San Miguel de Allende

Is this the dreamiest town in Mexico?

By Jenn Rose Smith

Have you ever been to a place that felt like your “soul city”? Just a town or a place that you felt connected to in a deep, vibey way? For me, the list is short… New Orleans, Paris, and (after last weekend) San Miguel de Allende. In all three of my soul cities, architecture, style, history, and celebration reign supreme. San Miguel is bringing it in all of these crucial categories, and offering even more in the way of lush landscaping and friendly people. When I received an invitation to the destination wedding of Patrick Buckley and Maggie Goen (one of Austin’s hippest — and nicest — couples) in San Miguel I knew it would be an affair to remember. I wanted to document the trip with something better than grainy smartphone pics and I lucked out when our friends at Canon USA offered to lend me a Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR camera for the weekend. I was able to roll the camera up in my evening coat inside of my carry-on luggage and (to my delight) I didn’t even have to check a bag. I returned to the states with an amazing album of colorful memories from my weekend in Mexico, and now I’m tempted to take the camera with me where ever I go. Scroll through my photos of my trip to San Miguel de Allende and then head over to Canon to explore the latest travel-ready cameras. Vamanos!

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photographed by jennifer rose smith with the canon eos rebel t6i dslr

pick a door

San Miguel is first and foremost a town of enticing and mysterious doors. Each one is a portal to the secret gardens, courtyards, and fountains that make this place so magical. The narrow cobblestone streets of San Miguel are lined with colorful buildings and antique doors, like this one I photographed when we arrived. The Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR camera has a handy guide tool for making sure your vertical and horizontal lines are straight, which I found especially helpful when shooting architecture.

the arrival

We wound our way down one of the oldest streets in San Miguel to find Casa Chorro, the incredible colonial home that would be our home base for the wedding weekend. I handed over the camera to a friend, Lacey, to snap a quick shot of us before we entered. “Jenn, this camera is awesome,” she said, and had fun shooting us from different angles. We couldn’t wait to see what awaited us on the other side of the wooden doors…

secret garden

What we found on the other side took our breath away. An incredibly lush courtyard brimming with bougainvillea and ivy. The slightly overcast weather made for easy shooting. I simply set the camera to the automatic “nature” setting and clicked away. I love the rich range of color it was able to capture here.

room with a view

Michael and I grabbed two Victorias and headed out to meet our friends, who were already hanging on the terrace. The view from Casa Chorro was epic — I had fun using the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens to capture some panoramic views of the town.

to the roof

Our friends (who had already spent one night at Casa Chorro) tipped me off on the best photo opp of the house. “Take the stairs up to the rooftop terrace,” they said. Once on the roof, I was able to shoot down on the incredible tiled pool surrounded by lush gardens, which would become the location of choice for late night partying over the weekend.

exploring the house

I spent the next half hour wandering the halls of the colonial home, delighted at every turn with the tiled floors, antique art, and gorgeous light fixtures. I decided to try my hand at shooting manual, and had fun attempting to capture the golden afternoon light streaming in through the window of this bedroom.

into the night

That evening we headed down the cobblestone streets to the rehearsal dinner. I was excited to try out the camera’s “night scene” setting, a special automatic setting made for capturing candlelit scenes. I took this photograph of the groom and his friend using the night scene setting, then changed it to black and white later with editing tools.


The rehearsal dinner took place in a gorgeous candlelit courtyard, and I was amazed at the photos I was able to capture in  such dim light. No one with a smart phone was able to capture this scene at all, but I’ll always have these lovely images to remember that night.

it’s all in the details

The bride and groom are two of the most stylish people I know, and they put their signature touch on every moment of the weekend. I’m so happy that I had a real camera with me and was able to get this shot of the rose petal-filled fountain in the middle of the courtyard.

raise a glass

I couldn’t stop snapping pictures with the camera using the candlelight setting. Everything, even the aftermath of our dining table, looked incredible through the lens.

buenos días

The lovely staff at Casa Chorro prepared breakfast for us each morning. Chilequilies, scrambled eggs, bacon, whatever you wish. Why can’t life be like this every day?

Parroquía San Miguel Arcángel

On Saturday morning we hit the streets to explore the town. San Miguel de Allende is laden with beautiful buildings, but the crown jewel is the Parroquía San Miguel Arcángel, the 17th century neo-gothic church in the center of town.

St. Michael

The interior of the Parroquía San Miguel Arcángel (the Church of St. Michael the Archangel) is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The crystal chandeliers, tiled floors, and exposed brick archways come together to create a space that feels like it’s from another place and time. We were able to enter the church during a midday mass and snap a few photos. I didn’t want to disrupt the churchgoers by using a flash, so I was pleased that I was still able to get a good exposure indoors using the “no flash” setting.

¿Cuánto cuesta?

Outside, the town square was hopping with street vendors selling authentic (and some not-so-authentic) Mexican wares. I grabbed a quick shot of this seller’s goods while he stood in line at a nearby café to buy coffee.

to market

If you know me, then you know I’ve got a weakness for a good straw market tote. I probably already have as many as the guy pictured here, but that didn’t stop me from buying another one from him after I raced after him to take this photo.

city of fountains

Ornate fountains are a constant thread in the architecture of San Miguel. I loved the color of this blue fountain set in a pink wall, with blossoming bougainvillea hanging overhead.

getting dressed

The bride and groom encouraged colorful attire for the afternoon ceremony, and I was excited to wear this flowy floral gown I bought just for the occasion.

pass it on

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR camera is easy enough to use that you can simply pass it to a friend to see what kind of magic they’ll create — like this photo my sweet friend Lacey Shannon took of me on the way to the ceremony. The camera features wireless connectivity, so I was able to quickly transfer the image to my smart phone and share it on instagram in real time.

hit the streets

After the ceremony, a mariachi band led the entire wedding party down the cobblestone streets and back to Casa Chorro, where the real fun began…

fiesta time

A guest climbs the stone staircase to the reception. I actually prefer a bit of “motion blur” in some photos, so I liked being able to shoot in manual mode to achieve this look.

the beautiful people

Two gorgeous guests watch as the bride and groom arrive at the reception.

¡Felicidades, Maggie y Patrick!

Congratulations to Maggie and Patrick, two of the nicest people I know. And thank you, Canon, for lending me the Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR camera to capture memories of this most magical weekend in San Miguel de Allende. I’m feeling inspired to take it with me wherever I go.