This flamingo-themed pool party wedding is LIFE

Updated Jan 6 2016
Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride
Photos by C Mudlo Photography & Justin Nunez Studio | Photo booth photos by Focus Photo Suites

The Offbeat Bride: Kat

Her offbeat partner: Rob, photographer

Date and location of wedding: Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club, & Bungalows in San Diego, CA — October 3, 2015

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

Both Rob and I have family all over the country (and beyond), so if we were going to ask them to fly out to California for our wedding, we wanted them to feel like they had a true vacation. What's more fun than a pool party wedding with flamingos and tiki drinks, set in a gorgeous vintage classic hotel? Our palette was inspired by the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, with dark green banana leaves, soft pink flamingos, black and white, silver and gold, and a whole lot of vintage Hollywood flair.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

To set the tone and give people time to plan ahead, we skipped regular save-the-dates and sent beach balls branded with a pink flamingo and our wedding date with our wedding invitations about six months in advance.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingos seemed like the perfect symbol of the union of two beautiful weirdos (if we do say so ourselves), and while I got a beautiful flamingo tattoo from Oakland artist Jake Diamond beforehand, Rob chose a flamingo signet ring from Aussie jeweler Cort Jewellery. We had flamingo invites, place cards, tiki straws, drink skewers, pool floats, and we spray painted flamingo lawn ornaments gold for our centerpieces. Our groomsmen's bow ties even came from a Vancouver business named The Green Flamingo. Could it be more flamboyantly perfect? (A group of flamingos is called a "flamboyance" — get it?).

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

We were married in the Lafayette Hotel's Conservatory room, with vintage umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, heavy velvet curtains for added drama, and a beautiful view of the pool from where we stood at the altar. We loved the hotel's funky mix-matched seating, giving our guests options for chairs, couches, and benches.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

I realized I'd forgotten to order an altar when I walked through the venue the day before and saw this beautiful homemade trellis with big white paper flowers set up for another wedding. Thankfully, the brides were more than happy to part with it after their wedding, and we were set. We heard later that a wedding after ours' used it, too. I can't think of a better "something borrowed!"

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

We'd recruited my hero Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear to officiate our wedding, but when his plans fell through (it was the same weekend as his new show's premier — what timing!), our fabulous friend, actress and comedian Dana Moore was waiting in the wings with barrel curls and a fabulous tropical dress.

I gave my bridesmaids seashell clutches as both their gifts and something to carry down the aisle in lieu of bouquets and the effect was fabulous and budget-friendly. I wore a pink gown that I had designed myself.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

My husband and I both winged our vows, but not without each making sure to add in a cheesy movie line for good measure.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

After ice breaker games at cocktail hour, our guests wandered into the hotel's Mississippi Ballroom for sangria tiki drinks at their tables. Each place setting had a "tiki kit" and the flamingo centerpieces were surrounded by a tray of fresh-cut fruit waiting to fill their sangria glasses.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

As feminists, we opted to change our names together, so we planned a "grand reveal" with big gold letter balloons hid behind the sweetheart table, and had each of our siblings, along with our maid of honor and best man each hold up a balloon to spell it out as we first walked in the room.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

After dancing, flamingo cake pops, tiki drinks, and a rowdy bouquet toss, our guests had a costume change and headed out to the Lafayette's legendary Weissmuller Pool, the home of decades of epic pool parties. The hotel's pool DJ played old school hip hop as we broke out the margaritas, inflatable cheeseburger, flamingo floaties, and wedding beach balls. We didn't request to keep the pool private, so when we made our grand entrance to the pool and made our way to the end for our plunge in the deep end together, we got a huge cheer from all of the partiers.

We ended off the evening with burritos from a nearby taco stand and a group trip to San Diego's Mission Beach for a bonfire and s'mores.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

In hindsight, there are a few places we could have cut back on budget without our guests noticing or caring (premium napkins, flamingo place cards, and fancy flamingo invitations, for example), but if we had to do it all again, we would put these three things at the top of the must-have list:

  • Day-of coordinator<
  • Photographer
  • Photo booth

Our day-of coordinator, Kellene of Betty Blue Events was an invaluable investment to our sanity. There were problems that we only heard about after they'd been solved, and when we had extra room on our bar tab, she talked the hotel into giving us margaritas by the pool. There were problems that we only heard about after she'd solved them. She is an absolute goddess.

The thing you'll never fully understand until you're experiencing it is how much of your wedding you just won't see as the couple — that's why photos were so important to us. I spent so much time picking out dresses and ties, designed my own dress, and even helped my mom pick out her outfit, but I didn't get to actually see any of that walk down the aisle as the bride. We hired two photographer friends of ours at a discount, and with one capturing more live-action shots and the other specializing in fashion and product shots, we ended up with two very cool perspectives on our wedding day.

Flamingo-themed pool party wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vendors

Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Oh, how I LOVE the theme and general look of your wedding! It also looks like FUN was had in industrial amounts <3 Congratulations to both!

