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Richelle and Tom
Richelle Menezes (a legal assistant) and Thomas Regan (a lawyer) met in a fitting place—law school. Thanks to assigned seating, they landed next to each other in an early morning class. Richelle was awake enough to realize the cute guy to her side—and that he arrived promptly each day with a container of bacon. But seeing as neither of them are morning people, there wasn't much chit chat. The following semester, Richelle and her friend needed another person to carpool with to score a good parking spot, so they decided to invite Tom. He lived downtown and didn't need to drive, but was more than happy to have a free ride. So the girls picked him up on the way to school, usually stopping for coffee, and drove back in the afternoon—getting to know each other along the way.
That summer, the trio met up for a carpool reunion over lunch, and Richelle and Tom started dating shortly after. Two-and-a-half years later, they were living together, and two months after that they adopted Maximillion, a miniature Schnauzer. Between all the new phases in their relationship—not to mention awaiting bar results, Richelle even joked it'd be a while before they got engaged. But Tom surprised her on a walk in their San Diego neighborhood one night after work. "I was blabbering away like I normally do, when suddenly I felt Max stop and pull at the leash," Richelle remembers. As she turned around she saw Tom down on one knee.
When it came time to become husband and wife in the eye of the law, the couple didn't go far from home. On Saturday May 23, 2015, along with 132 guests, they tied the knot in La Jolla, California, at Mary Star of the Sea church and followed with a celebration at Darlington House. With a shared appreciation for details and craftsmanship, Richelle and Tom worked with their planner and event designer Heather Balliet of Amorology Weddings to customize their big day as a reflection of themselves. Visuals inspired by the bride's collection of Kate Spade dresses (her mother taught her to buy good party dress if it's on sale because you'll never know when you'll have a party) and a menu that incorporated the groom's favorite morning snack made for a wedding that was 100 percent them.
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The Graphic Stationery Suite
Amorology Weddings created a design board for the celebration and sent it to Cassie Templeman of Peanut Press Creative, who was given creative freedom to design the stationery from there. "I've learned the more room you give a creative to play, the better your results are," Richelle says of the process. Cassie came back with three initial options and one spoke to the bride from the get-go. It had geometric shapes, a spotted envelope liner with hand-painted gold accents, and witty wording, like "you bet your bacon" instead of a traditional "yes" on the response card. A silhouette of the couple's beloved dog made an appearance on the reply envelopes, which, like the main envelope, were sent using a mix of current and vintage postage.
"Heather, Cassie, and I were on an email chain for a few days discussing everything from the color of the twine to tie the components together to how to address the reply envelopes," Richelle recalls. "The exchange reminded me of the scene from The Devil Wears Prada where they're all trying to figure out what belt to put on the model. We obsessed over every detail to the suite, because in my mind it's what sets the tone for the event and gives your guests a taste of what they're in for."
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Originally set on a gown with sleeves, Richelle called a few salons to inquire about their inventory and schedule appointments. With her mom, sister, and best friend, she went to the first store, and tried on a few options. And then something happened with the last dress. "The minute I put it on and looked in the mirror a cold pool rushed over me and I knew it was it," Richelle says. "When I went to take it off I knew without a doubt it was my dress." She paired her Alencon lace, embellished boatneck, fit-and-flare Cristiano Lucci gown with blue Manolo Blahnik pumps, a 14-foot veil and a Swarovski crystal headpiece both made at The White Dress, and David Yurman jewelry borrowed from her mom. Known for sporting a red lip, the bride went for it on the big day too, wearing Chanel lip stain in "Ever Red".
Tom wore a Calvin Klein tuxedo from Men's Wearhouse, with a blush pink tie and tie clip by HJV Designs. Tom gave his groomsmen and the fathers matching tie clips and money clips engraved with their initials. And Tom received a gift himself—Richelle gave him a pair of Ferragamo Italian leather loafers that he'd been eyeing.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Tint + Timber created the bride's bouquet, using some of Richelle's favorite flowers—peonies, poppies, and roses. Hellebores, astilbe, and trailing ribbons rounded it out.
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The Bridal Party
Bridesmaids wore a mix of fit-and-flare dresses that kept with the "Kate Spade party dress vibe." Richelle ordered a bunch of dresses proposed by Heather and laid them out in her house to see how they'd work together. After a few modifications, the bride matched each dress to a particular member of the bridal party to play up their style and personality. She also intentionally kept her matron-of-honor and maid-of-honor in similar ivory shades. Richelle also gave each girl a pair of gold Kate Spade earrings, which they wore with black or metallic shoes and petite bouquets of roses, peonies, and ranunculus. As for the littlest lady? Richelle's cousin served as a flower girl, wearing a white tulle Fattie Pie dress and rose gold bow from Kate Spade in her hair.
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The bride and groom's mothers entered the ceremony to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" and the bridal party followed to Andrea Bocelli's "The Prayer" played on the strings. Richelle took the traditional route for her arrival, walking in with her father to the sounds of "Canon in D" by Pachelbel. "I am the oldest and the first to marry, so it was really emotional," she recalls of her processional. "Honestly, it could have been a Geico commercial for all that mattered. All I saw was Tom. It was like walking on a cloud."
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Close family members recited traditional Catholic readings during the service, which took place in the Mary Star of the Sea church.
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Postceremony, the couple headed to an ivy-covered building nearby to pose for portraits taken by photographer Acqua Photo. It was moments after Tom's favorite part of the day—their recessional up the aisle at the church. "I couldn't stop smiling at my new wife, thinking how lucky I am to have married this amazing woman," he says. "I just thought, 'Gotchya for life now!'"
