Welcome to my Blog!

I hope my notes will bring you joy and smiles, help with some useful tips, and  open up the world of travel for you!

With Love, Dasha

John & Wendy | Thousand Oaks Civic Center Secret Elopement

This Thousand Oaks Civic Center secret elopement is the one for the books! Why was it a secret? Well, let me tell you Wendy and John’s story!

My husband and I have known Wendy for many years. It was truly a pleasure to follow both of our families journeys in life: she cheered us on welcoming our son and we loved seeing her sons growing. When Wendy met John years ago, we were so happy they found each other. They just had that amazing glow together!

Their beginning is a Bumble success story that almost wasn’t. Wendy was going to shut down her account but scrolled through and found this handsome fireman in Simi Valley. Her message to him hadn’t gone through. With minutes left, she messaged him again and they started chatting. A few days later they went on a first date and this is what it was like according to Wendy:

“Our first look at each other felt like it was a scene straight from a movie. You know, when the couple make eye contact and look at each other and everyone around them freezes and nothing going on around them matters? Yep, that’s exactly what happened to each of us. We had the best first date ever, staying late and shutting down Don Cuco’s! A few nights later on our second date, he made me a fantastic dinner at his lovely “treehouse” apartment. The forever vibe was already being felt by both of us and on our third date John gave me the spare key to his place. Needless to say I never gave it back! I can’t believe that was 5 years ago!!”

They have been the best of friends and can spend hours talking and laughing. They can almost always finish each other’s sentences and constantly say to each other “get out of my head”. They moved in together just before the pandemic hit, and since then, they’ve only grown stronger, facing life’s challenges together as a united couple.

In April 2023 they got something that shook them to the core. Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer. When you are faced with this disease there are a lot of unknowns and an uncertain future. But one thing was certain for them: their commitment and love for one another. They knew it was time to make this official and face Wendy’s diagnosis united.

So they eloped! Wendy reached out to me to photograph this special day which I was honored to. The weather was just beautiful, with warm Californian sunshine brightening our minds and hearts. The wedding ceremony at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center was very sweet and touching. We had lots of fun taking photos, popping champagne, and having a cake that had a lighthearted “Here is to Us!” written on it.

One other special thing about this elopement was that they wanted to keep it a secret. They really wanted to have a big surprise and celebration with family and friends and not just on any day but a very special one: The Leap Year. Getting married on Leap Year started as a joke for them only a little while into dating each other.

They made this dream come true in a very special Wedding Celebration at The Victorian House on February 29th, 2024. Make sure to check out that blog post and relive this time together with John and Wendy and their family and friends.

Congratulations dear Wendy and John! Your love and support for each other can conquer it all!!


Photographer: Dasha Dean Photography, Venue: Thousand Oaks Civic Center

Leave a Reply

Join for

Wedding & FAMILY photographer

Based in Thousand Oaks, CA
Serving Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange counties and beyond

©2024 Dasha Dean Photography

Available for travel worldwide


I'm so glad we are in touch now!

Thank you dear friend!