A Lovely Catalina Island WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Brian Leahy Photography
L.A. lovebirds Megan and Kyle are no strangers to local weddings. In fact, they had attended enough friends’ weddings that they knew they wanted to do something different when it came to their own nuptials. The couple opted for a destination wedding not only to mix it up, but to get all their friends and family together for a full-blown wedding weekend! When it came to choosing a destination, there was really only one place the couple had in mind: Catalina Island, California.
Kyle’s family has traveled to Avalon for an annual family vacation for years, and after Megan was invited along, there was no going back. “Every year since we have been going on trips to Catalina and those trips have created some of our favorite memories together,” recalls the bride. “It was so fun to plan the whole wedding weekend in Catalina and to be able to introduce Catalina Island to many of our family and friends who had never been before.”
Like many destination wedding couples can attest to, planning a wedding on an island comes with a unique set of challenges. “The biggest issue for a Catalina destination wedding is that it’s a tiny island, so everything had to be flown over or sent across on a boat,” says the couple. “The week of the wedding we rented space on a barge and had a bunch of our decorations and stuff shipped over. It took a lot of coordination.”
Once their wedding supplies arrived, Kyle and Megan were hands-on and transported everything from the pier, up the hill to their reception venue, the Catalina Country Club. “We rented a golf cart and took several trips,” says Megan. “Of course that was also the one day it rained in California, so I was hanging off the back of the golf cart trying to keep everything dry while Kyle drove.” On the plus side, a lot of the couple’s vendors had experience with the island and got everything delivered in tip-top shape.
Instrumental in the couple pulling off the destination wedding they always envisioned was their wedding planner. “The fact that Cathy Machado was raised on the island and honestly knew just about everyone in Avalon provided comfort and assurance with all the wedding planning decisions,” says the bride. “Overall, [a wedding on Catalina Island] was a lot of extra coordination and effort on our part, but I think it was worth it to have such a unique and memorable wedding experience.”
When it came to getting their loved ones onto the island, the couple sent along as much helpful information as possible. “Our guests had to take the Catalina Express over to the island which is the only ferry to Catalina,” says the couple. “If they were from out of town they had to fly into local airports (LAX or Long Beach) and then travel to the ferry station.” The couple’s local friends and family also aided in ensuring all the guests made it to Avalon safe and sound!
In the end, the couple’s Catalina ceremony and reception were exactly what they envisioned and they got the wonderful wedding weekend they wanted. While coordinating a wedding away on a small island came with some definite challenges, the couple wouldn’t have done it any other way. For other couples considering a similar feat, the bride has some advice to share.
“I was obsessed with trying to plan ahead so everything would be perfect, but I’ve come to realize with destination weddings (and all weddings, really) that something will not go exactly as planned. I am glad we worked hard planning to ensure all the big things went smoothly and the problems we had were only minor, but there is always something you don’t think of or something out of your control…”
Vendors: Photographer: Brian Leahy Photography, Wedding Coordinator: Cathy Machado with An Event Two Be, Ceremony/Reception Site: St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church/Catalina Country Club, Florist: Bloom Floral, Stationery: Sloane Harmony Design, Cake: Rossmoor Pastries, Hair & Makeup: Brittany Klein (hair) & Wendy Gannon (makeup), Gown Designer: Blue by Enzoani, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Men’s Wearhouse, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: J.Crew
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