From the Bride… It is a dreamlike experience to have my wedding featured on a blog that I love so much and continue to read daily – especially since I started reading Style Me Pretty many years before even meeting my wonderful husband, Brandon!
I will be honest when I say “we” in the following paragraphs, I really mean “me” – I grew up smack dab in the middle of Manhattan and have always been a neurotic New Yorker, while Brandon grew up in a tiny suburb outside of Colorado Springs and has always been laid back. Lucky for me, he was able to be very “go with the flow” when it came up to whatever distinctive ideas I suggested for our wedding… and thus began the journey of how Brandon and I considered ourselves to be a “unique” couple, and how we wanted that special, one-of-a-kind feeling to be reflected in our wedding.
Even the circumstances under which we met were rare. A friend of mine from high school entered a Starbucks and sat down at the same table where Brandon happened to be sending out some emails on a random afternoon – after striking up a conversation with him for a few minutes, she thought he reminded her of her husband, Dave, who she knew I completely adored. Before leaving, she passed Brandon my contact information on a Starbucks napkin and told him that if he was single, he should get in touch with me and thank her later (I couldn’t believe when she told me this – it felt straight out of a movie!).
This whole exchange left Brandon (who was single at the time) extremely confused, and I was left wondering whether or not she was setting me up with a potential serial killer after she informed me that she had given me information to a “nice stranger” she had talked to for 10 minutes at a Starbucks. Regardless, Brandon did email me, we did go out on a date, and the rest is history ;)
The first step in the wedding process was to figure out a venue we loved and that would be memorable – the Montage in Laguna Beach was a no-brainer. On a flight to California many years ago, I was flipping through a magazine and saw a photo spread of the Montage. Despite the fact that I had never been there, let alone Orange County, the second I saw just a few pictures of the beautiful resort, something really resonated inside of me and I told myself that this was the place I was going to get married (mind you, much like my reading of Style Me Pretty despite being single, I had now picked out my wedding venue, despite not even having met my husband at the time).
Next came choosing the wedding planner. After securing the date with the hotel (which we did four days post engagement), the Montage’s wedding coordinator gave us a list of wedding planners with whom they work with. I wasn’t sure where to should start, so I checked out each planner’s site or Instagram account. The one who I felt really struck a cord within me was Jeannie from Details Details. Brandon and I had a vision of a “rustic chic” theme for our wedding – something creative and unique, with a tiny splash of rustic beauty a dash of an ethereal elegance. Again, something that felt very “us.”
Meeting Fayaz from BloomBox Designs was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. He had SO many great ideas for everything and totally understood the fact that I didn’t want anything to be too poof-poof or too matchy-matchy – just something beautiful, exceptional, and fun. We decided that while the Montage has lovely furniture, chairs, silverware etc., for their weddings and other elegant affairs, the selection they offered didn’t really go with the overall wedding vibe we were aiming for. Once we decided to bring in outside furniture, flatware, etc., it seemed like we really started to get the wedding planning process moving.
Additionally, the bouquet that Fayez created for me was breathtaking and just what I had envisioned! He used varying shades of ivory flowers, mostly roses, and tied them together with a satin wrap, leaving the stems exposed in a beautiful but not too “perfect” way. What isn’t seen in the pictures is that Fayaz made little floral treatments for our dogs, Gizmo and Morty, who were in the wedding. Gizmo was my “Dog of Honor” while Morty was the “Best Dog.” Gizmo and I even walked down the aisle together with my father! I have had her now for eight years, way before I met Brandon, and there was never even an option that she would NOT be walking down the aisle with me. Brandon and I truly do have “fur babies” and I’m almost embarrassed to say we have never traveled without them!
