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This Bride + Groom Said “I Do” in the Most Unique Location

The next best thing to getting married underwater? Getting married in an aquarium! And for this Southern California Bride and Groom who “wanted to do something that was out of the ordinary,” deciding on an aquarium wedding was as easy as saying, “I do.” From the gorgeous white bouquets to the whimsical ocean-themed candy bar, this wedding definitely has the “wow” factor. See it all from Ryon:Lockhart Photography in The Vault!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Nautical

From The Bride…The story of how Alex and I met is a simple yet sweet one. Our best friends set us up on a double date and as they had suspected, we hit it off immediately. It didn’t take long to realize that there was a special connection between us and from that day on, it was impossible to find the two of us apart. We survived the trials of a long distance relationship and after almost 4 years of dating, it was time to take our relationship to the next level!

After asking my father for his blessing, it was off to the island of romance Catalina! Upon arrival we were escorted to a private ocean front bungalow which was ready with champagne and decorated with roses petals. After a glass of liquid courage, Alex got down on a knee and asked me if I’d spend the rest of my life with him. I was ecstatic and obviously said YES and the rest of the weekend was a celebration of our love as we started making plans for the big day.

When it came to finding a venue the only thing we were certain about was that we wanted to do something that was out of the ordinary. Knowing that we had a year filled with weddings to look forward to, we aimed to provide a unique experience for our guest. With a spectacular waterside location, the world class Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California offered the beautifully unique atmosphere that we had been looking for!! It also happened to be where Alex took me on our second dates which made the location extra special!!

After booking the space for our June 27th, 2015 wedding we hired Emma Seitz of First Pick Planning to help us plan every detail, asked Lotus and Lily to design our beautiful flower arrangements and brought in Ryon:Lockhart photography to capture it all. With this dream team we were able to take our visions of a classic, timeless and nautically inspired event and make it a reality.

After months of planning the big day had finally arrived. As guests arrived they were greeted with beautiful harbor views and sounds of steel drums before being escorted to into the venue through a special underwater tunnel/entrance which cut directly through the Sea Lion exhibit. Rose petals and candles led the way for our friends and family as they experienced their first animal encounter of the night. The ceremony itself was short and sweet and it took place in front of the breathtaking three-story Blue Cavern exhibit. Guests then move upstairs for cocktail hours and enjoyed refreshments and yummy appetizers while getting a close-up look at their favorite animals and exhibits. We also had animal experts stationed throughout the venue who performed demonstrations with the animals, shared interesting facts and gave behind-the-scenes perspectives of working with the animals.

As it came time to move back downstairs to the reception space for dinner, escort cards sent guests to their tables which were named after sea creatures found within the aquarium. The playful affair featured navy and white stripes, all white flowers, gold accent pieces and the blue lighting created a feeling of warmth, making the huge space feel cozy and welcoming. After dinner our 250 guests danced the night away and indulged in our ‘ocean’ themed candy bar!

To say our wedding day was a dream come true would be an understatement. Alex and I couldn’t have asked for anything more and will treasure the memories from that day for the rest of our lives.

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Photography: Ryon:Lockhart Photography | Cinematography: The Adventures Of | Coordination: First Pick Planning | Floral Design: Lotus And Lily | Wedding Dress: Robert Bullock | Cake: Beckers Bakery | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Catering: Savor | Makeup: Angles And Arches | Hair: Hush Hush Salon | DJ: Vox DJs | Officiant: Senior Pastor Johathan Chute | Venue: Aquarium Of The Pacific

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Peonies, Peaches + A Love Note For Every Single Guest

Being in the position I am lucky enough to be in, I see plenty of sweet and innovative ideas, but well, this one takes the cake. This couple wrote a thank you note to each and every guest and that little love note acted as their escort card. It gets even better: these cute cards were displayed in a variety of pretty pastel colors, creating quite the sight to see. But it was just one of many for this sweet celebration, captured by Jenny Smith & Co. See this delightful display and more in our Vault here!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Urban Space
Styles
Modern

From the Bride… Before we started planning, I envisioned our wedding as bright and happy – with lots of color and lots of flowers! It was important to me that the design reflect both me and Eric, and I wanted an atmosphere where both our grandparents and our crazy college friends could really enjoy themselves.
It was so much fun working with our wedding planner to figure out our design! Our venue, the Loft on Pine, brought so much elegance and drama with its exposed brick and wrought iron, so we decided to bring in light, bright, modern elements to achieve the summery look I had envisioned. We landed on a color palette of pale blue and white with gorgeous peaches, rosy pinks, and light green accents. It was so pretty!

