The Mission at San Juan Capistrano holds so much cultural significance for the region, so it's no surprise that engagement photos shot there tend to have such wonderful depth to them. We love this location for many reasons, but a big part of why it's special is the story of the honored Bell Ringers. These positions have only been occupied by a few men since the late 1800's. The ringing of the bells happens in honor of special feast days and holidays, as well as landmark events in the community. After the great earthquake of 1812, the bell tower collapsed and two of the largest bells sustained damages that altered their sound forever. They hang in the ruins of the great stone church where they originally hung. On the bell wall are two replica large bells and two of the original small bells, pictured here. Those are the ones that the ringers sound today.
We think these bells hold marvelous symbolic meaning for couples about to be wed. Obviously, a church bell is a traditional sight and sound of a marriage ceremony. But the less obvious imagery is the mission itself, struck by the challenges of earthquake damage, still standing and uniquely beautiful not in spite of, but because it weathered the storm. And the bells themselves and the story behind them remind us to make a point to honor those special and sacred times in life.
Location: San Juan Capistrano Mission.