Viewing entries tagged
outdoor wedding

Walnut Grove Wedding: Nikki and Catalin

It's said that love overcomes all, and Nikki and Catalin could write a book. These two have overcome quite a lot that life has thrown at them! All of those struggles have made them stronger and now together in marriage they're ready to forge ahead a new future. It was a pleasure to get to know these two and the wonderful people that Catalin works with, who helped prepare everything for their wedding ceremony and reception at a beautiful home in Walnut Grove. Thank you Nikki and Catalin for the wonderful day! Hugs :-)

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a happy bride getting ready before the ceremony
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Wedding Venue: Private home along the Delta River in Walnut Grove

Fortuna Backyard Wedding: Peter and Gina

Without a doubt, simple backyard weddings are always a truly fun celebration of a couple's love, and this one was no exception. But what made the day extra special for me was knowing a good number of people attending this wedding. I go to the same church as Peter's family and good friends. Peter's dad was my Sunday school teacher way back when I was in high school. The weather in the northwest part of California can be unpredictable, but by God's grace it turned out to be a gorgeous warm day surrounded by wildflowers and coastal redwood trees. Peter and Gina's closest friends from college as well as family from the Bay Area pitched in together to set the stage for these two to make solemn vows to one another.

All the best to you Peter and Gina and thank you for making me a part of your big day!  

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And the slideshow!

Bella Montagna Wedding: Sadek and Carmen

Sadek and Carmen 

Married on September 29th 

Photos Delivered Oct 1st 

Sadek and Carmen grew up here in the U.S., but come from families that immigrated here many years ago. On a warm, cloudless day in the hills above San Jose, their different cultures united to make a beautiful and unique celebration of their love. What made it special for me was hearing the different languages -- one minute Carmen's grandma is holding my arm and speaking to me in Portuguese in the most endearing way (I smile and nod, giving the impression that I understand her - we have several more "conversations" like this)... then I turn around and hear another warm exchange of affection between relatives in Arabic. Toward the end of the evening, everyone seemed to know Korean as they got downright silly dancing and singing along with PSY - you know the song I'm talking about.

The venue for their wedding and reception was at the Bella Montagna, a hillside estate that overlooks San Jose and the entire south bay. Marcia coordinates weddings for this place with amazing efficiency and kept the day moving beautifully, despite the inevitable hiccups. Thanks Marcia for the great communication both before the wedding and on the day itself -- I don't know how you do it all!

Thanks Carmen and Sadek for allowing me the privilege of capturing your big day - Parabéns and تهنئة !

 

And lastly, the highlight slideshow!

Wedding at Valencia Hotel - Santana Row: Kiki and John

John and Kiki 

Married on September 23th 

Photos delivered on September 25th

These two pulled off something amazing for their wedding at Santana Row's Valencia Hotel in San Jose. You see, Kiki's from New Orleans and wanted a 2nd Line - google it like I did (also pictured in the last two photos). John's a trained musician and played in a Latin rock band back in Houston, where he met Kiki. Somehow they brought together both of these musical flavors in San Jose--a brass band and a latin rock band--for one amazing reception at the Cielo rooftop.

Before the party, there was a wedding of course. Kiki and her entourage got their hair done up at drybar. It's a very convenient place if you're getting married at the Valencia or anywhere around the Santana Row area. John of course got ready in the bathroom of his hotel room, also a convenient location I must say.

At the Valencia's courtyard, they ceremony was small and intimate. It's always a special moment to capture a groom holding back tears when he sees his bride walking down the aisle. John held it together pretty well though, that is until it came time to give his vows. When I captured him holding his hand over his chest, it was a moment that got us all choked up. It's a beautiful thing to see such an emotional and genuine pledge of undying love for another, and luckily I could hide my misty eyes behind the camera quite nicely.

Check out their wedding website and highlight slideshow here.

Thanks John and Kiki for having us capture your really fun day -- looking forward to the upcoming post-wedding portrait session!

