Where to even begin with this wedding! If you're looking for inspiration, you're in the right place. So many details - from the decor to the favors - were perfection. Add onto it the fact that both the bride and groom are competitive dancers who met at a jazz class, so of course they performed for their loved ones. It was such a fun wedding from beginning to end!
They Met in Jazz Class
In the spring of 2017, Michael and Natasha decided to take "Intro to Jazz" class while they were pursuing their respective bachelor degrees. Michael had recently discovered Lindy Hop and wanted to explore more Jazz dance vocabulary. Meanwhile, Natasha was simply taking dance class as an elective. Little did Michael know that the class would consist of Plié's and Chaînés turns and not the Suzie Q's and Fall off the Logs he was expecting. Michael and his roommate at the time Kenny (who had also registered for the class) were considering dropping the course when Kenny had gotten a surge of motivation from the teacher complimenting one of his moves.
During Week 3 of the class, Natasha's consequence for missing the previous class was to dance in front of the class. Natasha performed a few of her ballroom routines - the Cha Cha, Rumba, and Jive. Michael was interested in the dance style that Natasha had just performed and introduced himself after class that day. Quickly, Intro to Jazz became the class they both looked forward to the most each week and the rest is history.
Fast forward a few years later to the year we all remember fondly: 2020. (sarcasm!)
Michael wanted to turn that upside down year into a beautiful year for Natasha and himself. He dreamed up a memorable proposal that took months of planning.
Just as the pandemic got started, it was announced that the International Lindy Hop Championships were going virtual. Michael and Natasha decided to take advantage of their Big Bear COVID Cabin’s mountain scenery and entered the competition virtually. The newly-formed “Video Showcase” category gave contestants creative freedom to film and edit the submission in any way they would like. Michael loved the idea of proposing with a video element, and soon the proposal plan was in motion.
For Michael and Natasha, the next few months were filled with choreography and practice sessions. However, behind the scenes, Michael was sending out requests to some of the world’s top Lindy Hop dancers to film themselves dancing select solo portions of choreography.
When the choreography was finished, Alex Monaghan, a close high school friend of Michael’s, flew out to help Michael shoot the proposal scene of the video. The scene was framed and backlit by the soft ripples and setting sun of Big Bear Lake. To avoid suspicion, Alex arrived under the guise of simply helping film the video showcase. After a full weekend of shooting, Michael and Natasha were able to assemble and submit a final cut.
In the weeks that followed, Michael secretly edited an altered “Proposal Cut” of the video. He stitched the videos from the submitted solo dances together with the proposal scene surprise. Eventually, the final proposal video was ready!
On November 21st, 2020, Michael, Natasha, and their friends Stanley and Tina went on a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Natasha had no idea that Tina and Stanley were there as Michael's accomplices for the proposal. Michael repeatedly said that he wanted to record a “fun dance video” during sunset, so he brought a suit in the car to change into later that evening. Natasha was a little suspicious but still didn't know anything about the plan.
During golden hour on the summit of Keys View in Joshua Tree, Michael set up his camera for the "dance video" - which wasn't actually happening, of course. He pretended to have "technical difficulties," while actually focusing the camera on Natasha to record her reactions. This was Stanley and Tina's cue to get started with their end of the plan.
Stanley took out his own laptop to show Natasha the edited proposal video that Michael had worked on. She thought she was watching the dance video that she and Michael had worked on months earlier. Meanwhile, Tina secretly started a video call with both Michael and Natasha’s parents.
When the video started playing, Natasha became increasingly bewildered as the video she was watching became the edited proposal video. It was not at all what she expected.
Finally, at the end of the video, in synchronicity with the closing fanfare of the Brooks Prumo Orchestra’s rendition of “Dinah”, both physical and digital Michaels went down on one knee, radiant-cut diamond ring in hand. The rest is history.
Watch the final proposal video below.
Wedding at Ardenwood Farm
At the start of the day, we joined Natasha and her bridesmaids at Aloft Silicon Valley in Newark to photograph them while they got ready. After that, we headed to Ardenwood Farm for the first look.
Ardenwood Farm is one of our favorite wedding venues - it's a picturesque, historic location conveniently located in Fremont. We are able to get so many gorgeous photos here throughout the day, which included grabbing the couple while the sun was low in the horizon behind the treeline.
More highlights from the wedding that you may not get from the photos below:
The wedding favors were made from scratch by Natasha's wonderful mother. The guests loved taking home the sun-dried tomatoes and different jams.
During the reception, one of their guests suggested a "steal jam" - so much fun! During a steal jam, the bride and groom stand in the middle of the dance floor with the guests circled around them. While music plays, one by one the guests come in and dance with either the bride or groom until another guest steals them away. Natasha and Michael felt that it was a highlight of the night, since they got to dance with so many of their guests.
During cocktail hour, they had two friends come in who are also swing dance teachers - Calvin Lu and Samantha Nguyen. Their guests had a blast with this!
At the end of an exhausting, exhilarating, perfect evening, Natasha requested that they end the night at In-and-Out. Always a good choice!!
We highly recommend you check out their wedding video, which of course is filled with dancing and jazz: Natasha and Michael's wedding video, created by Capture Colour.
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