Our Gorgeous Harbor Wedding!

We got MARRIED!! Yay!!

By Donna Salberg Photography

By Donna Salberg Photography

Stephen and I started casually dating in college back in 2006! He was at school in San Diego and I was at school in LA county area.

I remember the first night I met him I whispered to my roommate (Hey Alex!), “I am going to marry him!” He was sooooo cute!! But given that it was college and we didn’t live close to each other, we continued to date other people. We didn’t become exclusive until after I graduated. 


After a year of dating (somewhat long distance) and with me in graduate school, we decided to move-in together in Manhattan Beach, Ca. After another 5 years (!!), he proposed at a beautiful downtown LA hotel! We got married in September of last year (2016) at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point California. We chose the Dana Point area because we spent a lot of time in Laguna Beach when we first began dating exclusively because it was between LA and San Diego.


The moment we set foot at Ocean Institute, we LOVED it! A calm and peace fell over us immediately at this venue. We had spent most of the day checking out outdated and overpriced venues and it was such a pleasure to land on this gorgeous property! We felt better about giving our money to the Ocean Institute because it is a non-profit organization that educates children (and adults) about maritime history, marine life, and ocean conservation. We also felt much better about giving our money to a non-profit rather than to a hotel. 

Another reason why we loved it was because the Ocean Institute had a decent list of caterers and some of those caterers allowed us to bring our own booze! Since Stephen is a certified Sommelier (wine expert) and has worked alongside a restaurateur to establish a new bar in Los Angeles, he reaalllllyyy wanted to curate our wine and spirit options for the wedding, and, of course, it is muuuuuch cheaper. We went with Jay's Catering and they were fantastic! Great food and good people!

Our wedding weekend was amazing! We had such an awesome Rehearsal Dinner that Stephen’s family organized. We decided to have all of our speeches at the rehearsal dinner and it was the best decision! It was so intimate and special. Even though we only had 4 toasts planned, many more of our friends and family said quick words of love, I think, because it was such a small, intimate environment. I got all of my tears out then so I wouldn’t mess up my makeup on my wedding day ;). It was also so nice and refreshing to participate in an activity that I had not planned (haha)! 

A highlight of the day were our photographers, Donna and Micah Salberg! They saved us when our absolutely horrible Day-of-Coordinator was running around like a chicken with her head cutoff. Since we had been in contact with them about what we wanted and because we had met with them a few times before our day (Engagement shoot and a Sunday Funday!), they knew us and what we wanted. And as you can see from these pictures, they are incredible!! 

Also, my matron-of-honor, Alex a.k.a. college roommate, came through as de facto Day-of-Coordinator when the one we hired wasn’t doing her job. Without her, the day would have been in shambles. Thank you girl!!

My wedding dress! Well... the dress that I bought needed a lot of work! My husband's stepmom graciously gifted me my dress alterations and me-oh-my did her tailor transform my dress. (Thank you Avo!) He not only made the dress fit me but he dropped the back, he added in a nude lining, added a removable train, and much more! He was fantastic and I felt amazing on my wedding day!

Stephens 30th birthday was the day after our wedding and one of my favorite moments was us cutting the cake (to the tune of Rihanna’s Birthday Cake song!) and all of our family and friends singing him Happy Birthday. It was so magical literally witnessing all of the love and support that surrounds us. We are so blessed to have such wonderful, encouraging, beautiful family and friends!

Stephen and I had a blast planning our wedding! We made it for our family and friends but it was a complete reflection of us! (And it was way less expensive than the average cost of a California wedding!) How was your wedding planning experience? How did you make it your own?

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