I just love a couple who isn’t afraid to think outside the box when it comes to planning their big day and this oh-so-adorable Washington D.C. duo did just that and then some with their stunning California affair.  Yes, not only did they orchestrate a fabulous destination wedding in Newport Beach, but they held each and every amazing moment on one insanely gorgeous cruise ship, as well.  A wedding cruise for a day… how seriously fun is that?!?  Thankfully, Session Nine Photographers was on hand to capture all of the pretty, because I plan to gaze at this lovely for days.  Join me in the gallery for even more!

Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From the Bride… He’s from small-town, Alabama, I’m from a not-so-small town in Arizona. We live in Washington, D.C. So, of course it made perfect sense to get married in Newport Beach, California! But really, when we set out to pick the location of our special day, the goal was to have a wedding that would be small enough so we could spend quality time with all of our guests during the celebration, but large enough that we could feel the love and support from those who are dearest to us. My extended family is HUGE, so while a wedding in Arizona would have been one BIG celebration, it wouldn’t have been the intimate atmosphere we were going for. Matthew and I are also very into all things artistic, so we REALLY cared about the quality of our wedding pictures! Getting good wedding pictures was of premium concern when we set out to choose the location of our wedding and our photographers. Since Phoenix averages about 115 degrees in August, taking pictures outdoors at a Phoenix wedding would have been…well, not very enjoyable. We also wanted our guests to enjoy every part of the wedding, not constantly having to wipe the sweat from their foreheads. We wanted no distraction from the heat. We considered Alabama and D.C. venues for about half a minute before we decided to start looking at beach weddings in California. The day of our wedding was 73 degrees…perfect!

I grew up vacationing with my family in Newport Beach, so that was where we first started looking. We really liked the idea of doing a wedding cruise because that meant our guests would be with us 100% of the time! No cutting out after the cutting of the cake! Everybody had to stay and party with us until the boat re-docked at the end of the night. Since Matthew and I were both living in D.C. during the planning of the wedding, we also knew that if we did the destination wedding, it would have to be at a place where they handled most of the details (linens, catering, DJ, bartenders, etc.). So Electra Cruises was exactly what we were looking for. They had a list of vendors to choose from, but they were also really flexible with letting us use our own vendors too (we brought our own pastors, and used Session Nine as our photographers).  A huge plus to having our wedding with Electra was that all of the vendors had worked on the ship before, so everything seriously ran like a well-oiled machine. Electra also gave us a day-of coordinator for our wedding who really helped with making sure everything followed the timeline of events (and making sure the bride and groom actually get to eat!). Once we decided on a beach wedding, we knew we wanted a venue that would be beautiful on its own, so we wouldn’t have to travel with a lot of decorations or stress out about setting things up ahead of time. The ship we had our wedding on was called The Destiny (how perfect), and it was so beautiful on it’s own, we really didn’t stress out about having a lot of decorations to add to it.

For flowers, we really wanted to add some color to the black dresses and suits, so my florist actually suggested the gerbera daisies. And they’re pretty inexpensive, as far as flowers go! I essentially told my florist what I wanted to spend per bouquet, and she told me I could have a lot of gerbera daisies, or a small amount of other fancy flowers. I opted for the fuller bouquet for the bridesmaids, and I am SO happy with how they turned out!

A lot of the stuff we used for tables (like name place cards and table numbers) we found at Hobby Lobby. For printing, we saved a TON by designing our own programs. Matthew and I formatted the programs in a Word document, then sent them off to this ma and pop printer shop, with instructions about how we wanted them printed. I used a hole puncher to make holes, then tied the pink and orange ribbon on every one. We had a friend design the “AMMP” logo, and used it on the invitations and the programs to kind of make it the theme. (We’ve called each other “AM” and “MP” since we became friends three years ago.)

We also like shoes…a lot. For the love of Viv… I saw the Vivienne Westwood shoes I wanted like a month after we got engaged—they were perfectly pink and orange! We wanted a little southern flair in there somewhere, to match Matthew’s accent, so that’s why MP chose the Dan Post cowboy boots. They looked SO good! And we both have worn our wedding shoes again since the big day!

Wedding Photography: Session Nine Photographers / Wedding Ceremony + Reception Location: Electra Cruises / Wedding Dress + Veil: David’s Bridal / Flowers: Marina’s Flowers / Wedding Cake: Cinderella Cakes / Bride’s Shoes: Vivienne Westwood / Groom’s Suit: J.Crew / DJ: DVS Mobile DJ Service, DJ Von / Catering: Electra Cruises / Wedding Invitations: Papyrus / Logo Design: Tyler Sanderson / Officiant: Pastor Robert Russo / Party Bus: A Private Limousine / Groom’s Shoes: Dan Post Boot Co.