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Half Moon Bay Hindu Wedding from Sonal J Shah Events

I know I’ve said it before, but I will continue to say it over and over, only because it is so true. Hindu weddings have got to be the most fun fêtes to attend. The dancing, the colors, the passion, nothing compares to it. Which is why I totally love this California wedding from Sonal J Shah Events. From the beautiful bride with henna on her hands to the fantastic Pacific Ocean view, every photo from Studio Nine portrays a party I so wish I had gotten an invite to. But since I was not there, I will be spending all afternoon in the full image gallery, pretending.

That gorgeous cake is from the delish Cake Coquette.

Rachna is originally from the San Fransico Bay area and attended medical school at Drexel University in Philadelphia.  I am from Philadelphia, and was completing my medical internship at Drexel University at the same time Rachna was a senior.  We crossed paths at Hahnemann Hospital where we both rotated to treat patients.  This is when I began to “notice” Rachna and developed a crush on her.

I proposed to Rachna in October of 2009 in New Orleans, on Diwali, in a well known french quarter restaurant.  When I crouched on one knee to propose and give Rachna her ring, it slipped out of my hand and rolled through the restaurant—requiring me to crawl on all fours to catch it!  Later in the evening, some sincere neighboring diners approached me to ask, “I really enjoyed that magic trick you did under the table with the ring—how did you do that?”  My reply was “There was no magic, only gravity!”  To this Rachna said, “This is so us. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”

Our wedding was namely that of a traditional Hindu wedding.  However, I am Jewish by background.  Thus, our marriage is multicultural, although both religions have many core similarities.  Therefore, to add some multicultural aspects to the wedding, we decided to step on a glass at the conclusion of the Hindu ceremony.  Stepping on a glass at the end of a wedding ceremony is a Jewish tradition – it is meant to bring good luck to the newly weds.

My most vivid wedding day memory was our first dance after our entrance into the reception.  Although we were surrounded by family and friends, I felt Rachna and I could have danced freely for hours without any worries or cares.  I was so incredibly awestruck by how beautiful Rachna looked!

Rachna and I are both physicians (Rachna is an OBGYN, and I am an Anesthesiologist) who believe that high quality medical care should be provided to all people, in all nations, regardless of socio-economic status.  Therefore, we made gift donations in our guests’ honor to Doctor’s Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).  MSF is a medical humanitarian organization which provides free medical care around the world to patients in countries in desperate need of medical attention.

Photography and Cinematography: Studio Nine / Event Design: Asiel Designs / Event Planning: Sonal J Shah Events / Ceremony Location: Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay / Reception Location: Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / DJ: DJ Raj, Sound Nation / Cake: Cake Coquette / Hair and Makeup: Armando, Get Your Do Up!

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The Forster Mansion Wedding by lunaphoto

Oh, California.  You’ve done it again.  These San Juan Capistrano nuptials by lunaphoto have completely taken my breath away, detail by stunning detail.  From the bridesmaids’ fabulous clutches to those ah.ma.zing Louboutins, this is one crazy gorgeous soiree.  And those bridesmaid dresses?  Let’s just say I want one.  It’s going to be another dreamy day here at Style Me Pretty California and I like it.  See all of the pretty here!

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From the Bride… My career is in fashion, yet I have an equal love for the arts.  My husband took that love and incorporated it in his proposal.  He planned a private showing at the Laguna Beach Art Museum where he commissioned our friend and amazing artist to paint a painting that was exhibited in the museum.  To get me to the museum that day, he casually mentioned there was a new exhibit being shown, which I agreed would be the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Once we arrived at the museum, saw the painting, read the painting’s descriptive plaque; he surprised me with getting on bended knee and proposed!  Tears came streaming down my eyes; and of course, I agreed to be the future Mrs. Barlow!

When it came to planning I trusted my gut feeling and went with what felt like “us.”  The first major decision we made was our wedding date.  We were married on Saturday March 20th, the day of our 11 year anniversary.  From there, we decided to incorporate the art theme into the wedding.  The letterpress invitations included our colors of champagne and navy along with frame cut-outs to clue our guests in our theme.  At the reception, we invited our guests to paint on individual canvas that we later grouped together and are displayed in our home.

Going for a modern yet charming wedding, we picked two venues with a lot of history. We were married at Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, deemed the oldest church in California followed by a reception at The Forster Mansion, a national historic landmark.  My creative background lead to other unique details of our wedding.  My husband and I wore outfits from our favorite designers and purchased our jewelry from our favorite jeweler.  The bridesmaids held clutches filled with flowers and the junior bridesmaids and the flower girl held bouquet balls filled with flowers and heart-shaped candy.  At the reception, Barlow wine was served to personalize and celebrate our union.  Lastly, the decor included Andy Warhol-like photos of us, table cards of our engagement session, easels, canvases and more frames.

