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A Vintage Backyard Carnival Wedding

November 10, 2015

With tears in his eyes, she walked toward him, glittering in the Southern California sun like a 1940s dream in a homemade gold sequin dress. Surrounded by most of their dearest friends and family in the backyard of her childhood home, they were serenaded by a solo guitarist to “Wagon Wheel” and a few other favorite jams. Dan + Michelle’s vintage backyard carnival wedding in Menifee this past weekend was the stuff that just make our hearts so happy.

Not only are they simply amazing people, truly wonderful from the inside out, but they have the most amazing families and some of the coolest friends – many of which flew halfway around the world to witness their intimate backyard wedding. Their wedding theme – the vintage carnival – was a nod to their first official date, where Dan took Michelle to the OZ circus, and their date – November 7th – was because they celebrate their love every month on the seventh day.

We knew from the very first Skype date that we had with Dan + Michelle were meant to be part of our lives. We have so much in common that we just felt this instant connection with them and from that point earlier this year, we looked forward to this wedding. Even though they were planning their wedding from all the way in Australia, we knew it would come together so beautifully … but we had NO idea just how beautiful and amazing their vintage backyard carnival wedding would come together. All of the details were carefully integrated from both Dan + Michelle, with the help of Michelle’s parents Trudie + Gary, and Dan’s mother Carol – every game, every sign, every carnival-inspired detail was completely made by hand over the last few months. The invitations? Hand designed by Dan’s amazingly talented sister, Jaqi (she’s the artist behind CreativeQ in Australia!). Even the Australian mud cake (which was artfully covered with white fondant) was made with love at home (Carol did an amazing job on it, didn’t she?!). And knowing that Dan is a professional musician (check out his Australian heavy metal band, The Amenta), we knew the music would be outstanding! Their friend Cass played beautifully, serenading everyone throughout the day.

Our favorite detail – among the multitudes – were the gifts that Dan surprised Michelle with (every hour, on the hour, up until the start of the ceremony). The gifts included maps of where they fell in love, a handmade comic book detailing the last 2 years since they met, the golden ticket that said “I can’t wait to kiss you” when Michelle scratched it off … but our favorite was the surprise love note that Dan wrote on the bottom of her shoe. It’s just the sweet little things that they do for each other that just – well, they just make us happy. And that Ferris wheel?! SO RAD!

Every wish that Michelle had for her dream wedding came true – from the beautifully romantic ceremony, to the fun ruckus of a reception filled with lots of dancing – all of their wishes came true. Our favorite moment of the reception was when John Farnham’s “You’re the Voice” came on, and all of Dan’s Aussie friends and family hopped onto the dance floor into a big circle, singing and laughing, dancing and having just the best time ever.

We’re so thrilled for our dear friends, Dan + Michelle – congratulations on your beautiful wedding and marriage! Here are just a few of our favorites from your big day!

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Vendor + DIY Love

Venue // Private Residence, Menifee CA

Planner // DIY (with help from Trudie, Michelle’s mom!)

Floral // Sweet Petals Florist

Bridal Hair + Makeup // Lyndsay Strong

Bridal Gown // DIY

Groom’s Attire // Politix

Bridesmaids Dresses // David’s Bridal

Groomsmen Suits // ASOS

Engagement Tattoos // Ocean Ink, Australia

Bridal Jewelry // Tiffany’s + Etsy

Officiant // Johnny Gundry

Solo Guitarist // Cassidy “Cass” Mack Rife

DJ // Dj David Pace

Cake // DIY (Carol, Dan’s mom!)

Catering // In-N-Out Burger

Invitations // Jaqi Quinlan, CreativeQ

Videographer // Amanda Madeline Videography

Photo Booth // DIY

Rentals // Heirloom Rentals + Abby Party Rentals

Ferris Wheel // Carnival Services

Carnival Games // DIY (Gary, Michelle’s dad, did an AMAZING job!)

If you’d like to take a look at Amanda Madeline Studios film of Dan + Michelle’s wedding, check it out below!

Michelle + Dan from Amanda Madeline Studios on Vimeo.

All photos by Randy + Ashley Durham, a husband-and-wife wedding photography team, located in Southern California. We specialize in intimate weddings for the joyful romantic, and we’re available for travel all over the United States!

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  1. […] past weekend not only had the amazing vintage carnival wedding, but, we also got to celebrate with our lovely friends Devon and Carl for their convalidation […]

  2. […] absolutely loved everything about Dan + Michelle’s backyard carnival wedding from last November, and we were honored to be included in Bridal Guide Magazine’s latest […]

  3. Leslie Ann says:

    Super job on the images Ashley!! Crazy cool theme and very well put together!

  4. kandi says:

    Beautiful job! I love love love it!!! You’re amazing!

  5. Jyn Armstrong says:

    I’m obsessed with that standing ring shot #ringshotgoals

    This wedding is so amazing. Holy crap! Gorgeous!!!