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A Love Bug
Then the couple drove around in a red vintage Volkswagen beetle that had once belonged to Tom's grandfather and dad, decorated with a "Just Married" window cling from Kate Spade. "Riding in the bug to the reception I remember I kept saying, 'hi husband' and Tom would say, 'hi wife,'" Richelle says of a favorite part of the day.
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A Signature Drink
The newlyweds honored their dog by dubbing their signature drink "The Maximillion." The cocktail was a mix of grenadine, ginger ale, and vodka, and was served with acrylic stir sticks in the pup's likeness.
Two weeks before the wedding, Tom and his dad took a trip to June Lake Brewery (of which they are part owners) to can all of the beers that would be served on the wedding day. A menu at the fête alerted guests that the beers had been bottled with love by the groom and his father.
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Dinner tables were arranged in the rose garden of the Darlington House, where the couple created a space that evoked a fancy little outdoor cocktail party with inspiration from mid-century modern geometrics, playful patterns, party dresses, and light-heartedness. They brought fun and funk to the space by mixing round tables covered with sparkly linens and stark white long tables dressed with geometric black-and-white runners, all set with black bentwood chairs. Blush and ivory tones, accented by other shades of pink, gold, and black popped against the natural surroundings.
Everyone feasted on salad, French herb-roasted chicken, boneless short ribs, and sides of oven-roasted vegetables, and Yukon gold potato, cauliflower, and goat cheese purée.
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The Table Décor
Blooming peonies in striped vases dotted the tables, along with pink vessels holding smaller arrangements of roses, hydrangeas, spray roses, poppies, tulips, and anemones. Graphic table numbers that echoed the invitation's envelope liner guided guests to their seats.
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The Place Settings
At each seat, a pair of pink glass plates and mix of pink glassware was flanked by gold flatware and topped with a hot pink napkin and black rock candy, which served as favors. The black-cherry sugary treats' sticks were all painted gold by the bride for extra flare.
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A Custom Rebus
A storywall designed by Amorology Weddings and created by Backup Backdrops outlined how the couple met. In true rebus form, some of the words were illustrated with actual items. Once the dancing started, guests also posed in front of the wall, which served as the backdrop for an AmigoBooth photo booth. The wall is now installed in the guest room of the newlyweds' home, and the pics from the photo booth were made into a photo book through Shutterfly.
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Inspired by the couple's save-the-date—which boasted a photo of the couple, a small packet of confetti, and the words "save the date and cue the confetti"—Amorology Weddings designed an alternative to the traditional guest book. Prompted by a sign reading "cue the confetti and leave us your wishes" guests wrote fun things and advice on notecards for the newlyweds.
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Inspired by the phrase "Escape the Ordinary" that often can be found on the tag of Kate Spade's clothing, and how it summarized the eclectic combination of elements throughout the celebration, a custom backdrop with those three words anchored the reception space behind the decadent dessert buffet.
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Bringing Home the Bacon
Upon closer inspection, the dessert table offered several treats that included bacon as a nod to Tom's law-school breakfast: mini chocolate cupcakes with candied bacon and chocolate-covered bacon brushed with gold luster dust. The signage also had guests giggling, with plays on words like "Don't Go Bacon My Heart" and "Bring Home the Bacon." Champagne macarons, passionfruit macarons, and New York style cheesecake bites were also on offer.
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Cake designer Stevi Auble of Hey There, Cupcake! took a look at the fête's mood board, and sent over a sketch of the cake. "I fell in love with it and no tweaks were made," Richelle says of the fondant-covered three-tiered confection. The flavors mirrored the bride and groom's love for coffee and chocolate—with one tier being a dark chocolate cake filled with layers of Godiva liqueur-infused whipped chocolate ganache and dark-chocolate pieces, and another tier going the vanilla latte route via a vanilla-bean cake layered with espresso-flavored Swiss meringue buttercream, crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans, and white chocolate ganache.
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Dancing with Dad
Richelle got her love of classic rock and music from her father. Growing up, they'd go on road trips and he would play songs by Van Morrison, James Taylor, Tom Petty, and the like, singing along or sharing a story about the first time he heard a particular song. So Richelle chose "Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon, another classic musician they listened to back in the day. "It was a really emotional moment," Richelle says. "Even our videographer said editing it made him tear up."
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Dancing with Mom
Tom's mother picked out "Twist and Shout" by the Beatles for their dance together. "We didn't practice," Tom recalls of the lighthearted song selection. "But it got people ready to dance."
And dance they did, with help from their DJ, who played a mix of classic rock, country, top 40, and some other popular wedding songs. He threw in a few Portuguese songs for Richelle's family for some special dances, too.
During the festivities, the couple took a minute to stand off to the side of the dance floor and watch all of their friends and family dance and have a great time. Holding hands, watching all of the people they love and care about in one place, celebrating their love—they both felt it was a powerful moment.
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Photography, Acqua Photo
Locations, Mary Star of the Sea in La Jolla; Darlington House
Locations, Amorology Weddings
Catering, Crown Point Catering
Flowers, Tint + Timber
Videography, Kavin Lindgren Films
Stationery, Peanut Press Creative
Calligraphy, Twinkle & Toast
Cake, Hey There, Cupcake!
Desserts, Sweet Lydia's
Music, Zene Strings (ceremony); Hit It Music Productions (reception DJ)
Rentals, Borrowed Blu (glassware and plates); Classic Party Rentals (bentwood chairs); Farm Tables & More (long tables); Hostess Haven (flatware, napkins, table runners); La Tavola Fine Linen (round table linens)
Bride's gown, Cristiano Lucci
Bride's veil and headpiece, The White Dress
Hair and Makeup, Chels + Huani
Groom's tuxedo, Calvin Klein
Transportation, Elite Image Limousine Services
Valet Parking, Preferred Valet Parking
Photo booth, AmigoBooth