This weekend’s wedding at the Newland Barn here in Orange County was amazing but also a moment of reflection for me. As an Orange County wedding photographer, I have had the honor to photograph many weddings for friends, family members, and acquaintances. All of them are always so wonderful and fun, to say the least! But this weekend at Newland Barn was extra special for me as a photographer. Back in 2004, I was a sophomore in high school and I was a pretty rebellious teenager that was living a rough life. Through some turn of events, I decided to go to church one Wednesday night with my friends. Personally, I was very reluctant to go and I certainly had many assumptions about churches, Christians and the like.
At the time I considered myself an atheist but I figured I’d go to church with my friends anyways. I remember there as I walked into church there was this guy sitting on his motorcycle on the stage. Certainly, this is not what I had anticipated. That man was Albert Gonzales and I remember my first night at church he shared the Gospel in such a simple but loving way. In meeting Albert and some of the other people at the church, I quickly realized that I was wrong about my assumptions and I decided to return the next week. As I began to attend church, I remember there was this very friendly and very upbeat girl that was always trying to get people to connect with each other. Looking back on it, I almost feel like we could say she was like a “friendship cheerleader” haha, it sounds silly but she was always glowing with joy as she helped people make new friends. This kind, joyful girl was always so full of enthusiasm that whenever she invited my friends and me to go to an event we would never want to say no to her. That sweet girl was our lovely bride Renee. When I look back on my life, I truly thank God for the people He’s brought my way. As I arrived at the Newland Barn and I saw Albert setting up for the wedding and Renee gleaming with excitement, I couldn’t help but smile. Not just because I was happy for Renee and Ivan but also because I got to spend the day with people that helped open a new chapter many years ago that I can say changed my life forever.
With all that said, I remember when Renee first told me about Ivan and all I wanted to know was if this guy was a good guy. As Renee sat in my office and told me about the man that soon would become her husband it was easy to see how they were the perfect fit. For anyone that knows Renee & Ivan, there are a few things you will quickly realize about them. First, they absolutely love Jesus which impacts all other aspects of their lives. The second is that they are not afraid to laugh. Seriously if you spend enough time with these two you will see that they will eventually get everyone around them to laugh. The third is their kind nature. I know I described Renee as the “friendship cheerleader” but seriously both of them truly can kill you with kindness and it’s amazing. Lastly is their love for one another and their family. Their wedding truly felt like a family get together and it was so wonderful to just see how close both these families are already getting and I think that’s certainly a result of Renee & Ivan’s love for their family. Check out Ivan & Renee’s engagement session & proposal story here!
I’m sure there were hundreds of weddings in Orange County on Friday night, but truly I have to say Renee & Ivan’s was truly wonderful. From the guys getting ready on the front porch to the girls all laughing at the adorable antics of the flower girls to Ivan fighting with all his might to hold back the tears, to Renee giving Ivan a big smack on his butt during the first look (check it out here on Instagram) and to Albert dancing his heart out with his daughter. Everything was just perfect and I’m so excited to share a few sneak peeks from their wedding day below. I hope you enjoy them!
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