– James + Amanda – Avensole Winery

I can’t stop gushing about this wedding. Everything was absolutely perfect! When I met James and Amanda and they told me they would be getting married at Avensole, I secretly jumped up and down inside. This venue recently received a full makeover and let me tell you, no expense was spared!

Amanda’s distinct vision allowed her to assemble the most amazing vendor team to bring her dreams to life, and she even included some of the details herself! The gem toned florals by Soiree Design & Events brightened up the beautiful ballroom and uplighting by Pro City DJ helped create a romantic environment. Each dessert was carefully curated with love by Cakes to Celebrate and looked SO tasty! I wish we could relive this wedding day over and over again! But since that’s not practical, these photos will have to do. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Vendor Love

Avensole Winery

Soiree Design & Events

Pro City DJ

Letters2Lights

Cakes to Celebrate

Sugar Divas

Sweet Day Studio

Focused In Photography

Tinder for the WIN!

If you read my blog periodically, you may have seen the story about how Lauren and Ryan met. If you missed it, you can find it here. This newlywed couple both swiped right on Tinder and let’s just say, there’s still hope for all you singles out there! This relationship didn’t necessarily start out great, I mean Lauren did sleep through their first date and was late to the second one, but there are still patient men out there like Ryan and we are SO glad because the love between these two is FIRE!

They chose the beautiful Oak Mountain Winery to say “I do” with the reception inside the cave – yes, we have a cave in Temecula and you can drink wine in it! And although we were in the midst of a crazy humid heat wave that week, Ryan and Lauren made sure to enjoy the heck out of the evening! Everyone had so much fun and the dance floor did not get break.  I wish we could do it all again, but these photos will have to do instead.  Congratulations again Ryan and Lauren and thank you for selecting us to capture your big day!

Vendor Love

Focused In Photography

DJ Pros 

Soiree Design and Events

Events by Annette 

Sandra Michelle Artistry

Sweet Layers Cakes and Pastries

An Evening for the Animals

I first heard of Sale Ranch Sanctuary a few months back when a friend shared about this sweet newborn calf, Faith Hill, who was ripped away from her mama at less than an hour old, which is unfortunately a very common practice in the dairy industry.  SRS found her at a local sale/slaughter auction and knew they needed to help her! She was in desperate need of raw milk so they did an online fundraiser for her and by the grace of God, she beat all the odds and is now a thriving young calf.

I have since learned of all the amazing things this organization does for animals in need who may have been neglected and/or abused, so when I saw their fundraising event at Wien’s Family Cellars I offered to help document the event.  The amount of people and businesses who came together for such an amazing evening was inspiring. Dulaney & Co. serenaded us all evening, Voelker with Vineyard Gourmet Catering created a fully vegan menu that was incredibly tasty and the auctions emceed by Sterling Productions raised money to help support the animals at SRS so Jen and Dave can continue to provide excellent care and refuge for these sweet animals.

If you haven’t taken a look at their site to see how you can help, I encourage you to do so by clicking here. The ranch is open to the public certain days so be sure to check that out as well!

Vendor Love: Wien’s Family CellarsSterling Productions, Focused In Photography, Vineyard Gourmet Catering, Kathy’s Kamera, Temecula Valley Women’s Club, Nancy Howitt

Sponsors: Acapella Hair Design & Color Studio, Asa Tiena Winery, Centerfolde Pilates, JAM Handmade Jewelry, La Cocina Restaurant, Inland Vet Supply, Judy Giles, Simply Kneaded, Massage Envy, Temecula Olive Oil Co., South Point Resort and Casino, Las Vegas National Golf Club, Starbucks, Oasis Salon, Welcome Pro, Yard House, Zulu Nyala, Salon 29

Josh and Nikki | Baby on the way

Josh and Nikki wed a few years back at the gorgeous Lorimar Winery and they are now expecting their first baby BOY! We spent the evening shooting in Carlsbad on a very overcast day, which is such a treat from the beaming sun in Temecula. Congratulations to these two service members on their little man! I’ll be praying for a smooth delivery! Next time we meet you will be a family of three!

A faithful heart is always worth the wait

For as long as I can remember, Marshall and Shannon have always been  “Marshall and Shannon”, so when they finally set a date to wed I couldn’t have been more excited!  These two have such a history and their relationship has formed so beautifully over the last several years, that I have no doubts they can get through anything as long as they are together.  They are one of those couples you meet and instantly know that they were meant for each other.

But, according to Shannon this wasn’t always the case. She and Marshall met when she started working for him at his winery back in 2001. Years went by and she never saw him in a romantic way (despite him being a winemaker) until one day when she was feeling down and going through some very hard times, Marshall showed her a more compassionate side and she felt that he was genuinely concerned for her well being. She saw him in a new light, and well… the rest is history! They dated for four years before getting engaged and then were engaged for another three and a half years, so to say that Shannon (and the rest of the valley) has been anticipating this day for a long time would be an understatement!