Sean and Daniela's Wedding at the Garden Valley Ranch - Petaluma

Sean and Daniela 

Married on September 22 

Photos delivered September 24 

This summer as I blog the weddings, I'm having a hard time not starting off with something totally cliche like "Sean and Daniela's wedding was amazing from start to finish!". But the thing is each wedding really has been quite wonderful and Sean and Daniela's was no exception. Having had not just one but two wonderful conversations with them over coffee before the wedding, I got to learn a bit of their story. Long before they promised to love, cherish, and honor each other for the rest of their lives, they've been doing it in a loving relationship where each sacrificed for the other as they pursued their respective careers. Daniela helping Sean as he became a CHP officer, and then Sean helping Daniela as she went through grad school. They've been through many chapters of life together and on a warm September day, they began yet a new chapter as husband and wife.

Daniela and Sean, I hope you're enjoying every minute of your honeymoon in Mexico. Thank you for allowing me the privilege to capture your beautiful day...it was an honor I didn't take lightly.

A few notes on this wedding -- Daniela and Sean (mostly the former, I think!) made all the decorations you see in these photos. They chose to see each other before the wedding - you can see those "First Look" photos below. When the Garden Valley Ranch isn't being used as a gorgeous wedding venue, it serves the community as a working nursery and is open for touring around. Their wedding was on a Saturday and all their carefully edited photos were delivered Monday night!

Because of the potential illegality of an actual wish-lantern send off, these photos above are merely photoshop depictions of what a send off would have looked like. Sean and his other law-enforcement guests would never have willingly broken the law, and the arrival of the local Fire Marshal that evening was purely coincidental.

 

Erik and Ellen's Pear Valley Vineyards Wedding in Paso Robles

Erik and EllenMarried August 4th Photos Delivered Aug 6th 

When it comes to having a wedding in a Paso Robles, there are plenty of great options but you might not need to look much further than Pear Valley Vineyards. A stunning location, complete with a hill top they use for ceremonies which overlooks the valley and thousands of beautiful vineyards. This is where Erik and Ellen chose for their wedding last Saturday, attended by their closest friends and family who drove and flew in from all around the country. Erik and Ellen actually live in Washington near the Canadian border, but they both grew up in California where their families still reside. Erik's parents are lucky enough to live in this rival to Napa Valley, which might have a certain charm found nowhere else.

The alarming thing that happened on their wedding day is it rained. I mean it rained hard and solid for a good hour or more in the morning, complete with thunder and lightening -- which undoubtedly stressed out everyone since this was an outdoor-only ceremony venue. But by the afternoon, it was bright and sunny and almost too hot.  I got to Pear Valley after a 3 hour drive from the Bay Area and in plenty of time to find to Ellen and her bridesmaids who were still getting ready. The winery has a large room for bridal prep though the ambiance was a little office-like. That was ok because the real photographs would be taken outdoors anyway, where everywhere you turn there are great locations for portraits. Erik was getting ready at his parents house a few minutes away so we had enough time to do a few photos of the details and some portraits of Ellen and her bridesmaids.

Erik shows up soon after and I choreograph the "first look", where the bride and groom get a chance to see each other and share an intimate moment before all the non-stop craziness of the day really takes off. I love these moments because the raw emotion is plain to see -- always a joy to photograph this from any angle.

The ceremony was picturesque with vista views in every direction, and Ellen's pastor officiated a wonderful union. It really could not have been more perfect.

With family and wedding party portraits out of the way, Erik and Ellen headed over to a ridge across from the hill where the ceremony was held (but still on Pear Valley Vineyard property) that I had spotted a few hours earlier where that would make for some wonderful bride and groom photos. When I told them of my plan to take us over there, it so happened that Ellen was going to suggest the same exact location! But I had in mind to try something a little different that in all honesty didn't completely satisfy. I tried for a shot (showen below) from the hill where the ceremony took place. Yeah it's ok. I just was hoping for something a little better. If the hill were 100 feet closer it would have been a great shot.  Never the less I had several other locations in mind and since we were running late, I prioritized and took us to just 3 spots where we cranked these out in less than 10 minutes. I hear of photographers insisting on 1-2 hours for photography and I just don't get it. If you plan out the shots ahead of time and are a master of your camera settings, some great portraits can be achieved in just a few minutes.

