Tabletop Photoshoot

This month, I thought it would be fun to feature my most recent tabletop I put together for San Diego Style Weddings Magazine!  For this photo shoot, I wanted to re-create the feeling of one of my favorite summer activities to do with my family — go on picnics!  I thought it would be fun to mix bright colored flowers in pinks and yellows, blue checkered linen, floral china, wood lanterns, and sweet touches of blue mercury glass votives.

 To create this design, I teamed up again with one of my favorite florists, Chris & Kim from Indulge Weddings & Special Events.  Envisioning then orchestrating the concept for an elegant styled “picnic” was so much fun! Selecting the eclectic pieces of glassware, flatware, and adding the mason jars as drinking glasses not only created a whimsical look, but definitely felt like summer!

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Traditionally, banquet tables are round with chivari chairs…however, I thought it would be more picnic-like to bring in a rectangular table and pare it with the Tuscan Café chairs. I think it gives it more of that summer luncheon feel!  From a designer’s stand point, adding in even the simplest details makes a huge difference when creating your concept. From the wooden accents, to the glass water bottles as the table numbers, to the bright colored striped paper straws, all give a picnic feel.  Adding in the beautiful floral designs, just makes it that much more special.

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The always incredible True Photography did an amazing job in capturing all the detailed shots of my tabletop décor! Another one of my favorite and #trending wedding details is the “naked” wedding cake; otherwise known as an unfrosted cake. The contrasting cake layers and filling create a more casual yet elegant feel.  Adding florals and greenery make it stunning!

Steal this idea: This style is perfect for that couple who wants to have an intimate backyard styled wedding, but wants to add a little more oomph! of elegance and still have their theme be bold and fun. If you’re a DIY bride or even an eco-friendly bride this concept may also be perfect for you! Grab your childhood picnic blanket, a couple of mason jars, some of your grandmothers fine china, bright beautiful flowers, some pillar candles and call it a day! Sometimes the best creations are the ones that didn’t have so much thought put into them. Just love.
After I had designed this tabletop, a client of mine actually decided to replicate the look for their outdoor rehearsal dinner at the La Jolla Country Club.  We strung lights over head and it was perfect and gorgeous!

Lisa & Mark’s La Valencia Wedding

Nothing Bundt CakesI loved Lisa and Mark from the moment I met them!  They were just so excited to get married!  And I was so excited that they had chosen the La Valencia Hotel for their wedding.  For those of you who follow me, you know I adore the La V!  Check out these gorgeous getting ready shots of Lisa by True Photography.Lisa and Mark1a.jpg

No matter where a wedding occurs, I love finding a gorgeous hotel for the girls to get ready and for photography to begin.  These anticipation photos are always some of my favorites.  Mark and Lisa did a first look, so that they could get the majority of their photography done before the wedding actually begins (and therefore immerse themselves in their wedding!).  I love these first look photos!  Lisa and Mark could have gotten married in a field and still had these amazing getting ready and first look photos!

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But of course they didn’t get married in a field, they got married in the La Valencia’s gorgeous outdoor garden.  The background of the pink building and the blue sky and ocean surrounding is exquisite!


After the ceremony, guests moved up to the Mediterranean Patio for cocktail hour and then progressed to the Verandah Ballroom for dinner and dancing.  Lisa wanted to create a clean yet romantic look with silvers, whites, and greens and I love how it turned out!  She used a silver linen, silver chivari chair, a silver bead-rimmed clear glass charger, white napkins and menus, and white and green florals by Indulge Weddings & Events in the center.  They accented each napkin with a sweet favor bag of white Jordan Almonds.


And for dessert, they choose Bundt cakes, from Nothing Bundt Cakes since it’s their favorite dessert.  Check out the cute individual-sized ones on their sweet display.  It was such a please to work with Mark & Lisa and to have CZ Events assist them with their beautiful La Valencia wedding!

Tommy & Hilary: A La Jolla Country Club Wedding

For those of you who know me, you know I clearly have a list of my favorite wedding venues.  And at the top of that list is the La Jolla Country Club.  I love it’s green space for the ceremony, it’s indoor-outdoor areas for cocktail hour, and the smaller ballrooms that allow intimate weddings or a fun way to change up the feel through the progression of the evening.  So when Hilary and her mom, Marsha, came to me for assistance in planning a wedding at the Country Club, I was excited to jump in!

