CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photography | Sandra & Dennis

One of my favorite parts about being a wedding photographer is capturing the pure happiness from my couples.  It really makes me smile from the inside out to see two people so much in love!!  Could happiness be contagious?Of course it can!!  I read online new research from Harvard Medical School and UC San Diego that happiness spreads through social networks and gatherings such as a wedding.  Happiness is influenced not only by the people you know, but by the people they know.  This means that your happiness could influence the happiness of someone you’ve never even met.  Interesting right?  With that said, I am happy and extremely blessed to be able to share and preserve such an important day of the bride and groom’s lives. So read on for our day doing CSULB Japanese Garden wedding photography!

Today, I’m happy to share with you Sandra and Dennis’s wedding photography at the CSULB Japanese Garden at California State University of Long Beach.  The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is a tucked away gem for a beautiful Japanese Garden wedding ceremony and wedding reception.  It is donated by Mrs. Loraine Miller Collins in honor of her late husband Earl Burns Miller.  The design of any Japanese Gardens is very intentional and emphasizes Japanese art concepts, such as negative space (which Gavin and I use often as photographers).  The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden (wedding ceremony) has a wide assortment of Japanese elements such as a koi-pond, river rocks, bamboo groves, etc.  It is definitely unique.  The placement of the bridge makes the wedding ceremony a centerpiece of the garden.

Sandra and Dennis are awesome!!  They, like Gavin and I, LOVE to eat and drink!!  All the times we’ve hung out together involves eating and drinking.  LOL.  Sandra and Dennis knew each other in High School, but didn’t reconnect and started dating till their 10 year high school reunion!!  Fate… definitely!!  Sandra and Dennis hired us as photo and video team for their wedding at Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden.  Before you start looking through their wedding pictures, check out their wedding video.  Cinematography done by Gavin.

Wedding Preparation at the Holiday Inn, Long Beach

Sandra and Dennis had their wedding preparation at the Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport on Lakewood Blvd. This made a great staging point to get to the CSULB Japanese Gardens, along with Shoreline Village.

Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport Wedding Preparation
Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport Wedding Preparation

I thought it’s so thoughtful of Sandra to have a tote of goodies for each her bridesmaids.  Candies, cookies, make-up, shoes, deodorate (lol), you name it!!

Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport Wedding Preparation
Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport Wedding Preparation
Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport Wedding Preparation

The First Look

There are many “big events” throughout the wedding day… but sometimes, it’s the “small and intimate events” such as the first look that are so romantic and emotional.  Photographing the bride and groom’s first look is always my favorite.  I love the anticipation and the look on the groom’s face when he sees his beautiful bride for the first time.  Priceless!!

Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport Wedding First Look
Holiday Inn, Long Beach Airport Wedding First Look

Shoreline Village wedding photography

For their bride and groom portrait session, Sandra and Dennis decided to go to Shoreline Village (wedding photography).  Unfortunately, when we got there, Shoreline Village was blocked off for a private event and all we had to play with was the bike trail along the water.

Shoreline Village wedding photography
Shoreline Village wedding photography
Shoreline Village wedding photography

More Wedding Photos at Signal Hill

We fell back on plan B and headed over to Signal Hills.  I remember doing one of my very first engagement photography session at Signal Hills (back in late 2009) with Mae and Pat.  It’s a beautiful location on top of the hill overlooking the entire city.

Signal Hill Wedding Photos
Signal Hill Wedding Photos
Signal Hill Wedding Photos

CSULB Wedding Photography

And here, we are at the blue pyramid at the Cal State Long Beach campus where the beautiful Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is located.

CSULB Wedding Photography
CSULB Wedding Photography
CSULB Wedding Photography
CSULB Wedding Photography
CSULB Wedding Photography

CSULB Japanese Garden

Dennis has got to be one of the funniest groom’s we’ve photographed.

CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photos
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photos
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photos
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photography
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photography
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photography
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Photography

Wedding Ceremony at the Japanese Garden

The CSULB Japanese Garden makes for an amazing wedding ceremony location, with the bridge as the focal point across a large koi-filled pond.

Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony on Bridge
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony
Sand Ceremony
Japanese Garden Wedding Ceremony

CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception

Isn’t it just beautiful??

CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception
Tons of Koi
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception
Koi Pond
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception

Oh, did I mention that Sandra is a high school math teacher??  For their party favors… calculators that say “we add up”.  Such a great idea!!

CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception

Cake Cutting Ceremony

Check out “pi” as their cake topper!!

CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception
Wedding Cake
CSULB Japanese Garden Wedding Reception
Cake Cutting

And tons of Reception Dancing!

You KNOW it’s gonna be a GREAT party when it starts with this…

CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing

Followed by this…

CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing

And more of this!! Hahahaa!!

CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing
CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing
CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing

I love that the dance floor was packed!

CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing
CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing
CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing
CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing
CSULB Japanese Garden Reception Dancing

And Some Night Wedding Photos

As the night came to an end, I was so stoked to get the following pictures:

Night Wedding Photos Japanese Garden
Night Wedding Photos Japanese Garden
Night Wedding Photos CSULB Japanese Garden

What an incredible day filled with so much fun!!  Thank you Sandra and Dennis for allowing us to be part of such a beautiful wedding (at Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden).  Gavin and I can’t wait to hang out with you both again.

Also, a special thank you to Garming Lu for being our photo/video assistant.


  1. Chris Snowden says:

    Amazing work .. stunning stuff!

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