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Southern California Wedding from Matt Grashaw + Shurie Saxelby

This Hartley Botanica stunner from Matt Grashaw + Shurie Saxelby is the perfect example of a theme-wedding done right. The bride + groom, both pursuing doctorates in scientific fields, infused their big day with whimsical touches and DIY-projects (like their amazing invitations + reception centerpieces!) With gorgeous florals from Silver Lake Farms and a custom gown by Wedding Dress Fantasy, this beautiful fête has me wishing I’d incorporated beakers in my wedding decor!  See the rest right here!

From the Bride… When Zach and I were planning our wedding, we decided early on that we wanted science to be a main theme in our day. We are currently both pursuing doctorate degrees in scientific fields, and aside from it being a large part of our day-to-day, a passion for science is also an important aspect of our bond. In accordance with the science theme, we also wanted our venue and decor to be infused with organic and natural elements. Hartley Botanica, in Somis, California, was the second venue we visited, but we knew instantly it was the one. The aisle was lined with tress that canopied above, creating a cathedral-like ceiling, and nearly every inch of the property was covered with colorful flowers.

Our venue was the inspiration behind our invitations. Due to our somewhat limited budget (and high expectations), I took on a lot of the wedding duties myself, the invitations being one of them. To create our invitations, I painted a picture of Zach and me under the canopy for the front, as well as a map. I then scanned them into my computer and printed them on canvas paper that I hand-tore, to give a vintage or worn appearance. In addition, I also wrote up a text that read like a research write up—with a hypothesis (that our guests will endeavor to attend our wedding), an algorithm upon which they could calculate the likelihood they’ll attend (they have a suit/dress, they’re available, they like us, etc.), and finally, a conclusion, which was the RSVP (to be written by the guest).

Aside from the invitations, our science theme was most apparent in our centerpieces. I spent months on ebay and amazon looking for deals on chemistry glassware, such as erlenmeyer beakers, boiling flasks, stands, and test-tubes, which could be used as vases. To create a natural look against the industrial-looking lab equipment, my sister and I went out to a flower farm on the day before my wedding and picked wildflowers and dahlias, which we then arranged in an un-manicured fashion, to serve as floral centerpieces for the “science vases” I had collected. In addition, Zach and I had decided that, instead of numbers, we wanted our tables to be labeled with the names of famous scientists and a picture that represented their field of study. Finally, instead of a traditional seating chart, I wrote the table names and guest list on an old wooden door that I had found in my parents’ garage and then created a floral piece that hung on the top.

While making the floral piece for the seating chart door, I also made two headpieces (one for me and one for my sister/maid-of-honor), that were inspired by the ones worn by the indie singer, Lana del Rey. I thought the floral crown went perfectly with my one-of-a-kind dress which I had custom made by Tova Marc at Wedding Dress Fantasy, for a fraction of the price of buying a designer gown. Finally, to complete my look, I also crafted a beaded sash out of an applique that I found on ebay.

The day of our wedding was perfect, and everything turned out even more wonderful than Zach or I could have imagined. The wedding was very intimate with only approximately 90 guests. Our Rabbi, and his wonderful rabbinic intern officiated, while my aunt played the harp for our procession and recession. The reception was equally amazing. We felt that the décor was perfect—long wooden tables lined with taper candles and our wildflower-filled chemistry vases. A single crystal chandelier hung over the center of the dance floor, which was the main hangout for the rest of the night. The only time it wasn’t full was when dinner was served and during our glorious sparkler exit.

In planning the wedding, Zach and I wanted an event that was unique, but also personal. Although, all the DIY projects took months to plan and carry-out, it was all worth it in the end. The day was truly perfect. Our only complaint is that it didn’t last longer. Luckily, with the help of our two friends, who also happen to be amazing professional photographers, we can relive it whenever we like.

Wedding Photography: Matt Grashaw + Shurie Saxelby / Wedding Venue: Hartley Botanica in Somis, California / Event Planning: Karen from  Bella Dia Weddings (818.651.2071) / Wedding Cinematography: Matt Grashaw / Floral Design: Silver Lake Farms / Wedding Invitations: DIY by the Bride / Wedding Dress: Tova Marc from Wedding Dress Fantasy / Bride’s Shoes: David’s Bridal / Bridesmaids’ Attire: Monique Lhuillier via Bella Bridesmaids


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The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel Wedding from Desi Baytan Photography

There is a reason we are called Style Me Pretty. And the reason rests on weddings just like this. The soft and romantic Southern California soiree is so beyond pretty that it makes us all feel a little sweeter, a little happier, and, a little prettier. Desi Baytan Photography captured the gorgeous beach affair – every pretty in pink detail. And because of that, we have a gallery spilling over with amazing images. Click here to spend your day with this pretty, pretty soiree!

Tim and I got engaged two years ago in Honolulu, Hawaii. We have been together for eight years, and met each other in junior college. After graduating from UCLA, we both found jobs in Los Angeles and decided to start our life here. For the past few years, we have enjoyed the weather and the beach so much in L.A., and when Tim proposed to me, I knew that we had to get married by the beach, so we could capture the beautiful Southern California weather and scenery.

We searched for many hotels in the SoCal area, and The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel definitely caught our eye. The sunset terrace was just perfect for a small size ceremony like ours. It is a private, beautiful courtyard overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Plaza room for the reception was also what we were looking for, simple but elegant, and with a classical touch. The french doors open with a great view of the ocean and connects to the sunset terrace.