Hilary explained that she wanted to create a very classy wedding that had a touch of a rustic vibe.  We decided to use a palate of pale pinks, purples, and greens mixed with ivory, gold (for some elegance), and wood (for the rustic).  I felt like florists Chris & Kim of Indulge Flowers would be the perfect partner for Hilary.  Check out the beautiful bride and bridesmaids below with their gorgeous bouquets.

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For attire, Hilary wanted a pale pink dress for the bridesmaids.  We found this pink ombre one, pictured below, at Bella Bridesmaid.  It was gorgeous!  We paired it with a rhinestone slim belt and sparkly shoes!  For the gentlemen, Hilary wanted a grey suit.  I love the selection at A Better Deal Tuxedo because they have both standard and slim fits, to cater to a variety of body types.  We picked out a black gingham necktie and pocket square to complete the look of the groomsmen.

Hilary and Tommy

For the ceremony, Chris of Indulge Weddings actually built the wood structure pictured above and below.  Then he added the full floral topper and sheer fabric draping to soften it.  We decided to adorn the aisle with wood pedestals, draped in lace, and topped with floral urns.  A rustic wood table, complete with a wheelbarrow full of flowers and an old mail box to hold cards for the couple, greeted guests as they arrived.  For the ceremony, the couple’s adorable puppy (below) acted as the ring bearer and was walked down the aisle by our sweet flower girl.

New H&T 1Cocktail hour occurred on the outside terrace.  We decided to create an escort card wall made of wood.  Chris added frames in various shapes and colors to the front of the wall and strung the frames with wire.  We attached the escort cards to the wire using colorful clothespins and anchored both sides with wood ladders.  It looked amazing.  After cocktails, guests progressed into the Sunset Ballroom (with views down to the ocean and yes, of the sunset!) for dinner.  For our décor, we chose a gorgeous La Tavola rosette pattern linen, wood crossback chairs and gold-rimmed chargers from Classic Party Rentals, and Chris created these amazing full floral candelabra pieces.  It looked gorgeous and worked so well with the natural colors and interior of the Sunset Ballroom.

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After dinner, we invited guests into the Living Room where JP Hunten Music had a huge band in full swing!  Our cake, created by Michele Coulon, was the significant feature of the Living Room, with it’s full floral carpet underneath (created by a round piece of glass, the same size as the table, elevated by votive candles and filled with florals) and cascading rose pattern down it’s side.  Guests danced the night away and were thoroughly entertained by JP Hunten Music, including the bride having some moments on the stage as well (see below)!  Big thanks to photographer Susan Magre for the beautiful photos!

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Sarah and Alex-An Estancia La Jolla Wedding

When Sarah and her mom Barbara met with me for the first time, they explained that they needed a venue that could hold around 200 guests, where all of their out of town guests could stay on property (and with the groom’s family and many of the bride and groom’s friends being from New York City, we knew we would have a significant portion of the guests flying in from out of town), where they could have an outdoor ceremony, and that would be both lovely and centrally located.  They visited a number of super classy hotels in San Diego and settled on the Estancia Hotel & Spa in La Jolla.  They loved it’s Spanish architecture, the neutral gold tones of the ballroom, and it’s gorgeous garden area that could be used for the ceremony.  Check out these stunning photos below of Sarah with her mom and bridesmaids!

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For style, Sarah wanted a formal, evening wedding.  She choose floor-length black gowns for the bridesmaids and modern-fit black and white tuxes for the groomsmen.  Love these photos below of the handsome groom and groomsmen!  The guy’s ties were a black and white check pattern.  I adored the mesh overlay part of the bridesmaid’s dresses-so classy!

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I’m in love with these photos of Sarah & Alex together and with their wedding party, taken by True Photography!  The one of Alex holding petite Sarah is one of my favorites!  They are such a stunning couple!