The experience of planning a wedding was unforgettable and having these amazing photos will always remind us of our special day and the beautiful memories we made.

Wedding Photography: lunaphoto / Ceremony Location: Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano / Reception Location: The Forster Mansion / Wedding Invitations: Dauphine Press / Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet / After Party Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Earrings + Rings: Harry Winston / Custom Dress Label, Clutches, Flower Fascinator + Guest Book: Etsy / Groom’s Suit: Theory / Groom’s Shirt + Tie: Thomas Pink / Groom’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo / Bridesmaid Dresses: Vineyard for Priscilla of Boston / Wine: Barlow Vineyards / Entertainment: Checkone2 Entertainment / Engagement Painting: Jon Farber / Limo Service: American Limousine Service Inc. / Flowers + Wedding Cake: Flour and Flower Designs

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Santa Monica Wedding by Hazelnut Photography

If ever there were a wedding that I wanted to crawl inside and take a little vacation, it would so be this Santa Monica shindig. You see, I have a soft spot for black and white details and glamorous surroundings that only the Viceroy could display so beautifully. So join me and say YES! to modern, yellow infused decor whipped up by My Bride Story Weddings & Events, YES! to geometrically-inclined paper goods by Paisley Quill, YES! to this entire scrumptious nugget of a wedding captured by Hazelnut Photography. Oh and that lovely polka dot cake by Vanilla Bake Shop? We’ll say YES! to that too. Find more perfect details from this glamy-glam wedding in the gallery. And coming up in a bit, a buying guide fit for a modern lover, a yellow lover or any pretty wedding lover for that matter. Stay tuned!

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From Hazelnut PhotographyCatherine & Stefan wanted a modern & intimate wedding for their 48 guests and The Viceroy created the perfect clean backdrop.  It was important to them that this day was simple: one location, no bridal party, plenty of time for every portrait and an amazing evening of dancing & connecting with their closest family & friends.

They really wanted to let The Viceroy shine, it’s such an incredibly venue! So, they choose a palette of yellow & brown to accent the beautiful green design aesthetic of the space.  Every addition only pushed the whimsical, fun, clean & modern design that The Viceroy already provided!

Wedding Photography: Hazelnut Photography / Wedding Venue: Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel / Wedding Coordination & Event Design: My Bride Story Weddings & Events / Floral Design: Flower Allie / Wedding Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop / Favors: Sweet & Saucy Shop / Makeup: Nicole DeAnne Bridal Hair & Makeup / Wedding Invitations: Paisley Quill / DJ: LSM Entertainment / Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Montecito Wedding by Corbin Gurkin Photography + {duet} Weddings

Corbin Gurkin is my hero. She gets to witness some of the most gorgeous weddings on the planet and the way she captures them is nothing short of MAGIC. From the boutonnieres to the first dance and all the newlywed smooches in between, ahh we are smitten kittens with each and every image. And this perfect gem is no exception. {duet} Weddings crafted all of the delightful decor from this Montecito soirée and the freaking fantabulous flowers? Those babies where whipped up by Modern Day Design. It’s a regular old pretty party and you’re all invited. Get your swoon on in the gallery with more from this lovely day.

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Peter and Jessica met nine years ago at Brown University.  They now live together in Brooklyn, NY. They chose Santa Barbara as their wedding location because Jessica is from Los Angeles and grew up going to Santa Barbara, because her parents had a place there.

El Mirador is an absolutely magical overgrown estate in the Santa Barbara area.  They wanted the guests to get to experience all the amazing areas of this “secret garden” so they had the guests enter at the top of the property and exit at the bottom, having wandered and experienced the many incredible areas.  Guests drove up a dramatic palm-lined driveway where they were greeted by the valet. They then entered the old foundation of the original house, with a koi pond in the center, built in the 1920’s, that has since been torn down and never rebuilt.  Guitar music greeted them as well as fresh lemonade with a spiked option.  The guests could then wander under the foundation to the Grotto that was used during Prohibition.  With wooden arrows leading the way, guests found their way through old stone paths to the pond with a Japanese garden.  At the pond were the bass and violin players playing Django Reinhardt music.  There was another beverage option of cucumber water.  After the guests explored this amazing backdrop they were queued by a gong to head towards the ceremony lawn, a beautiful grassy area surrounded by huge trees.  The chuppah for the ceremony matched the wild beauty of the location.

