The offbeat couple: Kat & Rob
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.
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.
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?).
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.
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!”
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.
My husband and I both winged our vows, but not without each making sure to add in a cheesy movie line for good measure.
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.
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.
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.
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<
- 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.
- Photographers: Chelsea Mudlo Photography & Justin Nunez
- Dress: Designed by Kat Eves
- Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS & ASOS Curve
- Venue: Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club, & Bungalows
- Day-of Coordinator: Betty Blue Events
- Photo Booth: Focus Photo Suites
- Cake pops: Flamingo Cake Pops
- Wedding Cake: Extraordinary Desserts
- Beach Balls: Branders
- Florist: Carmen's Flowers
- Hair & Makeup: Artistry by Tiffany
- Bride's Bathing Suit: Swimsuits for All