San Diego Destination Wedding by Melissa McCLure Photography

On the west coast of USA in San Diego there is a gorgeous seaside town called La Jolla. A pretty locale that is ideal for  a wedding – just like this beautiful destination wedding by Melissa McLure Photography. It’s stylish, it’s understated and it has us dreaming of romantic sunsets and walks along the shore. I’ll leave the rest to beautiful bride Natalie, who shares with us all the lovely details below. Enjoy the sunshine lovelies….

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Describe your proposal?

David proposed on a Friday evening in September, under a tree in Central park. Very low key, but just right!

What was your wedding vision?

I have never really been the girl/woman with a wedding vision. The things that mattered to me (and us) were that people felt comfortable (not stuffy) and they were able to enjoy good food, wine and dance the night away and simply celebrate with us.

One thing I remember thinking was that I didn’t want really BIG centerpieces because I hate when I cannot see someone across the table at wedding due to some big monstrosity (not to say they are not beautiful, just not my style).

Having some part of the wedding outside seemed natural, which is a big reason David and I didn’t get married in NYC (where we live). We wanted to have the beauty of La Jolla shores be part of the “decoration.” 

Tell us about your planning details:

The ceremony and reception was at Scripps Forum in La Jolla (the ceremony was on the grass overlooking the water and for the cocktail hour we used the space between the grass and Forum. The dinner reception inside the Forum)

I am not sure if I had a “theme” per se, but wanted things to look classy and clean (no clutter of “stuff”)

Green is my favorite color, so it seemed natural to myself and my friends that this would be one of the colors (mint/sea foam). Ultimately it was not, I just seemed to gravitate to more navy/midnight blues.

I started with what I wanted to my bridesmaids to wear – they all have beautiful olive skin so I knew they would look good in just about anything (unlike me!) – and with the time of year being February I thought the midnight blue dresses would look so pretty against the green grass and ocean.

I always knew that tulips would be the flower, they have always been my favorite, particularly the peach ones, which go so well with the midnight blue!

Describe your wedding style:

I got my dress at Nicole Miller (great recommendation from a bridesmaid and wonderful friend who was married not too long before David and I, Melissa shot their wedding as well, that is how we met her).

I think the name of the dress is the Dakota (ivory, strapless, sweetheart, modified mermaid with a mini train). I LOVED this dress! I had a sash made at M & J trimmings in the city (NYC) in a champagne color and some asymmetrical jewel/stone things (obviously I am not good at this stuff). The groomsmen wore grey kingston suites from Friar Tus shop. Our ring bearer wore the same and my flower girl (my niece) picked out her dress with Mom’s help.

And your wedding details?

We didn’t have a wedding cake, only a topper for cake cutting purposes from VG donut and bakery in Solana Beach. Instead our caterer (Crowne Point Catering) put together an awesome dessert station of white chocolate bread pudding, brownies, cheese cake bars, etc. We didn’t do wedding favors, but my Mom did put together little bags for hotel guests (the majority of our guests flew in from various places around the world!) No boutonnieres for the groomsmen, only for my husband and our ring bearer.

Did you include any DIY or personalized details?

We made our place cards with various toys from Paper Source (one opened up about 4 blocks away from us during the wedding planning process, it was awesome). I can actually say that my husband knows how to use an embosser.

David also named the signature cocktail, “Hancocktail” he was very proud of this contribution. A friend of mine had a great idea for a guest book using polaroid pictures. We bought a basic guest book from Paper source, I placed in stickers that hold the polaroids in place. Then guests took pictures of themselves during the cocktail hour and signed somewhere in the book with advise for us. We placed their picture next to their message and now have a snap shot of most guests from our wedding. It is pretty great!

Was there anything that made your wedding unique?

My husband is South African, I am from California and we live in NYC. We wanted each place to be represented, so how better than through alcohol. We had wines from both California and South Africa and our signature cocktail was a Manhattan. Also, in South Africa it is traditional for a close friend of the groom to MC the event. Our very good friend Dean (who flew all the way from Cape Town!) MC’d the night and made it so personal and special.

What was your biggest challenge?

