This Colorful California Wedding Was All About the Music
It took Paige and Zack three months to meet after connecting on the dating app Hinge, but they made up for lost time by going back in time to a 1920s-themed bar. From that point on, there was no looking back for the Navy helicopter pilot and the woman who would become his bride, an assistant director of the Center for Advancing Global Business at San Diego State University.
Two years after their retro first date, Zack brought Paige to his hometown of San Francisco to surprise her with a proposal that was as sentimental as it was scenic. "We biked across the Golden Gate Bridge and Zack wanted to go to the Battery Spencer lookout point," Paige remembers. "He proposed there overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, and it was perfect."
A year later, on a warm July day, 165 of Paige and Zack's closest friends and family members traveled from all over the country to join the couple at Rancho Valencia—a breathtaking resort about 30 miles from the couple's San Diego home—for a wedding that played up elements of the brides' favorite decades ("We integrated 1920s details into the day because that's our favorite decade and an ode to the place we had our first date," notes the bride) the groom's service, and most importantly, their love for each other (and their flight into a future together). "Our wedding was the most magical day of our lives. We were surrounded by the most fun family and friends in an absolutely stunning setting!" says Paige.
Rings with Real Meaning
When Zack proposed, he did so with a simple diamond band, having already made reservations for Paige to make the custom engagement ring of her dreams the next day: a pear-cut solitaire diamond with a slim diamond band. "The jewelry store was sentimental because Zack's dad used to buy all of Zack's mom's jewelry at the same store when they lived in San Francisco," Paige says. "Zack was also born there—San Francisco, not the jewelry store."
Both the bride and groom chose simple yellow gold wedding bands; Zack's has an unpolished finish. Paige had their wedding date—July 14, 2018—engraved inside.
The Idea Emporium was behind all of the day's stationery and calligraphy, including the invitations. Inside the main envelope, which was lined with a hand-painted watercolor-style mixture of colors, guests found an invite on soft pink paper with gold lettering. The couple opted for an unexpected caramel hue for the RSVP envelope.
West Coast Whimsy
"We knew we wanted a location that felt very California," Paige says, explaining she and Zack were hoping to have a mostly outdoor wedding surrounded by Spanish architecture. They found exactly that in Rancho Santa Fe, California. "We fell in love with Rancho Valencia immediately upon arrival and adored the colorful ranch vibe."
The Groom in White
Zack started off the afternoon in his service dress whites. The uniform contrasted nicely against his groomsmen's midnight-blue tuxes; the couple's brothers and Zack's friends from childhood, college, and piloting made up his half of the wedding party. After the ceremony, Zack donned a tuxedo to match the rest of the guys.
A Dress with a Cape
Paige struggled to find the perfect wedding dress, having gone on several shopping outings with friends and family to no avail. It wasn't until she went on a solo search that she hit the jackpot, falling in love with a gown by Berta—and all of its special details. "The cape was so chic—it won me over immediately," Paige recalls. "It was amazing having two looks with one dress."
The wedding was filled with multicolor flowers in soft shades that emphasized the bride's favorite color: mauve. Her bouquet was no exception. In addition to the dusty purple-pink shade, florist Plenty of Petals included lots of greenery and hints of golden yellow.
There were only two rules for the bridesmaids' dresses: They had to be floor-length to fit the black-tie-optional vibe of the wedding, and they needed to be—of course—mauve. Paige's maid of honor was her best friend since preschool; she was also surrounded by Zack's sister and several former roommates.
"I was so excited to see Zack at the end of the aisle. I had to concentrate on not crying off my makeup," recalls Paige, who hadn't seen the groom since the rehearsal dinner the night before. She was escorted by her father while Bach's "Jesu, Joys of Man's Desiring" played. As she approached Zack, standing under a large full-moon decoration—a nod to his being a pilot—"I kept thinking how happy I was to be marrying him and thought, 'How did I get this lucky?'"
"We wrote our own vows, and I'm so glad we did," Paige says, adding how special and refreshing it was to allow their personalities to be incorporated into one of the most important moments of their lives. Scott Wildey, a pastor from San Diego's Flood Church, officiated the Christian ceremony.
