Weddings like this southern California soiree speak to my soul. The bride and groom built a vintage affair, inspired by her engagement ring, using the things they love most to evoke a romantic ambiance that is so personal I feel like I’m peeking into their hearts. Orange Blossom Special Events worked seamlessly alongside the couple to help create this feeling – which was then brilliantly captured by Greg Slick Photography. Add to that fantastic florals from Honey & Poppies and a mouthwatering dessert bar from Vanilla Bake Shop, and you’ve got something phenomenal. Click here to see more!

I knew that Ben was going to propose soon. It was no secret that we were perfect for each other and that we wanted to get married. I did not expect him to propose on the day he did, nor did I expect him to propose the way he did: at our home, one ordinary Friday night in December. But it was just our style. Just the two of us, nothing fancy, at the place where we love to spend most of our free time. It was perfect, and so was the ring – a beautiful vintage-style oval diamond ring. I immediately knew that the style of our wedding had to be vintage, with a modern twist.

At first we were thinking about getting married in the San Francisco area, because that’s where Ben grew up and where his parents still live, and there are a lot of really great venues that would go perfectly with our style. But we quickly realized that planning a wedding would be difficult enough in itself and decided to spare ourselves the headache of having a few hundred miles between us and the venue. So we set our sights on our hometown, Los Angeles. We wanted to get married close to the beach, and we didn’t want to get married in a sterile ballroom. When we walked into the Marina Vista room at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, we were blown away, and knew it had to be the place. It was right on the marina, with huge windows, vintage wallpaper, and the stunning chandeliers clinched it. It fit our theme perfectly.

After picking the venue, we set out looking for a wedding coordinator. That is not an easy task when you live in Los Angeles, because there are so many options! We didn’t know where to begin, or who to trust. Brooke, from Orange Blossom Special Events was recommended to us by Ben’s aunt who was a friend of Brooke’s family. So we met with her, and right away knew that she would be perfect for us. She was outgoing and friendly and it felt like we were chit-chatting with an old friend. Plus she was super organized, really on top of everything, and had tons of great ideas.

A photo of a bridal bouquet that my maid of honor sent me became my inspiration for the color scheme and the flowers. It was a mix of cream-colored dahlias, light pink and lavender garden roses, and other romantic pastel-colored flowers. I fell in love with it. I gave the photo to my florist, Megan from Honey and Poppies, and talked to her about my idea of a modern-vintage, romantic wedding, and told her how much I loved birds. She was carrying a handbag that day with an appliqué of a bird on it! So I knew we would see eye to eye on the floral design. The bouquets and centerpieces that she designed left me breathless. There wasn’t a single detail that she over-looked; from the little white milk vases to the lace around the candle votives, it all tied my theme together so wonderfully.

I am an actuary by trade (an actuary is basically another name for math nerd), which needless to say doesn’t allow me to be very creative. But I’ve always loved arts and crafts, so I used wedding planning as my creative outlet. I decided to design and make everything myself because I had such a clear vision that nothing I found online or in stores was perfect enough, and also because I finally had my chance to do meaningful arts and crafts projects. I don’t have a graphic design program on my computer, so rubber stamps became my best friend. I ordered a personalized one to stamp the tops of our favor jars and the return addresses on our invitation envelopes, I used alphabet stamps to stamp each guest’s name, letter by letter, onto their place cards, and I used other decorative stamps for the invitations! I knew Ben was perfect for me when he helped me stamp place cards instead of playing golf on Sunday! My absolute favorite home-made piece at our reception was the vintage cabinets that my dad built to hold the place cards. I was inspired by a vintage medicine cabinet on ebay, but it was too expensive. Luckily for me, my dad happens to be a cabinet maker, so I sent him the photo and he recreated two of them for us. They came out better than I could have imagined. I think I got more compliments on the cabinets than I did on my dress!

Since I’m not a big dessert person, I didn’t want a big, fancy cake. I did want a little one that we could cut, but I also wanted cupcakes and French macarons so that our guests could have different options. I really love vintage cake trays, so I rented trays in different colors, sizes, and designs from Bountiful Homes in Venice Beach. Amy, from Vanilla Bake Shop, created a gorgeous cake for us, complete with a lace-like border and two little birds staring lovingly at each other (my mother-in-law actually found the birds at a wild bird seed store for us). She also created an incredible display of cupcakes and macaroons in various pastel colors. It all came together so well, and ended up being one of my favorite things at the wedding.

Overall, our wedding day was surreal. I had a very vivid vision of what I wanted, and, everyone came together to help me create it, down to very last detail. I was extremely lucky that I had the most wonderful people helping me, and that I have such an understanding husband, family, and friends who went along with all of my ideas and helped create my vision of a vintage wedding. To my surprise, the most memorable moment of the day for me was one that was unplanned. When the night came to an end, most of our guests were still there on the dance floor with us. There was an overwhelming feeling of love in the air, and we all had one big group hug. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Photography: Greg Slick Photography / Flowers: Honey & Poppies / Event Planning: Orange Blossom Special Events / Ceremony Location: Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey / Reception Location: Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey / Hair & Make-Up: Veronica Lane / Entertainment: Woody Diaz / Cake & Dessert Bar: Vanilla Bake Shop

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