It’s been more than two months since my wedding and I finally feel like I have some time to breathe. Between wedding planning and the honeymoon, my full time job, and other things, life has been busy. Now that it’s summer and life is a bit less hectic, it’s the perfect time to share the first post in my wedding related blog series. But as luck would have it, when you wait two months to write about your wedding, it can get a little tough to retell the story. How can you sum up something so amazing into a post without leaving anything out or being overly gagtastic? It’s hard, but here’s what I came up with.
Ronnie and I got married in on the beach in Malibu, California on April 23, 2017. Why Malibu? Well, other than the fact that we wanted to make half of our friends and family travel 3,000 miles to see how much they love us, Malibu has special meaning to both myself and Ronnie.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Ronnie spent some of his best rebellious teenage years hanging out on the Malibu beaches. To him, it’s a place that helped shape him into the rockstar that he is today. My history with the ‘Bu is more recent—the first few months of our relationship was long distance—I lived in Boston and was living in Los Angeles. On one trip out to LA in 2015, Ronnie took me to watch the sun set over the beach in Malibu. It was one of those unintentional romantic moments that stuck in my mind. So when Ronnie suggested Malibu as a potential wedding location, I was sold.
I’ll go into the whole cross-country wedding planning fun in another post but we chose to get married at The Sunset Restaurant on Malibu’s Zuma Beach. An adorable historic beach bungalow turned restaurant and event venue, The Sunset was the perfect venue for our low-key beach wedding and reception.
Like any bride to be, I had been weather stalking Malibu for weeks leading up to our wedding. Part of the reason we chose California (versus somewhere close to where we live in Boston) was because of the perfect weather. But between picking our venue in September and the wedding day in April, Southern California had it’s rainiest winter on record. Every wedding planning trip we took out to LA it rained, leaving me nervous that my beach wedding dreams would end in a soggy mess. Thankfully the weather gods were on our side and we woke up to warm weather and bright sunshine on the day of our wedding. Good thing because our backup plan was beach or bust.
Since many of our guests were coming in from out of town, we blocked rooms in two nearby hotels in Agoura Hills—Hampton Inn and the Sheraton Agoura Hills. Both hotels had experience working with The Sunset Restaurant, which made this long-distance bride feel much more comfortable. My parents booked us the bridal suite at the Sheraton, which was perfect for organizing all of our last minute wedding stuff and for getting ready with my three bridesmaids.
Our wedding day started earlier than I would have liked, but that’s the price you pay for beauty. We had to be ready for hair and makeup at 10:30am, which gave me just enough time to write my vows that morning (oops!) and eat some breakfast with my groom-to-be (another oops!). Ronnie and I spent the night before our wedding in separate hotel rooms in the same hotel, but we broke the whole “not seeing each other before the wedding” tradition when we ran into each other at breakfast. Eating breakfast together wasn’t planned but it was so comforting to have a little bit of our morning routine together before the craziness of the day started.
At exactly 10:30am, our makeup and hair artists from Page Beauty arrived with trunk loads of hair and makeup equipment for myself, my mom, my bridesmaids, and our flower girl. With champagne in our glasses and good music playing, they got to work, making everyone just a bit more beautiful than they naturally are. By 3pm, we were airbrushed, eyelashed, and hairsprayed to perfection. Although I’d done trials with both of the artists, I was blown away by how amazing they made us look—they’re magicians, seriously.
Throughout the day, I was fairly calm; giggling and singing along to the music like it was just another day, except for the fact that my photographer, Marianne Wilson, was there. It wasn’t until I was getting the finishing touches on my makeup that it hit me—I was sitting in the chair getting my makeup done FOR MY WEDDING. The accessories that I had laid out for the photographer—vows, shoes, and custom Lovepop invitation—were all for today.
Like a bolt of lightening, all of the excitement and nerves bubbled up to the surface. Not bad nerves, but the ones that you get when you realize that the thing you’ve been so excited for has finally arrived. This was happening, TODAY, and it was time to get ready.
I tried my best to remain as calm as possible, but at that point I was too amped up. Through excited “squees!” and conversations with myself, my mom and bridesmaids helped me into my dress and shoes and secured my veil.
Before I knew it, the shuttles had arrived at the hotel to drive the ladies of the wedding to the beach. Ronnie and his side of the wedding party would arrive a few minutes after. The drive from the hotel was long and windy, through the beautiful Malibu Hills, which built up the anticipation even more. After what felt like an hour but was really only 20 minutes, we arrived at the venue. Both the ceremony site and the reception room were already set up when we arrived, making the reality of the day really sink in.
