I’m a Lake Tahoe based wedding and portrait photographer, and fan of unposed, giddy-in-love, melt-my-lenses-editorial-style moments … oh, and t-shirts and jeans.
Since a few images from Morgan and Zach’s wedding was recently featured in the Edible Reno-Tahoe Magazine Wedding Guide, it’s the perfect way to dust off this blog and start revealing some of the stories from this past wedding season.
It’s a very small world. This wedding is a perfect example. I’ll digress for a second but I promise to bring it right back. When I travel through Gardnerville, NV, there is a corner I have admired for years. I drive extra slow just to take in the historic stone barn set in the ranch land foothills of the Sierra Mountains. The image above, is exactly what I stop for. Fast forward to my husband needing weather mats for our car and he found some on Craigslist. He calls me on the ride back and says,” You’ll never believe where I got the mats from! The ranch you love in Gardnerville!” He went on about how fantastically adorable the owner, Julie, was and that through their conversation she mentioned converting the property to host a handful of weddings each year. Immediately, he gave her my information. She contacted me and said her niece was getting married on the ranch and would I be available. Yes, please!?
We arranged to do a walk through when Morgan and Zach were in town visiting. I pulled up to the ranch and it was like I entered into a dream. I felt immediately at ease and all my ranch hopes came true as multiple generations of the family were gathered in the yard, some playing horse-shoes, others sitting around a fire-pit, something was on the BBQ and all I kept thinking was, “Adopt me?’
Morgan walked briskly toward me, big smile and arms out like a hug was non-negotiable. Zach followed, soft-spoken and instantly likable. Almost instantaneously, I felt the connection they shared. I kept thinking, “Wait until she sees all the images of the way he looks at her when she’s not looking.”
The evidence of a loving family is written all over this wedding. Scroll to see if you feel what I felt!
After Zach and Morgan’s first date, he texted his sister, “I bet you $100 that I end up marrying her.” Did she pay up? She sure did and also framed a screenshot of the text with the bill! By far one of the best stories I’ve heard yet!
I had heard a few times that Morgan had a thing for Matthew McConaughey and thought Zach resembled him. It’s no secret that I share that same celebrity crush and when I saw this old Ford, I instantly thought of the Vanity Fair spread that Matthew McConaughey did in the 90s. Any MM fans out there remember it? We had to use this truck! Keep scrolling to find out why this truck ended up being way more meaningful than I could imagine.
Morgan envisioned a long approach to the ceremony, starting from the cottage house and almost appearing as a mirage to her husband waiting to see her for the first time.
All of these rustic pieces belong to Julie Gansberg and are available to use during events at the ranch.
The hosts in action – Todd and Julie Gansberg, the ranch owners, not only hosted their nieces wedding but coordinated every last detail and were one step ahead every part of the day.
Morgan’s only request for portraits was that they jus run and spin through the fields. The dress she chose couldn’t have been more perfect for achieve the romantic movement as she did just that. She wasn’t afraid to get dirty, she bought the dress specifically with moving around dirt roads in mind and growing up on this ranch. The fabric perfectly disguised any dirt anyway!
Todd Gansberg shared with me that this Ford Pickup was Morgan’s maternal grandfather’s. It was a ranch truck, but Todd had complimented, helped fix it on many occasions and when he passed, Todd learned the truck was left to him. It remains a working heirloom and the Gansberg’s are kind enough to lend it to the needs of weddings that take place on their property.
It was a beautiful moment to feel a sense of her grandpa smiling down on her as we took portraits in and around the truck. I love me some good props, but even more so when there is authentic connection to them.The following series of portraits will remain some of the most special I’ve ever made for a couple.
She’s the real deal, folks. Growing up on ranches and riding, there was zero hesitation to hop onto the fence and say hello to her favorite horse, Ginger.
Todd and Julie Gansberg were surprised with a dedicated song to them, a thank you for all their dedication. Slow song? Yeah right – they let loose with some serious country swing dancing!
ps. any tips on where I can take some lessons?
Venue: Gansberg Ranch – Gardnerville, Nevada
Styling: Julie Gansberg and Jenny Lederman (bride’s aunt and mom)
Bride’s Gown: Morilee by Madeline Gardner
Hair + Makeup: Bride & Maid of Honor, Lisa
Boots: Frye, borrowed from bride’s mom
Catering: Dickey’s BBQ
Cake: Jenny, Bride’s mom
Pastor: Jacob Jenswold, pastor and close friend of bride and groom
If you’re looking for a ranch wedding venue, get in touch with Julie Gansberg. I have no doubt that this venue will start booking up their dates quickly, now that word is spreading about their venue. When you’re on this property, you truly become part of the family. The views speak for themselves, the Gansbergs put their whole heart into accommodating your event and you’re supporting local business!
When your guest list oozes talent, pulling off a no stress backyard wedding with all the right details is as easy as pizza pie.