A Simply Sweet San Diego Wedding


May 13, 2020
Words by Kate Darnell
Photos courtesy of Amanda Donaho

Lynette and Alexander decided on San Diego, California due to their international guest list. “My husband Alex is Australian so having the wedding on the West Coast made it easier for our Australian guests to get there. This was a priority for us. Additionally, we had previously traveled to San Diego together and loved the feel of the city, the ocean and perfect weather,” recalls the bride.

Friends and loved ones were supportive of the decision to have a destination wedding especially since they were given a year to plan their travel. With 65 guests in tow, the couple decided on getting married in the city due to its “laid-back vibe.” They traveled once prior to the event with the bride’s mother and aunt to tour venues and sample caterers. “It was definitely hectic but we walked away having made a lot of big decisions!” says Lynette.

Planning a destination wedding added “an element of challenge” for the couple only because they couldn’t do and see everything in person. “The internet became our best friend! We spent hours searching websites and reading reviews. You have to rely on the vendors you are working with and let go of some of the control,” says Lynette. They also relied heavily on their wedding photographer, Amanda Donaho. “She was amazing in helping us think through the day and create a timeline. It was so nice to have someone in our corner who knows what works and doesn’t work for a wedding! We knew we could absolutely trust her which took away a lot of stress.”

Although the planning felt a little overwhelming at times, the bride stayed organized and she advises others do the same. Below, find some other nuggets of advice for couples planning a wedding away from home 

Scout it Out

“Ideally, you need to take at least one trip out to your destination location so that you can see things in person. Being focused/organized for that trip means you can make the most of your time there.”

Connect with Friends

“We really enjoyed getting together with close friends prior to our wedding which made it feel more like a 2-3 day event, rather than just a few hours.”

Do a “First Look”

Per our photographer’s recommendation we did “first look” photos with just the two of us at Sun-Set Cliffs which was such a highlight! We loved having this time together prior to the ceremony. Getting most of the pictures taken before the ceremony meant we could really enjoy our reception (including apps and drinks).

Serve Yourself Options

Our reception venue offered punch bowls which were a huge hit! Having guests be able to self-serve their initial drink meant they didn’t have to wait for the bartender to serve them. 

Lynette Says Relax

Most of all, just relax on your wedding weekend and enjoy spending time with all the people you love who traveled to celebrate with you! 


VENDORS: Photographer: Amanda DonahoWedding Planner: Molly Stark of Tres Chic AffairsCeremony Site/Reception Site: Horton Grand Hotel (ceremony) and You & Yours Distillery (reception), Florist: Sage SistersStationery: MintedHair & Makeup: Erin at Unveiled Bridal BeautyGown Designer: Theia for BHLDNGroom’s Clothing Designer: Hart Schaffner Marx

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