Livermore Wedding Photographer at the Wineries
We started photographing weddings in the Livermore Wine Country over 15 years ago and have been enjoying them ever since! One of the great things about most of the wineries in this area is that they really cater to weddings and events. Wedding events never seem like an afterthought at the vast majority of wineries that we have photographed in Livermore. Some of our favorites include Wente Vineyards, Garre and the Palm Event Center. Although perhaps not as important to the bride and groom, these 3 wineries have the added advantage that they really work closely with vendors like us. The Palm Event Center even provides a food and water cart for their vendors with free snacks and refreshments. Little things like this really make a difference and certainly is a factor in making the wedding day go smoothly. I have compiled a list of our favorite venues in the Livermore Valley and Pleasanton from a wedding photography standpoint. There are also a number of other Livermore Valley wineries that offer wedding events at affordable prices. Please feel free to email us if you feel we have missed something important!
- Palm Event Center - A beautiful venue with LOTS of options for wedding photography. We always love venues that offer nice picture taking opportunities both inside and out and Palm has this in spades! There is the fantastic cellar room for wine enthusiasts and of course the grape vineyards out in front. In addition, there are lovely pathways around the building and then the palm trees that line the main road leading into the event center. The Palm Event Center is a long time favorite of ours and we have always found it easy to work with the wedding coordinators there. We have photographed dozens of weddings at the Palm Event Center which is actually located in Pleasanton close to the border of Livermore.
- Wente Vineyards - We enjoy the outdoor picture taking spots better than the indoor options at Wente. However, you can ask to go into their cellar room and they will often let you. There is a large grassy area at Wente with a path that goes clear around it. This makes for a very convenient post-ceremony photo shoot area to take our Brides and Grooms! At certain times of the year, there is also a nice Rose Garden to use as a backdrop. Wente Vineyards has been hosting weddings and events for decades and this experience shows! We have photographed close to 10 weddings at Wente. The wine is fantastic here!
- Garre Vineyards - Another favorite of ours, especially since they remodeled the whole event center. Garre used to be a winery that offers weddings, now they are largely an event venue with a great facility. From a photography standpoint Garre is definitely above average. Lots of nice little places to use for backgrounds and quite a bit of shade. My only complaint is that the entire outdoor ceremony area is surrounded by parking lots so it's almost impossible to shoot a wedding there without cars in the background. If you decide to have your wedding ceremony at Wente, be sure and discuss these factors with your wedding photographer. There are things that can be done to minimize the parked cars in the background. We have photographed over 5 weddings at Garre Vineyards in Livermore.
- Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery - We have photographed 3 weddings here and our results have been fantastic! Another venue that really seems to cater to their vendors. We have 2 favorite wedding photography spots here: The light in front of the building in the little hallway area is amazing at certain times of the day and can be a great place to take the bride and groom. Casa Real also offers very easy access to some very nice looking grape vineyards. They have a strict policy here that prevents wedding couples from going over to the tasting room!
- Murrieta's Well - This very romantic location is tucked away on a hillside with an amazing cellar room that opens up with 2 giant doors. The picture taking options in this area alone are spectacular. In addition, the hillside offers beautiful flowers and landscaping. If you are willing to climb up to the top of the hill, there are some nice grape vineyards available for wedding photography. We love shooting weddings at Murrieta's Well and have been here about 5 times. They were closed for remodeling for quite some time, but are open now and doing great! Highly recommended!
- Poppy Ridge - Located in Livermore, Poppy Ridge offers incredible views and acres of vineyard land to look at. The inside reception area is fantastic. The only issue at certain times of the year is the lack of shade. It can get hot! The lack of shade is a result of the fact that Poppy Ridge is a relatively new wedding venue and the trees have not had a chance to grow up. The ceremony site is beautiful and over looks the golf course, but you will see that it is pretty wide open which can make things hot during the summer months. To discover more about this great Livermore wedding photography venue, click the link.
- Elliston Vineyards - It's actually been a few years since I photographed an event at Elliston. Located in nearby Sunol, this venue offers a nice rear patio and a beautiful ceremony site. They no longer allow you access to certain parts of the mansion, which is too bad because it was was a lovely spot for wedding photography. There are still plenty of nice places to photograph the couple at Elliston Vineyards including the deck area. Another great winery that seems to be more about events then wine, but this is okay if you are an engaged couple looking for that perfect venue.
Improved Livermore Wedding Photography
We bring up the issue about vendor treatment for a number of reasons. As I just mentioned, Livermore wineries seem to treat their vendors with more respect and work with them to make sure the bride and groom get the best service. Here is one example of what I am referring to: It has been our experience over the years that many venues choose to feed the wedding vendors last. They do this because it may seem logical to prioritize the wedding party and the guests over the hired help. While this may seem to make sense on the surface, it actually causes problems. The best time for the vendors to be eating is when the bride and groom eat. Why? Once the couple is done eating they start to wander around and greet their guests. The wedding photographer, the videographer and the DJ need to be back in the room when that is happening. So if you actually want the vendors to eat, it is not in the couple's best interest to wait to feed them at the very end. To be honest, when we are faced with this decision, we will just NOT eat. As wedding vendors, we are not brought to the event to eat, we are there to do a job. If you are reading this, you might say, who cares if the wedding photographers eat dinner. I agree, but my point is that sometimes we are sent away to grab a bite and next thing you know, we are missing important things occurring. The main point here is that these newer venues are a little more forward thinking and definitely try to work things out in a logical fashion and this benefits everyone!
Event Centers and Wine Quality
One of things I always question when I photograph a wedding at a winery is quality of the wine versus the suitability of the venue for large events. I believe a lot hinges on what the venue was originally developed for. I would argue that many Event centers in the Livermore Valley and Pleasanton are largely centered around hosting events. For our purposes along with the couple, I obviously think this is an advantage. Just don't assume the wine will be excellent also. Many are, but not all!