Orange County Professional Photographer
Being that I am an Orange County Professional Photographer, I love meeting new couples that are about to embark on a path to marriage. You can’t help but be happy for them. But when that couple are personal friends of mine, it has so much more meaning to me and to watch their relationship truly blossom. Alex has been working for me at Three16 Photography since August 2015 when he started out as my intern. Today, not only is he my second photographer, he’s my studio manager at the office, takes care of all the equipment and also handles most of the clientele. Watching his relationship with Melissa continue to grow these past five years has been a real honor.
The first of their photographic journey began with a surprise marriage proposal at The Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach. Then earlier this year, I photographed their engagement photo session at the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park. But the crème de la crème, was photographing their wedding on September 26, 2020 at the beautiful Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club.
This venue was quite amazing. Located in the gated community of Coto de Caza, the Golf & Racquet Club had beautiful views all around and the atmosphere was very relaxing, which was picture perfect for Melissa and Alex’s wedding. With views of waterfalls, streams, and a gorgeous golf course, how can you go wrong? The wedding took place outdoors, with the seating setup to allow some distancing between some of the chairs. Guests had a beautiful view of the canyon behind the altar during the ceremony. It was bit of a hot day, but after the ceremony, guests moved over to the cocktail hour where shade and a nice breeze was welcomed by many.
Melissa was escorted down the aisle by her father and she looked gorgeous wearing a Hollace Gown by Hayley Paige, as well as having her makeup and hair on point by the group at Pure Beauty By Danielle. Waiting for her at the altar, Alex looked sharp as he wore a navy-blue tuxedo with a black bowtie from Savage Suiting. The bridesmaids wore burgundy gowns, while the groomsmen wore navy-blue suits with matching burgundy ties. The officiant did a terrific job with the ceremony performing it in both English and Spanish. After the ceremony, DJ Dominiq from Bouquet Sound kept the party hopping all night long, while guests were fed dinner and a dessert table by the catering team at Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club. A nice added feature was provided by The Churro Cart, as they supplied churros and a terrific dipping sauce.
The party ended with Alex and Melissa going under a human tunnel of outstretched arms as they escaped in a getaway car.
Along with the fun photos with our photo booth, all of the details of this private club wedding were proudly captured by the team at Three16 Photography. We would really like to thank Melissa and Alex for allowing us to be part of your special day. We wish you many years of love and happiness. Now Alex, get back to work. Ha!
Just think, from a chance meeting in a college drama class to overcoming a pandemic, Alex and Melissa are now as one. Check out their love story. We hope you enjoy it, and their photos, as much as we do.
Melissa and Alex’s Love Story
Looking back, what was your favorite and, Covid related aside, least favorite part about the planning process?
Alex: Going through the whole process with Melissa was really great. Aside from that, just bringing all my vendor friends that I’ve worked with in the past all together at one wedding meant a lot to me and was pretty special.
Melissa: The best part of the planning process for me was speaking and meeting with all of our vendors! They got the energy going and it was a win with every yes!
Assuming Covid-19 caused more stress than it should, what was the hardest part caused by Covid?
Alex: The guest list! We started out with 175 guests, but then lowered it to 150. Then in July this year, due to Covid, our wedding venue recommended us to reduce the list to less than 100 so that there could be ample room for social distancing setup. We considered postponing the wedding, even before they reduced the number, but after going there for our tasting and getting more information, we’re glad we didn’t postpone it.
Melissa: Cutting the guest list and managing RSVPs to still maximize our guest count.
Alex, being that you’re in the wedding industry, going through the planning of the wedding and the days leading up to it and including the day of, how did going through it yourself as the groom give you a new perspective when it comes to your clients and/or potential clients?
First of all, I feel very fortunate to be in the wedding industry. There are so many great people that work in this industry. Because of my relationships with them with past weddings, it was easier to find vendors for our own wedding. That said, now that I have personally been involved in planning a wedding I have a better understanding of what our clients and/or potential clients are feeling when we consult or plan their sessions with them. I feel I can relate better and use my experience to help them through it and offer advice.
Tell us three words that describe Melissa?
Strong, Intelligent and Beautiful
Tell us three words that describe Alex?
Alex is Thoughtful, Sarcastic and Adventurous
Melissa, what was the “First Look” experience like for you? How did you feel walking up to Alex before he turned around and saw you for the first time all dressed in your gown?
It was nerve racking! I cried when I gave him a hug from behind and he was so handsome when he turned around!
Why did you choose the venue that you did?
Coto wowed us with the beautiful views and excellent staff! I loved the outdoor pavilion; it gave the impression of being inside but with a 360-degree view of the greens and waterfall.
Alex, how did you feel when you stood at the top of the staircase looking at the people sitting in their seats?
Like a princess. Haha. Actually, it was pretty cool. But as I was walking down that long staircase to meet Melissa’s mom at the bottom, I kept thinking, “Don’t trip. Everyone’s watching.” Then when I reached the bottom and put my arm out to her mother, everything was just fine. As we walked down the aisle, I remember seeing some faces, but I just focused on getting her to her seat and myself to the altar.
Melissa, how did you feel when you and your dad first came out the doors and saw the guests and Alex waiting for you at the altar?
It was scary to have all eyes on us but felt so good to have everyone I love around me in that moment.
So, tell us, what was your favorite memory of September 26, 2020?
Alex: Melissa’s reaction in her voice at our first look photo session. I heard her voice as she approached me and before I turned around. I could tell by her voice she was choked up with emotion. Also, turning around and seeing her look so beautiful in her wedding dress and all made up. Just loved we shared that moment together.
Melissa: The whole night was amazing! It was really special during the couple’s dance to see all the couples who’s wedding we have gone to and to finally be there too!
Where are you going for the honeymoon and why did you choose that destination?
We haven’t decided exact location yet. Somewhere tropical is our preference. Right now, Barbados might be our top choice, but there’s also Tahiti or Cancun. It’ll probably have to wait until 2021 for obvious reasons.
What’s the future hold for Mr. and Mrs. Estrada?
Lots of love, laughing, adventure and a dog or two!
Company: Tala Events
PHOTOGRAPHY & PHOTO BOOTH
Company: Three16 Photography
Company: The Pink Daffodil
Company: Bouquet Sound
Company: Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club
Company: The Churro Cart
HAIR & MAKEUP
Company: Pure Beauty By Danielle
Instagram: @Pure Beauty By Danielle
Company: Hayley Paige
Dress Design: Hollace Gown
Company: Savage Suiting
Company: Truly Engaging by Magnetstreet