We haven’t had a love shoot feature for awhile, and I think you’re going to enjoy these fun pics from Ozzy Garcia. Laura and Josue and musicians in Miami, and they marked their anniversary with a shoot in the heart of South Beach…

A picnic on the beach sounds so nice right about now… Thanks to Ozzy Garcia for sending over these great photos! See even more from this shoot right here.

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With my wedding fast approaching, I’m so thankful for photos like these from Dave Ainley Photography. They capture the joy of the day so perfectly, and remind me of just what a wedding is all about. Plus, bride Lauren has the most incredible smile! She and her groom, Nikolai, planned their Spokane wedding in just over six months, creating a celebration that honored both of their families and heritage.

From Lauren: One thing we had to take into consideration for our wedding and ceremony was the blending of cultures, since Nick’s family is Russian. Both of us come from a strong Christian background – the church we were married in was built in the early 1900′s, and for many years was called Grace Baptist. When Nick and his family moved to America in 1989, they attended Grace Baptist church for 11 years. The congregation slowly disintegrated and about 5 years ago, the church I have gone to for 13 years, Christ the Redeemer, merged with them, and eventually bought the building. It was very special for us both to have a strong connection to the church we were married in. Not to mention, the building is beautiful!

One of my favorite moments was standing on the stage with Nick, looking around at all the pews full of people, realizing how many people were there who I cared about. I’m so glad I took a minute to look around me, because the day went so fast that there were a lot of details I don’t even remember. Nick and I were so filled with joy the whole day long, and we really haven’t had an unhappy moment together since.

Photography: Dave Ainley Photography

Venue: Christ the Redeemer Church in Spokane, Washington

Bride’s dress / veil: Bridal Collections / Jade Rose Designs

Bridesmaid dresses: Zara

Groom’s suit: vintage Harrod’s

Flowers: Just Roses

Happiest wishes to Lauren and Nikolai – thank you so much for sharing your wedding day with us! And a big thank you to Jill and Dave Ainley who shared these beautiful photos of their friends. You can see plenty more from Lauren and Nikolai’s wedding over on the Apple Brides blog, as well as a couple shots from their adorable engagement session over on Dave Ainley’s blog.

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I’m so excited (and, if I’m being completely honest, totally nervous) to share our engagement photos with you! Our wedding is coming up so quickly, and I know I’ve barely shared anything about it, so this post seemed like a good way to start talking about it. We weren’t sure that we would have a chance to take engagement pics, but when our photographer told us she would be in Napa to shoot a wedding, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. So, a few weeks ago, my honey and I were lucky enough to spend the day at a beautiful home in St. Helena, surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, eating lunch and drinking wine and giving each other lots of smooches.

I’ll admit, there was a lot of awkward nervous laughing at the beginning, which probably had something to do with all the hugging and kissing and hand-holding in front of a camera. Awkward, and also totally surreal. Like stepping through the looking glass to some alternate reality on the other side of the wedding blog, where I wear dresses and we eat cake and Elizabeth Messina takes our picture.

Our wonderful wedding planners (the inimitable Laurie Arons and Jenna Lam) put together the most perfect wine country farmers market lunch for us under the olive trees.

Sam at Perfect Endings made this darling miniature wedding cake, complete with marzipan olives and olive leaves. Chocolate cake with chocolate hazelnut truffle cream? Can you blame me for eating it for breakfast the next day?

We walked around and took photos in the vineyards that grew the grapes that made the wine that we had with lunch – such a treat! Oh, but let me give you a tip: do not try and walk barefoot in a vineyard. It might sound romantic and lovely, but then mutant thorns stab you in your feet. I swear those things had teeth. Not particularly romantic when your honey is helping you balance as he pulls the little monsters out.

This is just before I cracked up laughing because my honey kept smooshing his nose against my face.

This last one is my very favorite. To me, it looks the most like “us.” It was one of the last photos of the day and we’re in our everyday clothes, so we were way more relaxed than when we started. I also think it shows exactly how I feel, which is, “See this guy? I get to marry him!”

Photography: Elizabeth Messina

Venue: private home in St. Helena, California

Vineyards: X Winery

Lunch and details: Laurie Arons Special Events

Yellow dress / green dress / gold shoes: Kate Spade

Hair / makeup: Wallett Luburich

Cake: Perfect Endings

“I hear eloping is in” card: 9SpotMonk

It was tough deciding which photos to post (much tougher than choosing photos of someone else), so thank you to my honey for helping me narrow down our favorites (and for letting me post your handsome mug on the internet). You can check out some of Elizabeth’s favorites on her blog, Kiss the Groom, and more on Laurie’s blog where I believe she’s posting the menu of the amazing lunch she and Jenna made for us (I hope she tells you about the sandwiches, because I could eat one of those every day for the rest of my life). I’m so looking forward to having these wonderful ladies there with me on my wedding day!

A few of you have asked about my engagement ring, so I thought I’d share a bit about it. It’s a cocktail ring from the 1920′s, that came from Tail of the Yak in Berkeley. The center stone is an almandine garnet, which my honey jokes looks like a root beer barrel (you know those old fashioned hard candies?). I love it!

Kiss the Groom and Laurie Arons Special Events are sponsors of Snippet & Ink.

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