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For design, Sarah dreamed of an almost winter garden look with deep plums, magentas, and greens, contrasted against gold and ivory.  One of her favorite restaurants in New York City is Tavern on the Green and she took her initial inspiration from the look of their garden courtyard.  For the ceremony, Blush Botanicals created this amazing chuppah below!  We wanted to create an off-set garland that wasn’t perfectly centered.  We also draped the back rows in this gorgeous floral and leafy garland.  It was probably one of my favorite ceremony looks ever!  Also check out the beautiful bouquets of the bridesmaids below.  And I adore the joint family photo below!  Check out the two mamas!  One of my favorite things is when the moms where fantastic dresses too!

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To carry on the garden theme, Sarah wanted to create trees for a portion of the centerpieces in the ballroom.  We mixed round tables, where we placed the trees, with rectangular tables, that were draped in a garland and filled with candles.  We used two different gold linens on the tables, a sequined on the round and a dupionique on the rectangles, to create a layer of texture and interest.  Then for the head table, we created a long banquet table where the entire wedding party, with significants, and parents, could sit.  We filled it with candelabras and designated seats with a laser cut out of their name, created by the amazing Nicole of Nic Roc Designs, placed on the napkin.  The result was breathtaking!

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Finally, it was time to party!  I adore this sweet photo of Sarah dancing with her father!  I also love this photo of the groom suspended above the crowd for the Hora (as no Jewish wedding is complete without one)!  We finished the evening with a dessert display of typical New York City items like mini cheesecakes and black and white cookies made by Cake, a great bakery here in San Diego.  Sarah also had her favorite NYC bakery, Magnolia Bakery, that just opened a branch in LA, deliver mini Magnolia Bread Puddings, her favorite dessert ever.  Because on you’re wedding day, you should eat exactly what you want to eat!  I think it’s especially fun to bring in treats with significance to the bride and groom and loved that Sarah wanted to trek down the puddings!  JP Hunten Music wowed the crowd and kept the dance floor full all evening.  It was a wonderful wedding and just a perfect night!

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Melanie and Dan: A Christmas La Valencia Wedding

Melanie came to me last September and was so excited because she had just gotten engaged to the love of her life and they wanted to get married that upcoming December!  Can we plan a wedding in four months? was her question.  And my answer: Absolutely!  Melanie was from La Jolla and, though she currently lives outside San Francisco, wanted to plan a La Jolla wedding.  She chose our quintessential perfect (and pink) wedding venue, the La Valencia Hotel.  And though Melanie wanted to create a Christmas style wedding, she didn’t want a traditional green and red color scheme.  We decided to opt for rich purples and plums contrasted against ivory and gold.  Check out the gorgeous bouquet that Chris from Indulge Weddings created for her.  And look at her gorgeous lace dress!  I died when I saw it!

Spread 1I adore these sweet getting ready photos of the bride and groom!  Check out gorgeous mom and sister in floor length black gowns above –so appropriate for a formal December wedding.  And love the dapper groomsmen below!spread 2

Melanie really wanted a church wedding, and since she had a smaller guest count (approx. 70), she chose the chapel at La Jolla Presbyterian Church for the wedding ceremony.  We decided we would do all green and white for our ceremony décor, to create a very clean look.

spread 3Following the ceremony, Sara of France Photography captured these gorgeous beach moments.  I adore the sunset silhouette! spread 5Following the ceremony, it was on to the La Valencia for the party!  I was so excited about our ballroom décor!  We started with ivory linens and gold chivari chairs then added these super rich deep purples and pinks in the centerpieces.  As guests entered, they were met by a huge ornament tree, crafted out of wood and accented with flowers.  Suspended from the tree were gorgeous ornaments in purple, burgundy, gold, and ivory with tags listing each guest’s name and indicating their table assignment.  It was a perfect Christmas touch!  Melanie adores literature so we also came up with the idea of doing book mark table numbers and found these Christmas Carol books in burgundy and gold–so perfect!  Guests were encouraged to take them home at the end of the night!spread 4

It was a perfect night!  JP Hunten Music entertained guests and kept them dancing all evening!  Michele Coulon crafted a scrumptious cake and also made Scandinavian cookie favors, a nod to Melanie’s family roots.  It was such a blessing to be part of such an amazing event and I loved every minute I got to hang out with this fabulous family!  spread 6

