A Resort With a Destination Vibe and a Dive Bar-Themed Cocktail Hour Set the Stage for This Wedding in California

The pair invited 175 guests to Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., for their modern, romantic nuptials.

Rosemary and Joe
Photo: Sophie Epton

Rosemary and Joe first crossed paths over 15 years ago, and after their original meet-cute, they maintained a long-distance relationship for 8 months. At the time, the distance between them became too great, however, so they decided to go their separate ways. Flash forward nearly two decades later, when they reconnected at Pelican Hill resort in Newport, Calif., in April 2019—they have been together ever since.

Joe initially planned to propose at the same resort, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place in 2020, he decided to pop the question on Christmas Eve, surrounded by an intimate group of friends. Rosemary's daughter, who was in on the plan, helped him find the right moment, which unfolded at sunset. Joe asked everyone to gather for a holiday speech and, instead, asked Rosemary's daughter to retrieve the ring. "He then dropped to one knee and asked us to join his family," the bride says. "It really was the perfect moment!"

They decided to hold their ceremony and reception at Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The resort is only a few miles away from Rosemary and Joe's home, and they loved that it offered accommodations for their 175 guests. "The grounds, service, and spa are amazing, so we knew we could get that feel of a destination wedding without having to go far," says Rosemary.

The pair's planning team, Amorology, helped bring their 1940s glam theme to life. They opted for a color palette of soft cream, taupe, and sand paired with navy blue, dusty blue, and soft indigo; terra-cotta, peach, and gold served as accent shades. Rosemary and Joe's March 12, 2022, celebration featured a courtyard ceremony, a dive bar-themed cocktail hour, and a tented dinner reception.

the wedding invitations
Sophie Epton

Delightful Invites

Rosemary and Joe's stationery suite featured blue invitations, terra-cotta detail cards, and warm white RSVP cards paired with gray envelopes. "The colors mimicked our color palette and whimsical floral arrangements," the bride says.

the wedding dress
Sophie Epton

Bridal Beauty

Instead of looking for wedding dresses around California, Rosemary decided to fly to Arkansas to shop at Low's Bridal with her mother and sister-in-law. "She actually got her dress from there when she married my brother, so it holds a lot of sentimental value to me," Rosemary says. "It was a great day—we got a stretch limo, had a Champagne lunch, and made a great afternoon of it."

Rosemary selected an ivory Maggie Sottero gown with beaded spaghetti straps and a plunging sweetheart neckline. "I had an idea of what I wanted before I went in and honestly was picturing something less intricate and much more simple, but I knew as soon as I put it on," says Rosemary. "No alterations were needed outside of bustling it. It was literally meant for me." The bride finished her big-day look with a matching cathedral veil, diamond drop earrings, and a vintage bracelet.

the bride's bouquet
Sophie Epton

Pops of Color

The bride held a European-style, hand-tied bouquet filled with neutral florals, including roses, nerine, orlaya, sweetpea, spray roses, and seasonal greens.

the bridesmaid
Sophie Epton

Something Blue

Rosemary asked her one bridesmaid to wear any dress in a shade of blue. "I asked that all of the family members wear different shades of blue, but didn't want anyone to have to go out and get something specific that they probably wouldn't wear again," says Rosemary. "She wore a satin sheath dress that was perfect."

the groomsmen
Sophie Epton

Right-Hand Men

Joe wore a custom suit made from a local retailer, GSP Men's Clothier. "The owners were amazing and worked brilliantly to get this one-of-a-kind suit made before the wedding day," says Rosemary.

