rachel + victor | CASA REAL WEDDING

Rachel and Victor’s wedding was some of the most fun I’ve ever had while photographing, and I’m still so amazed by the sheer number of events we managed to fit into this incredible day! The day kicked off early in the morning with Rachel and her sweet bridesmaids. It was so apparent how special each girl was to the bride. Rachel gifted each of her girlfriends a crystal candleholder in the shape of a blooming flower. Just as the bridesmaids finished helping each other into their flowing lilac dresses, and the bride put on her traditional Chinese qi pao, the groomsmen rolled into the neighborhood, bringing with them a taste of the uproarious fun that would carry us all through the entire day!

The festivities kicked off with a bang with traditional “door games” at Rachel’s home. If you’ve never heard of this before, this is where the groom and his attendants have to win over the bridesmaids in order to be allowed into the house where the bride is kept hiding! Rachel’s bridesmaids were NOT easily won! The groomsmen paid the bridesmaids traditional “hong bao” (red envelopes stuffed with cash), were hand-fed fiery sauce concoctions, and participated in hilarious dance-offs in the driveway!

After they finally earned their entry and we were done rolling on the ground in laughter (literally), Rachel and Victor hosted a traditional Chinese luncheon at the groom’s home, complete with delicious BBQ treats for all of their family and friends. The two also participated in a traditional tea ceremony, paying their respects to loved ones, both present and dearly departed.

After the luncheon and tea ceremony, we all made our way to Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery in Pleasanton for the wedding ceremony. After changing from her traditional Chinese dress into her western-style white gown, Rachel met Victor outside for a first look. Just as they saw each other, the sun broke through the clouds, setting Rachel aglow. The images, and the looks on their faces, were stunning and some of my favorite first look moments!

Just before the wedding began, I asked Rachel if there was any chance that Victor would cry. She told me that in all the years she has known him (since the 7th grade!) and the nine years they dated, she had only seen him cry maybe once, so chances were that there wouldn’t be any tears! But as soon as the music changed and Rachel prepared to round the corner and walk toward her groom, Victor couldn’t hold back the tears, causing his best man to clap and cheer…and me to burst into tears, as well.

The wedding of Rachel and Victor was filled with sidesplitting laughter, emotional tears, and through it all, an abundance of love. I hope you all enjoy the photos as much as I loved taking them!

Photographer: Cassie Valente Photography | Assistant Photographer: Catherine Leanne | Film Processing: Photovision | Hair + Makeup: Jessie Hoang | Rentals: Pleasanton Event Rentals | Lighting + Drapery: Fantasy Sound Event Services | Floral Design: The Flower House | Dress Boutique: Trudy’s Brides | Dress Designer: Sophia Tolli | Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss | Bridesmaids Dress Boutique: J’aime Bridal | Bridesmaids Dress Designer: Bill Levkoff | Venue: Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery | Cake Design: Taste of Denmark | Videographer: Collideskope | Photobooth: Impressions Photobooth | Transportation: Ambassador Limo Service

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