A Santa Monica Destination WeddingWords by Victoria Hill
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Burgi Photography
A Santa Monica destination wedding not only provided newlyweds Samantha and PJ with a fun and sunny celebration, but the location was also a halfway point for both families in Australia and Ireland.
Although the journey was similar for many guests, the families were not initially excited about the trip. “We didn’t get a positive response from either family,” says the bride. “Both wanted us to have a wedding in each of our home cities but we felt by doing this we were diluting the day to some extent. We wanted one day and for those memories to be the priority.”
Ultimately, their family was persuaded to head to California and the couple received support from several loved ones. “In the end, we had guests from 11 countries attend,” says Samantha. “It was such a brilliant response and whilst we still had many close friends decline, everyone who did attend seemed to embrace the whole experience.”
When it came to choosing vendors, the couple says that they wanted to rely on others who were speedy and communicative. “In California, there was no shortage of professionalism so I felt I could rely on their expertise whilst I was unlikely to be there,” the bride says.
The bride says that during her planning process, she was living away from family and friends — a factor that had several of its own pros and cons. “My only real disappointment was not shopping with my friends and family for my dress,” she says. “Doing that alone was a mistake and I do feel sad about that missed experience. In a way, I was lucky tho that I just got on with planning and didn’t have too many peoples opinions.”
Although the pair organized several aspects of the wedding themselves, they believe that hiring a wedding planner is a must to fulfill your vision. “Who they know locally is invaluable,” says the bride. “I still conducted my own research but they have established relationships for a reason and they usually know who they work well with.”
Aside from checking in with their guests, the newlyweds set up a website so that others could find information for travel and lodging accommodations.
Although they traveled to Santa Monica prior to their big day, the pair estimates that the overall cost of their wedding was slightly less than if they had it at home because of the amount of guests who were able to attend.
By the end of the process, the couple recommends communicating a lot with guests and vendors. “Read reviews, ask questions and enjoy the process,” says the bride.
Vendors: Photographer: Elizabeth Burgi Photography, Wedding Planner: Feathered Arrow Events, Ceremony & Reception Site: The Viceroy Santa Monica, Florist: Poppy Hill Flowers, Stationery: Minted.com, Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop, Hair & Makeup: Lettie Mix Makeup, Gown Designer: Justin Alexander, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss, Bridesmaids Clothing Designer: Shona Joy, Moon For Alter: Paper Moon Shoppe, Balloons: Balloon Celebrations, Cutlery, Hardware & Plates: Dish Wish, Name Tags & Lollipops: Sweet Caroline Confections, Bouquet Fans: Hot Fans, & Boutonniere: The Grey Deer
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