In addition to it’s proximity to the beach and awesome food, what drew us to The Sunset Restaurant was the aesthetic. The reception room is white and airy, providing the perfect setting for a beach wedding. There’s also an outdoor patio flanked by an ivy-covered trellis wall on one side and hot pink bougainvillea plants on the other, which filled our plant-loving hearts with joy. Working with a light and beachy color palette, we chose soft accent colors that complemented the dove grey bridesmaids dresses and teals of our wedding invitation—blush accents for the flowers and soft watercolors for the table numbers, place cards, and wedding cake.
I wasn’t sure what to expect for our first look and am SO GLAD that our photographers captured the moment because it was priceless. When picking out dresses, I opted for a slim silhouette that made me feel beautiful. Keeping in mind our beach ceremony and my figure, I chose a dress with a deep-V in the front and a plunging back unlike any dress I’d seen before. I knew that Ronnie would love the dress, but our first look photos show that he really loved it.
Note the gaze in these photos-ha!
To mix things up, we chose to do our first look outside on the patio rather than on the beach. This turned out to be a wise choice, as we would quickly find out how breezy the beach was. The living walls of ivy and succulents provided the perfect complementary backdrop for our first look, formal photos, and some silly ones too.
When choosing a dress that would be perfect for the beach, I also picked out a long veil that I thought would be good for the occasion. I envisioned standing next to Ronnie with my veil fluttering behind me in the breeze like an underdressed angel of some sort. Oh, man was I wrong. So, so, wrong.
Walking down the aisle with my parents, I quickly realized that I was out of my element in terms of bridal preparedness. Caught by the infamous Malibu wind that no one mentioned to me, my veil took off, twisting and jolting through the air like a spastic puppy on a leash.
Gorgeous as it was, my veil proved to be more of a slapstick comedy prop than a bridal accessory. Thanks to the wind, my veil took on a life force like no other (as did the glass of wine, our officiant’s notes, our vows, and my hair).
While some of the photos make our ceremony look serene, in reality it was a comedic scene of hair whipping and veil flying chaos. Special thanks to my mom who spent the entire ceremony holding my veil and to our guests who laughed with us through the wind.
Flying veil aside, the ceremony was beautiful and heartfelt. Ronnie’s longtime family friend officiated, which was so meaningful and special to us.
Our ceremony ended with us being pronounced husband and wife then tripping on the aisle runner and almost face planting in front of our family and friends.
As our guests enjoyed food and cocktails, Ronnie and I snuck in some shots on the lifeguard tower where he and his friends used to loiter as teens then hurried back to catch the tail end of our cocktail hour.
Giddy with happiness and out of breath from walking on the sand in 3 inch heels, we arrived back to The Sunset Restaurant in time for a quick glass of champagne and two bites of food, force-fed to us by our day of coordinator, and our grand entrance into the reception.
Our grand entrance song was the cheesy but amazing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” by Barry White but Ronnie and I had a big debate in the final stages of wedding planning as to the bridal party entrance songs. We waited so long to decide on songs that we even had our Uber driver weigh in as he drove us to the airport to fly out to Los Angeles.
Much to his chagrin, Ronnie’s suggestion of “Who Let the Dogs Out” was vetoed in favor of Maroon 5’s “Sugar” for our parents and bridal party. Once introduced, we danced our first dance to “All I Need” by Awolnation. Not your typical first dance song by any stretch of the imagination, but it worked for us.
When we interviewed DJs for our wedding, we requested one simple thing—throw us an awesome party. To me, there’s nothing worse than going to a wedding and seeing an empty dance floor. More times than not, I’ve been that random wedding guest who grabs grandma, pervy uncle Steve, or a wayward groomsman to boogie down and get some bodies on the dance floor. Thankfully that wasn’t an issue at our wedding and Dominic at Who’s That DJ delivered non-stop dancing for hours.
There was even a conga line. I’m still not 100% how it started but certain things you just don’t question.
Eventually the time came to cut our wedding cake. Not a fan of fondant or wedding cakes in general, Katie from KT Cakes helped me design a blue funfetti cake with vanilla buttercream frosting in blue watercolors. It tasted like a 5 year old’s birthday cake, but a thousand times better, and was hands down the best wedding cake I’ve ever had. My only regret is that we didn’t have more leftovers.
Our wedding day was everything I could have imagined, and more. Ronnie and I planned a fun and spirited wedding, full of friends and family who surrounded us with their love and support. If our wedding day is any indication of the life we intend to build together, I’ll be the happiest woman for the rest of my life.
All photos by Marianne Wilson Photography.