Burning Man Meets Jewish Summer Camp Wedding – Johanna & Phil

Part 2:
(to start with part 1 click here.)

Yes, “Burning man meets Jewish summer camp” was how Phil succinctly described his and Johanna’s wedding in their introductory podcast! (See Part 1).

After the kiss, wedding guests were lead from the chuppah to the camp mess hall by a pair of musicians. On arrival at cocktail hour, they were greeted by groomsmen in Chippendales vests serving cocktails. Glittery face paint was generously distributed (see? Burning Man!).

A candlelit dinner at long banquet tables and a host of memorable toasts were followed by a surprise birthday celebration for Johanna’s dad’s 70th.

Photographing a hora under the stars comes with its challenges, but I had a bevy of off-camera-flashes set up, and I’m thrilled with the result (see?  Jewish Summer Camp!)

The action was nonstop. A choreographed flash mob was led by the groom’s niece, and the groomsmen led a second choreographed dance. A spontaneous limbo formed on the dance floor.

As the night drew long, Phil was treated to an epic chair dance.

Johanna forced a unicorn piñata into submission, showering the dance floor with candy.

Unbelievably, there were another two DJ sets still to come after I finished up my coverage!

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


Camp Navarro Wedding Mendocino – Johanna & Phil

The beauty of Johanna & Phil’s wedding at Camp Navarro in Mendocino, California was overwhelming. 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 we descended on Mendocino County from far flung burgs, wedding guests were treated to a downloadable 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, and 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 their 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 how 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, they 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, a planted 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, and to each other. This emotional ritual allowed Johanna and Phil to acknowledge the flaws of the institution of marriage, while defending their own decision to express their love through marriage.

And this was only the beginning… the party also had myriad fabulous chapters…

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