Today’s bride, Gianna, is a bridal stylist for one of our most favorite bridal shops, The Dress Theory, in San Diego, California. (How fun it must be to be surrounded by that much pretty on the daily, right?!). And though Gianna, of course, wore a gorgeous gown from The Dress Theory, her boss + the owner of the salon had more to do with the wedding than just providing a pretty dress! Gianna + Chad’s photographer, Michelle Lillywhite, tells us the story below:
Right after the Gianna and Chad got engaged, Chad’s parents moved from California to Tennessee where they would soon find out his father was diagnosed with a severe terminal illness. After a long journey of his declining health, changing the wedding date and venue from different cities to different states in order to accommodate the circumstances, things could not have turned out better. This is more than just a love story between Chad and Gianna, it is one of all the people that loved and supported them through this journey and helped make it special.
Their small backyard wedding consisted of 60 of their closest friends and family. Gianna’s boss, and owner of The Dress Theory, Summer Wynn, made it all happen, with only a month’s notice due to the circumstances. She hosted their wedding in her beautiful and quaint backyard in Mission Hills San Diego, pulling together some of the best vendors in southern California (think Siren Floral Co, Folklore Vintage Rentals + San Diego Taco Company) to bless this bride and groom with a wedding that was beyond all expectation. This was an incredible celebration of the joining together of families, coming together for a long awaited wedding day.
Gianna + Chad shared a super sweet pre-ceremony first touch.
During our reception we had a time set aside for toasts. Friends and family were standing up and sharing words of love, admiration and encouragement that were not previously planned or anticipated. Each and every person moved us to tears. To experience such an outpouring of love from so many special people was a beautiful thing. Chad’s father was even able to stand up from his wheelchair and give a speech while leaning on his bride of 28 years. It was a beautiful and emotional time, but something that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Processional: The Girl – City And Colour + An Acoustic Rendition of Free Fallin' – John Mayer
Recessional: Home – Phillip Phillips
First Dance: Fast Car – Boyce Avenue
See even more in the film below by Audrey Alba Films:
Working in the wedding industry, it was easy to get caught up in the bridesmaid dresses, save the dates, the DJ, the flowers, the table settings etc. But after venue changes, date changes and Todd (Chad’s father's) very serious diagnosis, my attention was quickly refocused. In the beginning I was so concerned with “my wedding” to be perfect, but I learned that a wedding is not supposed to be about “perfection”, it is supposed to be about the celebration of two imperfect people who love each other. Through all the obstacles we faced leading up to our big day, the day was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. This day ended up being everything a wedding should be. A celebration of two people becoming one in front of their closest friends and family. Your wedding is ONE day, but if you learn to focus on what really matters, your marriage will last a lifetime.
photography: Michelle Lillywhite // venue name: Private Residence in San Diego, California // florals: Siren Floral Co // hair stylist: Carmen Tafoya // makeup artist: Jackie Ellis from Je'llis Faces // videography: Audrey Alba Films // catering: San Diego Taco Company // furniture rentals: Folklore Vintage Rentals // wedding dress: Sarah Seven from The Dress Theory // hair piece: Untamed Petals