2016 has been a year of great travels and tremendous, soul enriching experiences.
I met incredible people and made new friends for life.
For those of you who do not know this about me, I love working with animals as well, horses in particular. My equine photographic projects brought me to some incredible places in this world. One of my favorite areas on our continent is the American West. I was in Wyoming US this summer when I had the unexpected chance to cross paths with two incredible human beings: Melinda and John.
We had an immediate connection, the kind one experiences whenever things are ‘meant to be’.
Highly intelligent and profoundly spiritual, not to mention accomplished in their careers, they are people one wants to be around and share life stories with.
Melinda and John have known each other since childhood. As it happens sometimes, life sent them in different directions and somehow, years later, fate brought them together once again. And here they are now, married, as best friends and soulmates. Sharing a very special, deep understanding, appreciation and love for each other.
When they asked me “would you travel to Texas to photograph our wedding?”, my heart filled up with so much joy and gratitude. Melinda was so excited to show me photos of their chosen wedding venue: the incredible Rusty Barn at the Ranch, located 10 minutes away from their home in Anna, Texas. I absolutely love barns, ranches, anything with a Western, rustic feel. Therefore, I had one more reason to feel super excited. And of course, seeing the location in person was an exhilarating, inspiring experience. Built from scratch with recycled materials and decorated in high taste with original Western antiques , the barn is a photographer’s dream.
Melinda’s unbelievable talent and vision added a wonderful layer of colour and texture, everything looked incredibly beautiful the day of. The wedding ceremony was touching, as the bride and groom gifted each other with heart warming surprises: Melinda arranged for Josh Groban’s song, ‘You lift me up’, to be played for John, right before her coming down the isle, while John sang to his bride a few minutes before the ceremony was over. There wasn’t one dry eye in the audience!
John loves to sing and play spoons (one has to go to Texas to experience that!). The band, all long time friends, has entertained the guests until late that night and everyone shared a fantastic time.
One of the highlights of this incredible Texan experience was spending time with Melinda’s amazing horse, Cinnabar, a 20 yr old Arabian gelding. They have been together for 13 years and I felt truly blessed to photograph them together and capture their special bond on camera. I added a few of their photos to the blog, as they were a big part of the story.
Hope the images below will give everyone a good glimpse into a very special time spent with an incredible group of people. Hope to return soon!
Wishing Melinda and John many years of happiness, health and great adventures. With love and appreciation, Manuela.
Beatriz Muniz, wedding coordinator extraordinaire at the Rusty Barn on The Ranch
Bride’s & Bridesmaids’ dresses: Marrika Nakk
Bride’s boots: Old Gringo Boots
Hair and makeup: Aime Olinsky-Daily of Kiss and Makeup (McKinney)
Flowers, bouquets & decor: Melinda Pettingill
Wedding officiant: Robert Till
Wedding cakes: Nothing Bundt Cakes
Vilonist: Hailey Sandoz
Guitarist: Justin Till
Band members: Fritz Schultz, Kevin Deal, Rory Payne, Justin Till (guitar), Bob Penhall (base fiddle), Hailey Sandoz (violin), Rick Hood (steel pedal guitar) and John Hardin (spoons).