridal in Burbank to use as our boho-bridal gown.
We gathered up a group of  our multi-talented friends to participate in the festivities and I must say, everyone stepped up and exceeded my expectations.  My dear friend Graham DJ’d and played the part of our hipster minister, my amazing sister from an other mister, Nicole Ralston made the bouquet and was our designated stylist and makeup artist. Our very attractive friends Gretchen Lanham and Tyler Rogers were cast as the bride and groom and considering they only met about an hour before we started shooting, they did an amazing job acting their parts.

The party/wedding took place at Jessie and Kenny’s house and was a total blast! Everyone showed up in amazing pool wear and after party attire.  It was a staged wedding, but when the door opened and Tyler and Gretchen stepped out in their wedding clothes to “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers, there were some misty eyes in the crowd and a moment when everyone sort of forgot that it wasn’t real.  Kenny walked Gretchen down the aisle where our incredible group stood cheering and waving the wands. I literally cannot put words to the incredible vibe that filled the air then. After Tyler and Gretchen took their vows and he surprised us with an awesome Hollywood dip-kiss, Jessie and Kenny themselves came to the altar for a giant cheer from all of us! They were truly touched and blown away by what we had created and how wonderfully we interpreted their special day. It was seriously a great time (everyone keeps reminding me how much fun they had) and we are now all firm supporters of the “backyard surprise wedding”.  I was and still am deeply touched and impressed by all of my gifted friends who participated and made this such a memorable day! A HUGE thank you to all of you and a special thanks to my awesome second shooter, Michelle Shiers for helping me capture all of this!

I could go on and on about how fun and wonderful this whole experience was, but instead, let’s just get to the visuals, aye?
Here are the pictures of Tyler and Gretchen’s pool party surprise wedding followed by a few pictures of Jessie and Kenny’s actual pool party surprise wedding!

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and our couple of honor, Jessie and Kenny:

And here are a few from Jessie and Kenny’s real wedding:

Look closely here and you can spot me as a pudgy little baby in my Mom’s arms

All my love and congratulations to you two, my favorite people and favorite couple ever!

Thank you again to everyone who helped take all of this from an idea and a vision to real life!

Featured today on Rock ‘N Roll Bride! » Dear To My Art Photography - [...] from the fabulous Rock ‘N Roll Bride loved our surprise wedding recreation and today, it is being featured on her [...]November 19, 2012 – 6:25 pm

Erin - This is so awesome!!! I now want my wedding to resemble this! How fun!October 19, 2012 – 12:33 am

admin - Summer, that is so awesome to hear! Thank you for your feedback and your kind words. Wonderful to hear. Tyler did such an amazing job!October 16, 2012 – 6:45 pm

Summer - I’m Tyler’s older sister and I just had to post something! This whole idea was so lovely! It was strange seeing my brother getting “married” through these pictures, but after awhile I forgot he was my brother and just got enveloped in your whole process. What a special thing to recreate and your photos are outstanding!!! I enjoyed every last bit! Makes me want to get married all over again just like that! :) October 16, 2012 – 4:18 pm

Lee Anne - LOVE!!!! Gorgeous fun cool outa this world photography Kirsten, what a great concept! And the pics of the original wedding? I’m in love….October 15, 2012 – 9:00 pm

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