Through the Grapevine | Vineyard Weddings

By, April 04, 2016

Tucked away in the valleys of Temecula, Escondido, and surrounding regions are award-winning San Diego-area vineyards. These properties are not only good for day trips and tastings – they make amazing wedding locations also! With their magical rolling hills,and fields of vines, local wineries are perfect venues for those looking to escape the city.

We have selected a few of our favorite images from recent vineyard weddings. Grab a glass of your favorite red or white (or both), and enjoy the inspiration :)

Couple pose with flowers in air around them

At the wedding of Apple and Ben (above), we went to one of our favorite spots at Orfila Vineyards, overlooking the fields below. As the couple embraced, we surrounded them with flower petals, and added a backlight for contrast, drama and elegance.

Wedding Couple in Windmill at Cal-A-Vie

We love incorporating a vineyard’s unique rustic features, such as this majestic windmill at Cal-A-Vie (above). The textured stone walls and wood accents lent an old-world charm to these photos, which were captured at April and Aaron’s wedding.

Modern Couple pose in vineyard and with balloonsCouple stand in middle of vineyardGroomsmen toast with beersBride's details during vineyard wedding

At Stephanie and Sean’s Orfila Vineyards wedding, we rested our bride’s beautiful bouquet against a textured wine barrel (above). The rich red roses and hypericum berries, set against the rustic browns of the barrel, made for an ideal pairing.

Bridesmaid with parasol umbrellas in vineyardCollaged image of rustic flowers with brideCool bridal party dressed in green at winery weddingCouple holding hands and kissing with rustic background

As photographers, one of our favorite things is to scout out the best hidden locations. By arriving early, we are able to find areas with the best light of the day, as well as little “nooks and crannies” within the venue.

Couple kiss in oversized wine barrelUmbrellas and Signs for vineyard weddingGorgeous view of mountains and vineyard at Orfila WineryBride and Groom walk down aisle together at vineyard

Whenever possible, we use the natural surroundings and daylight to our advantage, such as during Katie and Patrick’s wedding at the Yates Family Vineyard in Napa. When Katie made her debut, the light illuminated the leaves and her dress, which made for a stunning grand entrance.

Bride's teary-eyed reaction to Groom during wedding ceremonyCouple's First Kiss during Vineyard WeddingBride and Groom kissing under natural archwayCouple Kissing between leaves in vineyardCouples celebrate and pose for photos after vineyard ceremonyAerial photo of stunning sunset during reception at vineyard

After the ceremony, we like to make use of the stunning sunset colors, which can be especially vivid at remote winery locations. The golden vibrance of the sun, captured at just the right moment, helped to create the dreamlike image above.

Rustic wine-related reception details during vineyard weddingProps during fun travel-themed reception

These rustic, travel-themed accents from Michelle and Richard’s wedding at Bernardo Winery (above) added a fun splash of color, while also engaging guests to interact. The couple invited attendees to write messages in a bottles, to be opened on future anniversaries, while paying tribute to those who had traveled long distances.

Rustic-themed details at vineyard wedding receptionCouple Kiss in front of wine barrelsFuscia Wedding Reception Details at VineyardRed wine-themed details during receptionCouple Cuts into Cake during Wedding Reception

You can’t have a winery wedding without grapes :) Before these were sent off to become wine, we borrowed this lush vine from Kim and Austin’s wedding for a unique ring shot. By using a simple background, and a strategically placed LED light, these rings began to sparkle!

Creative Ring Photo with GrapesGuest hula-hoops during wedding receptionNight Portrait of Couple at Vineyard

For the photo below, we snuck behind-the-scenes with Naomi and Partho during their reception at Callaway Vineyards and Winery. By shooting at a low angle and adding a backlight to create dimension, the containers added a larger-than-life feeling to this epic kiss.

Couple kiss between distillery tanks at vineyard

For additional breathtaking vineyard wedding photos, please click here. Salute!


Love in Unexpected Places

By, March 06, 2015

As photographers, we love venues that feature a variety of different backgrounds and textures. In our mind, Callaway Vineyard & Winery deserves an A+ for this!

While many wineries tend to boast a rustic or European-inspired façade, a little exploring behind the scenes can lead to unexpected visual delights. For example, in our Photo of the Week, we brought our couple to an unconventional location for bridal portraits – the winery’s fermentation room. Lining each wall was a series of super tall wine tanks, each with a silvery metallic sheen. This industrial backdrop created an ultra-sleek setting for Naomi & Partho’s post-ceremony kiss, and brought a completely different vibe to the image. Cheers to the happy couple!


See more of Naomi & Partho’s Wedding!


