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A ‘Grande’ Gay Wedding in Cali


April 20, 2022
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Rebecca Theresa Photography

Some say “home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” That’s why we believe so many couples ultimately decide to return to that place of comfort for one of the most important days of their lives. This was the case for Ryan and Andrew who, despite living in Austin, Texas now, still call California “home.”

“I was born and raised in San Diego, and Ryan has family in Orange County and LA so we knew we wanted to bring it back to where it all started,” Andrew tells us.

Before starting the venue hunt, the two agreed on locating somewhere that would have all the trappings of a beach wedding minus the sand between the toes– a style they affectionately coined “beach adjacent wedding.”

“Once we toured the Bel Air Bay Club, we knew we found the perfect venue. Views of the water from every angle, salt in the air, and perfectly situated on the other side of PCH avoiding all sand,” the couple says.

Shortly after securing the venue, Ryan and Andrew realized planning an out-of-state wedding from Texas would be no walk in the park. They needed someone local to southern California with a solid network of vendors. Susan Dunne of Weddings By Susan Dunne was just their gal!

“She truly made our wedding planning process so easy and a lot of fun,” the couple says. “She helped us prioritize our wants and needs every step of the way. She understood our overall vision and fully brought our dream wedding to life.”

Luckily, getting guests on board proved to be as easy as 1, 2, 3, in part because 90 percent of them already lived in state! Because of this, all the couple had to do as far as travel logistics went was to offer guests a handful of lodging recommendations in proximity to the venue. The rest of the planning process would be devoted to achieving the sleek, black-tie theme Ryan and Andrew envisioned.

“Our do-it-yourself projects were a team effort from Susan, Paper Cliche (our calligrapher), Ryan and I,” Andrew says. “We knew we wanted to have a light Ariana Grande themed wedding without it being too in your face. Everything from the songs our pianist played during our ceremony to the names of our tables to even our dinner menus, we were able to incorporate subtle odes to our favorite pop diva.” (Scroll to the bottom of the page for their ceremony playlist.)

While each and every detail of Ryan and Andrew’s waterside wedding is worthy of a full-page breakdown (Especially Andrew’s girls’ black suits and red bottom heels – adorbs!), perhaps the most remarkable element was the couple’s palpable joy to say “I do.”

Ariana Grande Wedding Playlist

While guests are arriving and sitting down:
Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored

Seating right before the ceremony:
Break Free
Thank You, Next
Be Alright
Dangerous Woman
God is A Woman
Love Me Harder

Grooms parties walking down aisle:
7 Rings

Grooms and mom/grandma walking down:
Into You

Exit song / entire wedding party walking out:
One Last Time

First Dance:
ZAYN – Let Me

Vendors: Photographer: Rebecca Theresa Photography; Wedding Planner: Weddings by Susan Dunne; Ceremony/Reception Site: Bel Air Bay Club; Florist: Penelope Pots; Rentals: borrowed BLU; Stationery: Paper Cliché; Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop; Hair & Makeup: Makeup by Emerald; Suit & Shoes: Suit Supply; Wedding Party Attire: Brooks Brothers & Christian Louboutin (heels); Videography: Jeremy Foster Films; DJ/Photobooth: Second Song

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