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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Cummings

A Dream Elopement at Ventura's Historic Pierpont Inn.

On September 23, 2021 I had the honor of photographing the Elopement of Jacob and Chasnee at the Historic Pierpont Inn in beautiful Ventura California. In July I was contacted by Jacob’s mother, Lori, who had seen my website and wanted to know if I serviced the Ventura area since I live in Riverside. I told her I’d be willing to make the trip even though it was a bit far to help them capture the day for her son’s elopement. We took care of all the formal things like payment, contract, etc…then we set up a FaceTime call with all of us for September 7th to do a meet and greet online. On the call I was able to get a clear idea of how the day would play out and what their dreams and expectations were.

Jacob and Chasnee live in a small town in Arkansas but had been dreaming of someday having a beach wedding. As we all know, weddings can be really expensive! So, instead of a big fancy wedding they had decided on a small beach elopement with around 10 people total in attendance. I was so excited to help them make this a truly memorable day. I too grew up in a very small town and I remember what my dreams of the future were like. I have been blessed to be able to see some of my biggest dreams come true and I wanted to share in making one of theirs come true as well.

When my assistant and I arrived at The Pierpont Inn we got checked into our room and notified Lori that we had arrived. We went over to meet Lori, and also her wife Angie. They were just as nice in person as they had been over the phone. After a bit of chit chat about where we thought the best places to take pictures would be, my assistant and I went out to scope out the grounds. Needless to say, the grounds of the hotel are quite pretty, especially the vine covered gazebo where most of the formal weddings take place. I knew immediately that this was the spot for their formal photos. Lori had informed me of the cabin that Chasnee was staying in so I popped in for a quick chat with her just before the makeup artist arrived.

After surveying the grounds we went back to see Lori and also got to meet Jacob and their beautiful daughter Reyna. I assured Lori and Jacob that we had decided on some beautiful locations for photos and that we’d meet them by the Gazebo at 4:30. After getting dressed, we all met at the Gazebo to begin their beautiful ceremony. Of course, Jacob was a bundle of nerves but I placed him at the corner of the gazebo and instructed him on what to do when Chasnee tapped him on the shoulder for the first look. Chasnee was in her cabin awaiting my instruction as to when she, her bridesmaid and her daughter; who was the flower girl should start walking out. I went over to the cabin and instructed them on how to proceed down the path to the gazebo so that Jacob would not see her until just the right moment.

Chasnee and her bridal party were so lovely this day. The colors that she had selected were green and gold which worked perfectly with all the greenery on the grounds of the hotel. As chasnee tapped Jacob on the shoulder he turned and I could just see the love in his eyes along with tears, of course. There was no officiant, only Jacob and Chasnee exchanging vows that they had written and exchanging rings, a sign of the eternal bond between them. During the exchange of vows, Reyna would wonder in and out of the scene which made it all the more fun and light hearted. I snapped away capturing all of the emotion as it was playing out. I can’t lie, I shed a tear myself as Jacob was making it hard for us not to cry. After the emotional ceremony I got to work on their formal pictures, including family and the entire bridal party.

After taking the formal pictures by the gazebo and on the grounds of the hotel we all went over to the beach and took some more photos. These, I feel, were the images that Jacob and Chasnee had been dreaming about. We were a little bummed that we didn’t have a gorgeous California sunset because of the smoke from the recent fires but nevertheless, we made the best of it. Allison, the bridesmaid, and her husband had set up a small “aisle” on the beach with ivy and jars filled with twinkling lights as a make shift church aisle. We let Reyna throw her rose petals and then we took a few pics of the couple in the aisle. We then ventured onto the shore and I told Jacob and Chasnee to just enjoy the moment, pretend I wasn’t there, to just be together in this moment and do whatever they wanted. I told them I’d instruct them in a few poses but to otherwise have fun.

I think we created some beautiful pictures that day. I know that the family was super happy with the outcome and grateful when I shared the pictures with them. I am blessed to be able to capture such beautiful memories for couples and I’m also blessed to help make dreams come true. Finally, a huge thanks to Lori and her entire family for believing in me and allowing me to be a part of their wonderful California dream wedding.

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