Save a Dance for Us! A gorgeous engagement session that celebrates true love, true courage, and the wedding vendors who love our military!!

We celebrate true courage and real heroes on May 1, Silver Star Banner Day the official day to honor wounded, ill, and injured Veterans by Congressional ruling. Thanks to Leah Marie for this gorgeous engagement session and heartwarming story of true courage, true love, and dancing through life no matter what! Chris is a war veteran who served his country proudly and gave more than most will ever have to.  In an accident involving an IED, Chris lost both of his legs and was left a paraplegic. Chris was awarded to be the receipt of an all expenses paid wedding through Los Willows Wedding Estate [thank you Los Willows!!]. Photographer Leah Marie along with quite a few other vendors will be donating their services to them on their special day. See Chris' full story on Jockey: http://www.jockey.com/showem-chris

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How we met by Samantha: "I was living in Illinois and Chris was living in San Diego. He always came back to Illinois because it's where his family lives. I was working at a local gym at a personal trainer at the time and Chris came in to work out while he was visiting. I remember seeing him from across the gym doing pull-ups, I couldn't see his prosthetics, but I knew there was something different about him. I asked my friend who was working the front desk who he was and after she told me I said "that's going to be my boyfriend one day." We both saw each other the next couple days but didn't say anything to each other. We then became friends on Facebook and the rest is history!"

How Chris Proposed: "At the beginning of June we decided to go back to Illinois to visit both our families. My birthday and Chris's "alive day" (the day he got injured) is June 13th and we were going to be in Hawaii with his family. So Chris and my mom threw me a birthday party to celebrate my birthday early. With both families and close friends there I started opening presents. My sister in law got me the same gift I got her when she got engaged, she got me a wooden hanger with my future last name on it. After I opened that present, Chris looked at me and said "I guess we would need to be engaged to have that work huh?" And that's when he got down on one knee and had a whole beautiful speech planned." <3!

Other Location:Old Town Temecula//Photographer: Leah Marie Photography//

Charming Engagement Shoot Shows off a Fun and Vibrant True Love Under the pier

Thanks Paul Douda Photography for sending us this dynamic and charming engagement shoot at Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Jillian & Dax have an undeniable chemistry and we just love this couple (and this oh so San Diego shoot) that is so playful and genuinely full of vibrancy and love. 

Says photographer Paul, "Working with them for their Valentine's Day mini session at Scripps Pier in La Jolla was so much fun. For two people who are generally uncomfortable in front of the camera, they had a blast laughing and playing at the beach."

Jillian & Dax got off to a slow start when they met at a San Diego nightclub, Atomic, where Jillian was a bartender. According to the both of them, they couldn't stop staring at each other for months of going there every Tuesday but were also too shy to make the first move. Finally in December of 2016, Jill decided to make the first move and ask out Dax out on a date. From then on, their romance has blossomed and was on the fast track to their engagement on New Years Eve 2017! Congratulations Jillian and Dax! 

The quintessential San Diego engagement shoot celebrate bikes, bays and beaches!

The quintessential San Diego engagement shoot celebrate bikes, bays and beaches! Happy First Day of Summer!

San Diego wedding photographer Paul Douda spent a perfect San Diego day (with a very San Diego couple) capturing the quintessential San Diego engagement shoot, starting at The Coronado Ferry Landing. Melissa & Adam decided to do their engagement session on Coronado Island because it reminded them of all the times they spent there when they were first dating.

Since Adam lived in Downtown San Diego, on the weekends they would take their bikes on the ferry over to Coronado to do some exploring, which ended up leading to a beautiful relationship- these easy going and local engagement shoot locales were the perfect fit! 

It's Marry Me Monday with a Surprise Beach Proposal [spoiler: She Said Yes!!]

Marry Me Monday starts with a surprise beachside proposal at Bird Rock La Jolla. 

Marry Me Monday!

@Bird Rock, La Jolla

Ryan had planned his proposal to Leslie for a long time. Everyone around them knew it was happening but no one knew when. Wedding photographer Johanna Kitzman of Studio Frejya (who happens to Ryan's sister-in-law) had shown up earlier to this beach, a spot that holds special meaning to the couple and to Leslie's family, to put some writing in the sand. Of course a written proposal in the sand ended up being a big attraction for everyone who arrived at the beach and everyone wanted a snap of the message!! 

