Camp Navarro Wedding Mendocino – Johanna & Phil

The beauty of Johanna & Phil’s wedding at Camp Navarro in Mendocino, California was overwhelming to say the least. There were meaningful flourishes sewn into every aspect of the weekend. So I’m going to split this wedding up into two posts. It’s just entirely too epic for one. 

The delights started before I arrived at Camp Navarro. As I drove up to Mendocino from the Bay Area, I was treated to a wedding podcast hosted by the bride and groom. There was an interview with the flower girl, an analysis of the distinction between genres of brokenbeat music, interviews with the parents, and advertisements for camp style activities all set to the theme music from This American Life, Serial, et al. I laughed and laughed as I drove North.

Camp Navarro is nestled in a remote redwood forest, a few hours North of San Francisco. When you arrive, the smell, the light, the feeling of the air in your lungs, makes the rest of the workaday world fall away.

I started with Johanna and her bridesmaids where I was treated to a sneak peek of her fabulous dress: a marigold to white ombre theme by Leanne Marshall. Once she had slipped the dress on, she looked as if she had walked out of a Helen Frankenthaler painting.

Sitting on the table in the getting ready cabin was a printout of Johanna & Phil’s initial text exchanges. At the center of these exchanges was a connection around Johanna’s expertise as a midwife, and Phil’s desire to be a Birth DJ. As the romance unfolded through these messages, it became clear how funny each of them were, and well matched to each other.

One of my favorite frames from the day came as we were readying to head over to the first look. The ring bearer hopped on the back of a bicycle, and was pedaled across camp.

After the first look, we had a ketubah signing before heading over to chuppah. One of Johanna’s friends did all of the florals. I particularly loved the sunflowers on the chuppah that matched Johanna’s dress.

The officiant, a close friend of the couple, wore an exuberant, rainbow, shawl that tied together the colorful bridesmaids dresses.

During the ceremony, when the officiant asked the assembled guests if there were any objections to the marriage, an objector jumped up and spoke about some of the limits of marriage as we now, and have historically practiced the convention. Johanna and Phil both addressed their vows to the objector. It was an emotional rollercoaster to say the least.

Click here for part 2

Click here for part 2

Venue : Camp Navarro
Photographer : Paul Gargagliano – Hazelphoto
Wedding dress : Leanne Marshall
Suit : Knot Standard
Florist : Morgan Johnson
Wedding planner : Sonya Houston – Mendocino Wedding
Hair and makeup : Jordyn Condit- Mendo Bridal Beauty
DJ and/or band : Ashleyanne
Cake : Shani’s Sweet Creations
Catering : Camp Navarro
Invitations: Minted
Officiant : Ilyse Magy


2019 a year in wedding moments

2019 was a big year over here. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in June of 2017, and flying to NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia countless times to photograph weddings in 2017 & 2018, my 2019 wedding season was 95% California weddings. I feel grateful for the shift and the growth, which has allowed me to spend more time close to home running to the beach and eating breakfast tacos in the backyard with my wife on Sunday mornings.

This year I witnessed great beauty and connection up and down the coast, and I was introduced to new traditions: From redwood cathedrals dusted with rose petals in Mendocino, to dusty ranches lit up with colorful saris down in San Benito County. From Greek feasts in hidden urban gardens, to foggy hilltop wedding brunches. From pretzel dances in Silicon Valley, to rooftop ragers in Soma. From boxer dogs in tailored tuxes, to gold sequin party dresses just for dancing.

There were lots of saxophones at weddings this year. I certainly hope that trend endures. One of the saxophonists wore a cow suit. I had the distinct pleasure of listening to my first wedding podcast, including a hilarious interview with the flower girl. One couple drove into their wedding at Fort Mason on their tandem bicycle right up to the altar, another drove away from their City Hall wedding on a getaway motorcycle with a veil flying behind the bride’s helmet. I learned about 2nd lines, the Gujarati Garba Dance, Hula, and Cosplay. This was also a year of micro-weddings. Such intimate affairs. 10 souls at a gorgeous farmhouse on a Vineyard in Sonoma, 18 in a backyard in Napa, 10 on Synagogue grounds in Santa Clara County. But, there were large affairs as well in clubhouses with fantastic views of the majestic San Francisco skyline, elegant white gowns with long trains, 10-piece bands. There was a wedding newspaper, a bouquet of paper airplanes, and a custom-printed Shehecheyanu shawl draped over a pair of embracing brides just-married on a foggy Marin mountaintop.

I want to take this moment to thank every last person who invited me in to witness their weddings, to witness their families,, and their communities breaking bread, singing, laughing, dancing, crying, etc. etc. I loved all of it. I feel immensely grateful, and I look forward to next year, which should prove to be another glorious year full of ritual and awe.

(2020 is already 75% booked…eeeep!!!)


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