If Amanda and Dan’s wedding day at The Villa Del Sol D’oro doesn’t knock your socks off, than you’re probably not that into weddings and this site might not be for you. But seriously you guys—it’s STUNNING. The day’s design was led by White Blossom Events and was decked out in florals everywhere by Lee’s Orchid. The ceremony was held in the courtyard of the villa overlooking the spectacular gardens followed by an elegant reception in the peach and blue palette that was introduced by a Rifle Paper Co. invitation suite. It’s all just so beautiful and lucky for us Jenny Smith & Co. captured it to perfection.
What made the wedding special and unique?
We loved that so many of our family and friends that are scattered across the country and across the ocean were able to celebrate with us. Our officiant for the wedding was my law school roommate, Mercy. She was the one who originally encouraged me to apply for the job where I met Dan, so she’s been there from the start of our relationship. Dan and I said our own vows to each other and had a reading of a letter by Johnny Cash to his wife June, which is one of our favorite love letters of all time and reminds us of our own handwritten letters when we were long-distance for three years. Dan’s closest friend from college was able to make it out all the way from New Zealand and did the reading for us. Also, since the wedding, my grandfather and uncle and one of Dan’s uncles passed away, so it means even more now that we were able to share that special day with them.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
When we got engaged, I had a certain idea about my dream dress, but after going to 15+ bridal shops all across Los Angeles and Orange County, I still hadn’t found it. It was a little disheartening, and I thought I’d have to settle for a dress that was short of being “the one.” I was browsing through Instagram for inspiration one day and saw a bride wearing a beautiful crepe and lace mermaid gown with an illusion neckline. It was one I had never envisioned for myself, but I knew my Pronovias Vicenta gown was the winner when I tried it on. I didn’t think it was possible, but I loved my dress even more on my actual wedding day. I wish I had another occasion to wear it! The dress was perfect in every way and fit the super romantic mood I was looking for on our wedding day.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
Almost everything about our wedding had some personal meaning to Dan and me. I came up with the idea of making the table numbers all places in California that Dan and I love and modeled them to look like the California historical landmark signs. I made all the ceremony programs, table numbers, place cards, and signage aside from our welcome sign. I worked very closely with our florist to come up with all the florals and scoured the internet for the perfect shade of dusty blue velvet and satin ribbon for the boutonnieres and bridesmaids’ bouquets. For dessert, we had a churro cart for all our guests because Dan had his first ever churro with me on our 6 month anniversary date to Olvera Street in Los Angeles. Putting together all these personal touches was really a labor of love that I enjoyed.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
The most memorable part was when we read our own vows to each other. I had customized little gray Moleskine notebooks for us to write our vows in. It was really hard for me to capture my feelings for Dan in a short speech, so I ended up procrastinating and finally writing the perfect words at 2 am on the night before our wedding. Dan said his vows after me, and he surprised me by memorizing his vows so he could look me in the eyes the whole time as he recited them to me. I remember Dan was incredibly swamped at work in the months leading up to our wedding, so the fact that he found the time to do so meant a lot.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
We met during law school at UCLA in 2010 when we both worked as summer research assistants. During our training week, I saw Dan walk into the room. I knew immediately that he was the guy I was going to marry! I knew it was a crazy thought at the time, but I’m a romantic and I’d never felt that way about anybody before, so I thought it couldn’t be too crazy. Later that week, Dan came up to me and introduced himself and said something really corny that made me smile but also made my eyes roll. It definitely would not be the last time he did that. The next week, I climbed up the stairs to my favorite study spot in the entire library, which was in the 4th floor reading room. When I got there, I found Dan sitting in my favorite spot, so I took the seat at the other end of the table. And that was the start to our friendship.
We got engaged at the LA County Fair in 2016. The fair was one of the first places we had gone to together as friends before we started dating. Dan later revealed to me that on that first trip to the fair as friends, he had intended to ask me out on the ferris wheel. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it onto the ferris wheel that day. When we went back to the fair in 2016 as a couple with our friends, I told Dan that he owed me a ride on the ferris wheel. Finally towards the end of the night, we got in line for that long overdue ferris wheel ride and once we were at the top, he popped the question! I was definitely caught off guard. I was so excited that I wanted to soak in everything about that moment. I even still remember what the moon looked like on that night!
Photography: Jenny Smith & Co. // Planner: White Blossom Events // Florals: Lee’s Orchid // Invitation Design: Rifle Paper Co. // Venue: The Villa Del Sol D’oro // Dress: Pronovias // Bridesmaid Dresses: RenzRags // Save The Dates: Minted // Invitations: Paperless Post // Makeup & Hair: Kelly Zhang Studio // DJ/Lighting: Art of the Party DJs // Videography: Buckley Videography // Photo Booth: JS&CO Photobooth // Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop // Dessert: Let’s Have A Cart Party // Catering/Rentals: Santa Anita Gardens Catering // Cake Topper/Welcome Sign: Letters To You // Groom’s Tux: J.Crew // Groomsmen Suits: The Black Tux // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box