Laid-Back Church Wedding in the Central Valley

Jesse and Nicole had a simple laid-back church wedding celebration, and it actually felt a lot like my own wedding day. For example: lawn ceremony, simple reception, and even a Hispanic buffet for dinner! I loved being able to reminisce because of all the similarities. They had their ceremony in the back courtyard of the church (such a perfect place with the fountain walkway and lawn area!) and moved all of the chairs 100 yards over for the reception where the kids could run around and the adults could hang out and catch up with friends and family.

Starting the day off separately, the soon-to-be newlyweds each got ready in different parts of the Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Nicole got dressed and ready with the help of her mom, her daughters, and several friends. It involved some steaming, some cutting of tulle, and lots of prayers! And speaking of prayer, Jesse and Nicole opted not to do a first look, but a “first prayer” instead. They held hands back to back on a double iron staircase – neither of them saw each other! – and Jesse prayed over their upcoming ceremony, marriage, and their lives together.

I loved the atmosphere during the reception…it was essentially a large group of friends and family hanging out and really enjoying being together. And of course celebrating Jesse and Nicole’s union. 🙂 The shaded area was really perfect for the hot day. It got even nicer as the evening went on with the sun dipping below the trees. Enjoy some of my favorite photos from the full day – getting ready, the ceremony, and of course the portraits!

*This wedding was second shot for Classic Photographers. Thanks for the opportunity!

Details + Getting Ready

Rustic decorations at a wedding ceremony in the Central Valley of California. Wine barrel with letter and flower, wood cut centerpiece. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride helps her mother get ready for a wedding ceremony in the Central Valley of California. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Rustic decorations at a wedding ceremony in the Central Valley of California. Wine barrel with letter and flower, trees in the background. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bougainvillea flowers in the lobby of Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride getting ready in the hallway of Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Church courtyard is set up for the wedding ceremony. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bridal jewelry in a pink bouquet, diamond engagement ring and aquamarine bracelet. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Wedding gown hanging on a tree blowing in the wind. Bridal jewelry on a white bouquet, diamond engagement ring and aquamarine necklace. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Wedding gown hanging on a tree blowing in the wind. Bouquet of flowers set up for a ceremony at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Aquamarine necklace on a white flower with a neutral background. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride putting on aquamarine necklace and daughter helping to put on a bracelet. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride praying with a friend before her wedding ceremony. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride putting on garter before her wedding ceremony in the Central Valley, CA. Diamond ring and aquamarine necklace. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride praying with a friend before her wedding ceremony. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.

Pre-Ceremony Prayer

Bride and groom praying together back-to-back before the ceremony begins. Double staircase in the lobby of Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom praying together back-to-back before the ceremony begins. Double staircase in the lobby of Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Black and white photo of bride and groom praying together back-to-back before the ceremony begins. Double staircase in the lobby of Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.

Ceremony

Aerial view of wedding ceremony in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom at the altar of wedding ceremony in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom kneeling at the altar of wedding ceremony in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Aerial view of wedding ceremony in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom at the altar of wedding ceremony in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.

Portraits

Bride and groom embrace and kiss in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom kiss in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom hugging and laughing in the church courtyard at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom walking across the lawn towards the reception at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride hugs a friend at the reception at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom look into each others' eyes near the fountain at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Bride and groom kiss near the fountain at Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.

Reception

White cake with pink roses and white calla lillies surrounded by cupcakes. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Groom hugs new step-daughter at reception. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Groom feeds bride a bite of cake at their wedding reception in the Central Valley, CA. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.
Pink wedding flowers at a wedding reception in the Central Valley, CA. Shot by Amber Rivas Photography.

Are you planning a laid-back church wedding or a wedding in the Central Valley and looking for a photographer? Contact me for info about my packages!

  1. Sarah

    October 8th, 2019 at 10:49 am

    All of these are gorgeous! I love your composition. Lovely couple!!

  2. Kelsey

    October 8th, 2019 at 11:54 am

    These are gorgeous! I love the photo of Jesse and Nicole on the steps!

  3. Kelly

    October 8th, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    How fun that it was similar to your own wedding! I love how crisp and clear these photos are! You did a fabulous job!

  4. Tiffany

    October 8th, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    If I got married again, this is how I would do it. Everything is beautiful. And the shot with the stairs during their pre-ceremony prayer was as perfect as the moment!

  5. Mandy

    October 9th, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Amber I love these images. The details are so beautiful and that black and white on the stairs!!!! GORGEOUS. great work!!

  6. Elizabeth

    October 11th, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Lovely! Looks like a beautiful wedding!

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