With all the changes to gatherings due to COVID these three terms are all the buzz. So, what exactly is an Elopement, Minimony, and a Micro Wedding? And how are they different?


According to Bride Magazine, an elopement is a marriage conducted without the knowledge of the couple’s family and friends, particularly their parents. Typically, those who elope only have a ceremony and do not host a reception or celebration.

Basically… it’s just the two of you, your officiant and your photographer… plus hopefully some flowers. We have been lucky share in a few elopements and have been truly touched by how sweet and intimate the moment feels.

Elopement, Temecula Elopement, Intimate Wedding


A minimony is a mini ceremony held with your loved ones, or simply a moment of commitment shared between yourselves.

The Knot

The minimony more like the ceremony you envisioned for your big day. Ten to twenty of your closest friends and family come together to witness you two exchange your vows. You two, your officiant, your photographer, a ceremony location + close family and friends.

Minimony, Tmecula Minimony, Wee Wedding, Wedding Ceremony, COVID Wedding

Micro Wedding

This is an option many couples were choosing even before COVID. A Micro Wedding will feel very much like a destination wedding. Micro Weddings include no more than 50 guests and all your standard wedding touchpoints. A Ceremony, dinner, and an intimate reception. For a how-to, check out this article we found.

Micro Wedding, Temecula Micro Wedding, Intimate Wedding

We are so excited about how many couples are choosing to move forward with their “I do’s” and are looking forward to documenting them. You may even remember that back in March we launched a new service to accommodate the changing landscape of weddings. And more recently we joined forces with some great vendors to make executing these smaller weddings a breeze. If you are interested check out Virtual Vows Temecula for all the details.

by Alexis Sanabria

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This is a question we get asked often… “Do I need a wedding planner if my venue has a coordinator?” The answer… YES! There is a big difference between what the venue coordinator’s job is and what a wedding planner will do.

Wedding Planning, Table Top Design, Real Wedding Temecula, Temecula Wedding Planning

We reached out to one of the best planners we know, Michelle of Michelle Garibay Events, to get the scoop.

Here is what she had to say about the differences, plus one major reason it’s always a good idea.

In basic terms, a venue coordinator works for the venue, a wedding planner works directly for the couple. However, they have equally important and complimentary roles. Planners need venue coordinators to oversee their venue team and to ensure things they are providing are taken care of.

Venues need planners to help keep the day moving forward, running smoothly, oversee vendors, and be proactive in addressing any potential issues.  Wedding days are simply better with both when they are able to work together. This is especially important when the venue coordinators need to step away for site tours, oversee venue set up or oversee food and beverage service with their banquet captains, if they are still on site to manage that. Often times venue coordinators depart once meal service begins, but that’s OK.  They aren’t supposed to be there to actually coordinate the wedding. That is your planner’s job to manage the vendors, the details, and timeline from start to finish. 

To take it one step further, planners are also the professionals who can offer:

  • etiquette advice and logistical counsel
  • design guidance so you aren’t a cookie-cutter replica of the multitude of weddings before yours
  • streamlined (read: non-frustrating) communication with vendors
  • and reputable vendor recommendations if you have specific needs outside of the venue list

A venue coordinator does not have time for this type of personalized service. And to be frank, it’s not their job to be that involved in the planning process.  You can’t in good conscience give the venue a bad review if you keep piling on the responsibilities and assumptions when they weren’t contractually obligated to handle them in the first place.  That’s not fair to them.  But, don’t take our word for it.  Ask your vendors how much they are able to focus on their responsibilities when a reputable planner is at the helm. In the end, we are comparing two full-time jobs and one person can’t realistically do everything – and do it well.  And when venues promise they “do it all,” seriously consider what this really means for you and your day to ensure your expectations are met.

What happens if your venue coordinator leaves the venue?

First, refer to the point above then read on.  You’ve just been thrown a curve ball in the middle of the planning process. We empathize. But just like in any line of work, people sometimes move on to better opportunities, they physically move, and burnout is a real thing when volume and sales is the baseline expectation of the job description.

