A Whimsical Art Museum Wedding in San Diego, California

Gina and Craig


Gina Caruso moved to San Diego with a bunch of college friends, and a few weeks later met a guy who also had a handful of buddies in the area. So the two groups started hanging out, and that's how she met Craig Moore. Not long after, on September 18, 2010, the two went on their first date. Just shy of three years to the day, on September 7, 2013, they tied the knot (and celebrated their original anniversary on their honeymoon in the Maldives).

The big day took place at the San Diego Museum of Art, in Balboa Park, where they checked off everything on their venue wish list: outdoor and indoor spaces, the ability to have a band play the reception, and no early curfew. Working with Heather Balliet and the team at Amorology to design and plan the wedding, the fete took on a "Work of Heart" theme that played on Gina's art education major, the nature of the location, and the couple's love of color. Folding in details that were color-blocked and watercolored, with whimsical and bohemian touches, and lots of texture, the soiree was a memorable, one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

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An Artistic Save-the-Date


Mini canvases were painted with the basic details of the wedding, asking guests to save the date for the celebration. It was paired with a little easel and a petite paintbrush with a paper flag wrapped around it with further information. Packed into small boxes lined with patterned paper and sealed with custom address labels, the nontraditional stationery by The Invitation Factory gave guests a feeling of the upcoming art museum wedding.

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The Invitations


Amber Moon at Pitbulls and Posies dreamt up this custom suite (and the rest of the wedding's paperie), which included a wooden cutout of a paintbrush and an ikat pattern in the color palette of mint green, coral, teal, and gold. The interactive response card asked guests if they would be there to help the couple paint the town, and prompted them to color in their answers.

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A Wise Decision


"One of our best decisions for the wedding day was doing a first look," Gina said. "This was beyond special for us and the suspense was killer! It was so amazing to get those special photos of the emotions that we were both feeling, and it gave us more time for more photos!"

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The Bridal Bouquet


"I was in absolute awe when I saw my bouquet," Gina said. "It was one of my favorite details of the entire wedding." The loosely structured clutch was composed of garden roses, astilbe, poppies, roses, andromeda, and dahlias, and made by Twigg Botanicals.

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A Bridemaid's Clutch


Each of the three bridesmaids carried a slightly different bouquet. This one consisted of different colored roses, andromeda, wheat, and protea.

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Another Bridesmaid's Bouquet


Another maid held an arrangement of protea, roses, and purple astrantia.

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Pretty Posies


The final attendant carried a bouquet of lilac-hued dahlias, a variety of pink roses, and andromeda.

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The Fashions


Craig sported a gray suit accessorized with a bow tie from the Tie Bar, Happy Socks, and Ferragamo shoes. His blushing bride selected the "Eternity" dress by Reem Acra, glittery Jimmy Choo wedges, a Renee Pawele veil and sash, and jewelry that was her "something old" and "something borrowed."

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The Bridal Party


Groomsmen wore gray suits and bow ties, and bridesmaids dazzled in Donna Morgan dresses in an understated mint hue.

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The Custom Ceremony


An ombre aisle of rose petals anchored the ceremony in the sculpture garden, which was officiated by Derek Rice and customized to perfectly suit the couple.

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Tying the Knot


Craig's sister read an excerpt from "Captain Coreeli's Mandolin" by Louis de Bernieres, and the bride and groom exchanged vows they wrote themselves a few weeks prior. The service, held in front of a canvas painting with the song title to one of their favorite songs, "So Happy Together" by the Turtles, was highly emotional and poignant.

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Post-Ceremony Portraits


A bonus to the gradient of rose petals from the ceremony: The couple had fun tossing them up in the air for a few photos as newly minted husband and wife.

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The Seating Display


"You're a Gem; You Color Our World" was cut out of Plexiglas and hung on a wall in the middle of the seating display.

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A Rockin' Idea


As for the actual escort "cards": Slices of agate festooned with gold sticker letters and table numbers were used to help guide guests to their seats. The collaborative installation, crafted by Pitbulls and Posies and Amorology, was lit up, and served as a conversation piece well beyond the big day.

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A Box of Blooms


Below the seating display, long and low boxes given a bit of flair thanks to a swipe of teal paint, held protea, dahlias, roses, carnations, andromeda, and mums.

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The Centerpieces


Painted wood cubes held a mix of protea, roses, carnations, dahlias, and pink stock. On some tables, glass votive holders were spiced up with gold paint at the bases, and square prints of the same ikat from the invite showcased table numbers cut out of Plexiglas.

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Table Decor


Other tables boasted agate slices with Plexiglas numerals propped up on mini easels and glass votive candle holders painted in swirls of pastel hues. Succulent plants in small glass vessels with colored sand finished off all the tables, which were dressed in a mix of solid mint green linens and teal ikat cloths.

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Crafty Touches


Bundles of colored pencils doubled as place card holders at the place settings of the bride and groom.

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Get Sharp


Custom pencil sharpeners were also set out on the tables so guests could get the most use out of their colored pencils.

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The Place Settings


Guests found their seats thanks to small painted wooden cubes holding name cards.

Atop each gold charger and mint-green napkin, a special questionnaire awaited each attendee. "Life is a great big canvas, throw all the paint on it you can!" it read, with prompts for guests to share their sage advice with the newlyweds on how to keep their life and marriage colorful. Other questions and activities followed (with more on the back) and guests used mini colored pencils that were at each setting to fill them out. The completed questionnaires were collected and used in lieu of a traditional guestbook.

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Seat Swags


As a surprise for the couple, Heather Balliet added braided yarn and agate garlands to the back of the bride's and groom's seats. Stickers spelled out Mr. Moore and Mrs. Moore.

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The Reception


The major foodies worked with their caterer, Giuseppe Restaurant and Fine Catering, to design a "California Italian" menu of local Dulcinea cantaloupe salad with Riserva speck and goat cheese to start, and an entree of slow-and-low-braised short rib with a sun-dried cherry port wine demi-glace with truffle-scented mashed potatoes and jumbo asparagus.

Guests dined under glowing bistro lights in the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court of the museum, before heading to the James S. Copley Auditorium for dancing.

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The First Dance


Before the big day, the couple took a few dance classes in preparation for the reception. For their first dance, they selected Jack Johnson's "Better Together."

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The Cake


A vanilla citrus cake with lemon curd and raspberry preserve fillings was frosted with lemon buttercream and covered with fondant inspired by watercolors. Fresh flowers, wheat, and succulents were the finishing touches on this confection by Sweet Cheeks Baking Company.

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The Favors


Glassine bags housing two salted caramels were labeled with stickers on both sides. The front read "A treat for all palettes," and the back, "Sweet & Salty." They were placed between each seat at dinner.

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Photography: Joielala Photography
Location: San Diego Museum of Art
Event Planning and design: Amorology
Catering: Guiseppe Catering
Flowers: Twigg Botanicals
Videography: 618 Studios
Officiant: Derek Rice
Stationery: [save-the-dates] The Invitation Factory; [invitations and day-of paperie] Pitbulls and Posies
Calligraphy: Wendy Ware
Cake: Sweet Cheeks Baking Co.
Reception Music: The Heroes
Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals; Classic Party Rentals
Hair and Makeup: Swell Beauty
Transportation: Palomar Limousine; [getaway car] Lance Haynes (858-560-5737)

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