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Cotrena + Chuck | Downtown Riverside Wedding

Duuuude, when your friend from high school asks you to photograph her wedding, the pressure is on. Every wedding and every couple’s love story is equally important to us and we love to finish every long ass wedding day knowing we have two new friends. BUT there’s just a little something extra to the day when it’s somebody you’ve known for years. So obviously Kacey cried.

Chuck and Cotrena’s wedding was at at the Life Arts Center of Riverside which is a simple, rad brick building with wood floors and floor to ceiling windows to bring in all the natural light. We love simple venues that allow the couple to bring their personality into their wedding day decor. Venues like the Life Arts Center give you a chance to make it your own, because no couple wants the same wedding as the one before them. [We actually shot a Quincenera the weekend after this at the same venue and got to see it flipped in a totally different style which was really cool.] It’s located right downtown across from the historic Mission Inn which is where Cotrena and her girls got all dolled up that morning before heading over to a small park a few blocks away where C + C had their First Look hidden in a cool little cactus garden walkway.

A “First Look” isn’t something every couple chooses to do when planning their wedding, but it’s definitely always a recommendation we make. Our wedding photographer talked us into it and we couldn’t have been happier with that decision. Your wedding day can get hella hectic and there are always unexpected things that don’t fit into the timeline and you will undoubtedly end up running behind. A First Look gives the couple a few minutes to take each other in, take a breather from one of the biggest days of their life together, and share a little love before they walk down the aisle. From a less romantic perspective, it also allows for family and bridal party photos to be done before the ceremony, leaving the cocktail hour for just the Bride and Groom photos. These two had a more laidback wedding vibe, so doing a First Look was a great option for them to get the most out of their day and relax with each other and their friends before they said “I do.”

Chuck and Cotrena (who met through a friend aka one of the most hyped Best Men we’ve ever met) had the biggest bridal party we’ve shot. That was definitely a fun challenge to take photos when everybody had already been pregaming before the ceremony. BUT we’ve never met a group of friends that were all so genuinely happy and confident in the Bride and Groom’s love for each other and so dedicated to making sure they had fun the entire day.

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