Traica and Myles’ intimate Temecula elopement was simply stunning. The entire event was beautiful, intentional, and so incredibly meaningful.
Picture this–you’re at a gorgeous hilltop Airbnb with a vista overlooking all of Temecula’s wine country landscape. The rolling hills and deep valleys around you are woven together with thousands upon thousands of rows of green grape vines at the height of their bloom. The sun starts to set, showering the countryside in hues of orange, purple, and gold. This was the setting for Traica and Myles’ beautiful Temecula elopement and it could not have been more magical.
San Diego sits just barely 45 minutes south of Temecula, so I’ve visited the area a fair number of times and have shot more than a few weddings at the nearby wineries and vineyards. Fun fact, Temecula is actually in a microclimate zone with an ideal temperature for growing grapes–hence the dozens of wineries and resorts across the area that draw in people from all over Southern California.
I had never actually traveled up to one of the homes that sits high up on one of the hilltops overlooking Temecula valley and was excited to see what it was like. On my drive to the Airbnb, I kept expecting to hear my directions telling me I had arrived, but up and up it kept telling me to, spiraling me slowly upwards to a home on the very tip top of a hill overlooking all of the beautiful wine country in the valley below.
Traica and Myles had planned their elopement to truly be an intimate and intentional event. There were only 9 people there in total including the couple and I was one of only three vendors (the other two being florals and catering). Myles’ brother in law officiated the ceremony and Traica’s brother walked her down the aisle. The couple decided to forgo a first look, but the bride did set aside time to have one with their dog (check out the photos of this below, it was truly such a special moment!).
With the awe inspiring vistas and the rows and rows of beautiful grape vines winding around the property, I knew this was going to be such a gorgeous and romantic spot for their sunset photos after their elopement ceremony. I mean geezalou, were we in Temecula or were we in Tuscany?!
In general, I always suggest that a couple put aside at least 20-30 minutes or more during golden hour (the hour before sunset), to take some sunset photos together. At this time, the sky is always lit up with brilliant shades of gold and orange and the light usually falls very evenly across people’s faces regardless of which direction they’re facing (all very good things for photos!).
But truthfully, I love this time because there’s a feeling of magic in the air. It’s usually one of only a few chances the couple has to be alone together on their wedding day. It’s a time where they can take a deep exhale together, reconnect, and slow down from the craziness of the day (and the preceding few months let’s be honest!). It’s an honest time and a relaxed time. It’s when core memories are made and the feeling of romance is tangible and alive right there with us.
Traica and Myles’ sunset photos were no exception to this golden hour magic and beauty. The couple wanted at least an hour of time for their sunset photos and I was more than happy to oblige. We meandered around the rows of grape vines on the property, looking out at the beautiful landscapes in the distance and pausing to have little moments here and there. During this type of photo time, I always love to give people enough direction to not feel awkward, but not so much that it feels like a hyper intense shoot. I mostly like to fade into the background where I can, while also making sure that everyone is feeling supported during the time.
Between the gorgeous location, the intentional planning, and the magical sunset time, this intimate Temecula elopement was a true honor to be a part of and a sincere delight to photograph. I am so grateful to have been a part of this incredible day!
Interested in checking out other intimate weddings and elopements? Head on over to the elopements section of the blog for some more inspo! Or if you’re planning your own elopement, I would love to chat! Click on over to my contact page and drop me a note!
I'm Brittany Bender. A wedding, elopement, & couples photographer who specializes in capturing candid, natural, emotion-packed photos. I'm based in the local San Diego area, and I serve couples throughout the entire Southern California region and am available for travel worldwide.