This Oceanside Wedding in California Was Inspired by Wanderlust
Mykaela and Brendon Salisbury can't agree on when they first met. When it comes to a love of travel, however, they're happily on the same page. That's why it not only served as the theme for their September 1, 2018, wedding, but also why Mykaela had no idea Brendon's proposal was coming.
Earlier in the year, the couple went on a vacation to Bora Bora, which might set off engagement alarms for some girlfriends, but not Mykaela. "I truly did not think that Brendon would be proposing on this trip because, as avid travelers, we have been to a few amazing locations that were proposal-worthy," she says. "I just figured this was another one of our fun getaways." But on their very first night, Brendon arranged for Mykaela, his girlfriend of six years, to be transported by canoe to an island where he was waiting on one knee.
Ironically, their Laguna Beach, California, wedding took place a mere 10 miles from their Corona Del Mar home, but it was still a celebration of the couple's shared passion for seeing the world. "Our wedding was designed as elegant, coastal, and romantic, with a subtle travel theme," Mykaela says. But the even more apparent theme was something else Brendon and Mykaela can definitely agree on: Their enthusiasm for their life together, wherever they may go.
In fact, as they planned their wedding, they realized that preparing for their nuptials was—in some ways—like plotting out the trip of a lifetime. "It was interesting to see all the pieces finally fit together," Brendon says of the day. "It can be a bit of a chore to select what the water glass is or what type of candle, but when you put it all together with the design choices, the venue, the people, the music it creates something special."
Brendon took it upon himself to research and design Mykaela's engagement ring with the help of jewelers Simone & Sons. "I could not have done a better job than he did," she says. And they were both so happy with the results that they returned to Simone & Sons for Brendon's simple platinum wedding ring and Mykaela's delicate band that pairs perfectly with her stunning diamond.
Mykaela's talents—she's the director of graphic design at an architecture firm—were put to breathtaking use for the wedding's dusty blue invitations. She got help from her family when it came to stuffing each envelope and placing the liners.
Brendon and Mykaela knew they wanted a wedding on or near the beach, which made the Montage an easy choice. "Although Mykaela is an Arizona girl, we both have made our home in Orange County and plan to keep it that way for the future," Brendon says. "The Montage really represented the beauty and amazing scenery we have literally in our backyard."
But it wasn't just the proximity to the shore that informed the decision. "We fell in love with their landscaping and outdoor areas," Mykaela says. "It was the most perfect background for the day."
Mykaela and Brendon's wedding day took place only six months after they got engaged; the bride found that the abbreviated time span made selecting the perfect wedding dress more high-pressure. "When first searching for a dress it felt really stressful because, everywhere I went, they'd tell me how close I was cutting it and how unsure they were of what I could get here in time." Luckily she found a gown she adored at a shop that promised to get it to her with plenty of time for alterations.
Found with Family
It wasn't until Mykaela's sister set up a day for the two of them, as well as their mother and Mykaela's sister-in-law, at Arizona's Uptown Bridal that she felt really confident in her dress search. "We had the best day there with the best service, and thankfully I found my favorite dress by Enzoani."
Mykaela's sister also came through in the shoe department. She gifted the bride a gorgeous pair of Badgley Mischka satin wedges with an open toe and lace-like loops of crystals. "They were perfect for the ceremony, which took place on grass," Mykaela says.
Mykaela envisioned soft, beach colors for the wedding, and with the help of Lovelyfest, their wedding planners, it became a reality with shades of pale pink, blue, gray, and metallic hints throughout the ceremony and reception's décor.
Her flowers kept with the color theme thanks to Idlewild Floral, who created a romantic, not overly structured bouquet that the bride loved. "They were the most gorgeous flowers I have ever seen," she gushes.
Brendon hit the jackpot at Ralph Lauren, finding his entire wedding-day look from the designer right off the bat. "It was the first one I tried on, and it was perfect," he says of the black tuxedo he chose. "I didn't even bother to try other options." He completed it with the designer's patent oxfords and black bow tie.
His seven groomsmen—all close childhood friends—wore lighter tuxes: handsome gray rentals from Friar Tux.
Mykaela's sister served as matron of honor, while her sister-in-law and five close friends stood by her side as bridesmaids. The ladies looked stunning in classic gowns by Two Birds—this particular convertible design can be styled over a dozen ways—in "Dusty Blue."
Setting the Scene
"It was great to see all our friends in the crowd or standing by our side, and seeing our dog, Henley, greet guests as he came down the aisle with Mykaela's nephew was hilarious and adorable," Brendon recalls of the ceremony. It was one Mykaela's favorite moments, too, but not her most noteworthy highlight. "We hadn't done a first look, and he had no idea what type of dress I had chosen or anything," Mykaela says about making eye contact with her groom for the first time as she approached the altar. "I loved seeing his reaction as I was walking towards him."
In addition to walking his daughter down the aisle to Debussy's "Claire De Lune," Mykaela's father, Robert Riehle, also officiated the nontraditional yet religious ceremony. "It felt incredibly personal and full of love," she says.
Vision of Love
The 155 guests were seated on a grassy lawn facing the ocean. As they enjoyed the incredible view on that perfect 76-degree day, they were treated to the couple's love story prior to their vows, letting everyone who might have known the bride and groom individually get to know them better as a couple.
Tag, You're It
The travel theme became especially apparent as guests sought their seating assignments for the reception. Leather luggage tags in the wedding's dusty hues—each one with "Bon Voyage" written in gold script—were hung next to attendees' names on acrylic walls that were flanked by multicolor vintage globes. When the tags were flipped over, celebrants were directed to their tables not by numbers, but by the names of the various locations Mykaela and Brandon had traveled to over the course of their relationship.
Surrounded by Softness
The dining tables were placed underneath and in between a beautiful wooden structure built by Lovelyfest, with the head table facing the ocean. In addition to soft white draping, floral garlands flowed from crystal chandeliers down to the tables, which were covered in a variety of linens, from pale blue velvet to pink silk and sequined runners.
Perfect Place Settings
Casa de Perrin provided light blue crystal water goblets, Italian stoneware scalloped charger plates, and Heath Ceramics peach bread and butter plates.
Lovelyfest designed the menus to resemble a passport booklet, with each guest's name printed on the front. Tassels attached to the menus indicated the meal attendees had previously chosen: A blue tassel meant fish, pink indicated beef, and dark pink reflected a vegetarian meal. And in addition to a list of the courses, the menu also included a photo of the Mykaela and Brendon in the location the guest's table was named after.
White, pale blue, and peach napkins were also customized with different facts about the couple in rose gold foil—a little detail that added a lot of fun to the dining experience.
Mykaela and Brendon's first dance was the definition of unexpected. "Our first dance was to 'Runaway' by Ramin Djawadi—it's an instrumental cover of a Kanye West song that Brendon and I love to sing together," Mykaela explains. "We first heard the cover while watching Westworld together."
Tiers of Joy
"We wanted to keep the design simple, so Montage created a tiered white cake with a floral arrangement flowing down," Mykaela says of her classic confection. Flavors included moist chocolate cake with salted caramel whipped chocolate ganache.
Photography, Ashley Ludaescher
Venue, Catering, and Cake, Montage Laguna Beach
Event planning and stationery, Lovelyfest Events
Flowers, Idlewild Floral
Videography, Real Media & Productions
Officiant, Robert Riehle
Bride's gown, Enzoani
Makeup, Koah Arellanes
Bridesmaids' dresses, Two Birds
Groom's suit and accessories, Ralph Lauren
Menswear, Friar Tux