Laura & Greg: A La Jolla Destination Wedding at the Martin Johnson House

Laura and Greg met with me about a year before their hoped for wedding date and told me they wanted to plan a destination wedding in La Jolla and were looking for a venue with an ocean view that could hold up to 125 people and would be fully customizable, meaning they could bring in their own caterer and alcohol.  I showed them the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Forum, and the Martin Johnson House–a little gem on the cliffs of Scripps.  They fell in love with the Martin Johnson House and felt it’s rustic vibe would lend perfectly to the style of wedding they wanted to create.  Laura also wanted a church wedding and was hoping for a smaller, chapel-like feel.  I recommended the chapel at La Jolla Presbyterian Church.  For a décor starting point, Laura told me that she and Greg had actually met in a library (studying during college they told me!) and I felt like we HAD to incorporate a touch of a library motif.  Since Laura wanted a vintage look, we felt the two would correspond perfectly!

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I love these gorgeous pictures of Laura, above, getting ready!  And the pictures below of the chapel and Greg with his groomsmen are so sweet!

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For colors, Laura really liked teal, as she thought it would blend with the ocean backdrop, and wanted a mixture of wildflowers in yellows, pinks, and oranges with whites and ivories mixed in.  Chris from Indulge Weddings and Events did all the floral décor.  I love the La Jolla Cove pictures below, especially love the dresses and bouquets with the ocean-scape.

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Since Laura’s whole décor scheme followed a vintage, retro-feel, when it came to transporting wedding party and guests, we thought a yellow school bus would be perfect!  Guests all stayed in downtown La Jolla so they walked to the church and were then transported up to the Martin Johnson and back to their hotels at the end of the night via the yellow school bus!  Check out the wedding party below and the gorgeous view from the Martin Johnson House!

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For reception décor, we started with rectangular banquet tables with white linens and burlap runners and a natural wood chair.  Chris added mixed glassware, including teal candle holders, and added wildflowers in Laura’s tones.  It was so pretty and so perfect! Laura loved the idea of these wine bottle table numbers pictured below.  She collected the bottles then we ordered the table numbers from Etsy.  Her cute idea was that each table number would correspond to the year they would be married.  Laura and Greg asked guests at each table to write a note and stuff it in the bottle.  The plan was that they would then break the bottle and read the notes on the corresponding anniversary.  So for year 7, they would smash bottle number 7.  Such a cute DIY touch!  Greg is a big beer guy and brews his own.  It was super important to him to bring in great craft beer.  His personal touch for the wedding was customized beer koozies.  Also, as a nod to the whole “meeting in the library” thing, we had library card escort cards created and Chris brought this great card box as a way to display them (bottom right).  And our menus were also bookmarks (more library theme)!

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The night was perfect!  Dancing under the strung lights beneath the starts was so fun!  And check out the beer cask groom’s cake!  Thanks to Vallentyne Photography for all the beautiful photos!

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Doug & Victoria: A La Valencia Destination Wedding

Doug and Victoria live in Las Vegas but wanted to plan a beach wedding somewhere in Southern California. As soon as they walked into the La Valencia Hotel, they fell in love!  Victoria loved it’s old world charm, it’s early California Spanish architecture, it’s interior old Hollywood feel, and of course, that it’s pink.  I happen to share all of her thoughts and adore it as well!

Spread 1Victoria wanted to create a look both rich and romantic and chose tones of ivory, gold, and blush pink.  I felt like Alex of Blush Botanicals would be a perfect match for Victoria since Blush specializes in both a romantic and modern look.  Love the gorgeous bouquet above and the sweet boutonnieres!  Check out this stunning couple below.  Gorgeous!

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Both Victoria and Doug are Jewish so a gorgeous Chuppah was among the most important elements.  I died when I saw what Blush created!  I adore the super thick garland of roses and hanging blooms across the top.  Victoria and Doug chose to just have their siblings in the wedding, which consisted of Victoria’s adorably pregnant sister and spouse and Doug’s brother and his wife.  Victoria chose different full length gowns for each of the ladies, in soft pale colors.  It looked amazing.  Below, also see pictures of the Ketubah signing and Victoria circling Doug seven times at the start of the ceremony.