One of the most meaningful elements of our day was our love notes. Before the wedding, Eric and I hand wrote a short note to each of our guests thanking them for being there. Then, our lovely planners put all the notes together into a fabulous display, and they became escort cards! I may or may not have been finishing up some of those notes the night before the wedding (oops), but despite the self-imposed time crunch, it was really special to be able to express my gratitude to each of my loved ones individually. Another unique element was the peaches! As a Texas girl, I know that peaches are one of the best things about summer (also, they are adorable), so we incorporated them into our design as delicious place card holders. We were also lucky enough to have a talented brass quintet perform our ceremony music. Eric and I are both brass players – we met in the UCLA Marching Band – so hearing the brass made walking down the aisle even more magical.

One of my favorite details was the big, pink peony in my hair. It just made me so happy. And one of my favorite moments was trying to get it to stay! My mom and matron of honor got pretty creative with bobby pins!

My dress, Watters Amari, had this incredible fabric – white on white floral jacquard – that you just wanted to touch. It was a big ball gown that moved beautifully; I really felt like a bride. Our flowers were incredible: peonies, garden roses, dahlias, ranunculus, greenery. The flower arrangements, candles, and peaches made the room feel so festive and warm. The cake was both delicious and beautiful (marble cake with chocolate mousse filling), but in the midst of all the dancing and merrymaking, I only ended up having one bite!

My advice for brides-to-be: don’t forget to eat cake! More than just the bite your new spouse feeds you!

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More pretty peach inspo here!

Photography: Jenny Smith & Co. | Cinematography: Nick & Chris Smith | Event Planning: LB Event Planning | Floral Design: Viva Voce Designs | Wedding Dress: Watters | Invitations: Prim & Pixie | Hair: Zara Simidyan | Hair + Makeup: Girl Meets Bongga | DJ: DJ Kyle Taylor | Officiant: Sarah Diringer | Ceremony Music: Brass Quintette | Venue: Loft On Pine | Catering, Cake + Beverage Services: Jay's Catering | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Linen | Rentals: Borrowed BLU | Rentals: A Rental Connection

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Linens And Decor
borrowed BLU
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DIY Wedding at The Loft on Pine

If you thought you wanted an adults-only wedding, just wait until you see the cuties at this classic with a twist Southern California wedding, because there’s a good chance they’ll change your mind. Flowergirls in tutus and a ring bearer in Converse? It doesn’t get more precious than that. Unless, you count this gorgeous couple’s sweet first look. See it and so much more from B&G Photography in THE VAULT!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Urban Space
Styles
Modern

From The Bride…Grant and I met by a chance of fate: I was visiting Southern California on spring break from Michigan State University for several job interviews when his dog chased a bunny into the backyard where I was relaxing. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, we soon found several coincidences between us, including the fact that his sister also happened to attend MSU and was recently married to a fellow Michigander. You can hear the whole story in our wedding video. After a big move across the country and 5 years of dating, Grant proposed on Christmas Eve, with his grandmother’s ring, in front of both of our families. It was such an incredible night, and showed just how well he knew me and that I would want everyone to be there for this joyous moment.

Although we were initially leaning toward getting married in my beloved home state of Michigan, after a lengthy discussion and look at our guest list, we realized that California was the way to go. It was hard for me at first, but ended up being the best decision. With family and friends traveling from all over the country (and world!), we thought a long holiday weekend would be ideal — one “free” day for everyone to travel and/or recover? We were sold. Plus, the upcoming Labor Day weekend just so happened to coincide with our 7th anniversary!

Once we had an idea of location and date, we began our search for a venue. My mom is actually the one who found the Loft on Pine, all the way from Michigan. We looked it up online and immediately loved the overall vibe and set up a time to check it out. From the moment we entered the building, we knew it was the place for us. The exposed brick and wood of the Great Hall were so warm and inviting and such a contrast from the stark white walls of the gallery. It was a blank canvas –perfect for what I was envisioning– and checked off every item on our list. The best part? It was in Long Beach, the place we met, fell in love, and have built a life together, so what better place to have all our favorite people join us to celebrate the beginning of our next chapter as husband and wife.

