janell + matt’s ultimate san diego wedding | amy strong castle, mt. woodson » La Vida Creations Photography

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janell + matt’s ultimate san diego wedding | amy strong castle, mt. woodson

The details were meticulously planned, the decor was stunning, the dress was lovely, and Janell & Matt were bursting with emotion as their big day finally arrived! Late last year, the folks at Bridal Insider started planning this year’s San Diego Ultimate Wedding contest, to be held at the gorgeous Mt. Woodson castle. Janell and Matt won the contest by submitting their love story and why they deserved to win this all-inclusive wedding package. High-quality wedding vendors from all over San Diego were asked by Courtney Tibbets (After the Engagement) to help her to achieve her vision of a delightful “Brilliantly Beautiful Brunch”-themed wedding for this happy couple.

While the overall vision for their day was absolutely inspired, all those pretty details will be posted here in a separate post; today, our focus will be on the happy couple, Janell and Matt. 🙂 Speaking of which, if you missed their engagement session down at Mission Beach, go take a look-see!

Janell was so excited to get into her dress! She and her ladies were excitedly laughing and giggling about their big Vegas weekend while preparing to see Matt up on the altar. They were all so amazed at how lucky they were for the gorgeous 80 degree day in January (as were we!).

Shooting around the Amy Strong Castle at Mt. Woodson was such a pleasure… so many cool little hallways and staircases that show off the old and beautiful architecture. Photographing a gorgeous bride like Janell in this old-world locale was a blast!

Janell is such a cutie! LOVE the birdcage veil. 🙂

While Betsy was playing with the ladies, I headed on over to the Groom’s Room to be with Matt and his gents. They wore light-grey suits with pale-yellow ties that matched the brunch-theme perfectly. Matt looked SHARP on his big day! His anxiety was palpable… SO ready to join his lovely bride on their new path together.

What’s a Groom’s Room without a little toast of Crown? 😉

It was raining down here in San Diego on the days preceding Matt and Janell’s big day… but on the day of their nuptials, the sun made its glorious return! Beautiful light all. Day. Long. Love that!

Janell’s father and step-father were both so incredibly proud to be walking her down the aisle.

And Matt, as expected, was simply blown away as his bride-to-be rounded the corner!

One of our favorite people on the planet was there to officiate the bonds of marriage for Janell and Matt. Bethel Nathan (Ceremonies by Bethel) always takes so much time to ensure that each and every couple she marries receives a unique and meaningful ceremony. She really makes every wedding so special!

Of course, part of Bethel’s special touch is adding some personal stories that the couple share about their relationship. Lots of laughter ensued!

Always love those couple minutes right after the ceremony… MARRIED!!!

Time for the party! Courtney did such a wonderful job in creating a beautiful day for Janell and Matt (more to come on the impressive details in our next post, stay tuned!).

We love to see it when couples are surrounded by emotionally supportive friends and family. Everyone looked on with teary eyes and big smiles!

I love best man toasts. I love the whole “I love you, man” feelings that come out during a friend’s toast to another. I’ve been known to really well up. 🙂
This toast was no different, with the added bonus of hysterical laughter as well! I mean really, how many toasts begin with a spot-on impression of whale song?!? You heard me. It was awesome!

See? I’m not the only one who gets emotional over a meaningful and heartwarming toast.

Oh, the laughter and tears of joy that comes out during the parent dances!

OK. We had to share just ONE of Courtney’s fab details here. See that cake? Yup. It’s shaped like a stack of flapjacks. How cute is THAT?!?

And so, the party begins, thanks to Bill Calhoun with Bill Calhoun Mobile Music

The dance floor really got bangin’ when Bill played Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, one of many road trip songs enjoyed by everyone present. Even the moms were singing at the tops of their lungs!
Didn’t mean to make you cry,
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry ooooon, carry on as if nothing really matters…”


I love shooting dance floors. It’s always so much fun to anticipate dance moves with certain songs! One of my faves, of course, is “Shout!”

