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paso robles

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