Santa Monica Beach Wedding from Docuvitae
April 9, 2012
United States
CasualBeach WeddingsLakeside
Today, LBBers, we are are learning the first thing you must know about having a casual beach wedding - do not be afraid to shake it up a little with the most perfect dash of elegance. This bride knew exactly how to juxtapose the sandy shoreline with a killer dress and all the details fell into place after that. Captured by Rebecca of Docuvitae, this chic affair is a new favorite, from the fancy flowers to the sunset ceremony under a chuppah. And everything in between.

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When we got engaged, we realized we really had no idea what kind of wedding we wanted. All we knew was that we wanted it to feel like us, with high energy and a laid back tone, and we wanted everyone to have fun. Several friends who had been through the wedding planning process sent me links to Style Me Pretty. As I looked through countless wedding posts, we found ourselves getting really inspired by weddings with a little bit of a rustic chic feel, as well as ones where there were fun DIY elements involved.

Andrea of Andrea Joy Events is a dear friend, and the second we met with her and Jackie, we knew it was a perfect match. They were so helpful throughout the whole planning process, guiding us in the right direction and helping us stay within budget. With their help, picking vendors turned out to be much easier than I expected. We met with people who were either recommended through friends, or whose previous work we felt complimented our styles as well as finding some of our vendors on SMP! Ultimately, we went with our gut and chose vendors who we clicked with and made us feel relaxed and comfortable with our big day in their hands.

Jeff and his family are members at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica, and we have spent so much time there over the years, so it really has a lot of sentimental value and holds many memories throughout our relationship. It's a beautiful spot right on the beach, and since we met at one of Jeff's friend's backyard bbq's, we loved the thought of a "backyard beach party" with all of our friends and family there to celebrate with us. I also knew my relatives and friends from Texas would love the chance to go to a beach wedding in California. We wanted it to be somewhat fancy, but still feel intimate, and we knew we didn't need a ton of decorations with an already incredible backdrop like the Pacific Ocean. Daylight Events used white paper lanterns and bistro lights to illuminate the space and create a fun party atmosphere. And we found large black and white candle lanterns to line the ceremony aisle and decorate the reception space.

One of the best decisions we made was hiring our photographer, Rebecca Adler Rotenberg of Docuvitae. Not only did we find her work to be truly amazing and special, but she was so easygoing and laid back and I just knew we would really get along. She documented the day so perfectly, capturing all of the incredible moments from the intimate time we spent getting ready with family and friends, to the hilarious dance floor escapades, and so much in between. We are so happy we have her photos to keep the day alive for years and years to come. We also had enormous help from our very generous friends at Westside Print Center and Bumpercards, who designed and printed all of our invitations and stationery. Michelle from Bumpercards created a sweet and elegant lace design in our wedding colors to carry throughout the invitation suite and ceremony programs. We couldn't have been happier with the finished product.

I found my Monique Lhullier dress early in the planning process on a lucky day of sample sale shopping with my mom and sister. We had already contemplated a black and white color scheme, so the dress was a perfect fit. We didn't want the decor to be too modern with just black and white, so we used tan and sky blue to soften things up. My bridesmaids each chose their own black, knee length dress in any style they wanted, and Jeff's groomsmen wore black suits with tan ties, and converse to make it a little less formal.

One of the most special moments in our planning was when my mom found the rings from my great-great-grandparents' wedding in 1880, and kiddush cups from both sides of the family, with one dating as far back as 1861. We were so touched to be able to use these incredible family heirlooms in our ceremony. We attached my grandmother's bee pin to my bouquet as my something blue, and I wore my mom's tennis bracelet as my something borrowed, while Jeff wore his grandfather's cuff links. To top things off, Jeff knew I had been lusting over a pair of earrings from my friend Dana's line, Dana Rebecca Designs. A few months before the wedding, he surprised me with the earrings. It meant so much to me that he had paid such close attention, and was a really special way to fulfill my something new.

We put a lot of thought into the details of our rustic chic theme. I found glass bottles at a restaurant supply store and used chalkboard labels and markers to make the table numbers. We had sunglasses for people to use during our ceremony, which faced the sun setting over the ocean. And to encourage guests to let loose for our reception in the sand, we put out bins of flip flops tied together with twine. Our escort cards were made from kraft paper cut into the shape of small mason jars, and we displayed the guest book with a polaroid camera so when guests arrived, they could take pictures of themselves to place in the book and write a note. When we found out Susie Cakes could do my favorite funfetti cake, we couldn't pass up the opportunity. Of course, what other way to pay tribute to Jeff's love for the Los Angeles Lakers than a chocolate groom's cake decorated as Kobe Bryant's jersey, and I surprised him with cake toppers poking fun at his excessive cell phone use. We scoured several stores to find cake plates and jars for our black and white candy table, which took everyone back to their childhood days with treats like hostess cupcakes, chocolate covered and powdered doughnuts, salt water taffy, oreos and milk "shots." Pink and blue cotton candy added a splash of color. Clearly, we didn't skimp on the sweets!

Our wedding day was more than we ever could have imagined. I will never forget the way I felt when we signed our ketubah and officially became husband and wife, or walking down the aisle with my parents and seeing my best friend waiting for me at the other end, with so many friends and loved ones there to celebrate. I have too many favorite moments from the day to count, but one of the most fun surprises for our guests came at the end of the night, when the In-N-Out truck showed up to provide midnight snacks. I have never seen so many faces light up. It was the perfect way to end a perfect night.

Photography: Rebecca, Docuvitae / Venue: Jonathan Beach Club, Santa Monica / Event Coordinator: Michelle Cassano / Wedding Planners: Andrea Joy Events  / Reception Band + Ceremony Music: 5th Avenue Music, Music Connection / Late Night DJ: DJ Vicious Lee / Lighting: Daylight Events / Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Cake Topper - Bride: Wedding Star / Cake Topper - Groom: Wedding Star