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A Gold Medal Worthy Wedding Fit for a Five-Time Olympic Champion

When you’re a five-time gold medal Olympian, only the best will do for your big day. And let me assure you, this gorgeous Laguna Beach wedding is definitely the best of the best — a Monique Lhuillier gown, a seaside ceremony overflowing with white flowers and an al fresco reception under the stars. Head to The Vault to see it all captured by John Schnack Photography, who frankly deserves a medal of his own!

Al Fresco

From Brian DobbinThe Montage Laguna Beach’s classic style and location embodied the spirit of this couple and gave me a framework within which to style their day.

He, a 5-time Olympic Gold Medalist rower and she in 3rd-year med school, both are driven and disciplined but low-key and relaxed in their personal lives.

They met at UCLA. The Groom’s family is from a small midwest town, very conservative and reserved, and the Bride is a California girl from Emerald Bay whose mother is an advertising guru and father a famous painter. Quite a diverse group!

My goal was to make this quintessential California love story simple and elegant and understandable to everyone and allow these families to blend together easily. My mantra throughout the design process was “feel at home”.

The ceremony location was a no-brainer; the biggest greenest lawn with the biggest bluest ocean backdrop filled with hundreds of distressed French kitchen chairs, entrance and wedding arch made of rough-hewn trees and covered with two truckloads of pristine white flowers by Urban Gardener.

Simple piano music, bridesmaids in a blush dress of their own choice and bouquets of their own design. My Bride was looking statuesque at 6’ tall in the first dress I discovered at Erin Cole. I knew immediately that this Monique Lhuillier was meant for her.

The groomsmen, (ranging in height from 6’2”-6’5”), were elegant and handsome in navy blue suits and ties.

The best part of the event was The Montage allowing us to be the first client to buy-out studio, their famous fine-dining restaurant with the killer view.

I couldn’t imagine having this group dine anywhere else on property! The ballrooms are lovely but no view, and besides, I had other plans for those!

Once we secured studio and their amazing chef I began to re-design the restaurant into a “house on the Ocean”, removing every piece of furniture and installing antique furniture, carpets, flowers, books, (who’s titles all had something to do with love/marriage/family), cashmere throws, and personal items that make a house a home. Post-ceremony cocktails and jazz took place in the Studio herb garden with simple reclaimed wood bars and tables and the sun and fragrant plants and flowers. Guests lounged on garden walls and hung out in the “house” and the gorgeous bar.

The oceanfront terraces were cleared and we rolled in 22 real antique farm tables and mismatched chairs that carried the theme of “home”. Amazing flower groupings in antique vasesby Urban Gardener, many candles, and strings of Italian garden lights, (on dimmers), set the mood. Sunset on the terrace was spectacular, and a five course dinner was punctuated by traditional wedding shenanigans, moving speeches and wild dancing and much, much laughter.

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Photography: John Schnack Photography | Event Planning: Brian Dobbin | Floral Design: Urban Gardener | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: Montage Beverly Hills | Makeup: Trompe L'Oeil | Hair: Mars Salon | DJ: Dart DJ | Band: West Coast Music | Venue: Montage Laguna Beach | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

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Breathtaking “I Do’s” at Surf and Sand Resort

Here’s the thing about seaside weddings: we adore them.  The crystal blue waters, the golden beaches, the fresh, salty air… they’re magical.  So it’s no surprise that one of our favorite places to say “I do” is Surf and Sand Resort, a little piece of Laguna Beach paradise that combines total luxury with a coastal chic vibe that we can’t get enough of.  Scroll below and prepare to fall sooo in love.

From their awe-inspiring views of the Pacific to their elegant accommodations to their fabulous (+ totally unique) lineup of event spaces, Surf and Sand Resort will make all of your Big Day dreams come true in an instant.  I’m talking an entire weekend of total relaxation and FUN, all topped off with a perfectly executed wedding that goes off without even a hiccup.  Think days spent lounging by their award-winning pool, nights chatting away at their crazy cool lounge and day trips to downtown Laguna Beach for one of the best vacas you’ll ever enjoy.  Now add in a wedding of a lifetime with tasty cuisine, stunning decor and your favorite people on hand to celebrate and choosing Surf and Sand Resort is, well… the best decision you’ll make.

Ready to begin your journey to that seaside soiree of your dreams?  Contact Surf and Sand Resort’s talented team of wedding specialists TODAY to begin planning a day that you’ll remember for always.


Lovely Laguna Beach Engagement Session

We adore a variety of styles around these parts, but we’d be lying if we didn’t admit to a few factors that speak to our hearts a bit more than others – and with the blush dresses, barefeet and peony bouquet, this engagement shoot is pure SMP. Honey Honey Photography captured all the beauty at Laguna Beach and with these images, our Vault continues to shine brighter and brightermore this way!

From Honey Honey PhotographyKristopher and Ashley met and fell in love in San Francisco. At the time, Kristopher was beginning his first year of law school and Ashley was working as an intern for a digital marketing agency. They met by chance, when a mutual friend invited them both to dinner, in what turned out to be a surprise double date. Ashley’s internship ended that day and she was only a few short hours away from flying back home to New York. She was reluctant to go out on her final day in San Francisco, but realizes now it was the best decision she ever made. After a night of laughter and endless conversation, Kristopher made sure they didn’t lose touch. The two messaged back and forth for a few months, before she received a job offer in San Francisco and decided to move back to the Bay Area.

Kristopher proposed to Ashley along the Ewoldsen Trail in Big Sur, CA. Two and a half years of unforgettable smiles and laughter brought him to this day. After hiking uphill for over an hour, the trees began to clear and an incredible view of the ocean appeared. Kristopher leaned in and asked her to close her eyes. He pulled out a purple, plastic cupcake ring. Several weeks prior, she recalled a troubling dream where he proposed with a giant purple ring. Tears welled up in her eyes as he slowly slid the ill-fitting ring on her finger. She quickly realized the ring was nothing more than a less-than-subtle reference to her horrible dream. She began laughing but indistinguishably crying, and wasn’t sure if he was about to propose. Sure enough, Kristopher quickly got down on one knee, pulled out a beautiful ring, and asked to spend the rest of their lives together. Almost a year later, they couldn’t be more excited for their upcoming wedding day!

From the Couple… We knew we wanted our engagement session to be at Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach, CA. Kristopher is an avid surfer, and we would spend a lot of time there in the summer. As soon as we saw Emma’s photographs, we knew her organic, elegant style was the perfect fit. We are beyond pleased with how the pictures turned out and can’t wait to display them in our new home!

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

More California engagement inspiration here!

Photography: Ether & Smith | Bride-to-be's Dress: Alice & Olivia | Ribbon: Silk & Willow