YMCA Beach Romance

The Couple

Analicia & Neeko’s wedding was a beautiful celebration filled with personal touches. The couple chose to tie the knot at Camp Surf in the beautiful town of Imperial Beach, California. The camp was dressed up in prettiness making it an incredible location for this amazing day. The venue was special to the couple because the mother of the bride worked at the camp for 20 years, the bride worked as a counselor and the bride’s parents live just across the street.

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The Morning

The wedding day began at Pier South Resort for the ladies while the gentlemen prepared at the home of the bride’s parents.

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The bride and her father were able to share a precious first look together prior to the couple’s first look at the family’s home! Then everyone enjoyed some family time before the festivities.

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The Ceremony

Analicia arrived in style! She and her father entered the ceremony from a large vintage limo that kicked off the start of an amazing celebration.

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The processional included family, friends, and the couple’s Officiant, Lauren, who has been Analicia’s best friend since kindergarten. The ceremony was intimate with the couple reading their own handwritten vows. The ceremony was stunning with the sun peeking through the clouds over the large lawn where the couple said their “I do’s”.

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Cocktail Hour

After the ceremony, guests were ushered to the charming patio area adorned with romantic market lighting and a stunning view of the Pacific ocean. The belly bar tables were dressed with candles which complimented the patios romantic feel. The bar was curated from two wine barrels and a wooden door tabletop. A wheelbarrow filled with ice kept the drinks cold as guests poured their beverages into the cutest mason jars.  The cocktail hour included a great appetizer spread which included egg rolls that the guests loved! An outdoor fireplace helped to keep guests warm on the chilly, winter day.

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The Design

Dinner was held inside the camp dining hall that was completely transformed for the wedding! It was styled with market lighting above as well as an array of floral and candles dressing the tables below.

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The sweetheart table was adorned with a beautiful draped arch backdrop and lanterns arranged on the ground in front of the table.  A vintage rug was underneath the table and brought together the decorative floral, lanterns, and signage.

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The guest tables were covered with greenery, bright floral in beautiful gold lanterns, and fresh fruit including persimmons and grapefruits.

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The guestbook table was accented with a lovely vintage typewriter as well as signage created by one of the bridesmaids, Erika.  The seating chart was a door on which table assignments were hung among pictures of the couple – including pictures of them as children which were fun for guests to view.

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The Dinner

Before guests left the patio were treated to an absolutely breathtaking sunset and the grand entrance kicked off the night to a fun start! The bridal party entered, creating a tunnel for the newlyweds to go through. Then, the couple snuck away as the bridal party rounded up all the guests to create a giant circle on the dance floor before the couple returned to do their first dance in the middle of all their friends and family.  It was perfectly choreographed!

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After the first dance, guests enjoyed a full salad bar as well as, a hosted bar which included the signature drink “Something Blue,” a margarita with blue curaçao. During dinner, the couple greeted their tables while a slideshow played of childhood photos, couple photos and also, as a surprise –  photos of all of the guests! As dinner was wrapping up, the bride’s father and brother played their guitars as her father serenaded the couple. This was such a heartfelt and touching moment that had guests in tears. Following the performance, toasts were given by the Maid of Honor, Bridesmaid and Father Of The Bride. Toasts were concluded with a thank you from the groom which he delivered in FOUR different languages that guests spoke! Analicia danced with her father and Neeko danced with his mother to a song in Mandarin.  Then, the dance floor opened up for guests to enjoy!

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The desserts for the reception were cupcakes and a cake made by the Maid of Honor’s aunt.  The florals on the cake were incredible and it was topped with a cute gold topper that said “yay”! There were also churros out on the patio being made to order which were a huge hit.

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Analicia & Neeko LOVE coffee so they opted to give guests bags of coffee beans as favors which were displayed on a table by the fireplace with a cute sign that said “Love is Brewing”.

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The couple’s grand exit began on the road leading out of the venue which was lined with guests on both sides to cheer the couple on as they hopped on a surrey bike. The surrey bike was decorated with floral and the classic just married sign on the back with tin cans jingling behind them as they drove off through the luminary-lit path into the night!

