Santa Lucia Preserve, Carmel Valley, California

Li and Jeff chose the Santa Lucia Preserve for their February wedding because Jeff’s family has a house nearby, and they had been visiting the area for years. “We have always felt very connected to the beauty of the land there,” Li told me.

Li and Jeff’s emotional ceremony was held in the enchanting redwood grove on the Santa Lucia Preserve property, surrounded by candles. Afterward, guests walked across the way for a reception in the preserve’s big barn. Li and Jeff started the evening off with what would become Li’s favorite memory from her wedding day: a merengue first dance to the song Suavamente.

I have to give credit to one of the couple’s friends whom they affectionately call “party boy” for a lot of the wild dance photos from the night.  He picked up a Spanish wine decanter, called a porron, in Carmel the night before the wedding, and it was present on the dance floor for most of the evening. People got a little crazier with each sip, and I saw some things I’ve never seen done at a wedding before, such as limbo with a crutch, a spontaneous human pyramid, and a woman in a very short dress doing a headstand.

I was lucky to have Chrisman Studios photographer Aaron Morris capturing this entertaining wedding day with me, and Chrisman Studios videographer Michael Reed creating the wedding film. I  love photographing Carmel weddings, and this one will always be a favorite.

Authored by: Photographed by: MauricioCategory:  WeddingsDestination:  Carmel Valley, CaliforniaSetting:  Forest WeddingVenue:  Santa Lucia Preserve