Another special tidbit I will never forget as this was so meaningful to me: Brandon and I had become friends with many of the people who worked at the Montage as we started going there so often. There was one woman in particular, Stephanie, who we both just adored. She worked at the front desk and was the one who checked us in the very first time we arrived. After developing an instant bond with her, she would make sure to check us in all of the subsequent times and really became a friend to us. As my father, Gizmo and I exited the hotel to walk to the ceremony, we turned the corner and right there was Stephanie, just patiently waiting! She smiled and winked at me – and all I could do was just nod at her because I was so incredibly touched by extremely thoughtful gesture that I almost burst into tears. It is one of my favorite parts of the video.
I also need to give thanks to Rabbi Rosenberg who married us. He was willing to marry us before sundown on a Saturday which is not easy to find in a Rabbi – but he instantly bonded with Brandon as Brandon used to be a professional baseball umpire before becoming a lawyer and Rabbi Rosenberg is a huge baseball fan. He was willing to make an exception for us, especially as he was also a big fan of Jeannie. We asked him to keep the ceremony short and not be overly religious – he was hysterically funny, kept the ceremony as rather short, handed me tissues when I started crying as I was reading my vows, and was overall great.
Next was onto the reception. Both the escort cards and invitations were made by the same extremely talented woman. Jeannie and I met with Rachel Baker of Rachel Jane Couture to discuss our invitations – she a creative genius! When explaining to her that I didn’t want the initiation to arrive in an envelope like most invitations do, she showed me different examples of boxes that the initiations could be placed in – I was obsessed! I also loved the fact that the invitation, as well as the little cards and such, could be in presented in a two-fold packet. It may be hard to see in the pictures, but she did an excellent job of adding floral debossing to all of the cards, and the twine and wooden die cut “C+B” shape really added to the rustic yet feminine look – and was another personal and original addition.
Onto the décor, which was really the main attraction. I had seen Fayaz’s and Jeannie’s mockup – but WOW! It was so much more beautiful and amazing than I could have ever even imagined! I didn’t want the ballroom to look too busy and I didn’t know how everything would look with the existing carpeting and wallpaper, etc., so Fayaz and company covered the existing patterned carpet with a white carpet (and added the wooden dance floor) as well as draped the room with panels of ivory chiffon from floor to ceiling so the room would sort of be like a fresh palette to work with.
I would say the biggest element of décor was the donut wall! Jeannie knew that in addition to the cake, I wanted to have some other sort of “special” dessert. Jeannie suggested a few alternative desserts, including donuts – which Brandon and I both happen to love! Once we saw the Donut Snob had SO many different types of flavors to choose from, we were in heaven. I give complete credit to Jeannie and Fayaz for coming up with the idea of a donut wall. They knew I was very adamant about the donuts being displayed in a way no one had seen before or could even imagine. The idea of a donut wall that would also serve as the backdrop behind our sweetheart table was just such so fabulous! The whole thing was just so beautiful it almost looked not real. But that yummy sweet sugary smell let everyone know the donuts were indeed real. They were super fun to just look at during the wedding, and even more fun to eat as the wedding was ending! We provided to-go boxes so people could take a bunch of them back to their room and have them for later or for the next day. Rachel created little stickers for the boxes that said “XOXO, Cassie and Brandon” with the letter O actually looking like a donut – they were exceptionally adorable!
The whole day was amazing from start to finish! I could not believe how well everything came together and worked out! The week before the wedding, I decided I did not like either of the dresses I had purchased (I had bought a long one to wear for the ceremony and planned to change into a shorter one for the reception). I happened to find one online from BHLDN I really liked, ordered it from their website, and just hoped it would arrive in time for the wedding – and would actually fit! It arrived the day before the wedding and fit perfectly. Despite the fact November in Southern California can sometimes be cold or a bit rainy, the day of the wedding was full of sunshine and the temperature was in the high 70’s/low 80’s! All of these little factors, combined with all the planning and hard work done by the excellent vendors really made the wedding just so excellent and perfect – there is not one thing I would want to change about it. Not only did Brandon and I get the opportunity to get married in front of everyone we cherish so much, but we were able to have our fantasy wedding become our actual real wedding, a memory that we will never forget!