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Thank you Analicia and Neeko for allowing us to come alongside for your incredible day!

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Vendor Line Up:

Coordination: At Your Side Planning

Venue: YMCA Camp Surf

DJ: Dancing DJ Productions

Officiant: Lauren Collins

Photo: Mandi Lynn Photo

Florist: Tiny Victories

Caterer: Joseph Breedlove

Beauty: Roxy & Daniela- The Roxy Experience

Rentals: Platinum Event Rentals

Transportation: Vintage Limo

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Military Love at Admiral Kidd Club

The Couple

Tim & Kortney were the kindest couple we have had the pleasure of designing with! This couple based in Northern California had secured a gorgeous venue, the Admiral Kidd Club, with the best view of San Diego! We loved meeting with Tim, Kortney and their family as they visited our wonderful city for their destination wedding. It was a great experience working alongside this couple during the designing and planning of their wedding day.

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The Morning

The morning of the wedding, Tim & Kortney enjoyed preparing for their day at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Old Town, San Diego. This hotel is a gem in such a historical part of the city. Kortney spent time with her ladies – even her grandmother joined in the fun – while Tim was with his groomsmen. Ellie, of A New Twist, dolled up the ladies with her talented hair and makeup services and they looked amazing! Continue reading

Advice For a Stress Free Wedding Day!

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with San Diego Party Ride, a local luxury limousine company. They compiled a list of advice from wedding planners all over the San Diego metro. As a featured participant, I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to offer my advice on how to bring together the two families for a wedding.  As a lot of you know, this can be harder than it seems!

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At Your Side Planning is thrilled to be part of this interesting piece! With all the different opinions shared by other wedding planners, I believe this is a great resource for any bride and grooms out there currently preparing for their wedding. Keep in mind that your wedding is a unique time and the memory of this day will forever last. Check out the article HERE, you might learn a thing or two on uniting your families on that big day of yours! Continue reading

Vows!

Writing your own vows – tips!

First and foremost, do not leave this until the last moment!   Grab a notebook or jot notes in your phone as things pop into your head.  Remember, this is a time to be vulnerable, which doesn’t come easily to many.  Fond memories or anecdotal reasons you are head over heels with your future spouse are always well received.

Craig, owner of Craig Does Weddings gives this advice:

1. Don’t memorize them. Just read them.  You don’t want your first memory of your wedding day to be, “Man, I was so nervous doing my vows from memory.”  I want the first memory to be, “We had a GREAT wedding!”

2. Remember they are vows, not a summation of your entire history as a couple.  You’re making a promise to your mate, so write things that you want to promise.  Now, it’s ok to have a few “history” events, or character traits you want to highlight.  It doesn’t have to be TOTALLY serious, but, the best vows I’ve heard are promises spoken from the heart. I advised this to one couple in advance of the wedding and during the ceremony, he pulled out three pages of notes for his vows, then she pulled out 2 pages.  In total, both vows took 30 minutes.  We were in the hot sun with no wind on Coronado.  Lot’s of “cutesy” stuff.  Lot’s of “inside” humor.  It didn’t go well.

3. Think “Big themes” rather than small promises.  It’s kind of funny (even cute) when couples promise not to “leave the toilet seat up,” or “take the remote away during NFL games,” but if you do that, keep it to a minimum.  This is “insider information” between the two of you.  You might think it’s cute/funny, but it sounds a little corny and besides, you can’t keep that promise anyway.  Big themes are things like: “loving you through trials and life’s hard knocks,” or “do my best to listen to your words and the feelings behind those words,” or “I will remember that you (and I) are ‘in process’ so I’ll do my best to be patient with you when we have conflict on things,” or “I will encourage you and support you in any new challenges that come your way.”

4. Use themes from “repeat after me” vows for your own vows.  I often direct couples to look over the vow options I give couples and suggest looking at the themes there.  They are a helpful guide.  And, I suggest picking and choosing phrases from those vows that they might want to insert in their own, or put into their own words. They don’t have to, but those vows have some great words to help guide.

5. Look on the internet.  There will be a lot of bad vow options, but there are some good ones out there that you can make your own as well.

