Laura and Alex brought some Southern charm to Southern California when they were married at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. To pay homage to their Southern roots, the couple enlisted planner Wynn Austin Events to create a day filled with details from home including Texas white cake by Michele Coulon Dessertier and floral linens from La Tavola. The intimate wedding with just 85 guests witness to a beautiful ceremony (officiated by the groom’s parents’ best man!) overlooking the picturesque shores of La Jolla. They toasted the newlyweds at sunset on the hotel balcony, and danced the night away in the romantic ballroom. It was a quintessential California day with a big Texas heart and Dallas-based Jess Barfield was on hand to capture it all.
What made the wedding special and unique?
Since we decided on a smaller wedding, we had complete control of the guest list. There wasn’t a person in the room that we had not known for less than 4 years, and many much much longer! I also loved being able to inject a little bit of the South into my California wedding. Everyone but just a few traveled from Texas to be there and it was wonderful to watch everyone enjoy La Jolla as much as we did.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
It was the 2nd one I tried on at a Bridal Shop in Dallas, Patsy’s Bridal Boutique. I bought it before I had even picked a venue!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
I did all of my own calligraphy for the wedding, including the actual calligraphy that was letter pressed on the invites, the menus, and place cards. The Bible that was used for the scripture reading was a Bible that was featured in both my mother and grandmother’s wedding bouquets and our silver toasting goblets were from Alex’s parents wedding.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
At one point, we left the dance floor and just looked out over the crowd, knowing that it was full of the most important people to us all in one spot! That will probably never happen again!
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Although we had a ton of mutual friends, we actually met on our own at a Halloween party in 2011. I would love to say we had amazing costumes, but I wore a leftover one from a few years back and he was in a suit with a target on his back and went as a “Banker” as a nod to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that was going on at the time. We had a ton of mutual friends that were more than happy when we started dating. Three and a half years later on a trip to Aspen, he proposed at the top of Ajax Mountain, and wedding planning went into full force.
While deciding between his top choice, the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, and my top choice, a meadow in Colorado close to my parents’ summer home, my mother threw out the idea of visiting San Diego, which was the first trip we went on together. With my future mother-in-law in tow, we took a 3 day trip to San Diego to visit venues.
The La Valencia was not on our list of appointments and we only went there on an impromptu lunch. The second I walked in I knew it was exactly where I wanted to get married. The boutique location made it ideal for a smaller wedding and it checked off everything I had on my list: married outside overlooking ocean, but not on the beach; amazing food; ballroom that had a balcony for guests to see the view; and a central location in La Jolla.
After securing a later appointment with the Catering Manager, I asked if I could walk around the hotel. While doing that we ran into Bobby Fader, the very person I was to meet later, and with him were the ladies of Wynn Austin Events.
I met with Wynn the next day, where we discovered that not only did we have this serendipitous meeting, but she was also planning the wedding of an acquaintance from Texas, who in another twist of fate, had actually texted me Wynn’s number shortly before I had left for my trip, which I didn’t see. I think I signed with her on the spot! She put me in the very capable hands of Rachel Le.
I am a born and raised Texan, and I wanted to make sure that even though my wedding was in California, that I still had bits of the South thrown in. The first thing that I selected after the venue was the table linens, which were blue and white, almost watercolor pattern from La Tavola. Blue is my favorite color but since the tablecloths were so impactful, I wanted to tone down the flowers and use ivory, white, blush and buttercream. I love the trend that is towards soft and romantic flowers, so I wanted the arrangements to be very organic. Since the tablecloth was such a showstopper, I choose to accent it with a blue water goblet to add an additional punch to the table without it being too overwhelming. My favorite floral was the floral wreath that hung over the cake.
I had to have my “Texas White Cake” as Rachel called it, and fell in love with Michele Coulon’s cakes when I went in for my tasting. Since I knew that I was going to have the floral crown and floral accents on the cake, I wanted the frosting to be simple and organic so the florals could take the stage.
Since we had a smaller wedding with only 85 guests, we decided not to have a wedding party. Instead we asked two of my close friends to be a part of the ceremony with a reading and a solo. Our officiant was the best man at Alex’s parents wedding over 37 years before!
One of my favorite things that we did at the wedding was hire the live event painter. It was fun for the guests to watch her paint during the reception and is a memento from the wedding that I’m so glad to have in our home.
I had fallen in love with Jess Barfield Photography based in Dallas and had her flown in for the event.
I do calligraphy on the side, and knew that I wanted the invitations to be my own writing. I worked with a local Dallas stationery company, Pink Champagne Paper, and she made my dream a reality. She took my writing, formatted, and then letter pressed it. The liner for the envelope was my own watercolor (which I not only used for the stamps, but took inspiration for the outside of my escort cards as well), and of course I addressed them all too! I looked for a menu that wouldn’t overtake the boldness of my tables, and when I couldn’t find one, also created that myself as well. I really loved having my own work be such a big part of the wedding.
Wedding planner: Wynn Austin Events // Photography: Jess Barfield // Florals: Adorations Botanical Artistry // Venue: La Valencia Hotel // Cake and desserts: Michele Coulon Dessertier // Rentals: Cheri’s Vintage Table / Promotion Entertainment // Linens: La Tavola / APR Fine Linen Rental // Entertainment: Miles Moynier // Entertainment: N’Demand // Hair: A Toast to Beauty // Makeup: Lindsay Ann Makeup