After the ceremony, guests were led to another lawn near the reception area where the cocktail hour was held.  While guests enjoyed cocktail they also participated in a Polaroid sign in book that Jessica’s photography friends helped run.  Joaquin Trujillo shot Polaroids of the guests for the sign-in.  Guests strolled over to the old carriage house and courtyard for the reception with strung lights hanging across the structure.  The flowers were a brilliant array of jewel-toned purples, oranges and greens arranged in vintage tins and vases provided by Jessica, Rebecca Stone and Camille (florist).  All the guests had silkscreen printed mini sacks of wildflower seeds on their plates as a party favor listing that a donation to the Natural Resources Defense Council had been made in their honor.  The food from Seasons Catering was displayed as a family style buffet featuring homemade mushroom ravioli as well as local vegetables from Ojai.  The cake mirrored the rustic design of the event with a “Betty Crocker” style of butter cream frosting with organically placed fresh figs, berries, champagne grapes, and flowers.  The wedding was an intimate affair in a naturally beautiful, organic, and warm setting on a perfect late summer day.

Wedding Photography: Corbin Gurkin Photography / Wedding Coordination: {duet} Weddings / Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: El Mirador Estate / Rentals: Ventura Party Rentals / Floral Design: Modern Day Design / Catering: Seasons Catering / Wedding Cake: Christine Dahl Pastries / Officiant: Rabbi Evan Goodman / Wedding Invitations: The White Aisle / Wedding Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Musicians: Ivan Johnson / Wedding Reception Music: Gavin Roy of Santa Barbara DJ’s / Hair Accessories: Pluma (the bride!) / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale + J.Crew + Priscilla of Boston + Joanna August / Groomsmen Attire: Bloomingdale’s / Hair & Makeup: Kelly of The Studio Agency

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Santa Monica Wedding by Sarah Yates Photography

Only in California can you go from beach to ballroom without skipping a beat (OK maybe in Florida too). But none the less, this Santa Monica charmer is filled with loads of pink hues, adorable on-lookers in their bathing suits and sand in your toes beach views. A match made in seaside heaven otherwise known as Shutters on the Beach. Sarah Yates captured all the goods and this lady seriously gets it. She is like a ray of warm, happy sunshine bestowing us with all of her fabulous photographs. I may have just saved an image from this very wedding as my screensaver and I have a feeling there will be a ton more saving, pinning, and inspiration board building from this affair. It is way to gorgeous not to. Get a head start with all the photographs you could possibly dream of in the full gallery.

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From the Bride… We decided on Shutters on the Beach because it has both the New England feel of where Aaron’s from and the quintessential view of the Santa Monica Pier that I grew up with. Then I got cracking. I bought “The Wedding Book” by Mindy Weiss, which was the next best thing to having a wedding planner. It offers insight on various traditions, gives advice for navigating tricky situations, hits all of the practical info, and provides the all-important checklists for every aspect of the planning. I merged her to-do lists in an excel document with things I’d learned from assorted articles and then I divided our projects up by month, week and day according to our timeline. I’m very right-brain, left-brain, so creating this doc from the get-go eased a lot of pressure and gave me the time and space to be creative.

I probably spent the most time working on the stationery with the very talented and thoughtful Jonathan Wright. I wanted something that reflected Aaron and me, and that also previewed the wedding to come, which was still somewhat of a mystery at this point. It didn’t help that I became addicted to the blog Oh So Beautiful Paper; everyday it gave me a new inspiration and a totally different idea for the invitations. In the end, it was this Modest Mouse record art that set the wheels in motion. Aaron proposed in a hot-air balloon and I love the symbolism of the anchor. For our other stationery, we worked with our friend (and Aaron’s groomsman) Mark Dawursk. He normally has an edgy sensibility, so I felt bad asking him to work with a pale pink and grey color scheme. His designs were a huge hit, though, and the next morning our Facebook pages were inundated with photos of Mark’s menu.

Writing the ceremony also became a passion project. It was so much fun to reflect on our nine-year relationship and get all of those emotions down on paper. Aaron and I took turns writing passages and then I edited it down. If you have it in you to write your ceremony, you should give it a shot because it becomes one of the most meaningful parts of your day. Another highlight was finding my wedding dress, though initially it was the thing I was most anxious about. My mom and I stopped into Badgley Mischka on a fluke and it turned out they had gowns upstairs. I fell in love with the “Fifi” style and that was that. I was so excited about it that I couldn’t sleep the next few nights.

There were all of the small moments in between too: Helping Aaron put stickers on the candy bags (and eating the candy that we should have been saving for the dessert table), getting our first correspondence addressed to us as a married couple, watching my grandma teach Aaron how to dance… If I were to pick one single moment to capture in a jar forever, it would be the ceremony overlooking the ocean during the part of the day when the sun makes everything glow. We were so excited, and so nervous, and so in love. We laughed, we cried, we kissed before we were supposed to. I could stay in that moment forever. I’m really glad we took photos after the ceremony too, because that’s when we felt the giddiest. We’d also done our engagement photos with our photographer, Sarah Yates, a few months beforehand, so we were really comfortable her. Plus, time spent with Sarah feels like an adventure. She’s fun and spirited and natural — it’s hard not to feel like you’ve known her forever. (Meanwhile, back at the venue, all of our friends seemed to develop crushes on her assistant Jack.)