Since we had a relatively small group, we wanted to have a “warm and cozy” style wedding, and only invite close family and friends. The color scheme we chose was soft pink and champagne, which was inspired by the design of a wedding invitation set from I Do Concepts.

I designed our wedding stationary by using soft pink ribbon to wrap the light champagne colored cards with contents printed in a dark champagne color, also with a touch of light pink floral in the background. That is the exact simple, elegant, but chic feel that we wanted for our wedding.

We wanted to avoid the typical ballroom wedding feel. Instead of having all high vases as our centerpiece, we chose to have several different types of flowers displayed in different shapes of vases, so that the whole table setting looked unique, clean, and very fresh.

It was definitely the most memorable day for both Tim and I, and we enjoyed every single moment of it. Our favorite part of the day was after the reception. We walked down to the beach with our photographers and took some amazing photos by the beach. It was finally the time for us to relax and just walk down the beach to enjoy the view.

Photographer: Desi Baytan Photography / Event Planning & Design: Lisa Simpson Wedding Celebrations / Invitation Designer: I Do Concepts / Cake& Desserts: The Ritz Carlton / Wedding Gown Designer: Vera Wang White / Venue: The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel / Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Wrap Dress / Hair & Makeup: Kelly Zhang

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Rancho Las Lomos Wedding from Kristeen LaBrot Events + Harmony Loves

I’ve never been to California, but every single wedding we get from the Golden State is perfect, and SO Californian (even I can see that!). From Wine country to Los Angeles to San Francisco, each wedding has a different feel, but they are all so – fabulous. And this Rancho Las Lomas wedding, captured by Harmony Loves, is the perfect example of the wonderful soiree that is a California wedding. With help from Kirsteen LaBrot Events, this beautiful bride was able to wed her handsome groom in a fabulous outdoor ceremony surrounded by friends, family, love, and of course, pretty little details. Check out the rest of them in the full image gallery!

Adam and I met at my front door.  He had just moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia looking to begin a new adventure.  As he began looking for a place to call home, my roommate and I were looking to fill a vacancy in our third bedroom.  Adam arrived at our front door one evening to see the apartment and meet us.  After the interview, my roommate—and best friend clearly explained why he could not live with us.  “ You like him!  He can’t move in.”  Sure enough, we choose a different roommate, which allowed me to ask Adam out on our first date.

Four years later, we had our own place in Culver City when he surprised me on a Friday afternoon with his proposal.  He had said to come home quickly after work so that we could get some drinks and begin the weekend.  When I arrived home he said he had two surprises. One…we weren’t going to get drinks, we were going to Ojai, California (one of our favorite get away spots) and the second surprise was in the bedroom.  He presented me with champagne, flowers, and got down on one knee.  I had never been so surprised in my life!  He then quickly packed a bag for me while I sat in wonderful shock and we hit Friday afternoon traffic all the way to Ojai.  It was the best 2 hours of traffic I ever experienced—-calling friends and family and just being out of our minds excited!

We wanted to have an outdoor ceremony at a venue that also had a beautiful space for our reception.  We had many people coming from the east coast and we wanted to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Southern California.  We also wanted to get out of town just a bit and that’s how we found Rancho Las Lomas in Mission Viejo, California.  With its Portuguese tile, orange groves, outdoor lighting, and exotic animal preserve it was a gorgeous and completely private space.  We loved the different levels of the property and distinct spaces for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and then reception.  We got married under large sycamore trees with a simple décor including branches and leaves adorning the gazebo structure.  The aisle was created with a simple border of white rose petals. The property had a fantastic bridal cottage for my bridesmaids and the mothers to get ready in.  I LOVED that this was our own space for the entire day and every structure was made using a Portuguese inspired style.

I’ve always loved the combination of green and blue together.  I had a scarf that mixed navy blue and chartreuse and always thought it was a classic combination.  The ladies wore navy blue Ann Taylor dresses that complimented their green/white bouquets.  We used some burlap accents throughout the venue.  We had burlap table numbers on wine bottles, burlap wraps around the cocktail tables, and burlap pillows that I painted with a blue/green design that resembled the tile patterns on the property. I used Etsy to help design most of the elements to our wedding.  From the flower in my hair, the invitations, favors, bridal party gifts etc I used elements from different Etsy vendors.  It all came together to be very unique.  Overall, this was a ranch wedding that was part garden, part rustic but didn’t lean too much into one theme.

Adam and I know that a marriage is also a joining of two families.  We are lucky enough to both have parents who’ve been married for over 30 years.  During the ceremony, our officiant acknowledged that we are each an extension of our families.  We honored our mothers and Adam’s grandmother by presenting them with flowers during the ceremony.  It was a surprise element and also one of the more emotional parts.  So glad we did it!

Wedding Planner: Kristeen LaBrot Events / Florist: Modern Bouquet / Hair Accessory: Twigs and Honey / Venue: Rancho Las Lomas / Photographer: Harmony Loves / Dress: La Soie / Caterer: 24 Carrots / DJ: DJ Lux from Premiere Events / Hair and Makeup: Design Visage / Invitations: Julia’s Poppies Design / Calligraphy: Calligraphy Katrina

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