A Sentimental Long Beach WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Alexandra Wallace Photography
Hiram and Jennifer opted for a destination wedding because they wanted their nuptials to be more like a mini-vacation for their family and friends. When it came to narrowing down their location, Long Beach, California was a comfortable and easy choice. “We decided to have a destination wedding because we wanted our family to have a small vacation while attending our wedding,” says the bride. “We chose Long Beach because of its central location. Downtown, the beach and airports were all close by.” All-in-all, their guests were excited about the couple’s SoCal wedding and were willing to travel to celebrate with them.
Once the “where” was decided, the bride and her mother traveled to the destination to narrow down venues. “I arrived into LA and had a long list of venues to look at. My mom and I stopped by the Hotel Maya first and they were setting up for a daytime wedding. I fell in love with the view from the Miramar Ballroom – I loved the ambiance, the Latin vibe and the décor. It was the perfect place for our wedding.” These two landed the perfect venue for their wedding and also hired a professional planner to handle all the small details.
“It was challenging not living in the area,” says Jennifer. “I relied on a list of vendors my wedding venue and wedding planner sent me. I met with vendors over Skype and over phone calls. Overall, having a wedding coordinator made it extremely easy to plan a destination wedding.” In terms of accommodations for their 200 guests, the couple’s venue had that covered too. “Hotel Maya was wonderful enough to block off rooms for all of our guests.”
Thanks to their love of travel, Jennifer and Hiram had a concrete wedding theme and used DIY details to make it come to life. “I included many do-it-yourself projects, thanks to Pinterest,” says the bride. “Since my husband and I love to travel, we used a travel theme for our wedding. I saw a picture of a vintage luggage as a card box, so we ordered the card box on Ebay and added some Polaroid photos from our travels. I also had the idea of painting a globe with black chalkboard paint and painting the words ‘I love you to the end of the earth.’ All of it put together added unique touches to our wedding. Thanks to one of my talented bridesmaids, our cake flowers were also DIY. She made them with crate paper and they were absolutely amazing!”
While most everything went smoothly for the couple, the bride did run into one snafu with a vendor. “I booked a florist that I had met at a wedding show,” says Jennifer. “I talked to him in person and gave him a deposit. As we got closer to the wedding, I tried emailing him and he never responded. He was a total scam and I had to book another florist two months before my wedding. It was horrible, but in the end, I had the most beautiful flowers provided by Deanne from Bella Fiore! [They were] absolutely amazing and everyone complimented on the flowers.”
After achieving a beautiful Southern California destination wedding, the bride has some final words of advice for other couples planning their own wedding away. “Always remember why you both are getting married. Never let it become all about the wedding and always keep it about the love you both have. Enjoy every second of your special day – it goes by so fast!”
Vendors: Photography: Alexandra Wallace Photography, Wedding Planner: Chic and Stunning Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Hotel Maya, Florist: Bella Fiore, Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas, Cake: Rossmoor Pastries, Hair: Ana Garcia Cheadle with The Hair Lounge, Makeup: Janice Makes Faces, Gown Designer: Pronovias, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Ralph by Ralph Lauren, DJ: First Class DJ Services
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