Erik and Ellen, thank you for asking me to photography your wonderful day. You guys were so sweet to send me home with a little gift for my wife and the cake was out of this world delicious. I'll look you guys up when I'm in Washington!

 

Check out their highlight slideshow and wedding website here

Katy and Val's Watsonville Wedding in the Redwoods

When Katy first described their plans for the wedding, I knew this was going to be a day like no other... Indeed, it wasn't. Not even close to other weddings that I have photographed.   First of all they reserved an entire campground for two nights, not just for themselves but for the 100+ guests! Mount Madonna State Park, just west of Gilroy up in the redwood forests, has this amazing park with an amphitheater, which apparently gets used a lot for weddings. All the guests came up Friday night and camped in their exclusive little grove of trees, which would serve as the reception area the following evening. This in itself was awesome, but it also meant that everyone was there to help put on what I can only describe as a love-filled, community-crowed-sourced extravaganza, where everyone chipped in to do something in an ultra organized fashion. From decorating the nearby amphitheater to preparing the sumptuous meal, it was all done by their friends and family.

In short, it was a day to remember and cherish for everyone in attendance.... Not because everything was done to perfection. There were challenges and improvisions left and right. But how this community rallied together to celebrate Katy and Val is what made it so special for me. I love how they made me a part of this effort and for that I am truly grateful to be a witness and documenter of their incredibly fun wedding -- thanks Katy and Val!

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Steve and Shannon's wedding at Gilroy Eagle Ridge

Steve and Shannon's wedding at Gilroy Eagle Ridge

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Steve and Shannon's Wedding at Eagle Ridge Country Club in Gilroy was a blast. First off though, a quick word about the venue, which was really great in many respects but lacking in a few. Let's start with the good things about it -- The ceremony setup is just off the golf course and right next to the club where the reception hall is located. So there's no long walks and no place really for people to get lost. This is important when taking the formal pictures and some venues make it impossible to find people who have wondered off. In the afternoon sun, there isn't any backlight to deal with because the sun sets behind where people sit and the light on the bride and groom is just perfect, so long as it's not a mid-day wedding. The only tricky shot here though is getting the bride walking down the isle and getting her exposed correctly with the sun right behind her can be a challenge. Eagle Ridge is very picky about not stepping on their golf course. The event manager there told me that the G.M. has been known to go ballistic if he sees anyone doing this for wedding portraits, so I was warned not to bend their rules in the slightest way. Fair enough and there are indeed enough other places to do portraits.

The reception hall is fairly typical and the staff are on top of their game. All my needs were taken care of efficiently (though we're only talking about a request for a table and chair for my slideshow presentation). They do have an LCD projector, so that was nice that I didn't have to break out my own equipment. Slideshows of ceremony highlights are always a big hit and make for a great lead-in to the program after dinner.

Well thanks Steve and Shannon for a great day. You guys know how to party! Your wedding at Gilroy Eagle Ridge was awesome and I'm so pleased you are happy with your wedding photography!

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A beautiful Berkeley wedding in the Redwood Groves

A beautiful Berkeley wedding in the Redwood Groves

While talking to Nathan and Daphna a few months before their wedding, it was obvious they wanted something more than to hire me as their wedding photographer. They wanted a friend first and made me feel like one, even inviting my wife and new born to join their sacred celebration. How sweet is that? These guys are precious people inside and out and it was an honor to capture their most special union. Thanks guys for choosing Dan Johanson-Weddings to capture your beautiful Redwood Grove wedding!

A bit about the venue -- they could not have picked a more serene location for their wedding. Who knew that just above the U.C. Berkeley campus lies a grove of beautiful redwoods, just across the street from the Botanical Gardens which made for endless portrait possibilities. Nathan and Daphna got permission in advance to take some of their portraits at the Botanical Gardens, which is really a stunning place for endless wedding-portrait-type of shots. It's not open however for weddings, which everyone does across the street at the Redwood Grove amphitheater. For weddings or any other event it's pretty much a photographer's dream location with lots of indirect light that makes for beautiful, artistic wedding photographs.