Says Johanna, "Luckily, Ryan texted me as he arrived at the location and I was able to ask everyone to step away and we instantly had the beach for ourselves. Under the pretense of helping me with a family session, Ryan led Leslie down to the cliffs. Nervous as he was, he barely made it to the spot before he got down on one knee, and with shaky hands pulled out a stunning diamond ring."

It took Leslie a few moments before she realized what was going on and when he pointed at the text in the sand her hands flew up to cover her mouth as she screamed out in joy. A resounding YES and a few tears later they celebrated with some champagne at a spot that will always hold a dear place in their heart.

Congratulations Ryan and Leslie!!&nbsp;

Congratulations Ryan and Leslie!! 

Puppy Love: Engagement Photography Sessions Featuring Man's Best Friend

Everyone knows the saying that dogs are man's best friend, and we couldn't agree more! So, today we want to focus on the newer trend of featuring your best friend in your engagement and/or wedding photoshoots! The idea couldn't be any more perfect: it's a photoshoot that already features two people so in love, that they chose to spend the rest of their lives together.  So, why not include the non-humans that have been there for you throughout all of your ups and downs?  The ones who have sat beside your bedside when you weren't feeling well. The ones who are always so excited when you walk in the door from work. The ones who are just as excited for your wedding day as you are. We are saps for a good love story here at SanDiegoWedding.com, and adding dogs to the mix just makes us melt. Check out our list of top San Diego wedding and engagement photographers who would be tail waggingly happy to do your engagement session with your best furry pals! 

Photographer: MKL IMAGES

MCAS Miramar Engagement Shoot Summed up in Two Words: Elegantly Honorable

San Diego, California is proud to be home to many of our armed forces and those that serve. So today we give our military couples an idea on how to incorporate this large part of their lives into an engagement session.  Engagement sessions are where couples are able to show their true colors through photography and Luke and Regen Ward's true colors just happen to include red, white, and blue! In order to properly show the world what is important to them as a couple, the Wards wanted to have their first location during the engagement session to be where Luke works, MCAS Miramar and we are in awe over how their photos turned out.

Local wedding photographer Brit Jaye Photography  managed to perfectly capture not only the Ward's rugged and patriotic side, but also their soft and romantic side. We salute this gorgeous engagement session and as always say 'thank you for your service!' to all our armed forces and their spouses and spouses-to-be! 

Lavender Fields and Lots of Love Fill this Joyful Southern California Engagement Session

Beautiful lavender fields and dappled sunlight through oak and pine tree branches at the Highland Springs Ranch and Inn (famous for its lavender festival) make this joyful engagement session with photographer Rosanna Hanson a treat. Rosie & Israel wanted to incorporate lavender in their wedding and take advantage of these beautiful California lavender fields at the end of the season with this romantic day of love.

And our most popular Pinterest pin of 2016 was......our favorite too!

And here it is our most popular Pinterest pin from 2016....with 28,711 people loving this photo of "the doggie paw engagement shoot" by Derek Chad Photography ... see the full engagement photo session here.... we get about 38,000 viewers on our San Diego Wedding Pinterest boards each and every month so be sure to follow us here. Thanks Derek Chad it looks like tens of thousands of people love your work as much as we do! 

Gorgeous Styled Shoot Turns Into a Surprise Proposal that will Leave You Smiling

Dillon thought it was just a styled wedding shoot, but it turned out to be one of the most joyful days of her life. Photographer and Videographer Elle Lily tricked Dillon into wearing a microphone and being interviewed for a "blog post" for her website. Dillon happily details their relationship and all the reasons she loves Hayley, moments before Hayley surprises her by popping the question! We love this surprise proposal and styled shoot rolled into one with all of its love and emotion beautifully captured on film. Be sure to watch Dillon's hilarious and adorable reaction in the video too.


