Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a while since we put anything out on our blog, but we got married AGAIN and figured there was no better time than now to tell you all about it.
For those of you new here…Hello. We are George and Hanna of the American and the Brit. We met in 2017 on a backpacking trip in Thailand. We have been sharing our love for travel and each other for nearly 6 years now online and this December we got married for the second time.
Now we know what you may be thinking…why did we have not one, but two weddings? Well, we got married in 2020, peak pandemic, at the courthouse in England, with all of our loved ones on zoom. Don’t get us wrong, despite the world shut down we managed to have a pretty special wedding, however, we always felt there was something missing. We really missed having our family and friends physically present on our special day.
It’s often said that one of the best things about weddings is having all the people you love most in one room and after almost two years of distance and isolation, we figured having a celebration like this was something we all deserved. We wanted to celebrate our love with all our nearest and dearest in California, Hanna’s hometown.
Planning The Wedding
Planning a destination wedding in California from the UK was not the easiest. Between the time difference and the inability to visually see things in person, we spent months going back and forth with many different vendors. None of this day would have been possible without the help of Hanna’s mom, dad, step-mom, and best friend Kate. Therefore, one major tip we have when it comes to planning a wedding is to not be afraid to ask for help. The truth is, it can be really overwhelming, and having a support system to help you will definitely help make the process more enjoyable!
When it came to finding vendors to work with, we started from ground zero. We were one of the first of our friends to get married so did not have many recommendations to go off of. We spent weeks trying to narrow down vendors we felt delivered quality service at a price that would fit within our budget. We can honestly say that every vendor we worked with exceeded our expectations, therefore we wanted to make this blog post to share them with you to save you time planning! If you and your partner are planning to have a wedding in San Diego, definitely check out their work.
Wedding Coordinator: Indiana Yaley @indianayaley
Indiana was our right hand on the day of our wedding and was there to make sure everything ran smoothly. Having a wedding coordinator may seem like an expense you can avoid and do yourself, but trust me when I say, it was probably one of the best things we decided to invest in. Leading up to your big day will bring some stress and there is nothing you want to avoid more than having to coordinate all the last minute details yourself when you should be enjoying the moment. Indiana worked with us to help coordinate with our vendors, she set up everything in line with our mood boards, and break it down after. If you are in San Diego and need a wonderful coordinator, we’d definitely recommend her.
Florist: Elegant Touch Floral Designs – Sheri
We were head over heels in love with our florals and have so many great things to say about Sheri. Sheri came as a recommendation to us from Indiana and is known for delivering high-quality floral designs at an affordable price. I’m not going to lie, during our initial search for florals, I was dumbfounded by the prices we were being quoted. It felt like as soon as they heard the word ‘wedding’ every vendor increased their rates. What I loved about Sheri were her attentiveness and expertise. We had three different zooms calls with her before the big day to agree on which flowers to use. She knew everything about each flower, their seasonality, and where to source them. She also did such a wonderful job of taking my inspo photos into consideration and beautifully re-created the vibe I was going for. I felt like with her we had a more tailored experience as opposed to working with a large floral vendor. If you need flowers for an event in San Diego, please email her here:
Photographer: Schaelynne DeHaan – @dehaanphoto
Finding someone to beautifully capture your big day is crucial for any wedding. As photographers ourselves, we knew that we wanted to find someone with a similar style when it came to composition and editing. We found Schaelynne on Instagram and after seeing her work, we knew she’d be the perfect fit. Schaelynne was amazing to work with. Not only did she make us feel comfortable, she was really efficient, ensuring that all the photos we wanted were captured. We met with her over zoom a few times before the wedding and worked on a shot list together. Another wonderful thing about Schaelynne is her turn-around time. We’ve had friends wait months to get their images back, but what we loved about Schaelynne was her ‘sneak-peak’ gallery. Just a few weeks after our wedding, we were given a handful of initial images that we could share with our loved ones and online. By giving us access to a few photos quickly, we were able to wait a few extra weeks for the rest without worry. If you need a photographer and you are in San Diego, definitely check her out. Be sure to book ahead for weddings as her diary books up fast!
