San Diego County wedding tucked along the mountains at Secluded Gardens
We had the absolute pleasure being able to photograph Zach and Nichole’s wedding at Secluded Gardens a couple weeks ago. Their love for God and sincerity for one another was radiant and showed throughout the entirety of the day.
Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A: One thing that Zach and I decided when we first began planning our wedding was that we wanted the focus to be more on our marriage than our wedding. Meaning: we didn't want to get so wrapped up in planning the "perfect wedding" for other people to attend that we lost sight of the vision of how we wanted our marriage to be. We wanted our day to be natural and beautiful. During the ceremony, we used the tradition of a unity candle to symbolize God uniting us into one in marriage. While this is just a symbol to us, we felt that it was a beautiful touch to the ceremony and demonstrated our desire to become one through marriage and dedicate our lives to serving each other. We also took communion as our first act as a married couple to symbolize our desire to continually forgive and serve each other- just as Christ did for us when he died on the cross to forgive our sins. As far as design and themes go- we wanted our wedding to be outdoors and have a natural, simple look to everything. We used mainly pastel colors, as well as greenery. We wanted the men to have a classy, traditional look, so we put them in black tuxedos.
Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: We wanted there to be lots of flowers and greenery for a natural look and actually were able to get all of our flowers the morning of from our florist at the Temecula Farmers Market. We decorated the backdrop of the ceremony with flower arrangements and sheer white drapery, as well as lined the aisle with flowers in mason jars. On the tables at the reception, we kept it simple with greenery that we laid out to look like garlands, flowers in mason jars, small lanterns and candles. Our beautiful welcome sign was made by a college friend who does calligraphy.
Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
A: Flowers were definitely a big part of our wedding day. We incorporated them into the ceremony and reception cites as well as we could. We had big arrangements behind us during the ceremony, bouquets for all the bridesmaids and on the chairs for the ceremony. We wanted soft natural colors, so we did peaches and cream flowers as well as some light pink ones in the bridal bouquet and the bigger arrangements. We did a lot of greenery in the bouquets as well to create a cascading look.
Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A: We had a friend taking polaroid photos of our guests, which they put in our guest book and signed. I loved how it turned out because we have notes from many of our guests as well as adorable and fun pictures of them to help us remember our day and all the people who came to make it so special.
Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A: I wanted a dress that would be both simple and comfortable. I tried on many dresses that just had too much going on and I wanted something that would be classy but also go well with an outdoor themed California wedding. I had always wanted to wear a long sleeve wedding dress (which obviously was not going to happen in a late July wedding in southern CA), so it was difficult to find a sleeveless one I really liked. When I finally did try on the dress I choose, I knew it would be the one. It was simple, classy, elegant, natural, and had just a small amount of detail on the top, which I thought was stunning. I really only wear gold jewelry so I had bracelets with gold in them, as well as earrings and my engagement ring and wedding rings are gold too so that was the jewelry theme. My bridesmaids wore a pale blue, which is one of my favorite colors. They purchased their dresses online at AZAZIE, which was perfect since we were spread all around the country when ordering dresses and used the custom fitting which fit PERFECTLY on everyone. Seriously amazing! They looked stunning. Zach and his groomsmen all wore tux's for a classy, timeless look. We went to a few rental places before we found Class Act Tuxedo in Temecula. THEY ARE AMAZING. They measured each of his groomsmen and literally did in store fitting and hemming on all rentals so that it fit each of them perfectly for the wedding day. I was so impressed. They also gave the groom a free wedding day rental and their prices were half of what you would pay to rent at Mens Wearhouse or other tuxedo rental stores. Zach's wedding band is simple and black. We both thought it was definitely him when he tried it on since 90% of his clothes are black haha! I wore simple sandals to avoid tripping on the stairs and rocky ground at the venue.
Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A: Zach and I met at college. We shared a class together and spent some time talking and getting to know each other throughout the spring semester before we started dating the next fall when we came back to campus. We were both college athletes at the school we attended right outside of Chicago, IL and loved spending time outside together while we were still in school- finding places to hike, picnics on the beaches of lake Michigan, and bonfires at the beach at night. He graduated a year before I did so on one of my many trips out to California to visit, Zach took me up to Torrey Pines to go hiking with him and some of his friends. I was so excited to go since I had heard Torrey Pines was beautiful and had only seen pictures! While we were hiking, we reached a point with a beautiful view and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was so happy with the spot he chose since so many of our best memories when we were dating started with us finding a beautiful place outside to talk and enjoy nature, whether that was hiking or just enjoying the beach or a gorgeous sunset! So it was only natural that we had to have our wedding at a gorgeous outdoor venue and were so blessed that we could have it at the Secluded Garden Estate in Pala, CA!
Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: One of the most special moments for both Zach and I were our dances with our parents. I chose my song for the Father/Daughter dance to be "You Are My Sunshine" because my dad would always sing that to me when I was growing up. It was such a special dance to share with him and really meant a lot to me. My family lives in MN so it was so amazing to have them in town for our wedding week and to share such special and amazing memories with them like these. Zach and his mom also shared a sentimental dance and we will always cherish these memories with our parents. We loved the speeches that our Best Man (Benjamin Chesser Zach's brother) and Maid of Honor (Ashley McKevitt my sister) gave and definitely found those to be one of the highlights of the day. They brought up fun and sentimental memories and reminded us of the amazing support we have in our lives. Zach's father Paul Chesser also gave an amazing speech which really touched us. We also loved how simple the ceremony was and how it reflected our love for God and one another.
Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: Make sure that you focus on your marriage more than your wedding day! Your wedding day is just that- one day of your life! But your marriage- that is what can and should last forever. You don't want to be so focused on having the perfect day that you lose sight of the whole reason you are having a wedding day! And when it comes to planning a wedding: stay organized, work on something small for your wedding every day, and make the day about you guys. Don't give into the pressure of having your wedding a certain way because other people tell you to! It is your day and it's important that you make it into something you love and will cherish and remember.
If you are looking for a wedding venue and enjoyed the photos from Zach and Nicole’s wedding, here are a few details on the venue. From the bridal suites to the ceremony site the venue at Secluded Gardens is an amazing wedding venue for brides looking to get married in the Temecula area. We love taking photos at this venue as there are so many opportunities for incredible photos to take couples out.
Secluded gardens has amazing views over Pala hidden beneath the trees and overlooking the mountains with a 6,000 square foot reception area! The dance floor is beautiful at sunset which makes for some of the best wedding photos in Temecula. The setup for the sweetheart table is amazing as well! There is so much sitting area and the ability to have all of your bridesmaids and groomsmen at the table with you. As local wedding photographers we have worked with Secluded Gardens multiple times and love the laid-back vibe the property has. The bridal suites are at the very top are amazing to get ready in and offer plenty of space. Once ready, the stairs that lead down to the ceremony site makes the walk down the aisle that much more dramatic giving us the photographers plenty of time to catch the brides reaction.
If you are from out of town or located in either San Diego or Temecula this venue is perfect as it is right in between. The venue is a perfect spot for our team as we have two locations (San Diego) and (Temecula) which is why we label ourselves as San Diego wedding photographers and Temecula wedding photographers. To summarize, if you are looking for a beautiful wedding venue that is located close to the vineyards that is also extremely affordable look into Secluded Gardens.
Still searching for your wedding photographer? We are thrilled to be labeled as top wedding photographers in San Diego and although weddings definitely are not cheap, we do make sure to offer affordable wedding photography in San Diego and Temecula. We encourage you to seek out other San Diego wedding photographer prices, however pictures are so incredibly important and you want to work with experienced, professional photographers & videographers for your big day.
About us: We are a team of San Diego videographers, capturing one of life’s greatest moments. Our work embodies what we believe in and the outcome is real, true moments made for you. Whatever it may be that makes you tick, we want to be there to create a video that tells who you are. Whether that be the mountains in Palomar or the vineyards of Temecula this is where the true story begins.