  6. Sjaan Outhuyse says:

    very beautiful photos! a night we wont forget with the most beautiful bride!

  7. Joyce Smit says:

    Love the pictures. Just beautiful. My favorite is the one with Dan & Michelle in front of the ferris wheel at night.

  8. Heather Natalie Stoneking says:

    Beautiful theme, gorgeous wedding photos.

  9. MaryAnn Fry says:

    Beautiful wedding!! The photos are just stunning! I have never seen a carnival wedding. So thoughtful and it looks like a whole lot of fun!!!!! Congratulations to the bride and groom. Many blessing to you two. What a wonderful way to start your lifes together!

  10. Emily says:

    What an amazing wedding theme!! I absolutely adore it!! You did a phenomenal job capturing the details and vibrancy in addition to the gorgeous couple’s joy on their big day!! 🙂

  11. What a gorgeous Menifee wedding! I love the carnival theme – perfectly executed and it had to be such a fun wedding to attend! Amazing work, and congrats to the bride and groom!

  12. Misty says:

    How fun!!!!! I love all their details!! They really thought of everything! And a ferris wheel!?! What!

  13. Mallory says:

    WHAT! This is beyond perfect! Gorgeously captured, perfect details, and can I just say, that is the happiest couple, ever!

  14. Karen Kuehner says:

    Beautiful photos! It was an awesome perfect wedding!

  15. Case Van Mechelen says:

    It was great to be part of this unusable and beautiull wedding. You two look great. The location and the Carnival setting was unbelievable. Thank for letting us enjoy and be part of your celebration. Much Love from Tia and me.

  16. Denielle Abihider says:

    Can’t find the right words to say! Wow!!! It was amazing. So fun, romantic, festive, creative but most of all very beautiful expression of the love between the two of you and your family and friends. Best wishes for a lifetime of happiness. P.S. Absolutely adore your mom and dad Michelle! You came from good stock.

  17. Carla Tarfon says:

    Omg this is all so beautiful!! I love it all, very happy for you.

  18. Alexandra Davletshina says:

    Beautiful photos! Congrats! 🙂

  19. Sharon Valencia Boots says:

    Great wedding! So Happy for you Mick!

  20. Trudie Strong says:

    Thank you Randy and Ashley! These pictures are amazing. My favorite though is of Randy diving into the circle and taking a group photo of us dancing to John Farnham!! We will enjoy looking at these awesome and fun wedding photos for a long time to come. You captured the event beautifully

  21. Alyssa Mandas says:

    I am blown away! Stunning. I love that it’s so unique and done so perfectly! Congrats Michelle and Dan!

  22. Jenna Mobly says:

    These are seriously beyond amazing. All of the beauty, joy, and love of the day have been wonderfully preserved for all to remember forever. I feel so lucky to have been a part of Dan and Michelle’s amazing day. They are truly inspiring. And Randy and Ashley, you guys rocked these photos out of the park. Thank you for the care and dedication you put in to these for such an amazing and deserving couple!

  23. Lindsey Zivalic says:

    Amazing!

  24. Jaqi Quinlan says:

    Absolutely stunning!!! A spectacular Wedding for an amazing couple, expressed through beautiful photo memories 🙂 Love it all! Xxx

  25. Michelle Strong says:

    Dying over here! Just love all the photos! You guys are amazing! Wish I had an In N Out burger now while I relive the night through the photos 🙂

  26. Dan Quinlan says:

    Love it! All of it! Amazing! Thank you all so much.

  27. Frank Quinlan says:

    What can i say, it was an amazing wedding and a fantastic day, we had the best time ever. All your dreams came true with the wedding. We all had the most beautiful day and everybody was so happy as you can see in the wonderful photos

  28. Danielle Boots says:

    Such a fun and beautiful wedding! Thanks for having us.

  29. Shariya Skimin says:

    Congratulations. Your wedding was beautiful, you’re so lucky to have such bueatuful pictures to remember your special day!

  30. Kelly Eurton says:

    Beautiful…..

  31. Lyndsay Strong says:

    Awesome wedding!! Gorgeous bride and groom… And amazing photos!!

  32. Shebli Nikkole Huston says:

    Gorgeous!!!

  33. Russ n Diane Thiessen says:

    May your lives blossom together for eternity. Thanks for allowing us the pleasure of witnessing your matrimony. May God Bless you both and your marriage!!

  34. Evan + Lee says:

    So beautiful! I love the photos! And her dress!

  35. Stefani Ciotti says:

    Excuse me while I tear up over here…… What a beautiful story. So much love put into this day and you captured it absolutely perfectly – truly stunning!

  36. Nicole wells says:

    Incredible!!!!

  37. Such a beautiful wedding!

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I'm Ashley! Family and wedding photographer in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, but I travel all over the country to hang out with the most incredible people. I am obsessed with puppies, extra hot coffee, incredible light and firmly believe that love conquers all.

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