Even though this is one of the most important days of your life and emotions can run high, venues are no different than any other industry when it comes to staffing changes. So, the person who had been assigned to oversee your day is no longer there and you might be introduced to 1, 2, maybe more venue contacts. We’ve worked with couples who have had upwards of FIVE to SEVEN different venue contacts in the course of their planning. It happens all the time. There is no guarantee they will be there to see your day to completion because you contract with the venue, not the person.

Planner to the rescue.

When it happens to couples who hire planners they know they really don’t have as much to worry about. Those planners are the “glue,” continuity, and peace of mind throughout the process.  It makes the transition between staff members much less stressful because those couples know their planner can make sure the new contact gets up to speed and nothing is missed. Win-win for everyone, including the venue.The venue-planner relationship is like peanut butter and jelly.  Planners just sweeten the deal for everyone involved.

The good news, these stress-inducing scenarios can be avoided with a clearer understanding of what a venue coordinator’s role is. Venue’s might differ slightly, but this ensures you make the best decision for your wedding day, especially when unexpected changes occur. Here is a link to a comparison sheet. It will help clarify roles and expectations so you can ask the right questions as you begin your planning journey.

Michelle- Michelle Garibay Events
Wedding Planning, Real Wedding, Temecula Wedding Planning

We also dug up this great little article that will help you determine just how much planning you will need. If you’re still asking yourself, “Do I need a wedding planner?”, find out just how essential planners are by checking out this blog over on Real Weddings of Temecula.

For more tips from us click here.

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As photographers, we get asked all the time to submit images for editorial features… and we LOVE it! We decided to take a look back at 5 Wedding Features we were proud to be a part of.

No. 1- 10 Hot Wedding Trends

Exquisite Wedding, Wedding Trends, Fazeli Cellars, Wedding Features

This image was part of Exquisite Weddings round-up of the ” The latest and greatest for a bangin’ big day. “

COURSE CORRECT. Temecula’s got their wine game on lockdown, and now they’re upping their food game to match, with multicourse tasting dinners—like the ones hosted by Fazeli Cellars—for brides and grooms.

No. 2- Trend to Watch and Drop

Creative Click, Invitation Suite, Exquisite Weddings, Wedding Trends, Wedding Features

This standout invitation suite was designed by The Creative Clique and was included for its use of color and mood.

… adding deep and saturated hues will reign supreme… in that vein, warmer metallic tones such as brass and brushed nickel are stepping up for a change…

Read more here.

No. 3- Team Letter

Kendra Scoot, Wedding Features,

This details shot was so BOLD, and full of color and jewelry from Kendra Scott . The creative team decided to used it to highlight changes in the new issue.

From the Team: Think Bold From Down Under to the Golden State, wedding inspiration abounds no matter the stage for the big day. With this in mind, we’ve scrapped the “local” and “destination” categories in our Real Weddings section to instead pack this issue cover to cover with ideas from across the pond and deep into the desert—like Borrego Springs, where our gown shoot took place.

No. 4- Menswear by Friar Tux

Friar Tux, Menswear, Wedding Suit, Wedding Features

“Tailored and Chic Groom”, this handsome look was used by Friar Tux’s team as an example.

The Friar Tux groom adores a Modern Style by Michael Kors especially one that’s a performance suit, exclusive to Friar in Heather Gray and Charcoal.

No. 5- More Menswear

Menswear, Wedding Style, Wedding Features

On the first day of Christmas… This picture of the grooms details from a wedding at Galway Downs was part of a Christmas count down. “The Third Day of Christmas: Menswear Wedding Trends”

we are taking a trip down memory lane to look back on menswear wedding styles of 2019 and ahead to help find a look that’s perfectly “suited” for you or your guy in 2020.

Thanks for checking out these 5 Wedding Features we’ve been included in. We’d love to hear what you thought about some of these “trends” and tips.

by Alexis Sanabria

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We asked one of our favorite DJ’s to dish his picks for the 5 Best First Dance Songs. And Mike from C Squared Events did not disappoint. The first dance is such a special moment for every couple and the song you choose should reflect that feeling.

