Michael and Anna met in Palm Desert near a dog park. While walking her dog, Anna told me every time Michael, who she hadn't yet been introduced to, was walking his dog. As they approached each other their dogs would start barking and pulling uncontrollably on their leashes so Anna and Michael never really got a chance to talk. Anna said when she would see Michael walking down the street she would actually try to duck-out and go another way so the dogs wouldn't be all crazy. Michael told me he was always looking at the clock hoping and timing when he walked his dog, hoping Anna would be there. Well something in the stars lined up for Michael and Anna because on one such occasions the dogs were quite calm and allowed him to introduce himself to Anna and strike up a conversation. It was, as they say, animals can sense things. I have to say I'm pretty sure the dogs had a role in this romance.
The ceremony and reception was held at "Occasions" located on Pacific Coast Highway in the downtown Laguna Beach area. In the same complex as the cliff restaurant. The view at Occasions Laguna Beach is breath taking. Great venue for your ceremony and reception. Andrew is the GM at Occasions and creates a stellar wedding day experience for discerning couples. Beautiful day in Laguna Beach. Thank you Anna and Michael.
Both Eric and Albertina have a very infectious smile and disarming nature. They are quick to laugh and enjoy laughing! They really don't take themselves too seriously and when a little bump in the road would cause most brides to freak out or at least have a little movement of drama Albertina shows a smile and rolls on. Case in point. As Albertine was getting into her wedding gown there was a small panel the concealed her back and it was missing. Albertina had no problem saying, "oh well I guess everyone gets to see my back". Several suggestions were offered such as we could fold a napkin because it's white, another idea was thrown out and quickly rejected due to the complexity of the process. Honestly it wasn't a big deal and Albertina didn't make a big deal out of it either. I truly admire that spirit of ok, that's that and move on. I get it, it's hard sometimes because you plan your wedding for months and months. You want everything just right. We are imperfect human beings and nothing will be perfect and by lowering our rigidity, life can be a lot of fun.
I thought it was really fun that they incorporated their love for sci-fi and Disney's movie "Up" into the theme of their wedding. While I do not fully appreciate or understand Star Trek the pendants and bracelets made for interesting photos and a very personal touch to their wedding. The movie Up was really heartwarming and I really liked that movie. Love, love, love the cake that Albertina made herself for the wedding. Yes she made her own wedding cake. She sculpted the chairs from the movie Up. How cool is that? Maybe that could earn her a Cake War's spot?
So let's talk about the reception in detail. The actual space is a courtyard in a park like garden setting. They also have at the conference center a few conversation pits or areas set up that in my opinion are extremely stylish and chic. Orange County weddings have the advantage of beautiful and mild weather so holding the reception outdoors is a common but so amazing thing.They had a photo booth set up with props and scrapbooking supplies available to the guest so they could creative and have a good time making a personalized memento for the couple. The Photo Booth option, continues to be a very popular activity and guests love it! People just love putting on a funny hat or wig and jumping in the Photo Booth. It's not old just yet. They also had a street magician or up close magician who wowed the guests as they stood in line for food. The magician also worked the crowd during the cocktail hour. He was awesome! His tricks/sleight-of-hand, really captured the imagination. How in the world does he do that? I'm still trying to figure out this one thing he did and I think I might be on to his wily ways. Because of the noise ordinance there can't be any live music outside so conveniently just off the courtyard is a room where they set up the DJ and dance floor. It was actually a brilliant transition from the outdoor area going into a club like environment. Lights flashing and smokey fog and a eclectic mix of music. You had EDM for those who wanted to shake their booty and you also had some Mexican music that filled the dance floor quickly as well as a few slow songs for the romantics feeling romantic. Can't stress this enough that your DJ is crucial to the success of your wedding. Even if you're not dancing you want to visually enjoy watching others dance and be in a very festive mood. Alby and Eric were having a great time with their family and friends dancing and then even forming the Congo line. That's a sure sign of a successful DJ when people enjoy dancing in a line through a room Believe me that stuff don't just happen as a matter of fact. You got to work up to that point. Fun night. When people think back to this wedding they go oh my god that was the greatest food, kimchi from Korea-town and a taco truck, orange soda… Great wedding! Really fun. Thank you Albertina and Eric.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MENU
Wedding food has gotten more sophisticated and gourmet. Interactive stations and decadent dessert buffets or candy buffets allow you to create a very personalized menu for your guests. It can be one of the things that your guests will most remember about your wedding. Making an effort to create a thoughtful menu and selecting a vendor or cater to carry art your culinary vision is a must. Envision your menu and what kind of meal you want to serve? What kind of food do you like? Your culinary statement should be a statement about the two of you.