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After the ceremony in the garden and cocktails on the restaurant patio, the guests proceeded into the Verandah Ballroom for dinner and dancing.  We ordered a snakeskin printed ivory linen from La Tavola for the guest tables (plus this gorgeous gold circled one for the escort card table), gold-rimmed chargers and glassware plus gold chivari chairs from Classic Party Rentals, this perfect cake from Michele Coulon, and of course these amazing florals from Blush Botanicals.  Each plate setting also had a personalized menu with each guest’s name and entrée selection featured, and a large blush pink rose bloom.  It was perfection!

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Not only was Doug and Victoria’s wedding a gorgeous affair, it was a super fun party!  They included the Jewish elements of the Motzi over the bread and a fun-filled Hora, and Wayne Foster kept the dance floor full all evening!  For Doug and Victoria, it was the best day ever! And for me, such fun: lovely clients, fantastic vendors, and a super fun time for all who attended!

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Rob & Liz: A La Valencia Destination Wedding

     The La Valencia Hotel is truly one of my most favorite destination wedding venues!  I love that it is located in the heart of downtown La Jolla (and being a native La Jolla gal, there pretty much isn’t a better place to be!) because not only is it in a gorgeous location, but it creates a great guest experience. 

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    Liz was sure that not more than 50 guests would come, but in typical La Jolla style, 85 made the trip.  It’s hard to turn down a trip to La Jolla!  Liz wanted to create an event that would just be a super fun family gathering with simple but elegant décor.  With the help of her cousin and aunt (the planning team!), she decided to use tones of ivory, blush pink, and gold, and brought in a touch of a beach motif with the starfish escort cards.  And for a nostalgic whim, they felt like The Beatles “All You Need is Love” would be the theme of the day.  Check out the adorable ring bearer below, the nephew of the groom.

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Ice cold Pellegrino greeted the guests as they arrived for the ceremony on the hot August afternoon (above).  Liz created two focal points of bright white flowers on clear pedestals for the ceremony.  The backdrop of the Pacific Ocean provided the rest of the ceremony décor! Below, the starfish escort cards welcomed the guests into the ballroom for cocktail hour.   Then for the dining room, a simple yet stunning décor of ivory and blush pink linens and flowers, complimented by the gold chivari chairs, created a clean and romantic look.  Love this sweet cake by Michele Coulon!  We put blush pink linens on the cocktail tables and belly bars and ivory dotted linens on the guest tables.  I love using a look of white on white as long as you create interest with variation of tone and texture.

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Liz and Rob were such a wonderful couple and the whole family was so fun that it was truly a treat to work with all of them!

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Use the location of your venue to create the décor for your wedding!  Pink tones, as well as ocean and beach colors (since you pretty much stare at the beach during the wedding) work really well at the La Valencia.  As do romantic, nostalgic, and particularly Old Hollywood nuances.  If you use the sense the venue exudes, you can actually get away with less décor as you are simply accenting what is already there.  I wouldn’t do “rustic” at the La Valencia and I wouldn’t do “beachy” at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.  Perfect décor compliments it’s space.


Michelle & Hyatt-An Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding

Michelle and her mom Liz met with me probably 18 months before their proposed wedding date.  Though Michelle is from Rancho Santa Fe, she met Hyatt while at Yale and was living in the south while the two of them worked on graduate degrees.  Michelle wanted to find a venue that could accommodate up to 300 people, since they expected family and friends from all over the country, where everything could be outside.  She pictured an outdoor ceremony, with a big wooden cross as a focal point, and a tented reception with hanging chandeliers.  She also pictured a décor that mixed in vintage elements with a very upscale look.  Michelle wanted vintage but not country!  I suggested the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe to Michelle as I knew they had the outdoor space to accommodate her wishes and the venue carries a wonderful sense of high end comfort and care.  Michelle and Liz thought it was perfect and we dove into our planning.

Michelle & HyattAbove, Michelle and her beautiful bridesmaids and below, Hyatt and his team of groomsmen. The super hero shot is seriously one of my favorite wedding photos ever.  Seriously amazing!

Michelle & Hyatt1Below, our vintage-themed welcome area, with a birdcage for cards to the bride and groom, trunks to hold gifts, a basket of sunscreen since the ceremony was outside, and a vintage medicine trunk for programs.  Cocktails would follow on the adjacent green lawn so we had a gold and ivory bag toss game made to look like the couple’s invitation.  Also, to ward off the sun, we placed paper parasols in dark pink, light pink, and ivory on the ceremony chairs.

