by Jenn

Thanks to everyone who filled out a tag with ideas of places to go or helpful tips.  Here are a few, and we would still love more ideas if you’ve got em!  =)

The List: Table Questions

by Jeff McNeil
  1. What is Jeff and Jenn’s hotel chain of choice? (Marriott)
    Do you know them all?

    Do you know them all?

  2. Where was Jeff and Jenn’s first dinner date? (Salt Creek Grille)
  3. Where did Jeff propose? (West /or/ Hotel Angeleno)
  4. What TV show do Jeff and Jenn watch every night before going to sleep? (Friends)
  5. Name the two things Jenn collects? (Rubber Duckies and Barbies)
  6. On most weekends, Jeff and Jenn take photos of what? (weddings)
  7. Who is Jeff’s favorite Disney character? (Jessica Rabbit)
  8. Who is Jenn’s favorite Disney character? (Donald Duck)
  9. Why did Jeff and Jenn go to Albuquerque? (Hot Air Balloon Fiesta)
  10. Where are Jeff and Jenn going this December? (Paris)
  11. How many photos are on the walls of Jeff and Jenn’s apartment? (123)
  12. What was the first trip Jeff and Jenn took by plane? (New Mexico / Albuquerque)
  13. What was the first trip Jeff and Jenn took by train? (Seattle)
  14. What was the first trip Jeff and Jenn took by boat? (Mexico)
  15. What was the first trip Jeff and Jenn took by automobile? (Joshua Tree)
  16. How many states have Jeff and Jenn been to together? (12) California, Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Oregon, Washington, Nevada
  17. What is Jeff’s middle name? (Anton)
  18. Whose car is cleaner? (Jeff’s)
  19. How many kids do Jeff and Jenn want? (One)
  20. What did Jeff and Jenn take photos of on their first photo date? (meteor shower)
  21. Who does Jenn sleep to the left of every night? (David Copperfield /or/ Viggo Mortensen – in a picture frame)
  22. Name two sci-fi shows Jeff watches. (Star Wars Clone Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, Firefly)

The Wedding Play List

by Jeff McNeil
The Dance Music
The Dance Music

For those who have been asking here is the song list for our wedding:

First Dance: “Two is better than one” by Boys Like Girls featuring Taylor Swift
Married Couple Dance: “Always and Forever” by Luther Vandross
Mother/Son Dance: “Hold Her Closer” by Blessid Union of Souls
Father/Daughter Dance: “Stealing Cinderella” by Chuck Wicks
Cake Cutting Song: “Only want to be with you” by Hootie and the Blowfish
Bouquet Toss Song: “Girls just wanna have fun” by Cyndi Lauper
Jeff & Jenn’s speech walk-up: “I want you to want me” by Letters to Cleo
Garter Toss Song: “Love in an elevator” by Aerosmith
Dollar Dance songs: “If I had a million dollars” by Barenaked Ladies, “Brand New Day” by Sting, “Complainte De La butte” by Rufus Wainwright

Jenn’s Letter From the Soul to Jeff

by Jenn

Celtic Handfasting – Tying the Knott

My Dearest Jeff~

From the moment I first met you, I knew you were special.  As cheeseball as the sounds, it is true.  It wasn’t love at first sight but it was something.  You charmed me.  You listened to me, you made me feel comfortable, and you created a sort of fantasy in my mind of what life could be like with you in it.

I will never forget our first outing together.  It wasn’t a date, but it was magical.  It was the first of the many travels we have had and will continue to have and my mother may have thought I was crazy, but you’ll be glad to know she doesn’t think that now.  We didn’t go far but that fantasy you created started to come to life when you took me to Joshua Tree.  I felt like I was in a whole new world.  And actually it was like the land of Aladdin and Jasmin – away from city lights with a view of more stars than I had ever seen before.

And that is what your love has done for me on a continuous basis – it takes me away: from work, from stress, from anxiety – to places of peace, excitement, fun and adventure.  I know I can go anywhere with you, but even being at home and lying in your arms is a place of serenity for me.

I hope we continue to travel the world but always come back to the home we have made together: a happy and loving place where we can grow old.  Though our address may change, my home will always be where you and I sit on the couch to talk about each day’s events, cook dinner for friends and family, and raise a family of our own one day.

I love you Jeff, more than I can ever explain, and I promise to continue to love you and add some fun to your life.  I will do whatever I can to help us “live long and prosper” as Spock would say, because I love you for the nerd that you are.  You may make me cry but you make me laugh so much more.