Planning a wedding from the other side of the country is not ideal, but I must say having my Mom and Erin Donoghue (my wedding planner and the lil-sis of one of my closest friends and bridesmaids), made it all very possible and mostly stress-free.

What were your favorite moments?

So hard to choose because it honestly was the best weekend of my life!

Walking down the aisle with my dad, seeing all these people I loved and then seeing my almost-husband, all with the ocean behind them was pretty incredible!

David and I’s first glance (or look, I can’t remember), was so so so special and emotional and the best decision we made. It was supposed to be just us (and Melissa), but we looked over at one point and saw all the groomsmen in one of the hotel rooms peeking out, very sweet.

David’s speech at the wedding (also customary in South Africa, the groom has the main speech). I felt very lucky to have just married him!

Have to include a dancing thing here, I LOVE to dance and I LOVE karaoke. There are endless pictures of me with the DJ’s microphone and doing the air guitar, but I loved singing at the top of my lungs surrounded by awesome friends and family to the quintessential “Don’t stop believing” by Journey, cheesy, but highly recommended at any wedding.



Photography: Melissa McLure Photography / Hair Stylist:  BeautyEverAfter / Event Planner:  Your Event by Erin /Floral Designer:  Franco’s Flowers / Cake Designer:  VG Donut & Bakery / DJ:  Sound Prodigy / Makeup Artist:  ACMakeup / Event Venue:  Scripps Seaside Forum / Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Bandy Canyon Ranch Wedding by Studio 7 Photography

A soft dreamy color palette of muted pinks, peach and corals, a dash of bohemian style, a romantic garden wedding , a gorgeous bride and groom … and some drop-dead bridesmaids in mismatched dresses ~ equals a simply perfect Bandy Canyon Ranch wedding from Studio 7 Photography!

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Photography: Studio 7 Photography / Event Venue: The Ranch at Bandy Canyon / Catering: The Vetted Table / Flowers: Blackbird Flowers / Wedding Dress: Temperly London / Cake: Rancho Bernardo Inn / Hair & Make-up: Couture Beauty Team / Shoes: Schutz / Coordinator: The Lemon Mint / Submitted via Two Bright Lights

San Diego Beach Engagement Session with Peanut Butter & Jelly!

Morning all! We’re easing in to this wonderful morning with a delightful San Diego engagement session from Studio Sequoia. I love a little role playing when it comes to love shoots, and this fab beach takes an old favourite –  peanut butter and jelly – and turns it into a super cute love story. As photographer Kelley put it . . . ‘Maggie and Brent are the perfect pair! They go together like Peanut butter and Jelly, a perfect catch, love on a bicycle built for two… the bride is completely non-traditional and quickly vetoed any of the traditional engagement photos in exchange for this hilariously adorable photo shoot bringing some of love’s greatest cliches to the forefront… Check it out, it’s to die for!’

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Photography: Studio Sequoia / Location:  The Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages / Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Elegant San Diego Beachside Wedding by The Youngrens

Usually when you think of beach wedding you don’t think ‘elegant.’ But this stylish affair by The Youngrens manages to beautifully combine a classy seaside wedding with all the typical elements of the beach. Perched atop the grand Pacific Terrace at L’Auberge Del Mar with sweeping views of the Pacific ocean, Carly and Travis celebrated their stunning seaside ceremony and cocktail hour whilst watching the sun set. The lovely ladies at Jolie Fleur and Alison of L’Auberge helped design all the elegant details including sand dollars for the tables (named after the couple’s favorite locations in San Diego), a lovely peach, navy and grey colour palette for the flowers and bridesmaids, and delightfully delicious starfish clad cupcakes for dessert. Guests were treated to gourmet cuisine and the soothing sounds of a string quartet whilst taking in the stunning ocean views. It’s easy to see how this elegantly understated wedding with it’s soft and pretty details took a typical beach theme and transformed it into one romantic classy affair.Beach Wedding ReceptionBeachside Ceremony SettingBeachside BridePeach and White Wedding DecorWedding Aisle DecorBeachside WeddingString QuartetBeach Themed WeddingBeachside Wedding DecorationsSand Dollars Wedding TableSan Diego Wedding CoupleNavy, Grey and White Wedding ColoursSan Diego Beachside CeremonyPeach and White Aisle DecorPeach and White Ceremony FlowersBeachside Wedding CuisineBeachside Wedding TableNavy and White Wedding PaletteBeachside Wedding ReceptionBride and Groom Chair DecorSan Diego Beachside WeddingBeach Cupcake DessertBeachside Wedding Venue San DiegoDel Mar San Diego WeddingWedding Couple Sparklers

From beautiful bride Carly:

What was your wedding vision?