The groom paired his jacket with white slacks, suspenders, a bow tie, his late father's cuff links, blue suede shoes, and socks that the couple's daughter gifted him on Father's Day with her face as the design.

the couple's first look
Sophie Epton

The Happy Couple

To couples that are in the thick of the planning process, Rosemary and Joe recommend focusing on the most important aspects of the day—and trying to make it fun. "In the end, no one else will remember the number of centerpieces you had or if there was something missing or out of place," says Rosemary. "The memories come from the love and laughter you will all share that day."

the wedding venue
Sophie Epton

Floral Courtyard Ceremony

Rosemary and Joe's ceremony took place in a private courtyard at Rancho Valencia Resort. Wooden chairs with white cushions were set up on the courtyard tile; the aisle was decorated with flowers and greenery by Tularosa Flowers.

wedding floral arch
Sophie Epton

Meet Me at the Altar

Seasonal flowers and branches created an organic installation that grew up the venue's columns and the arch placed at the altar.

the wedding ceremony
Sophie Epton

Sweet Exchange

As soon as Rosemary made it to the altar, Joe's first instinct was to pull her in for a kiss, making for one of the bride's favorite memories of the day. "I had to pull away and say, 'Not yet!' and everyone laughed," says Rosemary. "It was perfect!"

cocktail hour booth
Sophie Epton

A Dive Bar-Inspired Cocktail Hour

The couple's date nights at their favorite dive bars inspired the theme for their cocktail hour, which was reinforced by a decal that read, "A Guy Walks into a Bar…A Girl Smiles." Another station featured rust-colored fringe lamps and leather barstools.

Their friend, Todd Goodnough, played acoustic guitar during this portion of the event. "He is one of the best guitar players, and Joe and I often hire him and his band, Modern Day Moonshine, at our house for parties," the bride says.

signature wedding cocktail drinks
Sophie Epton


At the cocktail hour, Rosemary and Joe offered two signature drinks: a spicy mango margarita and a strawberry St. Germain sip. "We didn't want our guests to have to wait to get a drink," says Rosemary. "We made sure to have the signature cocktails and two bars available for drinks—we know our crowd!" Guests also enjoyed passed appetizers including hamachi sashimi, mini short rib grilled cheese sandwiches, and heirloom tomato tartlets.

pitcher wall
Sophie Epton

The Pitcher Wall

Attendees found their table numbers on a large terra-cotta backdrop that held beer pitchers with their names calligraphed on the front. The seating display read, "Pitcher This" and was decorated with peach-and-violet flowers.

reception tent
Sophie Epton

Tented Affair

The reception took place underneath a white sailcloth tent. Some tables were set up with cane-back chairs, while others were paired with modern brass seats in white or blue.

reception seating
Sophie Epton

Light It Up

Greenery-embellished market lights hung in the tent alongside fringed, velvet, and glass pendant lights.

reception lighting
Sophie Epton

Take Your Seats

Each table held low centerpiece arrangements with bud vases and terra-cotta-and-blush taper candles in glass votives. The octagon-shaped table numbers served as a nod to the couple's invitation suite.

reception place settings
Sophie Epton

Perfect Place Settings

Each place setting included terra-cotta and wood dinnerware, navy brass flatware, dark blue glassware, and linen fringe napkins. Arched menus created by Prim & Pixie rested atop each plate.

wedding welcome speech
Sophie Epton

Warm Welcome

One of Rosemary's favorite moments from the wedding day was when Joe took the microphone from the band to deliver an epic welcome speech. "He totally killed it!" the bride says.

reception charcuterie
Sophie Epton

Late-Night Bites

The newlyweds offered a large Mediterranean charcuterie board as a late-night snack.

the chocolate bar
Sophie Epton

The Chocolate Bar

For dessert, the planning team at Amorology created a custom chocolate shop to display a mix of treats.

the chocolates
Sophie Epton

Satisfying the Sweet Tooth

Instead of a wedding cake, Rosemary and Joe decided to offer an array of chocolate bites from Hey There, Cupcake.

the wedding couple at the reception
Sophie Epton


Photography, Sophie Epton
Venue and Catering, Rancho Valencia Resort
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Amorology
Flowers, Tularosa Flowers
Invitations and Paper Products, Prim & Pixie
Bride's Dress and Veil, Low's Bridal; Maggie Sottero
Bride's Hair and Makeup, Amanda Thorne
Bride's Jewelry, Nikki & Co.
Bride's Shoes, Badgley Mischka
Groom's Attire, GSP Men's Clothier
Music, Half Moons
Dessert, Hey There, Cupcake
Rentals, Adore Folklore; Catalog; Borrowed Blu; Bright Rentals; Backup Backdrops; Hostess Haven; BBJ

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