Once you’ve honed in on the perfect words, write them on an index card and practice, practice, practice reciting your vows.  You’ll thank me for this tip on your special day when your nerves take hold!

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Bridal Party Gifts

Wedding gift ideas for the bridal party.

You’ve planned the wedding and are feeling a sense of relief.   Hold on.  You’re not done yet… Bridal party gifts are still on your list! Trying to come up with new, fresh ideas for bridal parties can be tough. Start by searching Pinterest and Etsy to get your creative vibes flowing.  Next, think unique, think about something that means something to you and your future husband or wife. Some brides choose to gift their ladies with accessories for the wedding day such as jewelry, purses or robes for the morning of the wedding! A bride that taught English in Japan gave her bridesmaids kimonos to wear while getting ready for the wedding.  A small wooden crate filled with some special soaps, alcohol, candy, can always make a great gift when thoughtfully presented.  A mini bar in a jar packed with your favorite mini alcohol bottles will always be everyone’s favorite.

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Although most would love Tiffanys jewelry, it’s not in the budget for many.  A nice alternative is a personalized necklace, bracelet, or ring from Etsy which coordinates to a spot you and each person loves (Think favorite restaurant, vacation spot, college dorm, sorority house, where you hang out with each person).  With a little thought, you can put together a gift all will adore no matter your budget.

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Photo credit: Photography by Anjuli

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First Dance Song?!

Choosing the perfect first dance song.

What girl hasn’t dreamed of her first dance? It is important to choose a song that’s timeless yet also captures your relationship during this snapshot in time. Before the big day, start listening to genres outside your norm, listen to composers you haven’t listened to before. When something catches your ear, jot down the song name and keep a running list.  And it’s never a bad idea to grab your betrothed for a test-run once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two to make sure the song is dance-able. Another option is to choose a song familiar to you and your fiancé, one that brings back good memories.

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Bruce from Battleson Entertainment says, “Choosing your first dance is a big deal.  This is forever!  A lot of couples go too trendy on their first dance song and your choice is embarrassing by your 5th Anniversary.  For example, love songs by Boy Bands or girl power divas like Celine and Whitney that get overplayed and everyone gets burned out on.  By the way, no man wants a song by a girl power diva for their first dance. Rappers singing a love song will be a big regret in 20 years. You need a classic song or a classic sounding song that will sound good and be relevant on your 50th Anniversary. Country artists such as George Strait, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Brad Paisley, Dan + Shay, have some fantastic love songs that will stand the test of time.  Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Etta James, Norah Jones and Ed Sheeren are all classic voices that will sound great forever.  Another good direction to go in is remade, rearranged, songs such as “Can’t help falling in love with you” by Ingrid Michaelson. What song would I have at MY wedding?  My girl and I are in love with Ed Sheeren’s “Tenerife Sea’” Continue reading

Tango love birds wedding with a vintage twist!

It was a delight to put together the wedding for a couple as fabulous as John and Katie. The two began their love story with a shared passion for tango dancing. Their wedding perfectly embodied their similar interests, with a beautiful vintage twist.

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The couple’s flair for style was evident from the very beginning of the night, when the bride stepped out of a 1930s Packard by Hire Old Cars. The venue transformed with the work of Robbie Allen. The bartender provided chair covers and runners while Classic Party Rentals provided all linens for the tables. To make it uniquely theirs, Katie added her special touch by creating her own centerpieces using mercury containers with an assortment of candles. Continue reading

Unique Favor Ideas

Can’t decide what your perfect fit wedding party favor is for your special day? Look no further and get off of Pinterest, because we made you a list of the most loved wedding favors of 2016  guests can’t stop talking about. Leaving your guest with an unforgettable special gift  to take home at the end of the night will make your guests  feel like they are an important part of your most memorable day. We love photobooth photos as a great way to say thank you for celebrating with us. Photobooths are always fun for everyone!

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Don’t let them leave the fun. Make them take it home by creating personalized engraved bottle openers. Every time they use their unique bottle opener they will remember your special day and fun times they had with you. Continue reading