STYLED SHOOT VENDOR CREDITS:

Photography: Elle Lily Photography and Videography 

Videography: Elle Lily Photography and Videography 

Florals: Sweet Stems Florist

Hair and Makeup: Sandra Michelle Artistry

Cakes: The Batter up Bakery

Custom Invitations: CC Shirock Paper

Custom gown: Scr Murrieta 

Bow tie: Knotty CO. Bow Ties

Furniture Rental: Nomad Nuptials

Airbrush Tan: Land and Sea Beauty

Adorable engagement shoot with barn cats and horses down on the farm

If you follow us you know we love dogs in engagement photos! But we are finally able to give some equal attention to cats in this charming engagement shoot captured on a beautiful farm replete with barn and yup even a horse. 

Thank you to oden + janelle wedding photography for this love and fur filled day!  

Says the photographer "We had a sweet engagement session with Jennifer and Anton at Black Star Farms - a winery and Inn where Jennifer's sister is the wedding coordinator. The little barn cat followed us around throughout the session which gave us the shot of a lifetime!" We have to agree as that cat stole the show by photobombing the couple at just the right moment.

When you wish upon a star... you'll love this Disneyland Engagement Photography Shoot!

When Stephanie and Nicholas told wedding photographer Justin Hulse that they wanted to shoot their engagement photography session at Disneyland he didn't hesitate to say "I'm going to Disneyland!!" 

Stephanie and Nicholas were both were head over heels for each other when they first visited the park together, making Disneyland a truly special and magical place. Disney was always such a big part of their lives growing up so it was only natural that they choose to share the fun and festivities of the magical kingdom together. Nicholas made sure it was something they would always cherish too when he planned a surprise vacation and purposed to Stephanie in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. 

Stephanie says, "Disneyland has always been our special place, the place we run away to when life becomes too much or when we just need to remember to have fun - or even just because we can! It's where we are a Prince and Princess, and where our dreams have come true. We wanted to share that with our friends and family - we wanted to show them the love we have for each other in our favorite place and our true Home."  

We say anyone who can kiss properly on a whirling tea cup is a rock star!! 

Love is great and dogs make it even better. A Del Mar beach engagement photo shoot with bride, groom and... dogs!

Toby and Daisy are so adorable together! And so are their humans Syd and Zachary who couldn't possible imagine an engagement session with out the whole family. 

Captured by wedding and engagement photographer Derek Chad on the beach in Del Mar, California (just near Powerhouse Park) we think this engagement shoot has all the ingredients for a fun and loving portrait of true love.

Engagement Photography tips from San Diego photography expert Tim Otto

Local photographer Tim Otto knows engagement and wedding photography! Before you head out to capture your love in an engagement shoot keep a few things in mind for the best results, here are Tim’s Tips for Engagement Sessions...

What to wear....Clothing ideas….
Tim has shot hundreds and hundreds of engagement sessions and recommends that couples wear clothing of similar tones and color harmony.  he suggest that couples avoid attire with logos, distracting patterns or stripes, saying "I want the couple to feel comfortable and wear whatever reflects who they are. Different outfit styles are a good option if we plan to visit a couple of shoot locations – starting with a casual style and ending with a more formal, dressed-up look." He recommends that although you don't need to 'match' couples should make sure there is continuity between their outfits.
 
Adding some fun stuff for style, how props can add to your shoot...
Fun items that reflect your life together can be used in your engagement session. Tim says..." I have had couples bring signs, bikes, pets, motorcycles, guitars and books – I can incorporate just about anything that is meaningful to both of you. Sometimes girls will do a practice hair and make up trial for the engagement session to make sure all is good for the wedding. This is just an optional idea but it can help with the confidence in how you feel being photographed."

Where oh where shall we shoot? Locations For Your Session....
Tim Otto knows his locations for great engagement shoots, (Editor's note: most photographers will keep their favorite spots a secret but that's one of the things we love about  this talented photographer: he's always willing to share ideas to help everyone have a better wedding!) he says "I like to do the sessions at places meaningful to the couple, or I have some favorite San Diego engagement locations. Little Italy is a fun spot it has different-colored walls and storefronts make for great backgrounds. Balboa Park has so many unique areas. It has amazing architecture, incredible doors, fountains, rod iron gates, strange tree roots, wood bridges, botanical gardens… just about everything is there. Windansea and La Jolla Cove are great locations for beach photos with the seascape of rocks, beach and ocean; they also feature some wonderful sunsets. Downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp Districtmakes for some great urban photos.There are so many incredible things to photograph down there, including trolleys, taxis, train tracks, fountains, metal art sculptures, brick buildings and cool doors… lots of great urban texture. It might be my favorite engagement location in San Diego. Centennial Park is another good spot. Located on Coronado, it has a stunning view of the San Diego Skyline. There is also a small little beach that is nice to use. The Historic Hotel Del Coronado makes for another great location with it's beautiful white sand, rocks and amazing sunsets."

