jo ann manolis photography

Welcome to the blog of Jo Ann Manolis Photography! I’m a wedding, portrait, and fine art photographer based in Santa Cruz, CA. I’ve created this blog as a means of sharing my work and life with my clients, family, and friends. I’ll be updating it regularly with my latest work, thoughts and ideas regarding photography and art, and links to many fabulous artists and vendors. So, take a look around, enjoy, and leave me a message here if you’re inspired. I can also be reached directly by e-mail via my website:, or by phone at: (831)359-7948. Thanks for stopping by!

Category Archives: weddings

Bahia Resort San Diego Destination Wedding Photography {Meghan & Seth}

This was an incredibly special wedding for us because it involved one of our favorite families ever. We photographed Meghan’s brother’s wedding five years ago and were so honored to return to San Diego and see these beautiful people once again. Meghan and Seth brought their lively, loving, and fun filled community from Arizona to San Diego’s Bahia Resort, where they were married on a beautiful October day. 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 Meghan and Seth, you are both so very kind, genuine, and gracious. You fit together perfectly. Thank you so much for having us and treating us like part of your family. We loved joining your adoring community and celebrating such a sweet and good love story. We wish you the best always and we can’t wait to see you both again…hopefully sometime soon. Please know that there is always room for you here in Santa Cruz! Much Love, Jo & Pat


La Playa Hotel Destination Wedding Photography {Rachel & John}

Carmel has always been special to John as he vacationed here every summer as a child with his family. When he brought Rachel to Carmel for the first time, he packed an engagement ring. They returned this autumn to exchange vows in front of friends and family, most of whom traveled from Texas for the celebration. And indeed, it was certainly a celebration. We loved being there. 01 02 03 04  07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 IMG_0711 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 Thank you, Rachel and John for your warm welcome and kindness. We loved being a part of your day and felt honored to join your families and friends in celebrating two beautiful and loving people. We both wish you the very best always!

Much Love,

Jo & Pat

Thank you to the following vendors who made this day a fantastic one:

Venue and Food: La Playa Hotel (Many thanks to La Playa’s awesome Karen for such a great day and for all of her hard work!)

Wedding Cake: Freedom Bakery and Confections

Wedding Coordination: Amy Stadelman

Florals: Kate Healey Floral

Makeup:  Adrea Simmons

DJ: Belmont Entertainment

Photography: Jo Ann Manolis Photography

Jessica & Eric’s Perry House Wedding {Monterey Wedding Photographer}

Jessica and Eric’s smiles lit up the Perry House on their wedding day. Their joy and love were reflected everywhere, in every friend and family member’s face. I’m pretty sure that this is how it always is with these two, though. They just make everything better.

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Thank you J & E for having us at your wedding. It was such an incredible honor to join your wonderful community in celebrating your marriage. You started out as wedding clients and now we feel lucky to consider you friends. We also feel grateful to you both for reminding us what weddings are really all about. We all (even photographers) sometimes lose sight of why we’re really there. It’s just about love, and you showed us so much of just that! We adore you both, Pat & Jo

Thanks also to the following awesome vendors who helped make this such an incredible day:

Wedding design & coordination: Coastside Couture (Thank you so much, Karissa & Kayla!)

Venue and Catering: Perry House

Florals: Fleurish Floral Designs

Rentals: Chic Event Rentals

Cake & Cupcakes: Freedom Bakery and Confections

DJ: Anthony at DNA Entertainment

Hair: Kayla Kyles-

Makeup: Nicole Sunshine Kinder

Videography: Gilbert Perez-

Photography: Jo Ann Manolis Photography


Santa Lucia Preserve Wedding Photographer

This sweet couple joined hands at the beautiful Santa Lucia Preserve a few weeks ago. Friends and family traveled across the country and even the globe to celebrate their union. Pat and I felt so honored to be a part of it.




















































Huge thanks to these amazing vendors:

