Sarah and her husband have a fairytale romance. No, seriously: they met at Disneyland! Scroll down to read all about her love story and what is what like to be our Real Bride Model for our “Mountain Retreat” Cover Model Contest Photo Shoot!
Why did you enter this contest?
I originally discovered this contest through the florist who did my wedding flowers (shoutout to the incredible Brie at Wild Flowers Design Group!). She and I got on so well, and she told me about the cover model contest and sent me the application information when it was released! When I heard about it and read through previous issues of the magazine I knew I wanted to be a part of it right away! Real Weddings Magazine provided a lot of inspiration for my own wedding and helped me find wonderful vendors like Brie (which was especially helpful as I was planning my wedding from out of town and was clueless about what the area had to offer!). I loved their beautiful but totally relatable and inspiring depictions of weddings and brides and wanted a chance to help show that brides come in all shapes and sizes and help be a confident, yet realistic, portrait of a Northern Californian bride.
What did your partner think about you entering this contest? What was their reaction when you were selected? What was your reaction when you were selected?
My husband Jimmy is, hands down, the most supportive person I’ve ever met. He is 110% on board with any plan I come up with and is usually the one that’s always ready to jump right in. So when I told Jimmy about this opportunity he was totally on board. He re-read my application for me, gave feedback, offered to help prep me for the interview and showed his support at every moment. When I told him I was selected, he threw his arms up in the air and shouted, “We did it!” He even made the trip to the shoot location with me for support, where we did face masks in our bathrobes the night before to make a fun getaway of it.
My reaction was so similar; I was honored and surprised to even get to interview for the opportunity, so when I was notified that I was selected? I was over the moon! I had to re-read the message several times just to make sure I wasn’t imagining it! I was so proud of myself, and so grateful to everyone at Real Weddings for such an incredible opportunity!
Tell us about your cover model experience. What was your favorite part of the day? How did you feel afterwards?
My experience at the cover model photo shoot was one of the best days I’ve ever had! I couldn’t stop smiling that night when I got home. I left feeling so confident, encouraged, excited and happy. And a huge reason for all of that was the incredible team I worked with, which had to be my favorite part of the day. From the get go I was surrounded by people that was were welcoming, energetic, so funny and so incredibly supportive of me and the work I was doing. The shoot itself, being a model and wearing the absolute most gorgeous dresses ever were all so fun and wonderful, but the people around me were what made all of that even sweeter and the most fun!
Tell us about your love story. How did you meet? What was the proposal like?
Jimmy and I met in the fall of 2012 at Disneyland. We worked on the same show; me as a performer and him as a technician. We still both work at the resort, and I love that we share that! He says that he wanted to get to know me more from the get go but he’d get so nervous every time we’d talk so I had no clue! We knew each other for three years before we went on our first date! (But it was the best first date ever, so it was well worth the wait!)
On our first date we went to a bar in the area that had such an incredible and unique ambiance. I had a delicious drink made of Champagne and rosewater. We sat in the corner and talked about everything from politics to our families to our life goals and everything in between.
Three years after we started dating, Jimmy asked me to be his wife. We went to that same bar that still had that same incredible and unique ambiance. I had a delicious drink made of Champagne and rosewater that was no longer on the menu, but he specifically requested. We sat in the same corner and talked about everything that had happened over the last three years, including us moving overseas (him to China, me to Hong Kong) for a year, coping with the harder parts of life, moving in together and everything in between. Before we left, he asked the server to take our photo to commemorate our first time back there since our first date. Just as the server went to take the photo he turned to me with a ring and asked me to be his wife. I immediately burst into tears (obviously…come on!) and of course said yes. And then when we went upstairs to our dinner reservations, he had his parents and siblings, my parents and sister, my grandparents and my best friend waiting for an impromptu engagement party.
He knew. He knew that I wanted my nails done for all the engagement ring photos, so a friend had sneakily asked me to go a few days before. He knew I wanted it to be an intimate moment, so the proposal was just between us two. But he knew I’d want a photo, so he had the server in on it. He knew that I tell my best friend and mom everything and would want them to know immediately, so he flew them in from Sacramento. He knew exactly how to make me feel like the most special, loved woman on Earth. He always does.
Tell us about your wedding day.