Fast forward to June 21, 2017, the Summer Solstice and the day the Stuart union would occur.  Marshall and Shannon had a very intimate ceremony with only their families a couple of very close friends at the Temecula Coach House, and from there they went on to the amazing Peltzer Farms for their reception where hundreds of friends and family members would celebrate together! Amazing music, delectable food, perfectly portioned desserts all at one of the most beautiful venues Temecula has to offer, made for a truly incredible evening!

Marshall and Shannon, I know it took you two a long time to get here but I also know the best things in life are worth waiting for! Congratulations and I wish you both the very best as you celebrate and enjoy life together!

 

—  Vendor Love  —

Ceremony Venue: Temecula Coach House

Reception Venue: Peltzer Farms

Music: Old School The Band

Food: Enrique Alvarado 

Desserts: Love Cakes

Photography: Focused In Photography

 

Love Wins in Laguna … James & Jeffrey

I love getting to know my couples and hearing all the different stories on how they fell in love.  Many of them meet through college or work, some are high school sweet hearts, and others … well, they are completely unique! James and Jeffrey’s love story is a reminder that sometimes fate intervenes and a selfie on an airplane may just be the reason you are introduced to the man you fall in love with.  So, it made perfect sense for Andrea, James’ sister, to officiate and begin the ceremony with a selfie … #nofilter.

While James and Jeffrey had already wed in Canada, this ceremony was so special because all of their immediate family was present.  Andrea led everyone on a walk through memory lane telling the story of how these two met, fell in love, traveled the world, and would live “happily ever after”.  Vows were shared and sealed with a kiss, followed by an amazing dinner, flowing libations and the fondest of memories created.

James and Jeffrey, I am so glad I was able to capture such a special day for you two. The love and gratitude you share for each other is truly one of a kind. I wish you all the best and hope to see you at another family event in a year or so (to keep the tradition going).  Xo – Sara

Vendor Love

Venue: Inn at Laguna Beach 

Food: Las Brisas

Makeup: Brie Does Makeup

Photography: Focused In Photography

Matt and Katie’s Sweet Lorimar Engagement

I had the honor of photographing the sweetest proposal last weekend at Lorimar Winery.  Matt had planned on a walk through memory lane for his soon-to-be fiancé, Katie, as he anxiously hid behind a wine barrel. He set up ten photos and included sweet messages on the back of each one leading up to where she would find him with a beautiful ring in hand! Each photo documented one of their adventures together from the past five years! Of course, Katie said “YES!”

Here are a few photos from this special day! Congratulations Matt and Katie! You’re ENGAGED! We hope you keep Focused In Photography in mind when planning your wedding day!

Give me all the babies…

Can I just say that baby fever is in full effect over here! I have had so many newborn and one year sessions lately and I don’t know how much more my longing uterus can take!  I mean, this sweet baby Brielle may have sent me over the top! She was a complete angel and slept through the entire session, which is super rare.  I can’t get over her sleepy smiles and precious little hands that loved to be by her face.  And then there is super proud big sister, Lyric! I think the photos speak for the love she already has for Brielle. She was loving when we needed her to be, and then a crazy four year old when she was done with her photos. These moments are so precious!

Justin and Bri, I couldn’t be more excited for you and your expanding family. I know this pregnancy wasn’t a walk in the park, but your princess is totally worth it all! Congratulations to your family of 4!

Ryan and Chelsey Retrouvaille Romance

I’m a sucker for love stories and gushy movies like The Notebook, so when I met Ryan and Chelsey and heard about their love story and the universe’s way of bringing them back together I got all the feels! Ten years ago these two met and became friends while working at Applebee’s. They would chat during their lunch breaks and their friendship soon evolved into something more. But, late 2008 Chelsey moved to Irvine for school. She and Ryan did the commuting thing for a while but eventually they decided that it just wasn’t going to work. So they split up and remained friends.

Fast forward seven years to a Luke Bryan concert where Ryan and Chelsey ran into each other (cue the sparks) … it was as if nothing had changed. Their feelings were still there and this time the commute seemed like no big deal. They would travel 5 days out of the week to see one another and eventually decided to move to Dana Point, where they would each split the commute to work. After a year of living together, Ryan took Chelsey to Temecula to go wine tasting with their friends and family.  While visiting some of their favorite wineries, Ryan got on one knee and proposed and of course Chelsey said, “Yes!” … and shed some happy tears!

A proposal ten years in the making and a beautiful love story! I can’t wait to celebrate #cincodebarrañôn next year at the beautiful Avensole Winery with this special couple! Congratulations Ryan and Chelsey!

Sometimes two people have to fall apart to realize how much the need to fall back together. – Unknown.

First comes love…

The best part of my job is getting to see first hand the development of a relationship.  I met Tanner and Tamara a few years back when they were just dating. Not too long after that, Tanner proposed and of course Tamara said, “Yes!” They went on to have a beautiful wedding in Costa Mesa and not too long after that they were pregnant! I have had the gift of capturing it all and watching their family blossom and grow! Now, they are parents to a sweet baby girl, Aubrey! She’s already such a sweet and smiley baby and is loved beyond measure! Life is truly a blessing and little babies like Aubrey are a testament to that. Welcome to this crazy world baby girl! We are all so happy you are here!