Real Weddings – Keys to Marriage

We fell in love with our bride Raina’s “keys to marriage” wedding theme. The custom stationery featuring a cast iron key with their initials was brilliant. She also looked radiant in her Maggie Sottero gown. The entire wedding style was romantic and warm; just like the bride and groom! Raina and Scott were married on March 9, 2012 at Mariners Church in Irvine. They celebrated their gorgeous wedding reception at the Franciscan Gardens in San Juan Capistrano. Check out all of the couple’s personal touches in these photos, beautifully captured by Ashley Marshall Photography.

To see more photos from this wonderful wedding, please click here.

Photography: Ashley Marshall
Event Planner: A Good Affair ~Natalie
Catering: 24 Carrots ~
 Florals: Kathe
Dress Shop: The Dresser Bridal ~
Videographer: Soar Productions ~
DJ: A Desi DJ Production ~
Desserts: Sweet & Saucy Shop ~
 Hair & Makeup: Nicole DeAnne Hair & Makeup ~

Pick A Posie

Aside from your wedding dress and venue, your wedding day flowers are one of the most important design elements of your wedding. The bridal bouquet tradition goes back to the Middle Ages. During those times, brides of nobility wore their finest jewelry on their wedding day, but peasant brides wore their favorite flowers, many times as a garland around their head or neck. Today, flowers are a staple in wedding decor. Not only do  fresh blooms make gorgeous accents but they are symbolic of new life. However, you can easily go overboard on the floral budget if you’re not careful.

The best way to save on fresh flowers is to choose varieties that are in season for your wedding date. Plan on booking your florist about six or seven months before your wedding, that way you avoid paying more in labor and delivery fees. Before your first meeting with your florist, you should pull pictures from magazines and online resources of floral bouquets that you like to show your florist. Be sure to ask your florist what blooms are in season for your area. Sometimes, local varieties can save you the most money. A veteran florist will also be able to tell you which flowers hold up best under the elements in your area. Remember, your delicate white roses will wilt in the hot sun at your summer wedding in Palm Springs (trust me, it was 103 degrees for my 07/07/07 wedding). The following floral guide, provided by the experts at Martha Stewart Weddings, outlines the wedding blooms available to us here on the West Coast (for a complete list of seasonal flowers in all regions of the U.S., please click on the link above):


Freesia, Lily of the Valley, Pansy, Poppy, Ranunculus, Rose, Tulip, Violet

Begonia, Delphinium, Gardenia, Hydrangea, Pansy, Poppy, Rose, Violet

Chrysanthemum, Cosmos, Coreopsis, Gerber Daisy, Hydrangea, Lisianthius, Pomegranate, Rose, Rose Hip

Acacia, Evergreens, Forsythia, Fruit Blossoms, Paper-Whites, Seeded Eucalyptus, Tulip

Seasonless Varieties (All Regions)
Anemone, Arianrose, Calla Lily, Casablanca Lily, Champagne Rose, Forced Bulbs, Freesia, Gardenia, Ivies, Lily of the Valley, Message Rose, Ranunculus, Sarracenia (pitcher plant), Stargazer Lily, Stephanotis, Vines, Virginia Rose, White Dendrobium Orchid

The Five-Year Engagement

We love watching movies, especially romantic comedies (admit it, you love chick-flicks too!). We love these movies because we can relate to the characters on some level. We’ve all experienced crazy relatives, unexpected guests and botched plans. That’s why we love these types of films, because we’ve all been there. But the best part of  a romantic comedy is the happy ending. As  bride, you may be living your own romantic comedy through the wedding planning process. All the craziness and mayhem of planning will end the day of your wedding and you’ll laugh about it all later (when it’s not so “fresh”). But for some couples, the walk down the aisle seems more like an obstacle course. This is definitely the case for Tom & Violet in The Five-Year Engagement, starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, which opens in theaters on April 27th.

So for now, you should grab your best friend (or fiance) and head to the movies for a few laughs. Trust us, you’re already better off than Tom & Violet. You can also check out their blog for more totally all-to-real wedding planning moments.

Island Honeymoons Without A Passort

One of the best parts of planning your wedding is planning your honeymoon. As a bride, you have a seemingly endless list of things to do. Between picking colors, finding your dress and finalizing your guest list, you are in serious need of a vacation. Thoughts of relaxing by an exotic beach, basking in the glow of an island sunset next to your hubby occupy your dreams at night. Until the moment you realize you forgot to apply for a new passport and now it’s less than four weeks til your wedding. Relax! There’s no need to spend all that time and money trying to expedite your passport application. We’ve complied a list of island getaways that don’t need a passport for U.S. citizens. Now you can get back to that wedding list!

1. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean gem. This scenic and tropical island not only boasts of miles and miles of white sand beaches but luscious rain forests and a vibrant city night-life. The rich history and culture of the island resound in the hot salsa beats that beckon you to dance form dusk until dawn. Learn more here: Puerto Rico.


2. Hawaii
Everyone knows that Hawaii is where lovers go to honeymoon. But have you consider which Hawaiian island is best for you? Every island in the chain has something unique to offer but we suggest heading to Maui or Lanai. Maui is known for some of the best beaches in the world and a great place for newlyweds. Lanai is a wonderful island where you can get away from it all and still have a romantic vacation with the luxury of Lanai’s opulent resorts in Hulopoe Bay and Lanai City. Learn more here: Hawaiian Islands.


3. U.S. Virgin Islands
The beautiful islands of St. Thomas, St. James and St. Croix, once owned by the Dutch, are icons of  a long-past colonial era. You can visit many of the original forts, plantations and sugar mills that testify to the islands’ rich history. Of course some of the best attractions include the carnivals and festivals held nearly year-round. When you’re not soaking in the culture, you can soak in the sun on some of the most exotic white sand beaches. St. John is known for it’s relaxed atmosphere and dramatic views of nature. St. Croix is not a traditional tourist spot so it’s perfect if you want to skip the crowds and enjoy the peace and quiet of a secluded getaway. St. Thomas is known for its gorgeous beaches, golf courses and incredible shopping. All in all, these islands are sure to please. Learn more here: U.S. Virgin Islands


Wherever you decide to vacation, make sure you enjoy your new husband and relax knowing that this is just the first of many meaningful and memorable vacations together.

Real Weddings – Sunkissed Nuptuals

We absolutely love it when a bride sends us photos from her big day! We were especially thrilled to receive pictures from our bride Liz. She was such a pleasure to work with and get to know. Liz looks dreamy in her Essense of Australia gown at her beautiful vineyard venue. A special thanks goes to Alex Morgan of BlueSilver Photography for capturing Liz’s perfect bridal glow.