My wedding day was without a doubt the best day of my life. I woke up feeling so calm and so ready, and I spent the morning surrounded by the most incredible friends and family, drinking mimosas, listening to music and having the best time getting glammed and ready. We did the majority of our photos beforehand, so to start that, Jimmy and I had a first look. I was unsure about the idea at first, but I loved having that intimate moment where he and I could connect, see each other for the first time that day and take a breath of calm before the craziness began! I was feeling pretty good already, but he has said that he felt really nervous until that moment.
The ceremony was absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I wanted. The guests entered and mingled to orchestral versions of Disney music. I walked down the aisle with my father to “Someday My Prince Will Come” from Snow White, in a gorgeous (and humongous!) dress by Jasmine Bridal. A mutual friend and mentor of ours officiated our wedding (the first one he’s ever done, and you’d never know…he was such a pro!). Jimmy and I elected to write our own vows, and I think we both did beautifully. (I knew I’d cry, but I was still able to make it through reading them, so that’s a win!) Looking out and seeing our friends and family beaming up at us, supporting this huge step in our lives, was so special.
And the reception was so much fun! My only complaint was that it flew by…I didn’t want it to end! Our venue set the perfect stage for a romantic dinner by candlelight. Our first dance was to a song that’s very special to us, performed live by my best friend and Man of Honor (which obviously drove me to tears the whole time). Food, dessert and wine were constantly flowing. Music was provided by a live band, led by a dear friend of ours, and it set the stage for such a fun and exciting reception, full of dancing and laughter. I have never felt so supported, so loved and so genuinely happy in my entire life.
If you could offer any advice to future brides what would it be?
Focus on your partner through the whole process, and certainly on the day of. In times when I was particularly overwhelmed with planning, I tried to keep my mind on Jimmy and the fact that this was all about us and our relationship. The details seem a little smaller and less stressful with that in mind.
When I was worried about my choice of music, or about the invitations being exactly right, it all seemed much more manageable when I told myself that, at the end of the day, this was about Jimmy and me showing our love for one another in front of people that care about and support us. The details by and large don’t really matter to most people, vendors will have backup plans in case of a last minute need for change (we had to move our ceremony inside due to rain, for instance, and it was totally painless and fine!). And many things figure themselves out in time.
It’s so much easier said than done, and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the small decisions and to get overwhelmed by a to-do list a mile long and a constraining budget. But if you put the focus less on that and more on the reason you’re really there, it will help keep you grounded and sane through the planning process, and allow you to soak in the moment and truly enjoy the day of.
VENUE // The HideOut | hideoutkirkwood.com
PHOTOGRAPHER // Jennifer Clapp Fine Art Photography | jenniferclappphotography.com
VIDEOGRAPHER // JB Wedding Photography | jbweddingphoto.com
HAIR AND MAKEUP FOR SARAH // All Dolled Up Hair and Makeup Artistry | alldolleduphairandmakeup.com
HAIR AND MAKEUP FOR KENDALL
Halo Salon & Day Spa | halosalondayspa.com
Happily Beautiful Makeup Artistry & Skin Studio | happilybeautifulmakeup.com
a&bé bridal shop | aandbebridalshop.com/sacramento/bridal-shop
Always Elegant Bridal & Tuxedo | alwayselegantbridal.net
Second Summer Bride | secondsummerbridesacramento.com
SHOES // DSW | dsw.com
Hair Comes the Bride | haircomesthebride.com
Macy’s | Moka Davis, My Stylist@Macy’s Roseville Galleria | macys.com/mystylist
Wholesale Flowers // Wholesale Flowers from FiftyFlowers.com | fiftyflowers.com
STYLED DÉCOR VIGNETTES
DESIGN // Danielle Roe Events | danielleroeevents.com
DÉCOR FLOWERS // The Bloom Lab | thebloomlab.com
with Wholesale Flowers from FiftyFlowers.com | fiftyflowers.com
SIGNAGE // Swoonable | swoonable.net
SET RENTALS // Blossom Farm Vintage Rentals | blossomfarmrentals.com
SET CAKES // Go West Baking and Events | gowestbakingandevents.com
Special thanks to our real bride models, Sarah and Kendall, and all of the professionals who contributed to this feature!