Wedding Planning: Coastside Couture (thank you Karissa, Heidi, and Kayla!)
Venue/Catering: Santa Lucia Preserve
Florals: Amanda of Laughin’ Gal Floral
Cake: Freedom Bakery Confections
Hair: Beautification by Alyssa
Makeup: Amy Amaral
Event Rentals: Chic Event Renals
Shuttle Service: Main Event Transportation
Guitar during ceremony/cocktail hour: Matt Bacon
Videography: Mitch of Anchor Cinema
Officiant: Reverend Irv Spivak                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photographer: Jo Ann Manolis Photography


T&B, We can’t thank you enough for having us. Your wedding day was simply incredible. We loved meeting you both as well as your wonderful family and friends. We wish you a lifetime of the infectious warmth and joy that you both share so beautifully with everyone around you.
With so much gratitude and love, Jo Ann & Pat

Hillary & Michael’s Carmel Valley Wedding


After almost a year of negligence (time flies when you’re busy, I guess), I’ve decided to resurrect my little blog this year. I thought that I’d start with a beautiful Carmel Valley Wedding from last moth. Hillary and Michael planned such a thoughtful and heartfelt wedding. They elected to have an intimate ceremony with close family members at Bernardus Lodge and a fun-filled celebration with extended family and friends at Georis Winery the following evening. Originally from Santa Fe, Hillary incorporated some inspiration from her hometown into the decor on both days. Thank you, Coastside Couture, both for the referral and for planning such a fantastic two days. You ladies are amazing! And once again, Amanda Seely of Laughin’ Gal Floral went all out with the florals. She blows me away every time. Be sure to check out the end of the post for a complete list of amazing vendors. Hillary and Michael, thank you for having us. Both Pat and I felt honored to be there to document such a meaningful and beautiful time in your lives. We wish you both the very, very best.

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Wedding coordination and planning:  Coastside Couture (Thanks Karissa, Heidi, & Kayla!)

Ceremony Venue: Bernardus Lodge

Florals: Laughin’ Gal Floral

Hair & Makeup: Spa Terre at Bernardus Lodge

Ceremony Hair & makeup: Katrina Christensen

Reception Hair & Makeup: Melissa Adams

Bride’s Dress: Anna Maier Ulla Maija Couture

Bride’s Shoes: Cole Haan

Reception Venue and catering: Georis Winery

Cupcakes: Freedom Bakery & Confections

Videography & DJ: the Fabulous Nick of Santa Cruz Live Music & D.J.


Chelsea & Brian {Pebble Beach wedding photographer}

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Chelsea and Brian, you are both such warm, kind, and loving people and it is no coincidence that you both were surrounded by so much warmth, kindness, and love on your wedding day. Thank you for having us there, we were overjoyed and honored to be able to capture it for you. Love, Jo & Pat

Thanks to the following amazingly talented and hardworking professionals who made this day perfect:

Wedding coordination: Coastside Couture (I have to give Karissa, Kayla, and Sonya a special shout out here, they did such an exceptional job! Thanks Ladies!)

Venue: Private home in Pebble Beach

Florals: Laughin’ Gal Floral

Catering: Paradise Catering

Rentals: Chic Events

Hair & Makeup: April Sanchez: & Danielle Kingsley:

Lighting: Carmel Plant Tenders

DJ: Belmont Entertainment

Transportation: Monterey Bay Experience

Videographer: Big Time Video

Steph & Gil {Santa Cruz wedding photography}

Steph and Gil are both incredibly genuine, kind, and loving, so it was no surprise to Pat and I when we found their friends and families to be just the same. We loved so many things about their beach wedding…the fabulous Australian contingent, the hilarious wedding party, the rockin’ reception with some of the best music we’ve ever heard at a wedding. And of course we can’t forget the neighbors and complete strangers who showed up from a nearby campground with shovels in tow, ready to save the ceremony site from being washed away by an unusually large summer swell. It was clear that this wedding was meant to be.