When discussing the look and feel we wanted for the big day, Grant and I kept coming back to the idea of an elaborate, yet intimate dinner party with all of our loved ones at a giant table, drinking, dancing, and eating in a haze-filled night full of love and laughter. We wanted it to be chic, timeless and sophisticated while still being wildly fun, effortless and laid back — no stuffiness allowed! We decided to forego the idea of a traditional “theme” and instead use a black & white color palette to create our overall vibe: classic with a twist.

Since the Loft itself has so much character, I thought it would be best to keep the overall decor simple and highlight the space’s natural beauty. With the addition of custom black and white art, gold bits’n’bobs, white blooms, greenery and an abundance of candlelight, the Loft became an extension of our home: modern and classic, masculine and feminine, funny & sentimental. My mom and I collected all sorts of pillows, blankets, spheres, orbs, terrariums, vases, candlesticks, etc. and had a major spray painting party on one of her trips to help out. We also created a light feature to be the focal point for both the ceremony and reception, and it shimmered and glowed perfectly behind us throughout the night.

As a graphic designer (and wannabe event planner), all of the little details were very important and easily my favorite part of the wedding creative process, especially when it came to the paper goods. I went a little nutty and designed our save the dates (one for California and one for Michigan), invitation suite, an invitation for the Michigan reception, matchboxes, out of town bags, itineraries, welcome notes, “do not disturb” signs, sweets bags, menus, programs, and all of the custom art that was sprinkled throughout the space. Once I got started it was really hard to stop.

I am very lucky to have the most amazing and talented parents. No matter the level of “crazy” of my next DIY idea, they were game, making multiple trips out to the West Coast to help us tackle each project. Practically everything at the wedding and reception was either made by me, my parents or, a combination. My dad sculpted my “Mrs. Hauxhurst” hanger, complete with a hand-stamped heart with our wedding date. Together we made over 50 mini burro pinatas for the rehearsal dinner fiesta, curated and planted all of the succulents that were placed around the space, spray painted 110 envelope edges, created a giant sequin heart that sparkled over the fireplace in the lounge area (easily over 10,000 sequins on that bad-boy — it’s hanging in my office now!), wood-burned cigar boxes for the groomsmen, the sequin hangers for each bridesmaid, escort card holders, hand-folded and stuffed our invitations, and so much more.

In addition to my wonderful parents, Grant and I are surrounded by a multitude of other fabulously gifted and generous friends and family. My aunts would get together at my parent’s house in Michigan to help make crafts and mail them to us; the custom hanky embroidery, my Arsenal (Grant’s favorite futbol team) garter, flower girl tutus, our invitation calligraphy, homemade chocolate chip cookies and so many other things were all created by our loved ones. We are beyond lucky and so grateful to everyone who pitched in.

When it came to attire, Grant and I couldn’t agree more: classic. classic. classic. I was determined to find something grand–the type of dress that I would never get the opportunity to wear again. Friends and family members were all pushing for me to choose a more form-fitting gown, but I had something else in mind. I wanted vintage, yet modern–the type of dress my daughter would one day want to wear. I found that in my Hayley Paige. The classic shape combined with the graphic nature of the layers and horse-hair had me sold. For the bridesmaids, I gave them a short list of guidelines and let them go for it, which easily could’ve been a disaster with 11 such different women. Luckily, it turned out better than I could have ever hoped for; each of them selected an amazing gown that not only fit their personality and individual beauty, but also went together seamlessly. By sticking with classic black tuxes and floor length black gowns, I think we achieved a look that will withstand the test of time. We love that we will look back on our wedding in 50 years and not see outdated trends. All of the gentlemen loved their classic black tuxes and looked dashing on the big day. I’m beyond glad that we decided to forego the vest and went with suspenders instead; they looked so sharp when the jackets came off. And our ring bearer in his little tux and flower girls in their tutus and gold bows? I just die over the cuteness — we have the cutest nieces and nephew!

