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Shinn Historical Park & Arboretum

Fremont, CA

Natalie & Bertrand

August 2018

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If you know me, you will know two of my favourite things about being a wedding photographer: Amazing couples, and beautiful wedding venues.  Now to be fair, all my couples turn out to be pretty wonderful to work with. Natalie and Bertrand are no exception to that. They were possibly the sweetest, goofiest couple I have ever photographed.  

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There were so many meaningful and emotional moments throughout their wedding that I found myself caught up in the moment a few times myself.  I heard about their amazing relationship, the way Bertrand had to be 100% sure Natalie would say yes before he officially asked her on a date and their special association with benches. This all made my heart sing.  

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But what about the second part – beautiful wedding venues?  Well, Natalie and Bertrand chose the perfect venue in Fremont, California for their wedding.  Anyone looking for an outdoor venue in the Bay Area would be thrilled to stumble upon Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum. It is a fantastic choice, at least for a smaller wedding. This 19th-century house and gardens gave a very distinctly rustic setting for their ceremony and the eventual reception.

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Natalie, along with her matron and maid of honor, began their day at her hotel for hair/makeup.  She was such a calm bride to be! We all had such fun listening to cheesy 90s boybands while the truly talented Keziah made the girls up. Natalie was SO excited to marry Bertrand, beaming in delight that the day she got to marry her love was here.

All three girls – Natalie, high-school bestie Namarta, and college bestie Denette – wore matching pre-wedding robes, special silver bracelets and ear to ear smiles. Bertrand and his boys (brother Bertrick and father Ruel) wore the most unusual but fabulous wooden bow ties. I later discovered the bouquets were all wooden and eco-friendly as well.

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After some careful co-ordinating, we all headed off to the venue where Bertrand was happily greeting their guests in the bright sunshine. The tent where Natalie was to get changed into her dress proved unsuccessful, so this champ of a bride dressed behind the historic house with only the trees and her girls as witnesses.

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I’d just like to take a moment to mention Natalie’s beloved grandmother, who passed away the day before the wedding. She was there in spirit, in the form of a tiny angel charm on Natalie’s flowers and as part of all the love in both families. I have huge admiration for Jill, Natalie’s mum, for staying so incredibly strong all day.

A quick prayer with Gena, a hug from dad Mark and it was time for ‘I do’. I couldn’t help but laugh every time Bertrand pulled a face at Natalie, she poked her tongue out at him and when they creased up laughing as the story of their love was told and reminisced upon. They read their vows in private, under the chuppah, and all the guests whooped with joy when they shared their first kiss as husband and wife. I don’t know why they surprised me when they literally danced their way back down the aisle!

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So many hours and hard work went into every detail of their day. Natalie is a true DIY bride, from the decorations to the donut wall, she handcrafted each detail with love. I was especially taken with the rosemary that Natalie picked from the garden at her childhood home. Deliciously fragrant sprigs garnished each guests table setting.

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Natalie and Bertrand’s reception was exactly what I was hoping it would be. A beautiful celebration for the couple and their new lives together.  Their reception toasts were meaningful and plentiful. We even sang happy birthday to Robert – Bertrand and Natalie certainly gave him a day to remember!

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I was honoured to even be there, and I shared the day with so many wonderful people. And some of those kids can really dance. Seriously check out the photos below, they put grown adults to shame. At least, that was until I witnessed Bertrand’s parents on the dancefloor. My goodness, they can move!!

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The day came to an end all too soon and it was time to wave the newlyweds off, driving away in a 55 Chevy Bel Air. We can all safely agree they are one classy couple!

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I hope you enjoyed this look into Natalie and Bertrand’s gorgeous wedding at Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum!  I wish the adorable couple a lifetime of happiness together…Thank you for letting me be a part of your celebration.

Please join me in giving special thanks to some of the wedding vendors that helped make this day possible:

Ceremony & reception venue: Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum

Hair and Make up: Beauty by Keziah

Bride’s dress: Casablanca

DJ: DJ Nix