I met Michelle and Mike for the first time on an extremely hot day at the LA Arboretum for their engagement session. We were in a drought here in California so the classic photo spot featuring their waterfall was completely dry and not working. We made the best of the day, getting some really fantastic shots with the ample gardens and foliage in the area...but man was it hot! Fast forward to their wedding on June 4th, 2016- which just happened to be the hottest day of the year so far here in California. Not sure what it is with these two, but I'm referring to them as the hot couple from now on!
Temecula is always a gorgeous place to shoot, and I love Ponte Winery. It was 95 degrees outside and I was trying to keep the bride in the shade and in her air conditioned room as much as possible for the getting ready portraits. There was a huge fire on the 15 freeway which brought it to a slow crawl, and as such the minister was about an hour late. The coordinator and I made the best of the situation, and moved around the photography schedule to get as much done as possible. Cocktail hour was even moved up to before the ceremony, something I've never seen done before. There is no shade on the lake for that time of day, so we shot the wedding ceremony in full sun. The disadvantage is the bride and groom get sweaty, but the good thing is you can shoot and see all of the colors of the sky, lake, and vineyard using the sun as your main light.
Michelle and Mike were both so easy going and so much fun to be around the entire day. Both of them love to read and even had the Harry Potter books as centerpieces for the reception tables. I remember suggesting some books to them during our engagement session (the Red Rising series), and we discussed how cool they were since they took my advice and checked them out. Mike was definitely the emotional one on both sides of the spectrum. He was smiling from ear to ear and laughing all day long, and then he shed tears as Michelle walked down the aisle with her Father. Michelle was a complete ham, and took every opportunity to look at my camera and make a silly face or pose for me throughout the day.
Even with the late start, we were able to make up the time during the reception, and got right back on schedule with the festivities. I then stole Mike and Michelle out of their dancing so that I could grab some epic sunset romantic shots around the vineyards and lake where they were married. Those are always my favorite pictures of the day, and the ones I captured of Mike and Michelle are my favorites ever snapped at Ponte (and I have shot there a lot!).
After my night was over I said goodbye to the happy couple and instantly came home to edit a first look for the night, and then the following day I began editing a preview of some of my favorite pics from their day because I just couldn't wait to post them. So, without further delay I give you Michelle and Mike's preview!