Sacramento Weddings

“You might say our dogs introduced us,” says Lesley of her first meeting with John. “I walked my dog, Gabby, around the block several times a day past John’s house, which he was in the process of remodeling. I passed his house and felt someone watching me and turned around. To my surprise, a Rottweiler was quietly peering over the bed of a red truck.” When John’s dog went missing a few days later, he stopped by Lesley’s home to see if she had seen him. Fortunately, John found his dog, Little Bear, and the newly acquainted neighbors decided to go out on a date. “John would say I chased him until he caught me,” she adds.

When John proposed, the couple had been together for 11 years and had a six-year-old daughter. “While we had talked about getting married for years, John officially proposed on the anniversary of our first date. He had planned on waiting until Christmas but once he picked up the ring, he just couldn’t wait any [longer].”

Lesley shares that as an older couple getting married, she was way past the “big white dress”-style wedding. “A few people even suggested we have a civil ceremony and go to dinner,” she says, “but this was the first time for both us getting married. We both agreed that our wedding should be a celebration with close friends and family.”

John left most of the planning to his bride-to-be, who wanted a garden wedding with a vintage feel. “When I called to let my brother know about our wedding plans and how it would be a simple, yet elegant wedding, he quipped, ‘I didn’t know that simple was in your vocabulary.’ I explained simple was subjective,” she smiles.

With the help of several friends and family, Lesley spent hours on Pinterest and took on several DIY projects. “I met photographer Matt Wescott at a bridal show,” she says. “We chatted for a while and I was completely drawn in by his jovial disposition and huge smile. I should have hired him on the spot.” After meeting with another vendor at the venue, John’s parent’s home, she knew she needed to change course. “I was told where my photos would be taken and asked how I wanted to take care of the deposit,” she recalls. “A few days later, I called Matt, and he was still available.”

As originally planned, the ceremony was kept simple and short, yet deeply personal. “We’ve already been through so much. We spoke from our hearts,” Lesley says. “My dear friend, and husband to a bridesmaid, played guitar and sang my song, James Taylor’s ‘Something In the Way She Moves.’ Many guests were brought to tears during our ceremony.”

The sun was just beginning to set as guests were called to dinner in the middle of the garden on the tennis court. As they entered, the long tables were dressed in amethyst king drape cloths, lavender and silver table runners, branches with birds and fairy lights, assorted floral arrangements and flickering candles. “I wanted the evening to be magical,” says Lesley, continuing, “Don’t we all?”

—Darren Elms