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Romantic Military Wedding at La Jolla Darlington House

As a Bride-to-be with a military fiancé myself, this wedding from Heidi-O-Photo hit my heart in just the right spot. With their venue chosen and deposit made, these two lovebirds got the news that the Groom would be deploying a mere two weeks before their set date, but they didn’t let that stop them. They whipped up this absolutely gorgeous day in just five months—it’s heartwarming, to say the least.


From Heidi-O-PhotoSarah & Bud recently moved from the East Coast to San Diego and chose the Darlington House for their wedding. All their friends and family traveled to California for the wedding.

Sarah chose the wedding colors to go well with the Darlington House and it’s decor.

From the beautiful Bride…We came very close to having an entirely different wedding. So close in fact that we had made a deposit at a vineyard in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and started planning our wedding in our hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. That is, until Bud checked into his duty station at Camp Pendleton and was informed that he would be deployed to Afghanistan two weeks before our scheduled wedding. After weighing all our options, we decided it was most important to us that we were married before he deployed and that we would be able to share that day with our friends and families. That left us a five month window to plan an event in a place we had only lived for a matter of weeks.

The Darlington House was the only venue we toured in San Diego. We were immediately attracted to the history and intimate feel, and could not help but feel at home in a place that still felt very foreign. As essentially all of our guests were coming in from out of town, we wanted a space that would allow us to visit with them personally and that would showcase the unique style of Southern California. We also decided to include a few reminders of home, like the collection of family wedding photos to honor everywhere we’ve come from, and the selection of pies it could not be a real Southern party without. We relied very heavily on recommendations from our vendors to build a wonderfully experienced team that made our wedding feel both like us and iconically Southern Californian.

Many of our friends and family took our wedding as an opportunity to vacation in San Diego for the week, but due to their military obligations, Bud’s friends could not and the last of his friends did not arrive until 1 AM the morning of the wedding. Finally having everyone there was this immense feeling of relief and set an amazing tone of celebration and reunion for the event the next day. It was very important to Bud that we incorporate some military traditions into our wedding, such as the sword arch and cutting of the cake with his mameluke, the Marine Corps officers’ sword. Like the traditional vows we made, said by our parents and grandparents before us, these traditions have been a special connection to the larger Marine Corps family we have both decided to join, through good times and bad.

Photography: Heidi-O-Photo | Florist: Whole Food La Jolla | Bakery: Sugar And Scribe Bakery | Invitations: Made In Brockton Village | Bride's Shoes: Banana Republic | Catering: The Abbey | DJ: DJ Daniel Peterson | Officiant: Reverend Mark Bray | Bride's Dress: Saja Wedding | Makeup & Hair: Tiffany Monday | Save-the-dates: Starboard Press | Venue: Darlington House

Saja is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. heidi-o-photo is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.


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Backyard Al Fresco Wedding with Fresh Green Details

A rainy day wedding sometimes calls for plan B and can make an otherwise calm, cool and collected Bride a bit frazzled. But we promise, it can be gorgeous. Those gray skies make the green garlands by Botanica Events By Audrey Chaney pop a little brighter. And who doesn’t love the perfect kissing shot under an umbrella? A quick peek at this backyard affair so perfectly captured by Milou & Olin and you’ll agree.

Al Fresco

From The Bride…Al swept me off my feet from day one and just a year after we first met I was thrilled to say “yes” when he asked me to marry him! As two busy entrepreneurs however, we both knew we needed to find someone extraordinary who could worry about the details for us while staying in line with our specific vision, and still manage to keep us a part of the process. After meeting wedding planner Lorena Molina we knew she was the fairy godmother to our Cinderella story.

We scoured the state for wedding locations, but as we walked the grounds of my parent’s home one sunny afternoon we realized that getting married there – surrounded by so many wonderful memories of time spent with family and friends –was the perfect place to commit to one another and begin our life together.