You are the sweetest man I’ve ever known and no one loves me like you do.  I will return that love as best I can and make you proud.  I promise to support you in everything you wish to do in life: succeed at work, buy a house, and travel because I know you will continue to support me as well.  I need you, forever, and I know this is the start of our forever together.

I promise to love you forever, no matter what happens.  And I promise to remember your love for me as well.  I do promise we will fight, but also that we will get through it.  And most of all I promise to keep living our lives together focusing on what makes us the most happy: setting and reaching our goals, traveling the world, and holding each other close on cold nights.

I cannot wait to start our lives together as husband and wife.  My heart and soul belong to you, Jeffrey Anton, for forever.

A Letter from Jeff’s Soul to Jennifer

by Jeff McNeil

To my love,

3 years, 10 months, 30 days and this morning, that is how long I have known that we were going to be together.  From the clear star lit night in Joshua Tree, I have known you were the girl for me.  I remember that night like it was yesterday, the faint glow over the horizon of Palm Springs and the bone chilling cold of the desert darkness.  I will always treasure that first night together in the back of the Jeep talking and taking photos until the early morning hours.

You and I started our path together as friends with a common passion for photography and it has blossomed into love of photography with a passion for each other.  I adore our photo books you make every year of the places we go and events we see.  It helps to show me how much my life has changed since you came into it.  I am happier than I ever have been, more fulfilled in life and love and most of all more confident in the future now that you are by my side.

I would not change any part of how we got to this moment here in Dana Point.  For I know that everything I was, everything I am and everything that I will be was meant to happen so that I could be with you for forever. I know not what is in store for us in the future but knowing you are with me means that everything will turn out picture perfect.

Over the past years I have seen the image of me in your family come more into focus.  I want to give back some of the love and support your family has extended me over the years.  I want to be part of the fun Uncle Jeff & Aunt Jenn summer vacations that George will take when he is old enough.  I am ready to be part of your family if you will accept me.

From Hawaii to New Orleans, Mexico to Seattle I know that wherever your soul goes, mine yearns follow.  I need you Jennifer McNeil.  I need you like the desert needs the rain.  I need you for all the starry nights we will have in the future.  I will follow you anywhere, and I will be sure to not forget the camera.

I pledge this to you my love, my wife, Jennifer McNeil with all my heart and soul


Scott Land – Photographer

by Jeff McNeil
Scott Land

Scott Land

What can I say about Scott Land? www.scottlandphotography.com  I feel that the 3 of us (Scott, Jenn and myself) have spent enough time together over the past few weeks to not jsut have a professional relationship but a good friendship.

I first met Scott at a bridal expo in Newport Beach.  He had a photo booth he was including in his packages.  Jenn loved the photo booth idea.  When we got engaged we thought of some of our friends who could shoot the wedding, but really wanted them not to be working that day.  We contacted Scott and hired him the day we met for lunch.  He was our 1st interview and the one we wanted to shoot our wedding.  As luck would have it, he had Oct 16th open. I am sure that if he was busy that weekend, we might have had to reschedule the wedding.

Scott me with us several more times for brain storming and walk-throughs of photo sites.  All in all I am sure we met up with him 6 or more times.  Each time we felt more open and comfortable with his style of shooting and fun ideas.  Being photographers ourselves we knew some fun shots too and bounced ideas off of each other.

The day of the wedding him and his 2nd photgrapher John, did an amazing job.  I am very impressed with the photos so far.  Scott got some great angles of the ladies and John had some fun shots with the guys.  I can’t believe that he threw his camera in the air to get some photos of the big group of us.  The fun the wedding party was having was because of Scott’s fun photo ideas and wedding party’s willingness to do slightly crazy things.

At the reception Scott excused himself for a short time to edit some photos to put up on a 22″ iMac he brought.  It was fun to show the wedding guests the early day prep and other angles of the ceremony.  I can’t wait to see the reception photos.  After the night was over and he was off the clock, we sat down with him in Salt Creek Grille.  He had a fun full day with Jenn and I.  We felt the same.  It was a great day, awesome photos and I hope to use him in the future for my great photo session ideas.  Anyone know of a large water fountain to re-create the opening credits of FRIENDS?

