This past March, we had the incredible opportunity to document the opening of the Seacrest Studios at CHOC Children’s. Over the past severals years, the Ryan Seacrest Foundation has been building broadcast media centers in pediatric hospitals across the country. These incredible studios give patients within the confines of the hospital the ability to explore and learn all about radio, television, and new media. Local college radio disc jockeys entertain on CHOC’s own in-hospital radio station and patients can come down to the studio to learn the ins and outs of the control room. Children who are too sick to leave their beds can call in to the studio and make special requests for songs. Touches like these make you forget that you are even in a hospital at all. . . perhaps the ultimate goal behind CHOC’s stunning new tower in the first place. Starting in Ryan’s hometown of Atlanta, Seacrest Studios now reside in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, and now Orange County with the ribbon cutting and unveiling of Seacrest Studios at CHOC.

While the call time required a bright and early wakeup call, this project was worth every minute of sleep lost. When we get the chance to work on films like this one, it puts some of our own problems and daily tribulations into perspective. Another reminder that every day is a gift and our health is always something to be thankful for.

She found him in Italy. He didn’t speak English.

He moved to California and stayed with her Grandpa. . . to learn English. . . or so he said.

The rest as they say, is why we were given the incredible opportunity to put together a fun and uplifting Same Day Edit for their wedding day this past Saturday up in Los Gatos at the beautiful and serene Nestldown Estate. Filled with a multitude of threads, this day provided so many fun story lines that we had the chance to follow, including the sweet tooth that both Leo and Jessica now share.

As Leo is from Italy, it is customary to have sweets for breakfast, thus the opening sequence that you’ll see as we open up their story at the local bakery where Jessica and Leo have become a fixture on the weekends. As the guys enjoyed their Napoleons in the morning, Jessica and Leo wrote their notes to one another to be exchanged at the first look.

Tying this entire SDE film together is Jessica’s Grandpa, who as it turns out, was the first one to spot the love that was in its infancy at the time of Leo’s arrival to the states. Having Grandpa preside over the ceremony was symbolic in so many ways, not least of which was his first hand account of how it all began. Thus, sit back and enjoy the international story that belongs to Leo and Jessica as it was shown this past Saturday evening at their wedding reception. . .

Everyone has their “thing”. That “thing” that everyone else knows about you and associates with you. Derek’s “thing” is the ocean and more specifically, surfing.

The best part about finding the right partner in life is that they become just that, a partner. Someone who doesn’t hold you back, but bolsters you when you need it and loves you for all of your traits and the “things” that you are known for. Michelle knows that while she is Derek’s true love, surfing is his first love . . . so with that in mind she went and secretly had a custom surfboard made by Derek’s longtime shaper as a wedding gift for her husband-to-be. As Michelle gave Derek the board the night before the wedding, there was no question that Derek, along with his lifelong friend and best man, Adam, would take the gift out for a session at their longtime spot along the River Jetties first thing the morning of the big day.

Just as they always have, year after year since they were kids. . . same spot, same time, new board. . . compliments of Michelle.

Jennefer and Michael’s big day was circled on our calendar for over a year. After months of Skype conversations, an in person get together when they came out the to west coast, and some frantic phone calls the week before the wedding due to a serious storm coming through, the wedding day did not disappoint. But, what you need to know is that this venue came to fruition 3 days before the wedding and almost 100 miles away from where it was originally set to take place.

For months, the plan was to have this day in an open park, minutes from where Jennefer and Michael live. Flooded with details unique to only these two, Jennefer and Michael set out (in perhaps their most unique and ambitious idea of all) to have one table for the entire reception. One, very long table open and airy in the middle of a park. So grand in nature, but so simple when you think about it. Friends, family, bride and groom, sharing a meal all at one table. We were SOOOO excited about the concept and couldn’t wait to film it. Ideas ran through our head about framing, storylines, shot structure. . . and then, the rain came. At first, it may have been upsetting, but we are firm believers that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. . .even in Texas.

It speaks volumes about who people are when they are placed under pressure in the tightest of situations and how they react to that stress. To have your wedding venue CHANGED within days of the wedding is perhaps one of the most stressful situations we could ever imagine, yet these two took it in stride and landed one of the most unique, charming, and incredible venues we have ever had the privilege to film at. Not to mention that upon our arrival, Jennefer and Michael were ear to ear smiles jubilant with excitement and oblivious to any weather situation. This was to be the best day of their lives and we all knew and embraced it.

Nestled in the back roads outside of Dallas lies Thistle Springs Ranch, a wonderful gem of a location that couldn’t have been more fitting for Jennefer and Michael’s day if they tried. During their first look, which took place under a covered gazebo, as the wind and rain came pounding down outside, Jennefer and Michael looked around and shared a couple words, which spoke volumes about their relationship and could be a lesson to us all. Jennefer looked at Michael and said, “It’s not what I imagined. . .it’s better”. Sometimes life is going to have a plan for you and you will have to adapt and accept it. . . and if you can work through that plan with a smile on your face, and your soulmate beside you. . . life will be good. . .very good, indeed. Deer feeder and all.

What we love most about Elijah and Diana is that they are passionate. Passionate about their careers, passionate about the details and timing of their wedding, passionate when they tell jokes, passionate about the  family surrounding them, and passionate about one another. So passionate in fact, that they struggled endlessly to keep it together during their vows, but let’s be honest. . . . that’s what it’s all about, right?

There is a lot that can be learned about people simply by the way that they act, the things that they do, and the company they keep. Originally from Hawaii, Elijah is as laid back a guy as you’ll find. Thus, it came as no surprise to us that the guys surrounding him as he got ready were warm, friendly and just as excited as Elijah for the wedding. Diana made a point to wear a ring that originally belonged to her Grandfather bearing the family crest; A distinctive choice that speaks volumes to her love of family and those closest to her.

It wasn’t long into our initial conversation with these two that we learned Diana is the planner (she kept us up to the minute on her timelines and “Run-of-Show” schedules as she likes to call them). While this day was scheduled to the second, there was still time for this couple to dote in the reality that they were about to get married. Elijah took the extra time to go for the old fashioned shave, which clearly he enjoyed and as Diana got ready, we learned that these two joke that “Hearts were coming out of their eyes” when they met each other for the first time. If only we could have been there to witness that moment because if it was anything like the look on Elijah’s face as he saw Diana come down the aisle for the first time during the ceremony. . . . it would have been a sight to see for sure.

These two can be summed up in two simple words, that coincidentally can also be found engraved inside of Elijah’s wedding band. Better Together.

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