A Retro Glam Wedding in California
Amanda and Tim
Wedding blogger Amanda Halbrook knew Timothy Dawbarn was her type when she first laid eyes on him at a party, but it would take more than a year, and a James Bond theme party, for the pair to move beyond friendship. After a decade of dating and a move out west, Tim proposed to Amanda on a Romantic trip to Italy. What followed was a retro-glam affair filled with DIY elements, a hint of espionage, and some Bond-worthy martinis.
Plentiful Welcome Bag
The Bride's Clutch
The bridal bouquet mixed garden roses, dahlias, anemones, and astilbe, and included a locket holding photos of Amanda’s mother and grandmother.
Amanda’s Art Deco accessories went along with the day’s retro vibe.
Bridesmaids chose their own Amanda-approved black-and-white dresses. To pull the looks together, she added sparkle to classic peep-toe pumps with Mod Podge sealant and gold glitter, then wrote personal notes on the soles.
As thank-yous to her bridesmaid crew, Amanda assembled gift boxes of themed goodies: custom polka-dotted fabric envelope clutches (with their names printed inside), matching bracelets from the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, embroidered hankies that read “For your tears of joy,” pink nail polish, and MOR Neroli Clementine soaps.
How’s that for a sole-ful message: “I wrote notes to each of my bridesmaids on the bottoms of their shoes,” Amanda says. The girls also glitzed up the heels of their classic black peep-toes with Mod Podge and gold glitter.
To Have and to Hold
The couple had their first look on a path that led from the venue to the ocean. “I think we had a lot of nerves leading up to that moment, but after that, everything just became fun,” Tim says.
Tim, in a Versace suit, and Amanda, wearing a Jorge Manuel gown, posed at the entrance to Casa Romantica, the historic oceanfront estate in San Clemente, where they wed. “At first, I thought there was no way I was going to get married at a place called Casa Romantica,” Amanda says, “but it felt so exotic, like a mid-century jetsetter spot where James Bond would come to play a card game.”
A Good Sign
The groom cut out the directional signs that were placed around the venue on the big day, and the bride's friend Jenna, a calligrapher, painted on the lettering.
The bride created the program layout and printed the booklets locally. “I was able to take care of a lot of things on my own,” she says. “It was totally stressful, but also so fun.”
Ring Bearer and Flower Girl
Tim’s nephew and niece handled their assignments as ring-slash-sign-bearer and flower girl like pros.
Amanda’s sister-in-law, Michele Dawbarn, stitched a vintage handkerchief into a sentimental ring pillow, held together in the center by an antique rhinestone button that belonged to Amanda’s grandmother.
Ceremony With a View
The pair exchanged vows with the Pacific ocean as their backdrop; Amanda’s father, a former minister, officiated. The glitter-covered runner was a festive, last-minute decision (and a project done the day of the wedding by the couple’s event planners).
Post reception, guests sipped custom cocktails with the Pacific Ocean as their backdrop.
Of the four cocktails served, the tomato-vodka-basil–based Italian Summer— a nod to the site where Tim proposed—was the most popular (below left). The other drinks riffed on old-school rum-based recipes and were served in vintage barware Amanda collected especially for the wedding.
James Bond Cards
Cocktail servers handed out vintage beach-themed playing cards that Amanda had inscribed in gold with quotes from 007 films.
Stylish Cocktail Accessories
The bride designed the napkins and coasters for cocktail hour.
100 Layer Cake Crew
The bride toasted with her 100 Layer Cake cofounders.
Pretty in Polka Dots
The dress worn by this bridesmaid (and calligrapher—she did the lettering on all the directional signs at the venue) was a perfect match for her dotted highball glass—one of Amanda’s Rose Bowl Flea Market scores.
Have a Seat
Amanda styled her escort-card display after the tassel-accented room keys at the Beverly Hills boutique hotel Maison 140, designed by Kelly Wearstler.
The Escort Cards
Amanda used a gold pen to handwrite escort cards (made from oversize sequins and white upholstery tassels), styled after room keys at the Kelly Wearstler–designed hotel Maison 140 in Beverly Hills.
Hand-painted signs led to kale salad, shrimp skewers, and short ribs.
Amanda not only made the cocktail napkins, coasters, matchbooks, and menus—she and Tim also came up with the menu’s contents. “We didn’t have a theme, we just picked things that sounded good and that we like to eat—kale salad with watermelon and chickpeas, farmer’s market avocado-and-carrot salad, shrimp skewers, grilled broccolini—and all the vegetables were sourced from local farms,” Amanda says.
The Table Settings
Sparkly tabletop details such as rented 24-karat-gold-plated flatware and massive pink gem-shaped favors, along with vintage glasses and custom dinner napkins, made a glamorous yet playful statement.
A gold-sequin heart pointed the way to Amanda and Tim’s dessert table, whose centerpiece was a split-level cake. The gilded confection featured chocolate ganache and salted caramel with buttercream on top, and vanilla, lemon, and raspberry sheathed in gold fondant below.
Rounding out the dessert display were key lime tarts, strawberry macaroons, a smattering of See's candies, and smaller cakes by iconic LA Bakery Porto’s—tres leches, carrot, coconut cream, and tiramisu.
Amanda slipped into a shimmering Monique Lhuillier gown for the reception.
Retro Glam Accessories
A Twigs & Honey veil and Nicholas Kirkwood shoes finished the bride’s look.
The First Dance
"Tim whisked me out onto the middle of the dance floor as our friends and family gathered around and a chandelier glimmered overhead," said Amanda. "We twirled and laughed--it was straight out of a dream!"
A never-used vintage scrapbook purchased on Etsy became the guest book, and Amanda added tiny envelopes and patterned tape to each page so guests could tuck personal notes and miniature Fuji Instamax prints inside.
Guests took home Amanda’s chocolate-covered potato chips— "They sound like something Elvis would have eaten,” she says—in striped bags.