Our guest blogger today is Ashley. Ashley and Jason came down to Southern California for their coastal destination wedding. Check out their special day, Ashley even had a special song written just for her from her dad- so sweet!
Jason and I had been together 8 years before we got married. We beat the odds and are high school sweethearts still in love. In March 2008, Jason and I had a vacation planned in Cabo San Lucas for our spring break. At that time we were both going to Santa Clara University and were about to graduate in June. The second night Jason took me to a hotel where there was a private cabana and dinner set up on the beat with torches surrounding us. After a wonderful dinner and a surprise gift to throw me off, we laid in the cabana talking and he asked me to marry him! I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and meaningful proposal.
Once we got back home, I started looking into venues right away. We both knew that we wanted to have the wedding down in Southern California and somewhere overlooking the ocean. People always ask why we did it down there and it was simply because the weather is always beautiful and the locations with a ocean view are more plentiful than in the Bay Area. San Diego was our first choice, but there wasn’t any location that fit exactly what we were looking for. I then started looking in Orange County and that is when I found the Montage Laguna Beach . I had never heard of it before, but we pretty much knew once we saw the wedding location at that hotel it was the location of our dreams.
Once we traveled to see the Montage and a couple of other locations we knew that it was the place where we would get married. We then went on to find Brooke Keegan formerly with Details Details to be our coordinator. She pretty much helped us find all of our other vendors after that. We trusted her opinion and taste so we only had to meet 1-2 vendors for each category before we chose one. I had been immersed in wedding magazines, websites, and MANY wedding shows like Platinum Weddings when we got engaged so I was able to take things we liked from multiple sources and put them together to create our dream wedding.
Our wedding was a 3 day event. Most of our guests arrived on Friday (the day before the wedding) for our cocktail reception which was held on one of the outside lawns at the Montage. This gave our guests a change to mingle and meet other guests and it also was Jason and I’s time to greet our guests and chat with them before the big day. I guess the theme of our wedding would be modern/elegant. The ceremony had a simple structure with transparent blue and purple (wedding colors) draping and hanging crystals. The ballroom had draping all around it with LED lights that could change colors. One third of the ballroom was the lounge with our dj, ice luge, and water bar which was revealed after the father daughter dance. I ordered bulk flip flops to put in baskets which were labeled “dancing shoes” so our guests (mostly women) could get out of their uncomfortable shoes and dance the night away in some comfy sandals. Sunday we had a farewell brunch out on the main lawn at the Montage to say goodbye and thank you to our guests for coming.
The wedding day was perfect. I thought I would be nervous, but I was so calm throughout the day. I guess I had been waiting for it so long that I was just happy we finally made it. The most important moment of the day was when we said our vows to each other. We both wrote our own vows which made it so incredibly meaningful. Many of our guests told us afterwards that that they had never been to a wedding where they felt so much happiness and true love. Another memorable moment was the father daughter dance because my dad wrote a song for the dance and had it produced by one of his friends who is a singer. We danced to that song while a slideshow of the both of us was playing; there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire place.
For us, we didn’t even think about not having a professional filmmaker to document our wedding. We also didn’t have to think twice about choosing Elysium Productions. Not only did my coordinator, the hotel, and every other vendor recommend them but they were doing all of the beautiful weddings that I had seen from different websites. One look at their videos and we were sold. When we got our wedding video back we could not asked for a better video compilation of our wedding. As we showed it to our friends and family, people were amazed and said that they felt as if they were watching a tv show. To quote my dad “this is the best movie I have ever seen”. haha.
1. If you have the opportunity to have some kind of welcome reception the day before the wedding you should do it. Not only do your guests get to mingle and meet new people, but you get your thank yous and chit chat done with the night before so you don’t have to worry about doing it the night of your wedding. We were able to enjoy our wedding day to the fullest and soak in every moment of it without worrying if we said hello to so and so.
2. The one thing I would tell all couples to consider (mostly for destination weddings) is a guest welcome bag. We had one waiting for each of our guests (1 per family) at the hotel they were staying at. In it I put an itinerary of all the events, times and locations as well as things to do in the area and restaurants that we recommended and some snacks as well. I had so many people come up to me and said it was so thoughtful and it meant so much that I had taken the time to make everyone feel special and welcome.
3. Don’t stress about the small stuff on the day of your wedding. It won’t matter in the long run and you won’t want to regret being able to just take it all in.
Elysium Productions: Contemporary & Stylish Wedding Video in Orange County and Beyond!
Venue: Montage Laguna Beach
Wedding Coordinator: Brooke Keegan
Event Designer: Christopher Aldama
Photographer: Joe Photo
Event Filmmaker: Elysium Productions
String Quartet: Enchanted Evenings
DJ: Kyle Richards
Entertainment/Flamenco Dancers: Emilio Castillo and Band
Officiant: J.P. Reynolds
Cake/Groom’s Cake: Sweet Gems
Invitations: Marizette Paperie