Surrounded by Love
Before their recessional—they exited under an arch of swords—to "Fly Me to The Moon," Paige and Zack soaked up the love from their thrilled guests. "Everyone was so excited for us," Zack says. "I loved the moment right after we said our vows and were pronounced husband wife," Paige recalls. "We turned around to face our guests and it was just pure joy."
Cocktails Beyond Compare
"We loved how many personal details Amorology was able to incorporate into our wedding," Paige says, noting the special cocktails served on Rancho Valencia's Terrace Patio: "The Fly Girl," a watermelon margarita made with Tres Agaves tequila, and "The Rebel," a mint julep crafted with Buffalo Trace boubon.
Crispy artichoke and garbanzo bean salad, miniature Beef Wellington, bacon-wrapped dates with blue cheese, crab and mango salad in an apple cup, and prosciutto-wrapped gnocchi were also served. But the biggest hit—especially with Zack and Paige's dad—was the ceviche station.
A contemporary bar, composed of hexagonal tiles emblazoned with a triangular pattern, was one of the cocktail hour's décor focal points.
A Perfect Play on Words
Their escort display cleverly doubled as delicious wedding favors. On a colored backdrop reading, "I love you like a '90s R&B song," guests found their seating assignment via little jars of jelly with "slow jams" handwritten on the glass. Because as much as Paige loves the '20s, she's also a huge fan of '90s music.
The reception space on Rancho Valencia's croquet lawn was draped with pinwheel market lights to add to the warmth created by the blush, lilac, pinot, and golden linens draped on the longer tables. The head table was set with burgundy and rose velvet dining chairs; cream bentwood seats were chosen for the other tables, allowing for a clean, bright look against the white non-draped tables.
For the tabletop, the couple opted for gold chargers, pink-thistle dinner plates, gold flatware, gold-rimmed coupes, gray marble tumblers, and lilac napkins. Each table's number was indicated by the baskets of berries tucked in between the centerpieces, alluding to the couple's love of farmers' markets.
Berry Nice Settings
Guests' names were marked on a tassel place card that also designated their meal choice. The menus were printed on a soft lilac paper and, in addition to the dinner, were embellished with notes about the most popular things from the years Paige and Zack were born.
More Watermelon Wonders
Although the ceviche station wowed attendees during the cocktail hour, dinner was the true treat. After a watermelon caprese salad, guests were served either seared flat-iron steak with chimichurri, roasted garlic smashed potatoes, broccoli rabe, chile, parmesan and citrus; or Mediterranean sea bass with potato croquette, bacon tuille, melted leeks, brussel sprouts, syrah sauce, and herb salad.
Just the Right Song
Once again, Paige and Zack looked to the '90s for their sweet, sentimental first dance to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John. "We listened to many songs," Paige says, but they loved and connected with this one's lyrics the most.
Some Heroes Wear Camera Straps
"The band had everyone on their feet the whole night," Paige says. In fact, at one point, they started a girls-versus-guys dance-off that got even the most reluctant dancers on the floor. But if it hadn't been for their photographer, Lauren Kinsey, the bride and groom might have missed out on the music.
"We kept getting stopped talking to guests, and she pulled me away and said, 'You have to get on the dance floor! This is your wedding and you need to enjoy it,'" Paige recalls. "I am so thankful that she knew how much I loved to dance and told me to go have fun."
Dessert was perhaps the most perfect example of how truly them Paige and Zack's wedding was. "We both love pie, so we had mini apple pies and peach cobblers," the bride says of their nontraditional choice. But that doesn't mean they didn't have cake: They served an incredible half lemon-blueberry, half German chocolate creation by Little Lulu's. Instead of cutting the confection, as most couples would, however, Paige and Zack made the moment truly their own by using Zack's sword for the first slice.
Photography, Lauren Kinsey
Location and catering, Rancho Valencia
Event planning, Amorology
Flowers, Plenty of Petals
Videography, Honey Reel
Stationery and Calligraphy, The Idea Emporium
Cake, Little Lulu's
Music, JMV Entertainment
Bride's gown, Berta
Hair, Chels and Huani
Makeup, Beauty by Stacey
Groom's suit and Menswear, The Black Tux
Transportation, SD Charter