“Cheery” Temecula Winery Wedding at Lake Oak Meadows

By, October 20, 2011

We photographed Kelsey and Kyle’s engagement shoot in Pacific Beach back in June, and ever since we’ve been excited for this fun and energetic couple to tie the knot!  Their Temecula wine country wedding was full of brightly colored Gerber Daisies, clever wine themed escort cards, and plenty of their own unique flair!  With Kelsey being a competitive cheerleading coach, and Kyle, an avid skateboarder, there’s no doubt where the “cheery” but “laid back” vibe came from.  Kelsey shared with us a few details from their celebration at Lake Oak Meadows private estate and winery. Check it out!

All outdoors, beautiful flowers and thriving landscape, lots of space for guests to roam —  the venue was ours for the entire day!  No other parties or onlookers that you usually get with the other wineries.  Temecula isn’t far from my hometown of San Diego, but far enough to make it a retreat, and I love wine!  Most of all, the fire pits and heaters, ambient lighting (candles, twinkle, paper lanterns, etc), and a variety of flowers,  it reminds me of my parent’s backyard, but can fit hundreds of people! 

San Diego Wedding Photography: Paper lanterns, candles, firepits and nature at Lake Oak Meadows Winnery in Temecula, California

My two favorite shots of Kyle and I are our first dance when we’re grinning ear to ear and look so ecstatic and in love, and the one where he’s kneeling and kissing my hand – it shows my typical sass!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Bride and groom smiling and kissing during first dance at Temecula winery weddingsSan Diego Wedding Photography: Funny photo of bride and groom after ceremony at Temecula winery wedding

Since the men’s attire wasn’t the typical suit or tux I figured the boutonniere shouldn’t be typical either.  We used mini skateboards instead!  Looped ribbon as the leaves were topped off with the skateboard wheels as flower buds. 

San Diego Wedding Photographers: Laid back wedding with skateboard boutonnières and black and white checkered ties

The vibe was  fun, laid back, “cheery” and unexpected, just like me.  It wasn’t so much a wedding reception I wanted to have, but a typical “Rahn party!”.  When I heard guests saying the event was “totally you!”, I knew I had done it right!

San Diego Wedding Photographer: Laid back and cheery wedding at Lake Oak Meadows private estate and winery

Just before the ceremony began, the guests were greeted and asked to choose a beverage of their choice for the pre-ceremony toast to my father, Ted, who passed away just about a year ago.  He made the most amazing margaritas, which we call Ted-aritas, and we all know of his love for Jimmy Buffet tunes.  The toast happened at exactly 5 o’clock, because it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!  This photo shows my two sisters/matrons of honor, my mom and myself during the toast just after they finished walking me down the aisle to give me away – ALL 3 of them, with the help of my dad from above too!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Toast for father before the ceremony at Lake Oak Meadows private estate and winery wedding

I needed a fun entrance and this I what I thought of.  My sister and I had a teal 57 Chevy Barbie car when we were younger and that is what I envisioned.  The cars turned out perfect and every male at the wedding couldn’t stop talking about them. My mom always made the team banner for my softball teams when I was younger, so when I had the idea of my two nieces carrying a “here comes the bride” sign down the aisle she immediately started the process.  We took it one step further and had a second banner rolled up behind the first that was revealed at the end of the ceremony…it said “Mr. & Mrs. Varonfakis!”.

San Diego Wedding Photographer captures bride entering on a classic car and flower girls holding "Here Comes the Bride" sign

I’ve grown up spending my summer vacation at my favorite spot in the world – Balboa Island.  They have an ice cream treat called a Balboa Bar, which is chocolate dipped ice cream on a stick coated with your choice of topping.  I wasn’t going to have a cake in the first place so this was a perfect idea as dessert, and reminds me of those vacations growing up!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Wedding dessert of old fashioned hand dipped ice cream at Temecula Winery Wedding

There are so many wine labels out there and I thought it’d be fun to give each table an unusual or quirky wine label in place of the typical table numbers.  I matched the labels to the people sitting at that table too, it was great.  Mine & Kyle’s was “Monogamy”, very fitting!  A few other examples…“Jargon!”, “Barefoot”, “Insatiable” and “It’s a Headsnapper”. The ladder display came straight from a favorite store – Pottery Barn.  We took the idea and ran with it. It came out even more spectacular than I thought.

San Diego Wedding Photographer: Unique escort card display and reception tables named after wine labels

Our experience with True was amazing!  From the engagement shoot to planning the timeline of the big day it went smooth and painless.  After seeing my engagement pictures I knew the wedding shots would be absolutely stunning, and they are!  Every member of the True staff I have dealt with has been welcoming and helpful and had a genuine interest in our event.  I’ve already told girlfriends to go to True for their upcoming weddings!

San Diego wedding photography: Photo of light shining on bride and groom during first dance at Temecula wedding