My vision for our wedding was a celebration of love – not just between Travis and I, but also our two families and groups of friends coming together for the first time. In terms of decor, I knew I always wanted to keep things simple. I dreamt of getting married in Del Mar for many years so having Seaside Park and the Del Mar coastline as the backdrop was plenty decoration on its own.

What inspired your wedding theme, colors and decor?

Del Mar is where I was born and where Travis and I started dating, so even though we weren’t living there, we knew that the location should be the theme. Peach is my favorite color and peach roses are my favorite flower, so those two components had to be in the decor. I looked on the internet to find colors to compliment peach and found a picture of a man in a navy tux with a silver vest and a peach boutonniere – the three colors together are elegant and summery without being too bold – just perfect for me! One of my favorite decoration elements was my version of a “table number.” Each table was named after a famous San Diego beach! My mom, sister and I went to a seaside decor shop and found large sand dollars to write the names of the beaches on. For party favors, we provided our guests with chocolates from Chuao, a San Diego-based chocolatier. 

What do you feel made your wedding unique?

In honor of the many friends and family who flew in from North Carolina for the wedding, I came up with a recipe for a white wine sangria made with Century Table White Wine from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. It was a delicious surprise at cocktail hour which our guests loved!  Something else very special to us was Travis’ Uncle Jim was our officiant. 

Did you include any DIY or personalized details?

The party favors we assembled by hand. My mother-in-law is very handy in the craft department so she made the adorable little “C & T” tags that adorned our chocolates. Our biggest DIY project was actually our wedding invitations. It was a group effort between my Mom, my mother-in-law, my sister and myself. My sister designed the wording, my mom hand painted roses on each invitation and my mother-in-law cut, assembled and packaged everything. They were truly small works of art!  

What was your biggest challenge?

I had two major challenges – the first was planning a wedding from out of town. I currently live in Honolulu, HI and trying to coordinate everything from here was difficult at times. Due to tight finances, I could only make two trips to San Diego in the year before the wedding – so I couldn’t have pulled it off without my “Moms” and my wedding coordinators! The other challenge was my husband was deployed during most of the planning process. He left in January of  2011 and didn’t return until 10 days before the wedding! While it was wonderful he put his faith in me to make a lot of decisions, it was really hard some days not having him around to ask him if I was doing the right thing, if we should spend more money here or there, etc. Again, without the support of my family, I couldn’t have pulled it off.

What were your favorite moments?

I can’t pick any one moment – there were too many favorites! I loved that my best friend of 20 years helped me put on my wedding shoes. I loved how I sat in the sun and enjoyed a mimosa (or two…) with my sister and cousins before getting ready. I loved how Mom woke up with me at 7 am the morning of the wedding and encouraged me to eat a big breakfast. I loved that Travis and I chose to do a First Look so we could spend time together before seeing anyone else.  I loved when I was taking pictures before the ceremony, I saw my college friends walking to our cocktail hour and they cheered for me from the street. I loved how a little girl I saw in the park said ‘I was the most beautiful bride she had ever seen.’ I love that I walked down the aisle to a string quartet playing the reprise of Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid and I love that my husband kissed me and spun me around during our first dance! 

My wedding was truly one of the best days of my life so far and I could go on forever about it!

Thanks Carly for sharing with us the details of your beautiful day. Congratulations to you both!


Photography: The Youngrens / Hair Stylist:  Thomas Joseph Studios / Caterer:  L’Auberge Del Mar / Floral Designer:  Jolie Fleur / Musicians:  Angelica Strings / Cake Designer:  Little Mary’s Cakes / DJ:  Positive Energy Productions / Makeup Artist:  JH Artistry / Event Venue:  L’Auberge Del Mar / Submitted via Two Bright Lights