All of Tim Otto Photography's Wedding Packages include an Engagement session!

For more info check out our website at www.timotto.com

All that glitters is a golden, sophisticated, globe-spanning, love-filled wedding!

Natasha and Calvin’s romance has taken them from London to Southern California. It started years ago in England; where Natasha grew up and Calvin played basketball for a London team. Natasha and Calvin's love story was filled with gold, flowers, amazing views that only La Jolla's own La Valencia Hotel [known locally as the Pink Lady] can offer. Click here to see the full wedding in all its golden and glittery beauty...

Their day was rich with love -check out how wedding and event designer SD Weddings by Gina and wedding florist Flowers by Azhar collaborated to create a blushing pink and gold theme that fits the venue perfectly!] and celebrated in a special language that only they understands, but even a stranger can understand their sophisticated and romantic wedding style captured expertly by local wedding photographer ABM Photography.

Tim Otto Photography and The Great San Diego Engagement Shootout

We had so much fun sponsoring this cute contest with some of the area's top photographers! Here are Victoria and Patrick as captured by Tim Otto Photography on Valentine's Day at The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Resort Great Engagement Shootout Contest. 

Victoria's Story:

Victoria was born and raised in Las Vegas and went to Boston University for college. She studied abroad one summer in China and fortuitously met Luke Herman, although she actually found him annoying at the time. :P It wasn’t until the many China reunions back in Boston when they bonded and she fully realized the magnificence of Mr. Herman.

Fast forward to 2011… Victoria was in Australia and agreed to go home one week earlier than planned just for Luke’s birthday celebration in Vegas. He had a Facebook event set up for it, so of course Victoria had to creep and see if there would be any potential cuties there. This dude named Patrick Border stood out the most, and when she met him in person for the first time, it was confirmed—target acquired! ;)

Victoria and Patrick’s stories of what actually happened that weekend will forever differ…but what can be agreed upon was that’s when their relationship began to bud. Patrick insisted on continuing to text Victoria afterwards, despite texts costing her 10 cents per text at the time! :o (Victoria eventually got with the times and added unlimited texting just for Patrick.)

Half a year of long distance nonsense later, Victoria moved to San Diego, and it’s been amazing ever since. Victoria and Patrick are thrilled for this new chapter in their lives and so look forward to partying and celebrating their love with their family and friends.

Patrick's Story:

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Patrick had been to Las Vegas numerous times before but had never really Las Vegas’d before, so when grad school buddy Luke Herman announced he wanted to celebrate his birthday in Las Vegas in March of 2011, Patrick had no choice but to join in. After a long and rough trip in Bar Van, Patrick and Co. arrived in Vegas and were greeted by Victoria in the hotel lobby. After sensing an initial spark, Patrick kept his game face on the entire weekend and didn’t let go of the girl, even after leaving Vegas.

He continued to text and message her, even though she was very clear that she leaving Las Vegas for Chicago and then, who knows where. However, after convincing her to come to LA for a Clippers game, and then later to San Diego for his graduate school Prom, Patrick and Victoria became official in May of 2011, with Victoria finally moving to San Diego later that year.

4 ½ years, 2 moves and a cat adoption later, Patrick popped the question to Victoria in Rosarito, Mexico in September of 2015. After taking her time to respond (she loves to point out that she didn’t say yes immediately), Victoria and Patrick are happily engaged and excited to tie the knot in beautiful San Diego at The Darlington House!

And these charming images showcase exactly why you get professional engagement shots done! Thank you Tim Otto!! 

Source: http://www.timotto.com/