After a year and a half of planning, we finally got married a little more than a week ago! It was a beautiful day, filled with love and support from those closest to us.
I’ve been sharing some photos and details on my Instagram, but didn’t want to completely spam that page with wedding details. Instead, I’ll share blog posts about the big day, as well as more details about the planning process!
(I know I made a Youtube video about wedding planning last year, but didn’t make any follow-up videos. Life got busy, and while I love making Youtube videos, it takes a lot of time and energy that I simply didn’t have. But it’s okay! I’ll simply share those details more here in blog posts!)
For today, here’s a breakdown of all of the main details from our March wedding that took place in the beautiful Topanga Canyon, California!
Quick note: All photos, unless otherwise stated, are from our talented photographer Christy Kendall!
Venue and Catering: Inn of the Seventh Ray
Inn of the Seventh Ray is an absolute dream. If you’re ever in the LA or Malibu area, I highly recommend booking a reservation to eat brunch or dinner here, because the restaurant’s food is so delicious. Geordi actually took me here for brunch the day after he proposed. While we were there, a couple of older ladies asked if we were getting married there because we “had that glow.” We told them we didn’t know it was a wedding venue, but ever since they told us, we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads.
I scavenged high and low for venues in Southern California, and nothing beat Inn of the Seventh Ray. As a wedding venue, it comes with a day-of coordinator (who we were blessed with the wonderful Amanda after a sudden change in personnel), catering, tables, chairs, linens, and the option for a beer and wine bar. We had narrowed down our options between the Inn and a winery closer to San Diego, which was beautiful, but much more of a DIY situation. I’m glad we chose the Inn, because not only was it less work overall due to it being rather all-inclusive (aside for the vendors we point out later in this post), but it was a better fit for our budget. Plus, the Inn already looks so beautiful, we didn’t have to do much of anything for decor other than table settings and some photos to personalize it a little.
Dessert: Blinkies Donut Emporium
Something non-traditional that Geordi and I wanted to do was not have a wedding cake. We wanted everything about our wedding to be intentional when it came to the experience, and the cost as much as we could. Having a wedding cake didn’t make sense to us because A) we’ve never had a wedding cake that was anything special in our eyes, and B) it was rather expensive to either have the cake through the venue ($10-12 per person) or get an outside cake, and deal with a cake cutting fee ($4-7 per person, which is more common at venues than you’d think).
Instead, we found Blinkie’s Donuts in Woodland Hills on Yelp! We emailed Blinkies a few weeks before our wedding to create an order of 6 dozen donuts for our 60-person reception. We asked if they had an idea for us as the bride and groom aside from simply feeding each other a donut, and they recommended a large 10″ donut, decorated to fit our wedding colors. It was DELICIOUS, and a hit!
Dress: Layah’s Bridal Boutique
Searching for a wedding dress was…an experience. I’ll likely share more about this story in a separate post, but for now, I’ll spend this time praising Tamara at Layah’s Bridal Boutique in Huntington Beach. After a stressful previous day visiting three separate wedding dress shops, I had gone into Layah’s with rather low hopes. Nothing I had been trying on felt right, and I was seemingly running out of styles, worrying that I wouldn’t find something that I loved.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case at Layah’s. This was the only shop that let us choose the dresses ourselves. Everywhere else, I had to go off of the consultants’ choices for me, based on what I was describing. I understand why they did this, but it wasn’t working in my favor. Plus, we were the only ones in the store, so Tamara and her assistant were able to give us a private experience.
My mom and one of my friends pulled out a dress that looked pretty different than anything else I had looked at previously. It was still an A-line, but much more flowy and a little poofier than I was expecting. The attitude when trying it on was, “Why not? Give it a try!”
And it was perfect.
Everything else I had tried on was either too simple, I didn’t like the pattern, or just not “me.” This one was not only perfect on me (I only had to alter the straps a little!) but it fit my taste, and it fit the venue! It wasn’t what I had pictured at all, but it was exactly what I needed.
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
My goal with bridesmaid dresses was to have the following: two shades of purple, a wide variety of styles for my bridesmaids to choose from so they could pick something that made them feel good, a fair price, and easy access (my side of the wedding party lives all over the country). David’s Bridal fit the bill, and made the process rather seamless!
Personally, I’ve been a bridesmaid four times, and each time was a different process for the dresses. I’ve had a dress chosen and purchased for me, I’ve picked my own and bought it on a random website (I think it was AliExpress…which I’d probably never do again even though that dress worked out when I was in my early 20s lol), I’ve done David’s Bridal, and once used the online-only store Azazie. There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with Azazie, but I felt like I could cut out a lot of steps to simply go into a local David’s Bridal, see the colors and materials in person, pick what I wanted, and let the girls know. From there they could order whatever they wanted under the color and fabric that fit the theme, and that’s it!
