I'm Chris, an Orange County wedding photographer with a passion for love stories.

San Gabriel Grapevine Arbor Wedding

July 3, 2019

bride and bridesmaids together at San Gabriel Mission

A city like San Gabriel has a plethora of exquisite vocations, which can become a double-edged sword when it comes to choosing specific places to shoot. For something as once-in-a-lifetime as a wedding, it’s hard to think of a better hotspot than the San Gabriel Grapevine Arbor Wedding area. The two spots have a respective charm, and there’s plenty of locations hidden in between.

Bride walking down isle at san gabriel mission

Bride & Groom at San Gabriel mission

Q&A w/ Bridget & Scott
1. Describe your wedding day in 3 words:
Exhilarating, blessed, love

San Gabriel Alter

2. What was your favorite moment of the day?
Exchanging our vows

Bride & groom at altar

Both the arbor and the mission abound in rustic beauty. Considering they respectively date back to 1861 and 1771, the aesthetic reflects the long history of both places. The San Gabriel Mission has become a cornerstone of both local and tourist culture. It’s a museum and church in one, blending reverence and aesthetic preservation. The church building itself is a sight to behold. Its natural lighting imparts vibrant color to a treasure trove sculptures and paintings. The altar, in particular, becomes breathtaking during opportune moments.

bride and groom kissing at altar

bride and family

bride and son together

family formals

family formals at the mission

bridal party mission photos

3. Why did you guys decide to pick San Gabriel mission for the wedding ceremony and Grapevine Arbor for your reception?
I went to San Gabriel Mission Elementary school and High school and grew up in that parish.  I wanted a beautiful, outdoor setting very close to our ceremony site.

candids at the san gabriel mission

bride and groom with bridal party

mission bridal party

groom socks

kissing at the mission
While the church building has a potent regal quality, Grape Vine Arbor has a much more communal vibe to it. After all, good wine is synonymous with relaxation. With indoor and outdoor options, the best of both worlds are available with regard to shot composition and portfolio diversity. It’s elegant enough for a wedding reception, but not to the point where younger attendees couldn’t play lawn bowling after dinner.

bride and groom black and white

bride and groom walking together in the mission

san gabriel mission romantics

bride and groom laughing together

bride and groom under the mission bells

Knowing which areas are available, when they’ll look the best and how best to get there makes the difference between a stressful rush-job and a calculated, smooth shoot. The town itself is much more than its landmarks, with plenty of unique nooks and crannies in between Grape Vine Arbor and San Gabriel Mission. It’s the kind of place you could never shoot the same way twice. You can always use the historical backdrop, but the scenery is always changing as seasonal events and festivals come and go.

bride and groom street crossingAn added benefit of shooting at San Gabriel’s mission and Grapevine arbor is the aesthetic common ground they find in old Spanish architecture. While certainly different in their overall atmosphere, both locations have a distinct similarity in how they were originally constructed two centuries ago. In fact, the same could be said about the city itself. A keen eye can find a multitude of hidden gems. The sheer volume of options can be overwhelming, so it’s best to approach a spot like this with a bit of preparation and planning.

grapevine arbor romantic photos of bride and groom

walking into the grapevine arbor together

reception walking into the grapevine arbor

first dance as bride and groom

groom giving speech to crowd

grapevine arbor bride and groom speech

grapevine arbor candid seating

grapevine arbor reception band

grapevine arbor ice cream and kids

grapevine arbor walking by fountain

4. What was something that surprised you most about the day?
I was actually able to enjoy the day and remember all the details.  I was afraid it would pass me by and I would miss so much.  

grapevine arbor bride and groom

With some forethought and a well-organized itinerary, it’s downright amazing how many angles you can take when approaching the San Gabriel Mission and the Grape Vine Arbors. There’s a lot of appreciate about both spots, so chart it out before the big day.

grapevine arbor kissing by fountain

bride and groom candid at grapevine arbor

funny wedding socks at grapevine arbor

cake cutting at grapevine arbor reception fun

BW portrait of cake cutting

cake cutting at grapevine arbor

grapevine arbor wedding reception fun

grapevine arbor wedding reception

dancing at grapevine arbor

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