I met the Pfenning Family on a beautiful fall day in City Park in Denver. It was so nice to see them again! I photographed Natalie and Will’s wedding just a couple years ago.
Natalie shares, “Hi! We’re the Pfenning Family and are so thrilled to finally get around to taking family photos after everything the pandemic has changed and delayed this past (almost) 2 years. In that time, we’ve not only watched our oldest grow into a busy young toddler (Theo, 2.5 years old) but we’ve added the sweetest little girl to the family as well (Elsie, 9 months). We really love spending time outdoors, and especially loved celebrating fall with a trip to the pumpkin patch and Jack-o-lantern carving in October!”
Lauren and Cyrus shared a special wedding weekend with their guests including a rehearsal at the Napa Reserve, a wedding ceremony at Kunde Winery in Sonoma and a wine tasting tour to finish the celebration.
The wedding day began with preparations at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn.
Lauren shares, “Cyrus really only had one request of our whole wedding, that it was to take place in Northern California. Cyrus went to school at Santa Clara University and he really fell in love with the area- I can’t say I could really complain, it is gorgeous there. When we went through the process of selecting a venue, we went to a few places but there was only one where I felt that we were really in wine country. Kunde’s rolling hills with vines sold it to me. I told Cyrus, “You wanted Northern California, this is it plus some!”
There was some stress leading up to our big day; it was forecasted to be very rainy all week long. My dad passed away when I was in high school, but I still talk to him as if he is here, especially on significant days in my life. I asked my dad for a favor, “If there is any control of the weather up there, please send me the weather that you want me to have on my wedding day” – I wasn’t specific, just a simple request. The day before our wedding, the news had headlines of “San Francisco’s Weather Door is Officially Open” and “Impending Bomb Cyclone Hovers for this Weekend.” I was very focused on our friends and family not having to sit in any rain, let alone a bomb cyclone. When we woke up the next morning, the sky had opened up and there was even sunshine!
When we were driving to the venue, our wedding party was in awe of how gorgeous all of the fall colors looked. Then, when we arrived for the ceremony, the sun was really shining. Our ceremony was my favorite part of the day. I felt like my dad was right there with us and had sent the sun to really show off – that was always his style.
It was so special for Cyrus and me to hear our vows that we had kept secret from each other.
Beyond the ceremony, my favorite parts were being able to surprise Cyrus all night long with meaningful parts of our relationship woven into our wedding. We both always wanted a very classic timeless wedding, but I made sure to add in some subtle touches that are really us – our signature drink names, his Toro nigiri sushi groom’s cake, and “bottle service” from the night we met complete with champagne and pancakes. Even our string quartet played a Drake song when he came down the aisle. It was so much fun seeing Cyrus’s face light up through the night at so many of our inside jokes being represented subtly on our wedding day.”
The ceremony included Persian traditions. A mirror brings brightness and gives the couple a view of themselves with their support system – their wedding guests. Kaleh ghand (sugar cones) were rubbed together over the heads of the bride and groom to bring sweetness into their life and marriage.
Lauren and Cyrus shared their first dance to XO by John Mayer.
After the first dance, we snuck out to the vineyard for some golden hour photos.
After dinner, the sky got dark, the twinkle lights came on and the dance floor opened.
I met Kate and Justin at a favorite place of theirs, Meyer Ranch Park, where there are big beautiful groves of aspen trees. The yellow was brilliant and one of the last places we could see the gorgeous fall leaves.
Kate shares, “Justin and I have known about each other since the sixth grade and became a part of the same friend group in early high school. We dated other people, we hung out within our group, we skirted around each other until something changed. Towards the end of senior year we were making excuses to hang out more and more until I finally asked him on a date. So we went to Applebee’s because Justin had a gift card, and saw the Kingsman movie. Super romantic, right?! (Haha) That cold and clear March night we had our first kiss next to my beat-up, old, blue Ford Bronco under the stars and sparks flew. I still think about that kiss sometimes.
We thought it would be a summer fling then we would both be off to different colleges. But we stuck together. We made the two-hour haul back and forth between Fort Collins and Denver nearly every weekend for five years to be with each other and had mini adventures every time. Whether it was seeing movies, searching for Hot Wheels treasure hunts, watching Av’s games or even doing nothing at all, we laughed and grew together. It became clear pretty quickly that we fit together seamlessly and our relationship felt so natural and good. That’s really the best word to describe our relationship: Good. That simple, comfortable word and every time I look at Justin I’m wrapped in that warm emotion and reminded that life together is good.
After college, living together, and being together for over six years, I was certainly tapping my foot waiting for the question to be popped. I had a feeling it would happen soon, but I didn’t know when.
July 4, 2021, started like a normal summer holiday. We spent the morning soaking up the sun by our apartment’s pool, went out to a burger place for lunch, and made our way to a local park to play some catch and hang out. I should’ve known something was up when Justin wore a button-up shirt to simply play catch at a park and especially when he asked about our favorite memories together over burgers and fries. I answered something like “The time we went to Mexico” and “Going to game 5 of the Avalanche playoffs against the Flames where we won in OT” and “Oh! Our first kiss. That was a good one.”
Eventually, we made our way down to this pier and with an epic sky half covered in dark rain clouds and half bright in sunshine, Justin pulled out a ring and got down on one knee. He says afterwards that he had all these cool things he planned to say but all that went blank and he just said, “You are my best friend and I love you so much. Will you marry me?” It was perfect.
Our story is not a “love at first sight” story. Meeting in the awkward phase in middle school made sure of that. It was a gradually growing friendship that took a chance and immediately felt right. Almost seven years later, I am more in love than ever with my best friend and looking forward to a beautiful, laughter filled, good life together.”
Congratulations Kate and Justin!
Comments Off on Meyer Ranch Park: Happy Engagement Kate and Justin!