“A little bit softer now…”

Matt and Janell, we both wish you a lifetime of Love and Luck (though I don’t think you guys really need the luck part). You make a great couple, and we can’t wait to hear all about your experiences together as Husband and Wife!

To all our loyal readers… Part Two of Matt and Janell’s Ultimate San Diego Wedding will be posted in a few days so that you can see all the loveliness! <3

To Janell and Matt’s friends and family: sign in to their Pictage Wedding Event Page… you will be notified as soon as the rest of the individual images go live in a few weeks, and you will receive a gift certificate toward your first print purchase!

Janell and Matt’s fantastic vendors who donated their services and time to this extraordinary event: Photographers: La Vida Creations Photography • Ceremony Venue: Mt. Woodson Amy Strong CastleReception Venue: Mt. Woodson Amy Strong CastleEvent Design and Planning: Courtney with After the EngagementCatering: Personal Touch DiningCinematography: Side by Side CinemaRentals and Linens: Party Production RentalsOfficiant- Bethel Nathan, Ceremonies by Bethel • Rehearsal Dinner- Carmel Mountain Ranch Country ClubFlorist – Exquisite Blooms DJ- Bill Calhoun Mobile Music DJ Live musician- Nick Weiss Stationery and Paperie- Nic.Roc.Designs Limo service – Elite Image LimoTux rentals- Friar Tux ShopBridesmaidsNecklaces- KChicDesignsBride’s and Mother’s Hair and Makeup – Marisa Von SheereBridesmaid’s Makeup- Gerine Coronado Bridesmaid’s Hair- Rebecca Hainline • Bridesmaid’s Dresses- Nordstrom • Documenting Photographer – Evan Bishop Honeymoon – PS RivieraFavors- SoBellePhotobooth : Jasper with After the Engagement  • Boudoir – Modern Boudoir by Allie Lindsey Photography Cake- Hey There, CupcakeDonuts- Sensational Treats Cake Balls- Cake Ball LoveMini trifles- Sumi’s Oven Cookies- The Cookie Chew Candy buffet- A Candy Store Chocolate photobooth props- Tailored Sweets Sponsored by Bridal Insider and Star 94.1

  • Christina T - Wow, these photos are incredible! Janell and Matt look stunning! La Vida, you captured so many great shots and the true emotion of the bride and groom! Matt, I love the watery eyes 🙂

  • Janell - OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH! I love them! love love love them! You guys are the BEST!!!! Thank you does not even do justice to the gratitude I have for you guys! You are amazing!

  • Amanda - WOW. I love the photos under the trees. Amazing. And what a beautiful bride!

  • Sarah - Gorgeous. Stunning. Amazing! You all look awesome, can’t wait to see more! xo

  • Jackie V - So lovely. That location looks pretty sweet!

  • Lisa Marie Brinker - Such beautiful photos. Love the one of Janelle and her mom. It’s been so long since I’ve seen both of them. Beautiful bride and handsome groom! Congrats!

  • Katie L - So so so so so MAGICAL!!!!!! You two captured such amazing moments, I can feel the emotion right now and am reliving that day through these amazing images:) Your inventive skills and Matt & Janell’s devilishly good looks makes for some great pics 🙂

  • Linda Boranian - oh my gosh! I’m crying all over again. What beautiful photos of 2 beautiful people- inside and out!

  • Courtney - You guys capture every last emotion. Thank you for being you!!!

  • Jared - Awesome pictures you two! Love, love, love them! Can’t wait to post the wedding film of this event!

  • Bethel Nathan - Ceremonies by Bethel - Wowee!!!!! Love love love!! Words cannot express! I love how well you ALWAYS capture the moments, the emotions, the connection, the details, the big picture – all of it! I am honored to get to work with you on wonderful celebrations, and I am always thrilled when I know that one of my couples gets to work with you too! Congratulations on another job very well done!

  • Katie A - WOW! I LOVE these photos! It was such a beautiful day to celebrate the love between Matt and Janell. xoxo

  • Jaime' Nugent - Amazing, beautiful photos. I can’t wait to see all the photos. Incredible photographers. I love the dialogue with the photos. It was a magic day.


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