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Below, the gorgeous ceremony on the lower lawn with the tree and wooden cross, constructed by Indulge Weddings and Events.  Michelle and Hyatt really wanted to do a unity candle ceremony but we tend not to do them for outdoor weddings due to wind.  Michelle and her mom cleverly figured out they could use lanterns, and did a mock up with a fan blowing on the lanterns, to ensure that the plan worked!

Michelle & Hyatt2Below, the beautiful and super fun bride and groom and their wedding party!  We decided on blush pink dresses for the girls with mixed bouquets of pink tones and ivory.  For the guys, Hyatt really wanted a classic, modern look and the black tuxes were perfect.

Michelle & Hyatt5The cocktail hour was an easy place to add in some vintage elements so we created a fun seating area from Found Rentals, a place card table of mixed vintage boxes and lanterns, and (my favorite), we had Its A Party Photo Booth provide their open air set-up and we rented a vintage settee and had Indulge provide old fashioned hat, parasols, fans, and mustaches to create a vintage style photo booth.  It looked amazing and everything was so fun!

Michelle & Hyatt6The tent was absolutely my favorite part and where we got to truly create the upscale vintage feel that Michelle wanted.  We had Classic Party Rentals drape the ceiling, add the chandeliers, and provide 10 real wood tables, with mahogany chivari chairs.  The rest of the 16 tables were round with 2 different styles of candelabras (8 of each)–1 was a domineering metal piece, that Chris from Indulge adorned with crystal strands, and the other was a pure crystal  candelabra.  The rectangular tables had a runner that matched the linen on the round tables and collections of mismatched vintage glassware and florals.  Nic Roc Designs provided all of the custom place cards, table numbers, and menus to complete the look, fashioned in the same colors and fonts as the original invitations.

Michelle & Hyatt4Finally, it was time to party!  Hyatt and Michelle started off the evening with their own choreographed dance routine. Then, Hyatt and his mom started out the mother-son dance in a typical slow song format, then cut to a hip hop dance they had choreographed.  Best mother-son dance ever.  Ever. J Soul kept the dance floor full the entire night.  We sent off the bride and groom through a glow stick arch and into a vintage car for their grand exit. It was truly a magical evening!  Thanks to True Photography for the amazingly awesome photos!  We love you guys!!!

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Allison & Adam: A La Valencia Wedding

Alison and Adam are both from the South but they fell in love with the La Valencia and La Jolla in general (who doesn’t?) and decided they needed to throw their wedding here!  Since the ceremony and reception locations at the La V (as we natives call it) overlook the Pacific Ocean, Alison and Adam drew their inspiration for their design from the golden sunset hues of deep yellows, pinks, and oranges.  Also, since the La Valencia Hotel itself is pink (just another reason I love it!), using a pink tone there always looks amazing.Blog-Newsletter

Alison chose bright yellow bridesmaid dresses (love them!) and Indulge Weddings created these beautiful yellow, pink, and orange bouquets.  Love the photo of yellow dresses against a pink hotel!  And below, Adam and his gents in the La Valencia La Sala bar.


Below, the beautiful Chuppah created by Indulge and an adorably ecstatic couple.


Following the ceremony in the Garden, Alison and Adam and their wedding party headed down to the La Cove and got some fantastic photos in the iconic green beach huts that dot the coastal walkway.  These are some of my favorite photographic points in La Jolla!


For all of their paper products, Alison and Adam contracted the ever amazing Nicole of Nic Roc Designs who created an ombre sunset scape with gold foil text for their invitations, programs, escort cards, and menus (featured below).


Below, the scrumptious cake created by the one and only Michele Coulon, with perfect ombre sunset florals.  And since it was a Jewish wedding, of course there had to be a Hora!  Thank you to True Photography for the (as always) amazing photos!


Steal this idea:
Consider having your wedding design be inspired by your location.  Alison & Adam’s color scheme, showcased through florals and paper products, were perfectly suited to La Valencia.  What are the colors of your venue or it’s surroundings?  You can shift the tones to match your preferences.  The La Valencia can equally support vibrant and pastel tones but using something on the pink scale is always perfect.