Every beautiful detail from this Santa Monica wedding was deliberate… and beyond delightful. From the bouquet’s brooch to the canned pepper favors, everything had a meaning and a purpose, and with Marisa Nicole Events managing it all, it’s no surprise it was orchestrated to perfection. Anya Kernes captured all these special touches and more, – get ready to get pinning right this way! And don’t miss Esthetics in Motion’s film below!
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From the Bride… The overall inspiration for the wedding was charming elegance and classic vintage romance with a curated variety of lighter and darker colors. I fell in love when I saw the deeper reds and pinks with the lighter colors and it just felt so romantic and moody. The color palette was ivory, blush, mauve, marsala and dusty rose and gold/champagne.
My flowers! They were to die for! I knew from the beginning that flowers were super important to me. There’s just nothing more beautiful. I was blessed to find Felisa, who has an artistic, creative and whimsical feel to her work. No two arrangements were the same. It was loose and flowy and ethereal. There was texture and depth and each element was unique.
My dress! As a plus size bride, I was super lucky to have a few plus size bridal salons in the LA area. Strut (where I ended up buying my dress) had so many plus size gowns to choose from. I knew it immediately when I tried mine on (after having tried on probably upwards of 20). I felt beautiful, confident and like myself. On my wedding day, I knew I would be nervous. I needed that confidence in my gown to set me at ease to know that I really felt beautiful, which is what this dress did. I’ve never felt comfortable in a strapless gown, so when I found mine with an illusion lace neckline, it was just perfect. It also had vintage metallic lace, which coincidentally tied in with the vintage theme of the wedding day. The A-line style flattered me the most and ultimately, it was a no brainer.
I had a brooch attached to my bouquet, which was my paternal grandmothers. She died many years ago, it was one of two that she would wear whenever she went somewhere she had to dress up. It was my way of paying homage to her and having her there with me on my wedding day.
My husband is a chef, so food and drink were really important to us and we tried to incorporate it throughout the day. First, we designed specialty cocktails – Il Pompelmo for me, and ‘Oh, the Guzmanity’ for him. Il Pompelmo means ‘grapefruit’ in Italian, which was a nod to my family heritage. Dominic’s instagram handle is ‘guzmanity,’ and everyone has kind of fallen in love with referring to him like that- especially people who only knew him thru social media before we met. So it was fun play on that. Dominic and I spent a lot of time canning peppers as our favors. We knew we wanted to do something food related, and I loved the idea of canning something for our guests. Dominic also loves very spicy food, so it was an easy choice. It took a few weeks to can everything in batches, but it was certainly a gift of love for our guests (and so far I’m hearing that they are loving it). I’m Italian and wanted cannolis for dessert! As mentioned – we are really into food and drink and this is one dessert we can both agree on that’s fabulous! We hunted high and low in LA to find some that were authentic, and settled on a bakery in Hollywood whose owner is from Italy.
Dominic’s birthday was three days after the wedding, and we’d already be on our honeymoon, so we didn’t plan anything (and planning the wedding stole his sunshine). He has always planned something fun with friends and family for his birthday and it was important to me that we still celebrate. I decided to surprise him with a special cake, so we could sing, and show how much he meant to me with my surprise. The sparklers were just super fun! He was totally surprised, so it was a huge win for me! I love seeing the photos of his reaction! He surprised me with fireworks at the end of the night and made one of my biggest wedding dreams come true!
Both Dominic and I have lost a parent/close caregiver, which is something that was important to us to include in the day. I struggled with this because I didn’t want to make it somber or take away from the happiness of the day. We ended up putting out two small photos of each of us with our family member, and some candles at a small table during cocktail hour. I think it was a really nice tribute, but done in a way that didn’t take away from any of the other elements of the day.
My favorite moment was when we were officially man and wife during the ceremony. The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and I could really feel the love in the room with all our family and friends present. Having them there to witness this sacred commitment we made was something I will never forget.
My advice for other brides would be to do some preparation around your marriage, not just plan a party. Because we were having a Catholic marriage, we needed to do a lot of marital preparation. At first, it seemed like just a bunch of additional stuff we needed to ‘get out of the way’ in order to be married. But as we completed each element one by one (we have to do a one-day workshop on communication, a weekend retreat for couples and two therapy sessions with a psychologist), they proved to be a very valuable part of our engagement and planning process. When things got crazy with planning, I could focus on all the wonderful elements of our relationship, and be excited that all this hard work was to celebrate the commitment we were about to make – for better or for worse. Focusing on our relationship during our engagement left me feeling very full of gratitude for what we had, and all the more excited for the marriage and what that would bring.
Photography: Anya Kernes Photography | Videography: Esthetics In Motion | Event Planning: Marisa Nicole Events | Floral Design: Of The Flowers | Wedding Dress: Callista | Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop | Invitations: Meg Morrow Fine Paper | Ceremony Venue: St. Monica's Catholic Church | Reception Venue: The Victorian | Shoes: Badgley Mishka | Engagement Ring: Sarah Leonard Jewelry | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Hair + Makeup: Nicol Artistry | Groom's Attire: Joseph A. Bank | Transportation: One World Limo | Bridal Boutique: Strut Bridal Salon | Bride's Robe: Flora Nikrooz | Bridesmaids' Robes: Pretty Plum Sugar | Cannolis: Panini di Ambra | Church Musician: Helena Buscema | Church Musician: Helena Buscema | Linens: Luxe Linen | Maid of Honor Robe: Oscar De La Renta | Music + Lighting: Vox DJs | Ribbons: Tono & Co | Vintage Rentals: Otis & Pearl