  2. What a gorgeous gal and a dapper dude! Loved these pictures so much! Makes me wish for warmer weather right now haha 😉

    • Me too! We weren't planning to have a cake because we had the flamingo cake pops, but then my MIL bought us a vintage cake cutting set at a yard sale, so we had to hustle to find a cake on short notice! I'll admit – I fibbed and told them it was an Anniversary cake because I didn't want to pay "wedding rates," and I didn't want someone to try to talk me into something more grand. The cake we ordered (blood orange ricotta, omg) was just right.

  3. I think this is the most fun-looking wedding I've ever seen on OBB! You definitely pulled off that holiday-feel for your guests 🙂

  4. I had a flamingo themed wedding! I hope you're prepared for 11+ years of flamingo themed gifts from everyone in your life. AND still having a box of plastic pink flamingos in your basement. It's wonderful 😉

    • Oh yay, a fellow Flamingler! We took a box of leftover gold flamingos with us on our honeymoon and left some of them in strategic places around Palm Springs. They also made great Xmas lawn decor this year, hehe. And yes – the number of flamingo gifts has been major already! I am going to run out of wall space for flamingo pictures here pretty soon, haha. At least my tattoo has gotten me discounts at my favorite vintage shop :).

  5. The fact that they made their wedding fun for everyone, without making it expensive or not their style, is too, too amazing. I'm using their example as inspiration as we plan our own (not as vintage-Hollywood-chic) wedding. Thank you for sharing this one!

    • I'm so genuinely excited to hear that! I am a big fan of finding budget ways to make a big splash. My maid of honor Rachel and her husband told me early on to choose 3 words to describe the wedding we wanted, and then use those words to plan every part of our wedding. Our words were "fun, flamingos, and pool party." It really helped us narrow down what was important and what wasn't.

      What's your theme?? What's your date?

  6. First Off: It's so cool that you both changed your name. I suggested the same thing a while ago to my boyfriend of 6 years. I want to get the idea in his head so he can start adjusting to the concept. I like the unity of a shared last name, but as a fellow Feminist I struggle with the idea of taking his name.

    Second: LOVE the dress! It is so flattering on you and the color and style are just generally beautiful and a great fit for your overall vibe.

    Third: I live in San Diego and Extraordinary Desserts is awesome. I'm not one to seek out boutique dessert places but even so this is my special occasion go-to.

    • I've been hinting along with the mixed last names as well, and finally got some input from the FH. While it wasn't what I wanted to hear (he'd rather we just keep our own names, and even wants future spawn to have my last name), it's prompted more conversations about gender roles and expectations for our married lives.

      • One of my friends had parents who kept their last names and the son was given his father's last name and the daughter her mother's. I thought that was a nice way to keep both names around in the next generation. I wonder if they would have done one name each regardless of the sex of their children.

    • Choosing a name from the combination of our last names was a really fun process involving a Scrabble board at a friend's BBQ and a few friendly strangers (we didn't have an engagement party) to all take a turn mixing letters. Eves was the only name that instantly struck a chord. If your other half is into the idea, my husband and I both felt like it was a memorable moment in our engagement and a neat exercise for really thinking about what it means to be married.

  7. Love love love!! Living vicariously through such fun photos! Question- you designed your dress, did you make it? I'm interested in designing something and having it custom, but not sure if it's the route to financially. If you commissioned it, what was that experience like?

    • Good question! I modeled for a bridal wear company in exchange for a wedding gown, and then actually landed a job with the company as the lead stylist. I was fortunate enough to be able to design the dress myself and have it made by our dressmakers gratis, with the possibility of it ending up as a product for sale on their site. For some unfortunate reasons, I ended up having to quit that job 3 weeks before the wedding (talk about stress!), so I'm not eager to mention their name. Long story short, I had an unusual and lucky situation most won't have.

      However, I can tell you that depending on the design of the dress and how elaborate you want it to be, working with a seamstress to create a custom dress can actually be a more affordable and tailored option. If you want things like beadwork, sequins, lace, those things will
      cost a pretty penny, but if you want something on a simpler side, it can work out. I'm helping a fellow plus size bride design her own dress right now and we are doing budget checks every step of the way. Do you have an idea of what you want, yet?

    • Thank you! That was all Tiffany Cleveland at Artistry by Tiffany (linked in the vendors above). I was very lucky to have a friend who does wedding hair and makeup for a living. Talk about a great wedding present!!

  8. I love everything about your wedding, it was unique and I can tell it all was very YOU 🙂 What a fun idea!

  9. Oh man I love everything about this wedding and that dress is amazing!!! I love how you made it fun for everyone and a vacation for your out-of-town guests. Just wow. I love everything! Congratulations Kat and Rob!

  10. Not only does your wedding look amazing, it looks like the most fun I can remember having at a wedding, including my own! Kudos to you for putting together such a wonderful party. Everyone looks amazing and the smiles are worth years of memories.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.