Later, it was also thrilling to see the ballroom for the first time, and to see that we could transform it into a warm and intimate room. All of the details had come together — our favorite jazz band, the delicious dinner, the soft pink flowers, the dessert table — and our first dance wasn’t nearly the mess we thought it’d be (although it was still more comedy routine than “Dancing with the Stars”). But most of all, it was the heartfelt speeches and being surrounded by our friends and family that we’ll remember most.

Wedding Photography: Sarah Yates Photography / Wedding Ceremony & Reception Venue: Shutters on the Beach / Hair & Makeup: Fiore Beauty / Wedding Cake & Desserts: Vanilla Bakeshop / Wedding Gown: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Hjelm / Floral Design: Yvonne Van Pelt of Empty Vase / Ceremony & Cocktail Band: de Bois Entertainment / Dinner & Dancing Band: Big Willie’s Burlesque / DJ: Ian Gotler of RedShoe Productions / Officiant: Dr. Robert A. Ringler of Bel-Air Wedding Ceremonies / Stationer: Jonathan Wright and Company

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Santa Monica Wedding by Kristen Weaver Photography

We owe a big huge thank you to Kristen Weaver Photography for sending this next fabulous number our way. It is sure to send all of you wedding gurus into art deco la la land with one tiny glimpse. Feathers, glitz galore, TWO heart-palpitating dresses (including the prettiest Claire Pettibone number) and a glamorous reception at one of my favorite venues of all time, The Viceroy. Seriously, can those wallpapered walls get any better? This interior designer thinks not. Check out the FULL gallery for more of this detail driven extravaganza. It’s an indoor party like no other.

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From Kristen Weaver PhotographyCandice has always been specific about her own personal style; she graduated from FIT in New York and quickly moved out to LA to be a fashion designer; and she knew what she wanted for her wedding. Vintage, roaring 20’s style with sparkly metallic touches, an amazing reception venue and a heart-felt ceremony. Pretty much describes Candice. From her hair, to her flowers and reception gown – she used vintage brooches collected from various antique shows (the Rose Bowl flea market in her city, Pasadena, is her all-time favorite). The entire theme of the wedding was derived from a vintage brooch that belonged to her late grandmother – which she used as the main piece of her reception cocktail dress. Other pieces of her grandmother’s jewelry were used as her reception jewelry and in her ceremony headpiece.

Actually, calling it a ‘reception cocktail dress’ may be a bit misleading. Candice designed her gown from a piece of silk fabric that Kevin bought her as a Christmas gift, and layered it with metallic beaded fabric. The flapper-style dress was her entire creation, from the low drop back to the beads across her shoulders (one of her late-grandmother’s necklaces), and of course, her grandmother’s brooch on the front. She finished her style with a beaded Anthropologie headband and ivory Nina shoes with feather accents on the heels.

Candice’s ceremony gown was an amazing vintage-styled masterpiece by couture bridal genius, Claire Pettibone. Candice knew she wanted that exact dress from the first moment she saw it at Kleinfeld’s in New York (I asked, but no, she didn’t make it on “Say Yes to the Dress”).

Little moments were captured in her details – like Kevin’s proposal in front of the historic Flat Iron Building in NYC. The inside of his wedding band is engraved with the address of the building, and they set out Flat Iron postcards for guests to write little notes for them to read later. A mirror was inscribed with his proposal message, “Candice, you have had a lot of great memories in New York. I want this to be the greatest memory you ever have… Will you marry me?”, and below the mirror a vintage dresser carried the guest favors – vintage bottles of perfume and Flat Iron cuff links, with a custom silk screened jewelry box.

Candice’s own engagement ring was created by an estate jeweler in New York City; and her engagement session, that I shot back in August, featured some of their favorite places in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Redondo Beach and Santa Monica!

Wedding Photography: Kristen Weaver Photography / Cinematography: Lunch Pail Pictures / Floral Design: Flowers by Felicia / Wedding Ceremony Location: Wayfarers Chapel / Wedding Reception Location: Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Groom’s Tuxedo: Dolce and Gabbana / Wedding Dress: Claire Pettibone via Kleinfeld / Reception Dress: Candice Konya (The Bride) / Wedding Cake Designer: The Butter End Cakery / DJ: System 3 Entertainment

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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For membership information, click here