My good friend Liza at Bride’s by Liza took my wedding dress inspiration – a photo of dress worn by an SMP bride from Australia – and turned it into reality with flowing chiffon, French lace, and delicate beading. After weeks of fittings it was perfect. I couldn’t wait for my soon-to-be husband to see it. Al had his suit custom made by his suit maker, Jonathan Behr in Los Angeles. There was something about having bespoke clothing made for our wedding day that made it an extra special experience as we watched our vision take shape (literally!) before our eyes.

We’re foodies at heart and from the start envisioned a farm to table dinner party where locally sourced ingredients could take center stage. The family style meal was the result of the talented hands behind Magpie Catering who whipping up some of the most scrumptious fare we had ever tasted. Wine from our favorite local vineyard just a stone’s throw away from the venue was flowing all night along with locally brewed Ale and IPA.

On the day of the wedding we couldn’t stop smiling – or kissing! We were so in love and beyond excited to spend the rest of our lives together. A string quartet played Pachelbel’s Cannon as I walked down the aisle. I could see the tears welling up in Al’s eyes as he watched me walk towards him – I fell in love with him all over again in that moment. We chose to use the beautiful, old wedding vows found in the Book of Common Prayer dating back to the 16th century and one of my mentors, Bob Litchfield, performed the ceremony.

Great live music was a must for us and the Speakeasies from San Francisco hit it out of the park with their boisterous renditions of classic big band era jazz. The guests were dancing to the tunes of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole into the wee hours of the night.

We were blown away by the beautiful images captured by the Milou + Olin team – they were such a pleasure to work with! Securing an amazing photographer was without a doubt one of the best decisions we made throughout the planning process!

Overall the weekend was extraordinary; our team of vendors executed a flawless event complete with amazing food, lively music, natural beauty, and an abundance of elegance. Our guests felt cared for and the entire weekend was effortless. We so enjoyed spending time with our family and friends who traveled from far and near to celebrate with us – we love you all!

Photography: Milou & Olin | Floral Design: Botanica Events By Audrey Chaney | Wedding Dress: Brides By Liza | Catering: Magpie Catering | Hair & Makeup: Susie Chhuor Studios | Band: The Speakeasies | Groom's Suit: Jonathan Behr | Officiant: Robert Litchfield | Beer: Knee Deep Brewery | Bride & Groom Rings: Moein Zandi | Bride's Jewelery: Cartier | Cake Topper: BetterOffWed | Coordination: Lorena Molina | Linen Rental : La Tavola | Paper Design : Nicole Miyuki | Paper Goods + Calligraphy: Betsy Dunlap | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Rentals : All About Events | Shuttle & Valet: ENC Valet | Tent: Zephyr Tents | Wedding Venue: Private Residence | Wine: Mt Vernon Winery

La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Milou + Olin Photography and Zephyr Tents are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

Milou + Olin Photography

Zephyr Tents

Oh So Inspired Retreat Giveaway!

Wedding pros, gather ’round. Because our friends behind Oh So Inspired are giving away a free spot to this year’s amazing retreat and you – yes, YOU – have a chance to win big. I’m talking three days of intimate, hands-on learning with fellow creatives all across the country, not to mention the setting in California’s wine country. Ready to enter? Read on for details below!

About the retreat… Set in the heart of beautiful California Wine Country, Oh So Inspired will be held at the Luxurious Ramekins of Sonoma. We have planned a 3 day gathering, after which you’ll walk away with a wealth of knowledge having participated in a variety of interactive lessons that you’ll be able to implement in your business. We’ll take you through a floral class, sketch lesson, calligraphy tutorial, culinary cooking experience, and you’ll also get to partake in a styled photoshoot ( at a secret location ) alongside one of the Nation’s top photographer. In addition to all the education, you’ll get a chance to hear stories of inspiration and humble beginnings from successful entrepreneurs, as well as bond over fire-side chat. Sounds like your cup of tea? Cozy up with us this November and indulge in learning, renewal, and honest to goodness growth; take your business to a whole new level and create life-long connections.


THE PRIZE:  One ticket to the 2014 Oh So Inspired retreat in Sonoma, California. (Travel and accommodations not included)

TO ENTER: Follow Pinterest board instructions above.

TO WIN: Winner will be chosen 10/10/14 and contacted via email.