Rachel Leber, 30, and Mike Finn, 32, worked at neighboring stores in Downtown Disney. After they met in 2007 over a borrowed ladder, it took Mike two weeks to find the courage to ask Rachel to coffee. Little did he know, she was in the midst of a breakup. Rachel turned him down, but she recalls, “I did leave him with this last line, ‘I have a boyfriend right now, but you never know.’ ” Soon Rachel was single and Mike took her on their first date: lunch and a plunge on the Tower of Terror. A few years later, Rachel, a wedding planner, and Mike, a real estate investment adviser, took a different sort of plunge and married in front of
100 guests. —Julie Mashburn
Serenity Oaks Ranch
Photography by True Photography Weddings, September 7, 2012
In lieu of naming one friend to the role of maid of honor, Rachel decided to have her bridal party be bridesmaids of honor. Mike reserved the role of best man for Joe Cayan, his best friend who passed away five years ago. In memory of Joe, he wore the initials “J.C.” on his tie bar.
Saved from a friend’s junk pile in 2008, the window frames served as artwork in the couple’s home until they became a unique part of the wedding décor.
The ranch setting reminded the bride and groom of their childhoods in Ohio and Ramona. Rachel, a wedding planner, originally looked at the property for a client. When she stepped on site, she knew it was the place she would marry Mike.
“Mike and I are fun-loving, goofy people and we wanted our photos to be lighthearted,” explains the bride. Their venue had a dirt track behind the barn, and Aaron from True Photography set up the shot before Mike and Rachel even walked down the aisle. The soaring motorcycle cleared the bride and groom’s heads by inches.
Rachel and Mike wanted to surprise the guests. Instead of tossing a bouquet, the groom put on an Ohio State garter that the bride took off. She wore a Lakers garter for him to remove and the couple threw them at the same time. Rachel says, “I have never seen this done before, and I do weddings for a living!”
Mike wore his mother’s wedding ring in his boutonniere. Mike used that same ring to propose to Rachel on what happened to be the exact day that her parents got engaged 29 years earlier.
As the wedding was winding down, the guests were invited to enjoy s’mores. Each guest also received a brownie pop handmade by the bride. “It took a lot of time to bake and wrap 100 brownie pops but it was so worth it to have something personal that I did for the wedding,” says Rachel.
The bride wore a Tara Keely lace dress with a scalloped lace sweetheart neckline, dropped waist, and three lace tiers to make up the skirt. Rachel styled it with a belt to add pizzazz to the waistline.
GET THEIR STYLE
- Coordination: Rachel Finn, I Do . . . Weddings & Events
- Photography: True Photography Weddings
- Ceremony and reception: Serenity Oaks Ranch
- Florals: Blush Botanicals
- Catering: Continental Catering
- DJ: JD Musik
- Gown: Tara Keely
- Shoes: RSVP
- Cake: Sweet Cheeks Baking Company
- Paper elements: BRIDES Wedding Collection
- Calligraphy: Wendy Ware Designer
- Hair and makeup: An Updo For You
- Rentals: Concepts Event Design, Chiavari Chair Rentals
- Officiant: James Murray