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Glenn and Vickie’s Estate Wedding in Alamo California

Glenn and Vickie’s Estate Wedding in Alamo California

Glenn and Vickie picked the perfect place to get married -- in a beautiful backyard in the hills of Alamo, CA on a warm September afternoon. Vickie's surprise was a darling new haircut which Glenn didn't know about until she walked down the isle. The wedding was intimate and special, as every wedding should be. What made it so enjoyable for me was how Glenn and Vickie are such easy going people who really wouldn't let the stress of a wedding get in the way of having a really fun day. Thanks guys for the amazing privilege to work with you. Glenn, we'll definitely drop by your studio when we're in LA. :-) Should you be looking for a wedding photographer in the Alamo or Lafayette area, click on the link and lets get together to discuss your big day!

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Zac and Stephanie’s beautiful wedding at Dublin Ranch

Zac and Stephanie rocked it -- total joy emanated from these two on a classy, fun afternoon at Dublin Ranch. They scheduled things perfect on the photography side of things -- most of the formal pictures were done before the wedding, allowing them to spend more time with their guests at the reception. Thanks guys for a great day! Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Dan Johanson Photography

Wedding Review for Casa Madrona Hotel

Wedding Review for Casa Madrona Hotel

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Casa Madrona Hotel801 Bridgeway Sausalito, CA 94965 (415) 332-0502

For the Bride/Groom The Casa Madrona is perhaps the most charming boutique hotel we've found in Sausalito. With sweeping views of the harbor and hills of Marin, the backdrop is stunning for any occasion. Provided the weather is warm enough, their outdoor Ceremony Deck is the obvious choice for the wedding, but can only accommodate about 75 . Like most of the hotel's facilities, its only accessed by a set stairs and may prove difficult for the physically challenged. If you'd like a more techie review, please read on but don't forget to check out our article on getting the most out of your wedding photographer.

Photographer’s Review The Ceremony Deck itself is rather small and very difficult to move around on without causing a distraction to the guests. It's especially important here to keep the photographer's movement to a bare minimum. We suggest one photographer crouched down up front and another in the back or on the dining room level which overlooks the entire deck.

When the guests transition to the reception area, this requires going down stairs and going up another set to the adjacent dining room. Not too bad, but again might prove a challenge if the wedding party has a high number of elderly or otherwise challenged guests.  The reception/dining area is very cozy for groups of 60-80. We have a hard time here finding a good place to use our LCD projector here as there is no place which allows all the guests to see the slideshow. Nor is there really an adequate wall to project on, so we settle for using the corner near the entrance and bring our own projection screen.

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Archie and Rosie’s Blackhawk Country Club wedding

Rosie and Archie's wedding sizzled! We were told the temp was 103f at the ceremony but really it didn't matter at all. From the moment Rosie walked out and down the isle, we were all caught up in the beauty of this wonderful union. The reception integrated part of their Filipino background with a troop that performed different traditional dances from all over the Philippines. Ang galing galing nila! Salamat ng marami Archie & Rosie!

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Nick and Shannon's Sausalito Wedding - Casa Madrona Hotel

Shannon and Nick know how to do something different -- a Chinese Dragon dance topped of a beautiful ceremony overlooking the Sasualito harbor. The wedding ceremony and reception was at the classy Casa Madrona Hotel, which did a really fantastic job with everything. The setup is tricky because it's such an intimate little platform that overlooks the harbor and it only accommodates around 50 people. The reception room has an equally amazing view and is also a bit on the small side. We had a hard time for example finding a suitable place to have the LCD slideshow of all the wedding ceremony highlights. If you're looking for a Sausalito Wedding Photographer, Dan Johanson-Weddings, is available throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. After the reception we headed over to the hills just above Tiburon (Tiburon Uplands Nature Reserve) where we had a great time taking their wedding portraits. The trails overlook the entire San Francisco Bay and the fog was just starting to come in as we wrapped up. Nick and Shannon are such wonderful people and took the time to write me a very nice Yelp review, and a follow up email several months later that totally made my day, if not the entire month. Love you guys!

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