Steph and Gil, it was an incredible honor to be a part of your wedding. Thank you for having us and for making us feel like part of your family. We wish you both much joy and laughter as you begin this next chapter of your grand adventure. With much love, Pat & Jo

Special Thanks to:

The Bride & Groom and their families.

Our new friends atSun and Life Photography for the referral.

Five Star Catering for the delicious food.

Marina Sousa of Just Cakes for the amazing cake.

Mary at Azhar hair design for Steph’s timeless do! (831)426-6334

Asher Nicholson for singing and playing the acoustic guitar so beautifully.

website updates

The latest round of Jo Ann Manolis Photography’s website updates are in! Check them out HERE. I am so grateful to all of my clients for giving me the opportunity to do what I love.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go out and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

Thank you!

Love, Jo


I finally did it…I created a Facebook page for my photography business. Friends have been bugging me for months (maybe years?) to do this but I kept resisting…for no reason. Sometimes it takes me awhile. Well, it is now up and I’d love it if you’d check it out! We’re kicking around some ideas as to how to go about making this page more than just a place where I post images. We’re hoping to create a community of sorts, so stay tuned. You can check out the official Facebook page for Jo Ann Manolis Photography HERE.

Have a wonderful week! xo

Alyssa & Collin (Italy wedding photography; Tuscany wedding photography; Florence, Italy wedding photography)

There are people in our lives whose presence remains strong long after they leave us.

It is difficult to even write about Alyssa and Collin’s Tuscany wedding as the experience was bigger than this page, than any image I could ever make. We were all at the Vicchiomaggio, the castle in Greve, Italy where Leonardo Da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa. The castle itself dates back to the 1400s and was known during the Middle Ages as a defender of Florence during its battles with Siena. There were spirits buzzing about, this was certain. In Greek culture (and maybe Italian too?) rain on a wedding day is a good omen. “Kathari Arxi” my Grandmother used to say. “Clean Start”. We forewent pre-wedding portraits due to the unbearable heat and humidity. The temperatures in the church were easily in the mid 90s. Our cousin Dean was fanning Alyssa and Collin as they stood at the altar sweating. Then all of a sudden it came. Drizzle, wind, showers, rain, thunder, lightning, darkness. There was a raging storm outside the tiny chapel and I couldn’t help but worry about who would spot me with an umbrella on the way back to the castle.

And then something happened.

Seconds before the processional began, the rain went away. The exact moment that Alyssa and Collin stepped out of the church the sky lit up. Moments later the sun broke out in a way a photograph could never explain. You had to be there to feel it. In the garden outside of the church the ground was barely wet. If I hadn’t seen it myself I never would’ve believed that a lightning storm had taken place minutes beforehand.

Everyone there knew who was responsible.

There are places on earth where the light is nice, there are places on earth where the light is beautiful, and there are places on earth where the light will bring you to your knees.

There are people in our lives who love us, there are people in our lives who love us deeply, and there are people in our lives who love us with the power to open up the sky, to start and end lightning storms.

Alyssa and Collin, on June 30th 2011 in Greve, Italy, a lightning storm was orchestrated for the two of you. Everything was washed clean.

I love you both.


A heartfelt Gratzi to the following wonderful people and places:

Ann and Elizabeth of Original Tuscan Wedding for their wedding planning perfection. They pretty much did it all…

Gino and Castello Verrazzano for an unforgettable evening on the eve of the wedding.

Castello Vicchiomaggio, our beautiful home for three days…we’ll never forget you.

Violamalva for the unbelievably gorgeous flowers.

Firenze Classica for the lovely music. It was the real deal.

Private Tuscany Tours: They got us everywhere we needed to be in style.

Alyssa and Collin for your beautiful, shining spirits and for entrusting me to capture such a precious day in your lives. It was the greatest honor to have been there.

Lee and Mary Ann for believing that having us there was worth it all…we are forever grateful for your kindness, generosity, and love.