Inside and out, this wedding is beautiful. The kind of wedding that is overflowing with gorgeous details and breathtaking scenery at every turn. But what really stands out against all of the pretty is the thought and meaning that the adorable bride and groom put into each and every moment, crafting a day that was truly, truly their own. Click here for more from Kaytee Lauren… and prepare to fall in love.
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From Kaytee Lauren… Just this past October I shot a beautiful fall beach wedding in Corolla, NC. The couple lives in Laguna Beach, CA, but most of their friends and family are back here on the East Coast, so they got married here on the East Coast and brought some of California with them to inspire their wedding.
From the Bride… Pj and I met several years ago at a restaurant in our small town of Laguna Beach. I worked part-time as a server and had a crush on Pj, who was one of our “regulars.” We were always just acquaintances, and it wasn’t until we bumped into each other at a surf industry work event, that our relationship first began. We dated for two years and I knew instantly that he was the one. Pj and I took a celebratory vacation to the Turks & Caicos after I finished graduate school in May, and this is where he proposed during a romantic sunset dinner on the sand. After asking Pj what his version of our “love story” was, he informed me that our story is about two people who were meant for each other, waiting for exactly the right time for their relationship to begin. We’re both so thankful that we waited for each other and feel that this was all part of a greater plan.
We both knew we did not want a long engagement, and were just so excited to officially start our lives together as husband and wife. We thought seriously about eloping, but ultimately decided it was so important to for us to have our family and closest friends present. We live in Southern California, but our families are spread out over the East Coast and Wisconsin, so it was tough to find a destination that wouldn’t require a full day of travel for our guests. After considering so many locations, we ultimately decided that a beach wedding in the Outer Banks of North Carolina was the perfect spot. Corolla is a small town beach community on the Outer Banks, known for it’s beauty and wild horses that graze the beach. I grew up taking trips with my family to Corolla, so it definitely was a special place for me. Pj and I had just spent last New Year’s Eve in Corolla with some friends, so it was a place that meant something to him, as well.
We planned this wedding in exactly three months, and I am so happy we did not wait until next year! Fortunately, since I had recently graduated and was beginning the job search, I had the time to fully devote and throw myself into the planning process. I wanted to make sure that every detail was a reflection of us as a couple, and that our guests had a great time.
We both share a love for the beach, and knew we wanted to say our vows with our feet in the sand. We rented a beach house with a huge backyard and walkway out to the sand, so it created the most perfect backyard beach party vibe. Guests arrived for the ceremony and were greeted with a rum punch – which was fitting since this was our favorite drink during our vacation in the Caribbean. The shining sun and beautiful glassy waves were the most perfect backdrop for our ceremony.
I had so much fun with all of the details and again, wanted our wedding to truly speak to all the things that make us who we are as a couple. PJ and I are at the beach almost every day, whether he is surfing, or we’re out with our dog in the sand, and one thing we take with us everywhere is our bright beach “Mexican” blanket. We decided that the perfect favor for our guests would be a fun blanket that they could use for the night in case it was chilly, and to take home as a reminder of our special night! I found a great yoga equipment company that sells blankets at wholesale and were pretty reasonable. We rolled the blankets and tied them with twine and a beautiful tag that read “to have and to hold, in case you get cold,” and placed one on each guest’s seat.
Adding to the backyard beach vibe were the table settings. I rented farm tables and found the most perfect gray and white ikat runners. I chose to use gray, white, and muted pastels for the colors, and topped each table with modern, wooden lanterns, votives and hobnail vases for the flowers.
We decided it would be fun to find a great photo (either something super funny, from back in the day, or with PJ or I) of each of our guests and use this as the escort card, rather than simply writing their names. We named each table after one of our favorite beaches, which was then written on the mini Polaroid-style photo. Our guests loved checking out all of the old photos, and definitely got some good laughs of Pj sporting dreadlocks with friends from his college days, and other never-before-seen photos.
The tables were marked with a wooden block stating the beach name in beautiful white script, and sat next to a driftwood photo holder which held a photo of this beach that we had taken together. We also added beautiful ombre menus (with a personalized note on the back) to each place setting, a gray linen and topped it off with a small piece of driftwood.
The sign accompanying our escort card display read, “friends and family, please find your smiling face. At one of our favorite beaches you will find your place!”
I definitely wanted our guests to have an authentic southern experience while at our wedding so the menu was very important. Dinner included shrimp and grits and rosemary fried chicken and desserts included all of our favorite sweets. The baker worked with me to recreate our favorite southern desserts including banana pudding, pecan pie, coconut cake & the most delicious naked almond cake with raspberry filling and butter cream frosting.
This was definitely one of my favorite touches. We used an app on our iPad called “Thrilled for you,” and set it next to a sign instructing guests what to do. Throughout the night our guests took “selfie videos” and we had a blast watching them afterwards. I think the messages are so much more fun than the standard guest book options, and it’s something we will watch again and again for years to come. We knew it would take some effort to get a lot of guests to try it out, so we instructed some of our tech-savvy teenage guests to help out and encourage everyone to give it a shot.
My dad passed away a couple of years ago and I wanted to find a way to remember him and feel his presence during the most important day of my life. My sister gave me a beautiful locket with a photo of my dad and I in it, and we tied it around the bouquet. I loved having this reminder of him while my brother walked me down the aisle, and throughout the rest of the night.
When Pj proposed, our waiter came over and set his phone down for us and informed us that he had a special song he wanted to play. It was a reggae version of John Legend’s “All of Me,” but by Jah Cure. We knew there was going to be no other option for “our song,” and first dance. We also chose to engrave our rings with this meaningful script. Pj’s ring says “all of me,” and my ring reads, “Loves all of you.” Since we normally wouldn’t have chosen this as our song, we decided to have two more slow dances, or “dedications” throughout the night. They announced Phi’s song for me, which was “Stuck on you” by Lionel Richie, and later my song for PJ which was “Sea of Love” by Cat Power. Our wedding reception was one big dance party and we both loved that playing these extra songs slowed it down and brought it back to another intimate moment between the two of us.
Photography: Kaytee Lauren | Videographer: Emotion Pictures | Event Planning: A Premiere Event | Flowers: Studio Posy | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjelm | Catering: Coastal Provisions | Makeup: Rebecca Wood | Hair: Lovies Corolla | Calligraphy: Starry Night Calligraphy | Entertainment: DJ Bruce | Groom's Attire: J Crew | Transportation: Corolla Shuttle | Bride's Dress: Thei Couture | Bride's Earrings: Kate Spade | Desserts: Great Cakes | Favor Blankets: Sunshine Yoga | Wedding: Pelican's Landing