We absolutely adore Erica! Her sweet personality and calm demeanor kept us grounded on our Model Citizens photo shoot. Like she said, it’s always a challenge to keep to the timeline, but that didn’t stop her from looking gorgeous in every look! Keep reading to learn about her, and her love story.

Like always, we promise we’ll share more photos from our cover model features soon, but for now, we want to share Get To Know Our Real Bride Model Erica from the second of our two shoots: “Model Citizens” photographed by Julia Croteau Photography on location at Old Sugar Mill with sets by Botanica Specialty Rentals and Accents by Sage Floral Design.

What made you want to model for this photo shoot?

Sex in the City…Carrie Bradshaw, ha! I want to live to inspire and be that fresh face. What girl wouldn’t want to get all glamorous and try on fabulous wedding gowns and have a photo shoot? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in Real Weddings Magazine the year you get married – one of the happiest moments you have to look back on years down the road and say you were in a magazine.

What was your favorite part of modeling? What was the most challenging part?

My favorite part of modeling was all the different looks from the gowns to makeup to hair and accessories, I found myself glancing to see my reflection in glass doors and windows, quite often as I passed. The venue and sets were set up beautifully, and I had a lot of fun modeling the different looks. And just feeling like a princess in a fairy tale. The challenging part was the short amount of time to change looks; my hair and makeup team did great in the time allotted. The rain definitely was the most challenging, trying to protect the dresses.

What do you do for a living?

Believe it or not, I’m a Correctional Officer who dresses like a boy in a uniform.

What do you do for fun?

I love to shop and spend money. Work hard, play hard. I love being with my family and closest friends. I like to go to UFC Fights, football games and fancy restaurants.

Tell us about your love story.

Mike and I met in 2003 working at Costco, and started dating in 2004; and have been together ever since. We have a 9-year-old daughter together. Mike planned an over the top romantic proposal. He took me on our own private hot air balloon ride overlooking the Napa Valley and proposed. I was in complete awe, at the fact that he went in a hot air balloon, not being the biggest fan of heights. I was shocked and surprised for sure. He said he wanted to do something big, so there you have it. I knew Mike was “The One” when our chemistry just clicked and meshed really well together, as the years went by our love for each other grew fonder. We recently went to an engagement encounter weekend at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center (fully unplugged, no electronics whatsoever) and had an amazing experience that deepened our love and really confirmed he’s the one.

Tell us about your own wedding.

My wedding is a traditional church wedding and the reception is going to be at The Citizen Hotel. It’s going to have a timeless elegance feel, very romantic and glamorous. Formal with a plated dinner. The colors are blush and black with a touch of gold. I can’t wait for this moment.

If you could offer any advice to future brides, what would it be?

My advice for other future brides would be to enjoy every moment of the planning. I dragged my fiancé to all the consultations and he actually got involved gave his opinion and helped. I haven’t turned into a bridezilla and don’t plan to. I think being organized and delegating tasks is extremely helpful, you won’t get overwhelmed and you get to enjoy the moment.

-Interviewed by Kelley Saia

Produced by Susie Baggett, Justin Buettner, Eudelys Blanco Estaba, Monica Hill, Kimberly Hunter, Tatiana Jitari, Nathalia Kallan, Alexandra Leininger, Tara Mendanha, Emily Peter, Amanda Rinehart, Wendy Sipple and Leah Sisto


VENUE   Old Sugar Mill | 916-744-1615 | oldsugarmill.com

PHOTOGRAPHER   Julia Croteau Photography | 530-295-4850 | 530-953-9848 | juliacroteauphotography.com

Christina Irene Alba, For The Love of Hairspray (Hair) | 949-422-1957 | fortheloveofhairspray.com
Happi Ybarra, Happily Beautiful Makeup Artistry & Skin Studio (Makeup) | 530-632-0607 | happilybeautifulmakeup.com

Melissa Oretta, All Dolled Up Hair and Makeup Artistry (Hair) | 530-888-1562 | alldolleduphairandmakeup.com
Cassidy Braddock, All Dolled Up Hair and Makeup Artistry (Makeup) | 530-888-1562 | alldolleduphairandmakeup.com

Alma’s Bridal Boutique | 916-434-8084 | almasbridalboutique.com
Always Elegant Bridal & Tuxedo | 530-755-4282 | 530-487-7110 | alwayselegantbridal.net
The Bridal Box | 916-742-4638 | thebridalbox.net
The Clothes Mine Bridal and Formalwear | 209-267-0417 | theclothesmine.com
De La Rosa’s Bridal & Tuxedos | 916-983-3400 | delarosasbridal.com
Diamond Bridal Gallery | 916-521-9856 | diamondbridalgallery.com
House of Fashion | 916-554-7440 | hofbridal.com
Second Summer Bride | 916-330-4422 | secondsummerbridesac.com

Ariel Jennifer Taub | arieltaub.com
Bel Aire Bridal | belairebridal.com
Carolee | carolee.com
Chloe + Isabel | chloeandisabel.com
Formé Millinery Co. | formeonlineshop.com
Hair Comes the Bride | haircomesthebride.com
Macy’s | macys.com | Arden Fair Mall | 916-925-2845 | Downtown Plaza | 916-444-3333 | Sunrise Mall | 916-962-3333 | Westfield Galleria at Roseville | 916-771-3333
Pink Beauty Bridal | 916-402-0785 | pinkbeautybridal.com
Revel by Veil Trends | veiltrends.com
Stella & Dot | stelladot.com
Style Avenue Studios | 916-812-1114 | styleavenuestudios.com
Twigs & Honey | twigsandhoney.com
USABride | usabride.com

Accents by Sage Floral Design | 916-799-6242 | accentsbysage.com
Amour Florist & Bridal | 916-392-8168 | amourmoments.com
Flourish | 916-212-5179 | flourishdesigns.com
Morningside Florist | 916-635-9891 | morningsideflorist.com
Placerville Flowers on Main | 530-622-1121 | placervilleflowersonmain.com
Relles Florist | 916-441-1478 | rellesflorist.com
Rodarte Floral Design | 916-799-3625 | rodartefloraldesign.com
Strelitzia Flower Company | 530-758-5050 | strelitziaflowers.com
Visual Impact Design | 916-489-3746 | visualimpact-design.com

FURNITURE AND DECOR   Botanica Specialty Rentals | 916-673-8650 | botanicaevents.com
DECOR FLOWERS   Accents by Sage Floral Design | 916-799-6242 | accentsbysage.com
CAKES   Something Sweet Bakery | 209-745-9000 | somethingsweetgalt.com

VIDEOGRAPHER   Justin Buettner Wedding Photography | 916-220-0159 | jbweddingphoto.com

Special thanks to our real bride models, Erica and Kayla, and all of the professionals who contributed to this feature!

Tune back in for more from the “Model Citizens“ photo shoot blog series!

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Associate Editor Emily Peter.

Photos by Julia Croteau Photography / copyright Real Weddings Magazine.

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