I am more than happy to provide a glowing referal for Scott. If you want to use him for your event photography, go to www.scottlandphotography.com

My first thoughts on how I am going to propose…

by Jeff McNeil


Hotel Angeleno

Hotel Angeleno

So I have been thinking over the past 2 years about exactly how to propose to Jenn.  I have the following ideas:

It would start with a limo pickup of her friend Laura under the pre-text of a day of shopping and dinner/dancing paid for by my new promotion at work.  The limo will then pick up Jenn at the apartment and take the two of them to a shopping center. Which shopping center depends on what locations have all the stores to provide a completely new outfit for Jenn to be wearing when I propose that night at dinner.  I will provide a gift card to Laura with enough money to cover a new dress, shoes, hair/makeup and accessories for Jenn.  I will also give a little to Laura to enjoy the day and not just be a chaperon.  I am hoping to find a mall with a WhiteHouse/BlackMarket, nail and hair salon and Macy’s.  The girls will have all afternoon to get pretty and dressed up.  Jenn will think it is for a nice dinner and then going to a lounge/club in Hollywood to party.

West Restaurant & Lounge

West Restaurant & Lounge

The limo will take them to West a restaurant on the 17th floor of Hotel Angeleno in Los Angeles.  It is the round looking hotel next to the 405 freeway near the Getty Center.  I love the views from high floor restaurants.  There once was a restaurant called “Windows” at the top of the former Transamerica building in downtown Los Angeles that I loved to go to.  However now that restaurant has been converted into several top floor condos.  Other restaurants which were under consideration were Encounter at LAX (the alien looking building) and a steak house LA Prime on the top of the Los Angeles Bonaventure Hotel.  I chose West because of the view of the freeway and Westwood.  Jenn and Laura will meet me and Jenn’s mom Marge for dinner at West where I will propose as she arrives at the table.  We will all have a lovely dinner, talk, laugh and enjoy the view.

After dinner, Marge will drive Laura home and Jenn and I will stay at the Hotel Angeleno for the night and drive home in my car the next day.  Breakfast in bed, relaxing by the pool and being together on our first day of the rest of our lives together.  This is my plan, this is my hope and I hope to have it pulled together soon.

Permission: Check, Ring: Check, Plan: Pending

by Jeff McNeil

permissionWell this last Friday, April 30th, I asked Jenn’s mom Marge for permission to marry Jenn.  I was given a resounding yes.  It was a very awkward moment for me to be doing so.  I am sure it will feel better when I ask Jenn.  My heart will be pounding for sure at that moment.  Apparently over the weekend Jenn said that Marge couldn’t stop giving me enough praise.  I hope Marge keeps her secret.  I know her and Jenn talk on a daily basis, well more like an hourly basis.  So it will be interesting to see how long Marge can keep this under wraps.  I also need to move on to my next phase which is planning the event. I will be sure to write more about that later.  As for now, I am just glad I got the “A OK” from mom.  I feel that is the best way to do it since Jenn and her mother are so close.

Preparing myself for the big plunge

by Jeff McNeil
White Gold Wedding Set

White Gold Wedding Set

I have just got back from the Jewelry Exchange where I had the ring cleaned and re-plated in rhodium.  The ring is very shiny and I hope to upload some images soon to show the ring to everyone, and of course you will all see it when it is on her finger.  As for now, I am getting things together to talk to her mom who is down here in OC for a few days.  I hope to have some time alone with her and ask for her permission.

The first meeting: Jenn and the ring

by Jeff McNeil
Whitehall Jewelers Storefront

Whitehall Jewelers, where the ring was purchased

Back in October 2008, Jenn and I were wandering a mall in Westminster near our apartment.  I suggested that we enter the store to look at potential rings for a way, way way in the future purpose (wedding or otherwise).  She picked out several and tried them on.  A few she liked and a few she loved.  We did this sort of thing to benefit me, I would have to pick out a ring eventually and I wanted it to be one she loved.  I didn’t want her to just like it, but to love it.  I used these jewelry store visits to learn very valuable information about what ring Jenn would eventually want.

  • White gold is preferable to yellow gold.  Platinum was too expensive she said.
  • She likes fancy rings or rings with the tri-diamond setting.
  • Her favorite diamond cut is the princess cut for how radiant it is in the light, not for the mere name of the cut.
  • She likes ring sets that fit against and not purchased or created separately.

Over the prior weeks and months to the purchase I used the short list of requirements to try and find the perfect ring for Jenn.  It was very hard and sometimes quite frustrating. However this evening Jenn found one she loved.  I made a mental note of it and we left to store without buying the ring.

While on the way to the car, her and I got into a heated argument about how cruel it was to bring her into jewelry stores only to tease her with trying on rings.  I knew that it really helped em to find what she would want, she saw it as teasing her. The end result was that I was no longer going to take her into jewelry stores to look at rings, pearls, bracelets or anything gold, silver or glittery.