Two years ago today, I married the love of my life in Laguna Beach, California. So, in honor of our anniversary, I’ve decided to do a little recap post featuring my favorite memories and moments, as well as some planning tips and recommendations for brides to be.
Other than marrying my husband (of course), one of the things I was most excited about doing to prep for the big day was dress shopping. I had recently been introduced to BHLDN, Anthropologie’s bridal line, which is where I knew I wanted to find my dress. I had a fitting at their trendy Beverly Hills boutique and ended up choosing a simple-yet-elegant empire-waist gown with a sequined bodice. I then fell in love with these sparkling glitter Kate Spade pumps, which were perfect for the occasion but still versatile enough that I could actually wear them again.
Since my bridesmaids were going to be traveling, I wanted to find them a dress that was affordable but still stylish—enter ASOS. We ended up finding these blush strapless dresses on sale for under $25! Tip: when looking for bridesmaid dresses, don’t limit yourself to ones with ‘bridesmaid’ in the name. Cocktail dresses can serve the exact same purpose, and oftentimes be less expensive since they’re not wedding-specific. They each wore their own nude-colored heels and I gifted them with a gold necklace and Kate Spade charm bracelet to tie it all together.
One thing that’s just as important, if not more, than the dresses is the hair and makeup, so I made sure my glam squad was top notch. I initially got a consultation (ALWAYS get a consultation) from a new, more affordable hair and makeup artist, and I was not impressed. She was planning on doing both hair and makeup for all 9 of us herself, which seemed a little too good to be true if you ask me. I decided to go a little over budget and hire people that I was confident would do a great job. Also, I felt like having one person focused on hair and the other on makeup would allow each of them time to really do their best work. All that being said, the extra cost certainly paid off. Christine Choi (@knivesoutsalon) did hair and Caroline Elhaj (@cakoglamink) did makeup.
My husband, Alan, let each of his groomsman wear their own black suit, white dress shirt and shoes. Most of the time, rental suits can be uncomfortable and ill-fitting, so letting your bridal party wear something of their own (or at least choose it) guarantees they’ll look and feel good. For their gift, Alan did a little DIY project, branding their initials into wooden craft boxes, and filling it with a tie, tie bar and pocket square from The Tie Bar to finish off their look.
Both Alan and I have small families, so we wanted to find an intimate venue that would be perfect for our under-100 guest count. After researching for months online, I stumbled upon Seven4One, a boutique hotel in Laguna Beach. They allow wedding parties to book their entire 12-room hotel for the weekend, which was just what we were looking for.
Our ceremony and reception took place in their open-air courtyard, which included a green living wall, fireplace and twinkling string lights. The room was beautiful enough on its own that it really didn’t require a lot of extra decor for the ceremony. Flowers and decor can definitely add up, so if you’re looking to save a little money, choosing a wedding venue that already has some of these elements, or even an outdoor venue, is a great way to do that.
While they reconfigured the room for the reception, my wedding party and I went down tot he beach to take photos at sunset. I didn’t want to have my ceremony on the beach, but the venue’s location made it easy to get those quintessential California photos without having to have a beach-themed wedding.
My wedding coordinator, Robin Ballard of Events by Robin, did an absolutely amazing job with every detail of the day, but what I was most impressed with was the reception setup. We chose to go with a vintage romantic theme featuring a blush, navy blue and gold color palette. Robin make sure that everything, from the tables and chairs, to the linens, lighting and flowers, matched perfectly. I wanted to add some authenticity to the vintage part of our theme, so I spent the months prior tracking down most of the gold accents, like the frames, mirrors and vanity trays, at different flea markets around Los Angeles. I also used some of my grandmother’s doilies, and made DIY heart confetti out of a heart-shaped paper cutter and the pages of an old book.
As if the venue wasn’t amazing enough, Seven4One had in-house catering, so the only thing we really need to worry about in regards to food was the dessert (that’s the fun part anyway!). Sweet and Saucy Shop in Newport Beach was suggested to us by a friend, and we scheduled a tasting only to be left amazed at how truly delicious everything was. Because of that, we decided to do a dessert table instead of the traditional wedding cake, which included mouthwatering macaroons, cupcakes, mini desserts, candies and a small cake topper for the cutting.
After dessert the dancing started and lasted well through the night. Don’t get me wrong—I am extremely happy with how everything turned out on my wedding day. The staff at Seven4One and Robin literally turned my dreams into a reality. But it was really my amazing friends and family, especially Alan, that made that day one I’ll definitely never forget.
All photos by @benjaminjospehphoto