Miss Alysse Wedding Photography
Kelsey Todd & Justin Lee
May 11-13, 2017. Sonoma, California
Kelsey Todd was a bridesmaid when she first met Justin Lee, who was photographing the wedding. “We re-met five years later when – no joke – an issue of Grace Ormonde crossed my desk, and my initial reaction was, ‘Hey, I know him!’” Kelsey explains. “I was the marketing manager at the time for La Tavola Linen. It was the first feature in a long time that drew a spark within me, and I felt inclined to check Justin out on social media. We had fun banter messaging, and I felt a shift within me. Something was different, and I put myself out there more openly than I ever had before, to a guy I had met only once.”
With the right timing being on their side, Justin booked a wedding in Napa Valley, where he hadn’t shot an event in years. There, he organized a group date with the couple who hosted the wedding where he met Kelsey, along with his best friends. “Sparks flew,” Kelsey recalls. “It was easy and so much fun – it was like we had known each other for years. From that dinner on, we had the best next three days together in Napa Valley, and have been together ever since.”
For Justin, the proposal was a logistical feat that required him to go above and beyond in terms of planning and organization. After booking a huge wedding that happened to fall on Kelsey’s birthday, the couple attended the wedding together, and Kelsey assumed they’d stay in town for a couple days before returning home to Napa. The morning after the wedding, however, Justin woke Kelsey up extra early. A plane ride, a couple car trips, and several naps later, she awoke in Tahoe – one of their favorite places.
As it was her birthday, Justin had organized a private masseuse and a special visit from his friend, Chef Danny, who would be preparing Kelsey’s birthday dinner. While the chef was cooking, the couple went for a sunset hike to Eagle Rock, where they had a beautiful view of the entire lake. When they got to the top, he set up a camera, pressed the record button, and popped the question. “It was magical,” says Kelsey. “It happened to be a blood moon, so the skies were glowing. I gush over our engagement, because it was so surreal and special – something I never anticipated.”
The bride and groom exchanged vows during a private ceremony at the groom’s family’s ranch, where his great-grandfather homesteaded. In contrast, the following wedding reception was a 150-person, black-tie celebration at Hyde Ranch – a private estate in Sonoma. Surrounded by white décor with pops of olive green, grey, and goldenrod, guests dined under the stars on a California-style bounty paired with wines from Napa, as well as the bride and groom’s hometowns.
“Everyone who attended has played huge parts in our lives, and we are so fortunate to have such a strong support system,” says Kelsey. “It also truly does go by too damn fast, no matter how hard you try to slow it down.”
>Written by: Lauren Malamala
Location: Private Estate Sonoma, CA; Planner: Your Event By Erin Walnut Creek, CA; Event Design and Rentals: Theoni Collection Napa, CA; Ceremony Dress: Custom-Made; Reception Dress: Stella McCartney; Groom's Attire: Ted Baker;