Venue: Zel’s Del Mar – @zelsdelmar
Having a restaurant in the family sure did come in handy when we were planning our wedding. We had our reception at the beach, but after renewing our vows, we celebrated our day at Zels in Del Mar. Zels has been in the family for over a decade and is a beautiful restaurant just blocks away from the beach. We were able to completely redecorate the interior and transformed the space for a wedding. If you are in need of a venue for either a wedding or a private event, you can reach out to the team at Zels and enquire about private hire.
Catering: Sara Polczynski – Seasoned Plates & Fridas Tacos @fridas.taqueria
We are big foodies so when it came to feeding our guests we wanted to have a variety of options. Since this wasn’t a traditional wedding, we opted for tray-passed canapes and a taco truck instead of a formal sit-down meal.
The canapes were a great way to start the evening and Sara put together a really tasty menu for us. We had grilled steak and horseradish sliders, ahi poke, parmesan herb polenta, Bahn mi bao buns, and curried chicken salad. It was a mix of dishes we loved but also tied in some Asian influence to pay homage to where we met.
The taco truck was set up halfway through the night and into the later evening to help feed guests off the dancefloor. We chose to have two protein options and one vegetarian option. The food was incredible and tasted so authentic. We also decided to pay a bit extra to have the homemade tortillas and definitely would recommend this. It make the tacos taste even better and the team/staff at Frida’s were extremely friendly and helpful.
Gifts: Lisa Studio Lowen – @studio.lowen
The options are endless when it comes to bridesmaid’s gifts, but I always knew I wanted to get my closest girlfriends something meaningful. Rather than go the traditional route and get them all goodie baskets, I decided to buy them each a gold necklace with their initials on it. I figured that having a piece of jewelry would be more sentimental and something they could always wear and remember me by. Once the necklaces were purchased, I realized I wanted something special to keep them in. That is when I found Lisa and her beautiful leather goods.
Lisa is an artist based in the UK known for making incredible handmade leather accessories and gifts. I found her on Etsy, but instantly knew her work was quality after seeing photos of them on her shop website. Her small engraved leather jewelry pouches were the perfect vessel to gift my necklaces in and something I knew my friends would be able to keep and re-use. Each pouch was a different color and had my bridesmaid’s initials monogrammed. The quality of the leather was incredible and I could tell that these pouches would be another sentimental keepsake for my friends. If you are looking for a more creative and unique gift for your bridesmaids, I’d highly recommend considering her accessories as an option. Plus it’s always great to support female-owned small businesses/artists!
Cake: Susie Cakes @susiecakes
We love the cake at Susie Cakes, so as soon as we learned they did wedding cakes, we were sold. Their cake is always so moist and delicious and all our guests were raving about the taste. We went for a three-tier cake with each layer a different flavor. The top was red velvet, the middle was a carrot cake, and for the last layer, we went with the classic Susie Cakes celebration funfetti flavor. It was so yummy… and we are still thinking about it!
Rentals: More Rentals @morerentals
Even though we were having our wedding at a restaurant, there were still elements we wanted to rent. We had to make room for the dancefloor and wanted to have some belly bars throughout the venue. We also needed chairs and some extra tables for the guests to sit at. More rentals was a great company to work with because they were efficient with their delivery and pick up, but also had a great variety of options. Their pieces really fit in well with the entire vibe we were going for and we were really happy with the quality.
Our wedding was hands down one of the best days of our entire lives. We felt extremely grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate our love after a two-year pandemic with all our closest family and friends. All of these incredible vendors and artists helped make our wedding day one we will never forget and for that, we can only say thank you! Hopefully, this post has helped inspire you and guide you to find wonderful people for your own wedding.
Xoxo Hanna and George