It worked out well, and no one had any issues with delivery time or dress availability. In fact, my sister-in-law learned she was pregnant shortly after already ordering a dress, and they were very helpful with needing to change her order to accommodate the fact that she’d be eight months pregnant during our wedding. My mom also found her mother-of-the-bride dress there too!
I’ve heard some horror stories about David’s Bridal, which I believe were more related to wedding dress shopping, but don’t be afraid to give it a try if it’s an option that fits your budget and the style you’re looking for.
Bride and Groom Flowers: Kreative Hands
Something we really wanted to save money on for our wedding was the flowers, so I was really only looking for a florist to make my own bouquet. I didn’t want to spend too much on the bridesmaid bouquets because frankly…no one cares about them. I’ve never kept any of the four bridesmaid bouquets that I had – they’re really only for the photos. I decided that I’d make my own artificial bouquets for the girls, and have them based on the same reference photo that I gave my florist to have them as similar as possible (which were primarily white roses with some lavender roses and lots of greenery).
All of the florists we contacted except for one had a budget minimum, and wouldn’t work with me on my small project. Srini at Kreative Hands was lovely, and was the top recommendation from our venue. She had no issues with only doing my bouquet. Not only was the bouquet the best for our budget, but she threw in a free boutonniere for Geordi as well!
Other Flowers: DIY/Amazon/Hobby Lobby
The flowers and cloth that were on our arch came in a set from Amazon that I purchased on Black Friday. For the bridesmaid bouquets, the foam flowers, some greenery, and white ribbon for the stems were from Amazon, and the rest of the greenery, lavender, and baby’s breath sprigs were from Hobby Lobby. For reference, here’s everything I used:
- Lilac foam roses
- White foam roses
- White Ribbon
- Artificial Italian Ruscus
- Floral Tape (this stuff is weird, but helpful)
- Green Floral Wire
- Eucalyptus Stems
- Flocked Lavender Bush
- Baby’s Breath (I unfortunately can’t find the type that I purchased from Hobby Lobby online)
Centerpieces: Houseplants from Los Angeles Flower Market
At first, we were considering using candles and fake greenery on the tables, but then our coordinator recommended doing house plants instead, and we loved that idea! She also recommended visiting the LA Flower Market, which had an abundance of plants for us to choose from at wholesale prices, rather than purchasing from a greenhouse or somewhere like Home Depot near us. Plus, the quality of the plants was so much healthier than what I usually see at Home Depot!
We also included little cuttings of succulents around each of the centerpieces, and we invited our guests to take home both the centerpieces and the succulents with them if they’d wish, as our unofficial favors!
Groom’s Suit: Express and Amazon
My husband knew he wanted to purchase his own suit, and was leaning towards a green or olive color to be a little different. However, most of the stores’ green suits were…very green. During our search we walked into Express and found the perfect suit on display! He purchased his vest and tie from Amazon. He was able to find a tie on Amazon that exactly matched the pocket squares his groomsmen were renting with their suits from Friar Tux!
Bridal Hair and Makeup
For my hair, I asked my friend’s cousin who’s a hairstylist because she had done everyone’s hair at my friend’s wedding a few years ago. I trusted she would do a good job due to her work in the previous wedding I was in as a bridesmaid. I did have to hire someone else to help with both moms and a couple of the bridesmaids’ hair, who was a stylist from Team LA Glamm. She did a great job!
My makeup artist is actually my usual hairdresser who’s a color expert. She prefers doing makeup for weddings rather than hair, and she did a fantastic job for both my makeup and the bridesmaids! If you’re in Southern California, I highly recommend Kelly Andrews!
Photographer: Christy Kendall Photography
Christy Kendall works magic. She was one of the top recommended photographers from our venue, and for a good reason! She did our engagement photos as well, and so far every single photo we’ve seen from the sneak peek has been just…perfect. We’re so excited to see the rest! You can see more of her work on Instagram as well.
Videographer: Daniel Garcia Films[Video coming soon!]
My husband worked with Daniel back at Disneyland together a few years ago. While we haven’t seen our video yet, we can say that he was super chill and easy to work with before and during our wedding day! See some of Daniel’s work here.
DJ: Keith from Extreme DJ Service
We had to select a DJ service from our venue’s list of options. Out of these options, Extreme DJ Service was the most communicative, transparent, and had the best package within our budget. We were paired with Keith as our DJ, and he was extremely fun and easy to work with before and during the event as well! Thank you Keith!
A quick breakdown of some of the extra accessories for the wedding in general:
- Wedding website: Joy
- Shoes: Kelly and Katie from DSW
- Jewelry: Borrowed from my sister-in-law
- Save the dates and invites: Designed and printed with Canva
- Rings (engagement and wedding bands): Jared
Let me know if you have any questions about these details in the comments, and any other future blog posts you’d like to read about wedding planning or the big day! (Wedding dress shopping will definitely be one…)