Sunday, January 11, 2015

Champ's and Anna's Vow Renewal

A little background to begin this post. 

Justin also known as Champ (by friends and family) is a Superintendent with Clark and is currently my boss at the hospital project we are building in Oakland. Champ and I were immediate friends. Then Champ made the critical mistake of introducing me to his wife Anna also known as Oceanna (her birth name which I prefer to use); it was love at first sight and along with the rest of our Jack London Square family, we have been best friends and truly family ever since. 

Champ and Oceanna have been married for five years. Like many young couples, they didn't have the opportunity for their dream wedding the first time around. So, five years later, they decided to pull out all the stops with 60 of their closest friends and family by renewing their vows in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at the gorgeous Hotel Playa Fiesta.

After not traveling to a new country in over a year, I was invited to spend this New Year's celebrating these two love birds in Mexico (a country I had not previously visited). Naturally, I said, "Duh, I am totally there". Kyle, Andrew and I decided to make the trip down together.

A couple weeks before the wedding, Oceanna asked if I would be interested in taking the wedding photos. Again, naturally I said "duh". I had not shot a wedding before so I was a little nervous but very gracious for the opportunity to add it to the list.

So, in keeping align with the vow I made of no edited photos on the blog, here is a recap of love, in unedited photos and small tid bits of commentary:

How can you not immediately fall in love at the front door of Hotel Playa Fiesta?

Or when you step out to the pool deck?

Even the Hotel's dog Hefe loves it so much, he stayed for 13 years.

The wonderful bar staff had their work cut out for them from Day 1 to say the least.

But after three days of beach bumming and Mango Loco drinking....

It was wedding time.

Champ and Oceanna really made their day special with meaningful glimpses of the love from those all around them

The lace at the alter was made by Oceanna's mother, Amelia.

Champ has never worn a wedding ring before so they bought matching rings in Mexico to symbolize this special moment. I haven't seen him without it on since.

Oceanna's veil was her sister's, Paloma. 

The beautiful bride made picture taking effortless.

Hotel Playa Fiesta is so full of character and color.

Both make backdrops that can't possibly be staged.

The flowers matched the scenery perfectly. 

Let's be real, you're not surprised that I had to take and publish this picture.

Champ's eyes were Oceanna's something blue.

Mother of the Groom, Linda. You did a pretty dang good job mom.

Oceanna's sisters, Paloma and Lotus, were Matron and Maid of Honor.

Champ's and Oceanna's nephew, Luca, was the ring bearer. They both love Luca as their own and it shows in everything they do. He is truly one loved kid.

Their niece, Harper, was the flower girl. Luca's and Harper's outfits could not have been more perfect.

Both parents walked the Bride down the aisle; a special symbol of the great influence both have had on shaping Oceanna's life and how she loves.

Oceanna's brother, Bing, officiated the ceremony.

Oceanna's father blessed the couple with a Jewish prayer.

The couple wrote their own vows. Even with promises to love and respect the first love of Champ's life, his '67 Mustang.

I am pretty sure Champ specifically left out "to always wear my ring" in his vows. He is going strong so far (only a week...).

Sealed with an extra long kiss; for the first five years, of course.

It's official, they still do!

The wedding party and family.

Beautiful, cherished bridesmaids. The Bride could not have picked better friends to stand beside her.

The groomsmen. Champ's best friends and father. All three are such important men to the Bride and Groom.

I saw Champ quite a few times on the wedding day; every time he asked how Anna was or if she needed anything. Her comfort and happiness is what will always be most important to him.

As most fathers do, Bing is definitely cherishing this time in Harper's life especially as his family prepares for another child in just a few short months.

If you know the Bride and Groom, you know they love the beach and water. Puerto Vallarta could not have been a better location to renew their vows.

No vacation or event is complete without this picture. Our whole friend group now take this one at every given chance.

Even Luca made a speech. It was the best speech of the evening.

As the photographer, I was the only guest privy to the surprise of fireworks. I have to specifically thank Lindsay for this picture and for so many more. Without your dedication to helping make Champ's and Oceanna's day special, these special pictures could not have been possible.

A few words to the owners of Hotel Playa Fiesta: 

A huge and heartfelt thank you to Lindsay and Adam. The home you have created for your guests is simply unmatched. It is obvious by the love your staff has for this hotel and you both, that you have created something here that is truly special. Thank you for allowing us all to share in that while celebrating two very special people in our lives.

To the staff at Hotel Playa Fiesta:

I can speak for us all when I say no staff has treated a group of friends and family with such service and hospitality. No words or monetary gifts could describe how much we appreciated the ease of life you provided us at Hotel Playa Fiesta.

To Champ's and Oceanna's friends and family:

You guys are truly one of a kind. You traveled to Mexico and you celebrated Champ's and Anna's love in such a huge way. Becoming one big family will be the best memory of this trip and I think that's exactly how Champ and Anna wanted it.

To Champ and Oceanna:

No two people have ever loved each other more. It shows in the people that gravitate toward you, the kindness you show everyone around you and the way you love those you cherish most. Thank you for one of the best weeks of all of our lives and for allowing us to celebrate with you. It will never be forgotten.

For more information on Hotel Playa Fiesta please visit

For more information on hosting a wedding at Hotel Playa Fiesta please email Lindsay at


  1. Thanks for sharing this with me. You did a fantastic job with the pictures. Makes me want to go there.