Confession time.  I visit The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel website on a weekly basis.  I swear to you, I do. Because even though I am not exactly engaged, I’ve been dreaming of holding my wedding at this seaside paradise for what seems like years.  Why, you ask?  Well, because it happens to hold some of the world’s most beautiful weddings, like this breathtaking beauty planned to perfection by Lisa Simpson Weddings. It’s an uber-sweet bride and groom (check out their story below) meets lush florals from Karen Donovan Flowers meets a whole lot of pretty, pretty images from Studio EMP.  See them all in the full gallery.

From the Bride… People always seem to say you won’t meet the love of your life at a bar, but I can attest that it is possible! Aaron and I both enjoy fun nights out with friends, so there really was no better way for us to meet then on a Saturday night out celebrating Cinco de Mayo. After exchanging smiles, it took all of 30 seconds for him to make his way over to me. The initial attraction quickly grew into true love and we became practically inseparable. Five blissful years and a few dogs later, Aaron took me on a trip to New York City for my 30th birthday, where little did I know a modern fairytale proposal awaited me. Following an already perfect day that included ice skating at Rockefeller Center and attending a David Letterman taping, Aaron suggested we visit Central Park. I nearly shot this idea down in favor of heading back to the hotel because it was so cold and almost dusk, but he persisted so I agreed. After strolling around the nearly vacant park for a while, I became the happiest girl in the world when he got down on one knee.

Since I had known for years he was the man I wanted to marry, when we finally did get engaged there was little time wasted getting started on the wedding planning. Both native Californians and lovers of the beach, we set the date eight months later at the spectacular ocean side setting of the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel. My goal from the start was to create a truly timeless and romantic wedding, with some modern touches.

With soft and pretty in mind, we went with a color palette of cream, peach, silver, and grey. I wanted to keep the ceremony décor minimal to avoid competing with the natural beauty and amazing backdrop that surrounded us. Since the sunshine was out and the weather was in the 80s, baskets of sunglasses and sunscreen were provided for the guests. We are both big wine lovers, so my favorite part of the ceremony itself was the wine box ceremony, where we hammered closed a box I had painted, inside which held a bottle of Pinot Noir from the year we met, as well as love letters to one other. The Pastor explained we will open the box on our first anniversary, drink the wine and read the letters, and replace with a new bottle and new letters. We plan to continue this yearly tradition throughout our marriage.

At the indoor reception, my vision of airy and romantic timelessness with the addition of modern stripes that I love so much came to life. From the cake to the hand painted frames throughout, I incorporated stripes wherever I could. I really enjoyed collaborating with our graphic designer, who created custom contemporary paper goods that were cohesive with both our save the date and invitations.

Personal touches included cutting the cake with my Dad’s West Point sabre, and donation cards instead of favors, as we chose to give to the local dog rescue we foster and volunteer for. A slideshow of Aaron & I throughout the years played as guests enjoyed cake. The rest of the evening consisted of dance offs, fun in the photo booth, and cheers and celebration all around.

I had a lot of fun with the DIY projects, which included the hand-painted chevron striped picture frame our engagement photo was in, card cage holder, striped painted wine box, jeweled hammer, striped program box, striped frames throughout the reception (table numbers and miscellaneous signage), sign hanging on the photo booth, and the Mr. & Mrs. Sweetheart table sign.

Photography: Joel Eckman Maus of Studio EMP | Venue: The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel | Officiant: Rev. Paul D. Uhlar | Event Coordination: Lisa Simpson Weddings | Floral Design: Karen Donovan Flowers | Catering + Cake: The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel | Cinematography: Joe Rosenberger, Today’s The Day | Invitations + Paper Goods: Lynette Johnson, Style Market Studio | Heart guest book: Suzy Shoppe | Picture Frames: (table numbers, photo frames, guest book, etc.): DIY by Bride | Chairs + Linens: Fusion Linens | Wedding Dress: Rosa Clara, Aire Barcelona via The White Dress | Belt: Jim Hjelm | Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale | Belt + Veil + Hairpiece + Bridesmaids Dresses via The White Dress | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Garter + Bouquet Wrap: Kristen Kuehn Designs | Men’s Attire: Tiglio Luxe | Bride’s Makeup: Design Visage | Bride’s Hair: Maggie Norwood of Strands Hair Studio | Bride’s + Bridesmaid Hangers: Emily’s Emporium | Ceremony Music: Haddy Music | Photo Booth: Capital Photo Co | DJ: Bill Child, DJ Mister Bill

Amsale, Hayley Paige and Jim Hjelm Occasions are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. JLM Couture, Inc and The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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