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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Connelly

Zachary & Jessica's Wedding at The Forest House Lodge

Nestled amongst the whispering pines of Foresthill, CA, an enchanted scene unfolded in August. Here, under the dappled sunlight and rustling leaves, Zachary and Jessica pledged their hearts in a ceremony woven with rustic charm and sophistication.

An intimate ceremony began as the sun cast warm hues on the gathered faces. Morgan Wallen's soulful ballad "In The Bible" set the tone, followed by Ben E. King's timeless "Stand By Me" as Zachary escorted his mother to her seat.

Then, to the tune of Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing," the wedding party entered, radiating excitement for the couple embarking on this new chapter. Flower girls and ring bearers skipped down the aisle, their faces alight with innocence, before all eyes turned to the radiant Jessica.

Gracefully gliding to the melody of a violin cover of Sam Smith's "Stay With Me," Jessica appeared as a vision of ethereal beauty. Rick, Zachary's father, officiated the ceremony, his words echoing with the love and pride woven into their family tapestry.

The ceremony was amazing, with Jessica and Zachary sharing their love and commitment. Zachary’s father pronounced them husband and wife as a joyous explosion of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle” pumped out the speakers to welcome the couple as one.

The sun shifted a little lower in the sky as the guests returned to the outdoor back patio of the Forest House Lodge for a cocktail hour infused with some classics from Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, and Otis Redding.

The festivities kicked up a notch during introductions. With Haddaway's "What is Love?" blasting through the air, the wedding party took center stage, their individual introductions showcased with a different song for each couple. Finally, Zachary and Jessica were announced as "the newly married Jessica and Zachary," their grand entrance marked by the booming riffs of AC/DC's "Hells Bells."

Fueled by the adrenaline of the entrance, the wedding party let loose in a spirited flip cup competition to the pulsating beats of Darude's "Sandstorm.” To the victor go the spoils; this time, the groomsman took the trophy. I played DJ Khalid's "All I Do is Win” to signify their victory.

After cocktail hour, the focus shifted to a elegant dinner where Jessica and Zachary, bathed in the warm glow of of our amber up-lighting, welcomed their loved ones with a heartfelt message. Towards the end of dinner, the best man, Jerry, maid of honor & Jessica’s sister, Kristy, and both sets of parents reminisced about cherished memories and offered blessings for the future. The air shimmered with a palpable love that transcended words.

Then came the cake cutting. Laughter erupted as Zachary, with playful determination, fed Jessica a beautiful bite, the sweetness of the cake mirroring the sweetness of their bond. I’m not a huge fan of cake smashing; this moment was about love and I was happy the only thing in their faces was a smile.

With Florida Georgia Line's "Grow Old" setting the mood, Zachary and Jessica swayed into their first dance, their steps a silent promise of forever. Special dances with each parent, Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This" for Jessica and Steve, and Jordan Davis' "Next Thing You Know" for Zachary and Gail, followed, each one a tender expression of love and connection that spanned generations.

The night unfolded in a whirlwind of dancing with selections from Bad Bunny, Elvis Crespo, ZZ Top, Spice Girls, OMI & Felix Jaehn, Louis The Child, Drake, MIA, Montell Jordan, and a few selections from Morgan Wallen. Jessica and Zachary were OK with mash-ups and remixes, so I had the freedom to take their guests on a more unique and creative musical journey.

As the clock neared 11 pm, N-Sync's "Bye, Bye, Bye” was supposed to signal the final hurrah. After I played it, I heard a few “one more song" chants, so I took the opportunity and played a little longer. The little mini set went like this: DJ Khalid’s “All I Do Is Win,” The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside,” Blink 182’s “All The Small Things,” and finally closed it out with “Take Me Home, Country Road” by John Denver. 

Special note - There are two songs I stress about the most. The first one is the first song to open the dance floor. Not the slow one, but the first one with some energy. The other stress creator is the last of the night. This is the one that closes out the evening and is the most memorable for the guests. Should it be a slow jam, something with a wild level of energy, or a sing-along? I went with the John Denver Classic that night and felt I made the right decision. Everyone inside The Forest House Lodge was on the dance floor singing with arms over each other's shoulders in an epic display of love and happiness.

With one last embrace under the starry sky, Jessica and Zachary closed their wedding chapter, their hearts overflowing with memories etched in laughter, love, and the magical setting of Forest House Lodge.

This was not just a wedding; it was a celebration of love and family, a promise of a future, and a damn fun dance party. It was a fairytale written in the whispers of the pines of Foresthill.

And so, as the last notes of Mr. Denver's “Country Road" faded into the night, Zachary and Jessica stepped into their happily ever after, leaving behind a trail of sparkling memories and a dance floor that might need refinishing.

Vendors on-site for this one -

Planning - Clara at the Forest House

Photography - By Jessica C. Photo

Flowers - The Bloom Room


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