First Dance Song, Temecula Creek Inn Wedding

The landscape is crowded with songs that couples can choose to play while they share their first dance. It is also the hardest to recommend. The first dance should be part of your story, but for some looking through the many, many options is daunting. Never fear we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 songs you should consider listening to as you decide on the melody to play as you share that first dance as a married couple.

Mike- C Squared Events

At Last – Etta James.

Sometimes you have to look to the past to get the song to start your future. “At Last” is a classic that has been used before, and for very good reason. It is extremely romantic, the easy tempo makes it easy to dance to and it holds up. Especially if this wedding is “Years in the Making”

The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra.

OK, there are almost as many versions of “The Way You Look Tonight” as there are first dance songs to pick from. However, Old Blue Eyes version sticks out for the slightly upbeat tempo. In ballroom dance parlance, it is a foxtrot, but the beat still allows for a little free form and isn’t overly structured. If moving hug isn’t your scene, “The Way”, could give you just enough to stand out but not so much that it requires some sort of complex choreography.

Lover – Taylor Swift.

I know putting this song on the list will be somewhat controversial… but, take a moment, pull it up on Spotify and have a listen. Go ahead we’ll wait…
See, this song speaks to a love that is at the start of a long journey. Three summers together as a couple now it’s time to start their forever. A quick scan of the lyrics and you will quickly find that TSwift doesn’t just do breakup songs.

Amazed – Lonestar.

Country music just seems to have the market covered on classic love songs and there certainly wasn’t a shortage of options. Millionaire, Tennesee Whiskey, From the Ground Up all could have taken this slot. Why “Amazed”? Well, very few songs about… shall we say the wedding night… can stand to the spotlight of being the first dance quite like “Amazed”. Your hair all around me, baby you surround me… yup, get a room you two. Yet take a listen to some others “Crash into me” for instance. Yup you can feel comfortable with grandma watching on as you and your forever enjoy dancing to the Lonestar hit.

Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran.

Just like how you can’t imagine “Single Ladies” existing outside a bouquet toss… “Thinking Out Loud”, it seems, was written especially for couples to enjoy their moment on the dance floor. Just as “The Way You Look Tonight” gets recognized for being a bit more upbeat, “Thinking Out Loud” is upbeat enough to give you something to move to. Allowing for a jump into the shallow end… You’re still taking a plunge just not letting the water get above your head.

I know how could we limit ourselves. We had to, otherwise we could be here forever. Fret not, if this list didn’t solve your problems check back, there is a good chance that we will be back with “Another 5 first dance songs.

Mike- C Squared Events
First Dance Song, Villa de Amore Wedding

Let us know what you think about Mike’s picks below and for more pro tips click here.

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California Wedding Day BEST OF 2020

Being a “BEST OF” Photographer finalist is so exciting! California Wedding Day has honored the wedding industry with their “BEST OF” awards for the past six years. California Wedding Day readers and wedding industry professionals nominate and vote for “BEST OF” finalists. Being a finalist is a huge honor and we are very grateful.

“BEST OF” nominees are divided by region and specialty. Photography, Venue, Florist, Planners, etc., San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Leah Marie Photography is being included as a San Diego Region finalist for the second consecutive year. And we are proud to be nominated for the “BEST OF 2020” photographer alongside Allie Lindsey Photography, Dear Lovers Photography, and Emma Hopp Photography.

Last year’s “BEST OF” event at Vibiana was amazing. Our team had a great time celebrating with several other Temecula Wedding Partners who were honored that evening. This year’s event, the 7th Annual, will be wildly different due to COVID-19. California Wedding Day recently shared that they will be hosting a LIVE VIRTUAL EVENT to celebrate.

While learning that we will not be able to gather and celebrate together with our peers this year is disappointing, we are still looking forward to seeing who takes home the honors for 2020 and sharing the news with all of you.

Until then check out this fun editorial we were included in.

California Wedding Day, Friar Tux Sweet Oaks Ranch
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