Some of the best wedding food I ever had was from a taco truck. I've also seen tasted amazing food at a wedding from a barbecue truck. Another wedding I photographed treated their guests to a late night, after-party nosh treats from a "In and Out" food truck. Perhaps you're a foodie. Passed apps are great! Mini bites like sliders or skewers. I photographed a destination wedding that took place at a full-on "fine" dining establishment. There were 35 guests and 18 courses. 12 WINES! Wow what a journey. Another idea is to go with the traditional fare through your caterer or venue but then go crazy with a candy bar or a dessert bar. People absolutely love, love, love these options-especially the latter. It kind of lets the kid out and you go right back to the candy store. It also creates a real photo op for your orange county wedding photographer!
Let's talk about ways to save. Tuna tartare and filet mignon? Sounds great but it's obviously going to cost you a lot more than a salad and chicken Milanese.
Another way to save at the bar is by serving a signature cocktail. Chic fun and also you reduce the number of liquor bottles opened because everybody's drinking a signature cocktail. Along with your signature cocktail offer beer and wine and you have a party! Your wedding does not need to be standard. There are a million options and choices. Get creative and have fun.
Growing up in Chicago you learn quickly in the city that you tend to put up a barrier so others don't take advantage of you. When you're surrounded by palm trees ocean breezes and beautiful surroundings you tend to let down your guard and just enjoy yourself.
In Laguna Beach the majority of people are laid-back and not all Agro. However there are exceptions to the rule when planning a (. Tip of the day for those out there planning a beach ceremony (how romantic is that)? The thing is you don't own the beach, the beaches are open to everyone. That's a good thing but when your saying you nuptials the last thing you want is to have a homeless guy about two feet away from your face screaming, "KISS HER!!! - KISS HER… KIIIISSSSS HER!!", and that's exactly what happened at a Laguna Beach wedding ceremony I was photographing. Yeah, an uninvited guest emerged from the bushes just as the ceremony began and eventually he made his way down to the beach and stood about two feet from the bride and groom just over the shoulder of the officiant. Shirtless, screaming, high and drunk.
I know what you're thinking… So how was the situation handled? The officiant was a rather tall man and he had quite a range is vocal chords. He turned to the drunk fool and in a calm very deep very stern voice with bulging eyes slowly and with out any doubt told the drunk: "go, you will go now". It was like the fear of God was installed into the intruder, he started shaking and slowly walked away backwards.
The hotel wedding coordinator quickly arrived on the scene and informed the homeless man that the police have been called and that he better get as far away from this wedding as possible. He took off running.
Here's where an off-duty officer really could've come in handy. Since the beach is public an off duty police officer who can diffuse situations like this and keep bothersome drunk and unruly people from creating really awkward and uncomfortable moment. It is after all, your WEDDING CEREMONY!
Sure, it's a rare and a extreme story… it's just a side note in the memory of the wedding but I think you would agree if it hadn't happened it would definitely have been better. Guess what? There's more. While we were shooting wedding photographs up near the hotel on the sidewalk, as the Bride was posing for a picture she was partially, blocking a portion of the sidewalk. Sort of bottle-necking the sidewalk. An extremely rude woman and man began verbally accosting the bride. Quite a few F bombs were dropped as this trashy duo passed by and told her she had no right to block their path and that she was a F'n … whore. Pretty extreme behavior from Walmart clothed tourists and the homeless guy, but still, two incidents in one day.
When you're in a public area with a lot of tourists, not everybody plays so nice all the time. Alcohol and controlled substances are often the culprit. Lesson learned? The good investment is somebody to watch your back. It's sad to think that you may need to hire security at your wedding.
I recommend to every couple that is planning a beach wedding to consider security.
© STEPHEN ORLICK