Amo and Stephanie’s love story starts almost 5,000 miles apart, between California and Ireland. Stephanie took a trip from across the world one summer and unexpectedly met the love of her life! This fateful meeting resulted in a nearly three-year long-distance relationship that changed for the better when Amo popped the question. This engagement, of course, was not a typical one! With intensive visa interviews, countless sleepless nights, and tons of emotional investment, this was anything but a typical engagement period.
The happy couple took on the challenge of planning their wedding, even without knowing when Amo would officially be approved to come to the US. They set an ambitious goal (official wedding date and all!) and just two weeks before the anticipated wedding, Amo was finally approved.
Fun Fact: In the fiancé visa process, couples only have 90 days to get married once the foreign fiancé lands on American soil!
Rushed timeline and all, Stephanie and Amo pulled off the most romantic wedding imaginable, right on family property. The couple hired photographer Dani Lacey to commemorate their big day and capture their vintage, romantic style. Dying to know every last detail? Let’s get into it!
Stephanie had a very specific look in mind when imagining her wedding dress.
I knew I wanted a Willowby by Watters dress. Their styles are so elegant and graceful. I had tried on so many dresses, from ball gowns to mermaid styles until I finally found “the one”. It was so comfortable and soft, and the gown had ivory overlay over champagne-colored silk. The skirt of the dress flowed around my legs like frothy water, and it was just long enough for me to sneak my cream-colored Doc Marten’s underneath.
The wedding was held at a family property on historic Van Ness Avenue in Fresno, California. Homes in this neighborhood are known for their vintage flair; largely a result of these homes being passed down from generation to generation. Stephanie’s family is full of artists and eclectics, making this home a truly special gem.
The garden of the family’s backyard was the idyllic location for Stephanie and Amo to say their vows. Not only that, but also their emotional first look!
My parent’s garden was the magical setting that made everything else fall perfectly into place. Their house is tucked away on a quiet street in Fresno, and its garden is wild and mature, full of old fruit trees and messy pines. I wanted it to feel cozy and whimsical.
With only three months to plan their dream wedding, everything felt extremely stressful. From sourcing florists, to caterers, and everything in between, Amo and Stephanie were relieved when they finally got to lay eyes on one another and focus on the true meaning of the day.
Secret Garden Vows
Processional: Isaiah Song by Maverick City Music Recessional: Be Thou My Vision (Traditional Hymn) First Dance: Crazy Love by Van Morrison
Processional: Isaiah Song by Maverick City Music
Recessional: Be Thou My Vision (Traditional Hymn)
First Dance: Crazy Love by Van Morrison
Stephanie’s brother, a musician, beautifully played his guitar for the couple as they walked down the aisle. During their communion, he sang hymns that moved friends and family to sing along. The result was an incredibly emotional and loving ceremony for everyone present.
After we said our vows, we asked for our parents and grandparents to come up and bless us and our future. My parents prayed for us, and his mother said a blessing over us.
This stunning photo captures all of the beauty and emotion in Stephanie and Amo’s love story!
A Simple Reception
After Amo and I had said our vows and taken communion, the whole crowd sang a hymn in unison as my brother played his guitar and my brother-in-law played the piano. It was like everyone was celebrating our union and our future in one harmonizing voice.
Also, Amo’s best man, who is Irish, gave the best speech I had ever heard at the wedding. The comedic timing, the heartfelt words, and of course, the ACCENT. It was perfect.
In this intimate 40-person reception, the focus was largely on curating a feeling of comfort and romance. Delicate sparkling lights and ruched fabric along the tables evoked all the vibes of an enchanted secret garden! It was simple, casual, but perfectly curated for this loving couple.
Focus on the things that are the most important to you. For me, I really wanted time for Amo and me to take fun pictures before the wedding started as a way to loosen up before the ceremony. We had so much fun – we laughed and ran around the neighborhood in our wedding clothes, posing and looking pretty. By the time the ceremony came around, we both felt so relaxed and happy and very ready to get married.
Don’t stress the small stuff. Things end up working out the way they need to, and all of the tears and worries that happen beforehand disappear as the day plays out.
Invite the people who mean the most to you, even if it means a smaller guest list. It makes for such a peaceful and meaningful day, with time to talk with everyone and enjoy their company.
photography: Dani Lacey Photographs // venue name: Private Residence, Fresno, California, USA // florals: Thistle and Thorn Floral // hair stylist: Caitlyn // catering: The Painted Table // cake: Neolas Bakery // desserts: The Painted Table