{you are the story. i am the narrator.}

{you are the story. i am the narrator.}

Living Desert Zoo & Gardens | Palm Desert, CA | Sarah & John’s Day After Session

I haven’t even posted Sarah and John’s Living Desert wedding photos yet, I know. Don’t worry, I will. But whilst that’s in the works, I wanted to share their absolutely beautiful Day After session, also at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, surrounded by beautiful mountains, bright flowers, and, well, two of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet.


You’ll remember these two from their super fun engagement photos, even though I haven’t yet posted their Living Desert wedding photos yet. I’m not sure I really have anything new to say about Sarah and John, because I said it all before: they’re quirky, fun, amazing souls who found each other at the right time in life, and it has been my honour and joy to get to know them. Sarah and I met at a bridal show, but we’ve since joked that our paths crossed many times, and I absolutely believe we were meant to be friends. With oddly similar ties to the same places, weird loves of nerdy things, and joy over all things pretty, meeting Sarah felt like meeting a part of me I’d always known existed. Her eyes sparkled, her love for life was infectious, and I had to believe that this John guy she chose to marry was just as awesome as she was.


John was, actually, as awesome as she was. Quieter (and I like quiet people, so that’s a good thing), just as nerdy (okay, maybe a little more), and absolutely 100% in love with the woman who’d agreed to be his bride. John, I could tell, was the source of Sarah’s strength – but just as much, Sarah was his rock. And as we Skyped, did two engagement sessions at Disneyland, and had endless conversations over text, I fell in love with these two. I fell in love with the way that John loved Sarah, in a peaceful, undemanding, all-encompassing sort of way.


They seemed too young to be so mature in their love for each other. There was something so solid about them, so reassuring. Meeting them felt like love could be that easy for everyone. Sarah and John seemed to have endless fun, seemed to know how to joke with each other without offending, seemed to know how to laugh without overdoing it. But they also knew about being serious. They’d experienced a lot over the course of their relationship, and when they committed to saying, “I do,” they weren’t messing around.

The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

When Sarah told me that they were getting married at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, I hadn’t heard of it, but I thought it sounded amazing, and since I’m all about outdoor weddings, I told her she could count me in. I had no idea what I was walking into, even though I pretty thoroughly googled the Pal Desert wedding venue beforehand. Nothing could have prepared me for how beautiful this place was, and the idea that I’d want to shoot every wedding there from that point through forever. Who knew the desert could be so beautiful?! Not only that, but Stacey and Tom, the wonderful team that oversees events at the Living Desert, were so seriously on top of things, wonderfully helpful, and a true pleasure to work with.

The Day After

Sarah and John’s wedding day was packed to the brim with wonderful people, great music, even better food, and beautiful moments, which meant that we ran short on time for pictures of just the two of them. I suggested that we play dress up and head back to the Living Desert for some post-wedding photos in their wedding day gear, and thankfully, because they’re as awesome as they are, they said yes! Again, I had no idea what I was in for: Sarah, who’d thoroughly explored the Living Desert in the months before the wedding, had several places to recommend for their photos, and can I just say… WOW. Can everyone please, pretty please, with a cherry on top, get married at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens? There were so many spots we didn’t visit the first time that were unbelievably gorgeous, and with my new camera in tow, I was the happiest camper that ever was.

First stop, this beautiful little hidden garden. The Living Desert has lots of these beautiful little pathways that don’t lead to something exactly, so they make for romantic stops for wedding photos.

Living Desert romantic wedding photos

And these mountains. And those colours. Need I say more?!

Living Desert outdoor wedding photos

I had time to grab a few photos of Sarah on her wedding day, but what does it hurt to get a few more?! Obvs.

Living Desert beautiful bridal photos

See what I mean!! These two are perfect. I just can’t even handle the loveliness.

Palm Desert outdoor wedding photos

The Living Desert has so many cool places to do wedding photos, like this covered area… I loved the combination of architecture and garden in this little spot.

Living Desert whimsical wedding photosPalm Desert romantic wedding photosPalm Desert beautiful wedding photos

The way Sarah and John laugh together just makes me swoon. Seriously. I make all kinds of gushy noises, you can ask them.

Living Desert wedding photosLiving Desert sweet wedding photosPalm Desert wedding hair stylist photos

Special thanks to All Tressed Up in Palm Desert for doing an incredible job on Sarah’s hair and makeup not just on the wedding day, but making our Day After wedding photos look absolutely perfect as well! Thanks guys.

And another special and wonderful thank you shout out to Stacey for working with us to get these Day After photos! You have been a pleasure to work with, and I hope the future holds many more Living Desert weddings for me and my team! Thank you!!!


  1. Roxene

    June 2nd, 2015 at 09:48

    Hi there,

    My name is Roxy and I am working with Living Desert Zoo & Garden to feature their venue on our website, called Wedding Spot. I found these beautiful wedding photos from a wedding your shoot above.

    The wedding shots would be great to feature on our site: http://www.wedding-spot.com and we will give you photo credit for any photo featured.

    Is it possible to receive access to feature these photos?

    Look forward to connecting,


    Roxene I. Mendoza
    Business Development
    Wedding Spot, Inc.

  2. Redwoods Engagement Photos | Sea Ranch Photographer | Elisa + Dale

    January 23rd, 2016 at 10:37

    […] Come back for more of Elisa and Dale’s story after their may wedding in Redlands, CA, and check back tomorrow for photos from their camping adventure in Sea Ranch, CA with Sarah. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

follow the stories on instagram