Only in California can you go from beach to ballroom without skipping a beat (OK maybe in Florida too). But none the less, this Santa Monica charmer is filled with loads of pink hues, adorable on-lookers in their bathing suits and sand in your toes beach views. A match made in seaside heaven otherwise known as Shutters on the Beach. Sarah Yates captured all the goods and this lady seriously gets it. She is like a ray of warm, happy sunshine bestowing us with all of her fabulous photographs. I may have just saved an image from this very wedding as my screensaver and I have a feeling there will be a ton more saving, pinning, and inspiration board building from this affair. It is way to gorgeous not to. Get a head start with all the photographs you could possibly dream of in the full gallery.
From the Bride… We decided on Shutters on the Beach because it has both the New England feel of where Aaron’s from and the quintessential view of the Santa Monica Pier that I grew up with. Then I got cracking. I bought “The Wedding Book” by Mindy Weiss, which was the next best thing to having a wedding planner. It offers insight on various traditions, gives advice for navigating tricky situations, hits all of the practical info, and provides the all-important checklists for every aspect of the planning. I merged her to-do lists in an excel document with things I’d learned from assorted articles and then I divided our projects up by month, week and day according to our timeline. I’m very right-brain, left-brain, so creating this doc from the get-go eased a lot of pressure and gave me the time and space to be creative.
I probably spent the most time working on the stationery with the very talented and thoughtful Jonathan Wright. I wanted something that reflected Aaron and me, and that also previewed the wedding to come, which was still somewhat of a mystery at this point. It didn’t help that I became addicted to the blog Oh So Beautiful Paper; everyday it gave me a new inspiration and a totally different idea for the invitations. In the end, it was this Modest Mouse record art that set the wheels in motion. Aaron proposed in a hot-air balloon and I love the symbolism of the anchor. For our other stationery, we worked with our friend (and Aaron’s groomsman) Mark Dawursk. He normally has an edgy sensibility, so I felt bad asking him to work with a pale pink and grey color scheme. His designs were a huge hit, though, and the next morning our Facebook pages were inundated with photos of Mark’s menu.
Writing the ceremony also became a passion project. It was so much fun to reflect on our nine-year relationship and get all of those emotions down on paper. Aaron and I took turns writing passages and then I edited it down. If you have it in you to write your ceremony, you should give it a shot because it becomes one of the most meaningful parts of your day. Another highlight was finding my wedding dress, though initially it was the thing I was most anxious about. My mom and I stopped into Badgley Mischka on a fluke and it turned out they had gowns upstairs. I fell in love with the “Fifi” style and that was that. I was so excited about it that I couldn’t sleep the next few nights.
There were all of the small moments in between too: Helping Aaron put stickers on the candy bags (and eating the candy that we should have been saving for the dessert table), getting our first correspondence addressed to us as a married couple, watching my grandma teach Aaron how to dance… If I were to pick one single moment to capture in a jar forever, it would be the ceremony overlooking the ocean during the part of the day when the sun makes everything glow. We were so excited, and so nervous, and so in love. We laughed, we cried, we kissed before we were supposed to. I could stay in that moment forever. I’m really glad we took photos after the ceremony too, because that’s when we felt the giddiest. We’d also done our engagement photos with our photographer, Sarah Yates, a few months beforehand, so we were really comfortable her. Plus, time spent with Sarah feels like an adventure. She’s fun and spirited and natural — it’s hard not to feel like you’ve known her forever. (Meanwhile, back at the venue, all of our friends seemed to develop crushes on her assistant Jack.)
Later, it was also thrilling to see the ballroom for the first time, and to see that we could transform it into a warm and intimate room. All of the details had come together — our favorite jazz band, the delicious dinner, the soft pink flowers, the dessert table — and our first dance wasn’t nearly the mess we thought it’d be (although it was still more comedy routine than “Dancing with the Stars”). But most of all, it was the heartfelt speeches and being surrounded by our friends and family that we’ll remember most.
Wedding Photography: Sarah Yates Photography / Wedding Ceremony & Reception Venue: Shutters on the Beach / Hair & Makeup: Fiore Beauty / Wedding Cake & Desserts: Vanilla Bakeshop / Wedding Gown: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Hjelm / Floral Design: Yvonne Van Pelt of Empty Vase / Ceremony & Cocktail Band: de Bois Entertainment / Dinner & Dancing Band: Big Willie’s Burlesque / DJ: Ian Gotler of RedShoe Productions / Officiant: Dr. Robert A. Ringler of Bel-Air Wedding Ceremonies / Stationer: Jonathan Wright and Company