It’s easy to catch a contact high when you’re involved in the happiest day of a person’s life. When it’s one of your oldest friends, you’re experiencing it right alongside him. For that reason alone, Ray Patchen’s marriage to Tori became a particularly memorable photo-shoot. Temecula Creek Inn had beautiful pockets of great locations to take amazing photos and we utilized pretty much all of them.
Temecula Creek Inn has a fairy tale quality. Entering the property feels like entering a secluded world ripe for molding to the attendee’s needs. The shots I captured of Ray, Tori, the groomsmen, and the bridesmaids seem to come from the middle of a fantastical wilderness. The flip side of that became a lack of workable space. I had to get creative finding angles that didn’t feel repetitive or cramped. Still, the results were marvelous. The blue suits worn by Ray and the groomsmen popped perfectly, and the dense trees made for some great lighting.
Once I found my choice angles, the shots came together swimmingly. The grassy areas have an authentically natural look, but you can still walk on them. Heading back to the road doesn’t sacrifice the beautiful trees, as they turn up almost everywhere on the property. This makes for a dense, but clean environment. Tori didn’t have to worry about dirtying her dress while walking through the grass, and the shots of her and Ray looked as comfortable as they did eye-catching.
The ceremony itself was held in a spot called “The Meadows.” It lived up to its name, with strategically-placed vegetation and rustic furnishings. Anyone who knows Ray & Tori knows they would want everyone in attendance to feel at home. The familial atmosphere reached far beyond the sign in front of the seats. The place felt reverent, yet inviting.
Remember what I said about the place feeling secluded? That really comes into play here. Where a lot of venues can make the people who use them feel like props, Ray, Tori and company really made the place their own.
Finding spots with expanded scenery took a bit of effort, but the results were rewarding. Those foothills made for a breathtaking backdrop, in contrast to the closeup shots I was able to capture. With the foothills lessening the amount of direct sunlight, the lighting remained constant on both ends of the spectrum. My decision to make a few shots black and white reflects this ideal lighting. More locations, distances and color palettes maintain a unified aesthetic.
With such a beautiful location, the inn doesn’t need to compensate with lavish decor. This made my job much easier, as I could approach “The Meadow” like I did the rest of the inn. The relative simplicity of the setup allowed Ray and Tori to be themselves in this midst of it all. It wasn’t about over-the-top architecture, but their love for each other, along with their friends and family. Having known ray for a good chunk of my life, it was amazing to see him and Tori so genuinely happy in the moments I captured.
I didn’t have to wonder whether the subsequent party would make the air electric. The Patchen’s know how to have a good time. Thanks to the inn’s homey vibe, it wasn’t hard to throw inhibition to the wind. Ray and Tori’s friends and family could make themselves at home in “the meadow.” Even with majestic foothills in the background, the place breaths community all the same. I might be a bit biased, as I got to witness a defining moment for my buddy Ray, but the Temecula Creek Inn has beautiful moments down to a science.