Speaking of our lovely wedding party, Grant and I were initially given a lot of grief for having such a large group, that it would be too much to wrangle and a total headache. It was anything but. Grant said that if our biggest problem was being surrounded by “too many” loved ones as we take this next step, we’re probably doing okay and that really stuck with me. We are very lucky to have such loving family and friends that made everything so easy — we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

What we wanted more than anything was to spend time with our guests and for them to feel like they were a part of our weekend and not just another number on the list. We achieved this by keeping our guest count as low as we could (110) and by hosting events throughout the weekend for everyone to get to know each other. There was a golf day for the guys, welcome cocktails (and Michigan State season opener!), the main event, an epic after-party at a speakeasy and brunch the following morning at our favorite pub. It was really lovely to see all of the new friendships formed over the weekend.

The best (and most challenging) part for me was the fact that I was both the bride and the designer. But that’s why it is so important to hire and work with vendors that you know you can trust — with florals in the hands of our dear friend Lindsay (of the Eleventh Flower) and Day-of-Coordination with Allie of Pop The Champagne, I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about a thing! Sure, there are always hiccups the day-of, but because of their expertise, I didn’t know about any of it until well after the last dance had ended.

Photography and videography were very, very important to us and we wanted to find someone who could capture us as a couple as well as all of those little details and the candid, in-between moments of the day. Some photographers seemed so stiff, others too filtered/edited, but when I came across Jen of B&G Photography, her work blew me away — plus she has the best name ever, haha! Grant loved how comfortable the couples looked and I loved how sharp and clean her shots were. After meeting her, we knew she was the photographer for us — she really knows her stuff and immediately put us at ease. On the big day, she was INCREDIBLE. With a huge group of people and a long list of shots, Jen remained calm and made the day go incredibly smoothly even when our timeline got a little crunched.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that we received was that if we could find the room in our budget for a videographer, we should go for it, and I am so glad that we did. Austin did a great job of telling our whole story while capturing both our sentimental and silly sides. He went above and beyond and was even hanging out of his car window in order to get the shot at certain times! We are especially grateful to Jen and Austin for all of the moments captured with Grant’s Nana, who passed away shortly after we were married. The images and video are so special because they live on after that one day in our lives and bring us back to so many happy moments.

The ceremony itself was just lovely — probably our favorite part of the whole day. Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” played during the processional, followed by one of my very best girlfriends (and hair stylist!), Elise, surprising everyone by singing an acapella version of The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” as I walked down the aisle. It was such a special moment. Grant and I were married by my uncle, which made for an incredibly intimate and personal service. We met and worked with him on the entire script, but he added a few snippets that were a wonderful surprise and made the ceremony that much more special. Both of our parents have been married for over 40 years, so we wanted to pay homage by reciting the traditional vows they proclaimed and also dedicating our wedding to them and the wonderful example they have set.

After that, we headed off for a quick ride around town on a classic trolley with our wedding party while guests enjoyed cocktail hour, featuring canapés and his-and-hers signature margaritas, our favorite drink. Upon our return, Grant and I headed upstairs alone to see the Great Hall transformed and take a moment together to let it all soak in. Seeing it all come together was so overwhelming, it took our breath away. Our team of vendors did such an amazing job making it all come to life. Our guests soon joined us upstairs and we enjoyed a delicious end-of-summer 3-course meal that we customized with the help of our caterers, topped off with LA-style street dogs (yes, bacon-wrapped, with peppers and onions!) from a local grill cart as our late night snack. Our DJ had the dance floor packed through the night to a mix of new and old songs and the photo booth was never empty.

We wanted it to be a fun, unforgettable party celebrating the beginning of our married life together. The planning process was a blast, extremely hard and time-consuming, overwhelming at times, but downright amazing. With the help of our parents, friends, family and bridal party, we had the most wonderful celebration. There is no way we could have pulled this off without them.

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Photography: B&G Photography | Cinematography: AREX Films | Coordination: Pop The Champagne | Floral Design: The Eleventh Flower | Wedding Dress: The Londyn Gown By Hayley Paige | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Catering: Jay's Catering | Hair: Elise Clifford | DJ: Just Dance Events | Transportation: Our Town Trolley | Venue: The Loft On Pine | First Look & Portrait Location: Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch & Gardens | Photo Booth: Make It Last | Veil: Dressing Up

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