A Bright, Colorful San Diego Wedding Inspired by Smoothies
A Bride's Guide to a Picture Perfect Wedding
, a tome that instructs couples exactly how to carefully design an Instagram-worthy big day. Cavin took her own advice for her April 7, 2019, wedding to David at The Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, California; her colorful celebration featured plenty of photographic details, such as seat assignments scripted on fresh fruit, a citrus-hued invitation suite, and a sky-blue wedding dress. The result? A celebration that stands out from the classic, neutral weddings we so often see.
In fact, the fête was inspired by smoothies—which should properly foreshadow the explosion of color you're about to experience. The fun theme, of course, has a story. As Cavin explains, she met David online. They had bantered back and forth, but their trail of messages had gone cold. (David wasn't responding.) So, Cavin got an inspired idea: She noticed he liked smoothies—he'd mentioned it in his profile—so she messaged him one more time to ask for a recipe. It worked. He replied—and the conversation never stopped again. "Just to be clear, I had zero intention of making those smoothies," Cavin says now. "Those were my smooth moves." When wedding planner Amorology heard this story, a theme was born: smoothies and fruit, full of bright color.
Cavin says 55 guests attended day, which she describes as "fruity, festive, and full of pink with a focus on honoring our personalities through a unique and authentic celebration."
Europe in California
"We chose the Fairmont Grand Del Mar because it was the closest thing we could get to Europe in San Diego," the bride says of their venue choice. "The Fairmont has gorgeous Mediterranean pink walls, cypress trees, and exquisite architecture."
Other selling points? Plenty of spots for picture-perfect portraits and the opportunity to host a completely al-fresco event. "This topped our venue priorities list," Cavin continues. "We wanted guests to experience the sunset and evening under the open skies."
Tiny Trinkets, Big Ring
Cavin loves miniature things—knowing this, David incorporated tiny treats into his proposal. On a five-year-anniversary trip to Catalina Island, California, he had three mini presents delivered to Cavin at their hotel room: a tiny cat figurine, a tiny kitten figurine, and an engagement ring. "It was a very meaningful and adorable way to propose," she says.
Cavin had picked the rose-gold ring, designed by Jean Dousset, two years prior, she reveals. "David moves very slowly and finally began the purchase process about six months before the proposal and four-and-a-half years into dating," she says now.
The couple's invitation suite, designed by Twinkle and Toast, spanned a fruit-forward rainbow, from grapefruit pink to banana yellow. An invitation card that "depicted a drawing of our venue on stunning hand-torn coral paper" was a stand-out piece, Cavin says, adding that she loves, "the softness of the paper paired with the bold color."
First Look Nerves
As a wedding photographer, Cavin knew how special a first look can be. But that doesn't mean she wasn't nervous: "I was nervous about how David would feel about my gown," she admits, "since it was very unique. He loved it so much and told me I looked so beautiful!"
The Brightest Wedding Dress
When it came time to shop for her wedding dress, "I knew I wanted a non-ivory gown and something that had a couture look," Cavin explains. She found a floral blue tulle Marchesa number that spoke to her: "My favorite part of the gown is the texture from the floral embroideries and the velvet pink ribbon," she says. Later, she would ask her florist, Compass Floral, to use matching ribbon to tie her bouquet—which was just as colorful as her dress.
The Perfect Fit
"Although he doesn't look small, David has a slender build—that made it difficult to find a tux that could be properly tailored to his frame," Cavin says. But fit was important to this wedding photographer: "I believe a baggy or ill-fitting tux can make even the most sophisticated groom look incredibly frumpy and disheveled," she says. So, the couple "scoured" several shops until they could find a classic, clean-cut black tuxedo that David didn't swim in.
An Editorial Bouquet
Cavin describes her bouquet as "large" and "editorial," made with ranunculus, garden roses, peonies, fuzzy tulips, and daffodils—the latter being her favorite childhood flower.
Two Bridesmaids, One Brides-man
Two bridesmaids—and one brides-man, as Cavin calls him—were asked to choose their own outfits for the big day. "I showed them a visual representation of the color palette, as well as a few suggested options, and they sent me their choices for me to review," she says of this process.
Straight to the Party
Since Cavin and David had already tied the knot back home ("We opted to skip a public ceremony to have a private courthouse ceremony by ourselves prior to the wedding day," she explains), the couple and their loved ones walked right into their party. "Guests honestly didn't miss [witnessing a ceremony] at all and loved that they were able to get straight to celebrating our love and mingling with each other."
Dried Fruit Bar
The bar was a priority for Cavin—but not in the way you might think. She very much wanted a "wagon wheel market light setup with hanging smilax" in the reception area, she says, and also pictured "a round bar that would serve as the center point for the lighting truss." That's exactly what she got—but she put a thematic spin on the vision by decorating the station with fruit garlands.
Smoothie Seating Chart
Cavin and David dreamed up a unique seating chart: A "smoothie wall" that displayed blenders and fresh fruit with guests' names and assignments written on each piece. The wall was created by Back Up Backdrops.
Guests were later treated to Jamba Juice smoothies. (These Smeg blenders were just for display.)
A Dynamic Reception Setup
To create dimension in the reception space, "I wanted a mix of round and long tables covered in soft velvet linens," Cavin says. Round tables were covered in French blue textiles, while rectangular tables were covered in neutral-bone fabric.
Pink Candle Light
On all tables, "pink taper candles were lit to give the reception soft and romantic lighting and beautifully complemented the blush dinnerware and coral pink napkins," Cavin says.
For her centerpieces, the bride pictured asymmetrical mixes "featuring mostly flowers and small pops of greenery," Cavin describes. And her vision—as well as Compass Floral's execution—pleased guests. "Guests loved the asymmetrical shapes of the centerpieces, since most had never seen anything other than tight ball-shaped arrangements," she says. "People were texting me days after to say how obsessed they were with the flowers!"
Fruits and Veggies
And for the cuisine? "As a vegetarian, I made sure we had the option of a roasted seasonal vegetable strudel to accompany the other two choices of mirin-glazed Chilean sea bass and a violet mustard-crusted New Zealand chop," Cavin says.
Cavin and David marked their chairs by decorating them with fresh fruit slices.
Since the celebration was held on an expansive green, lawn games—including croquet—were a must.
Cavin worked with Compass Floral to incorporate colorful, but organic arrangements into so many big-day moments—integrating blooms into the venue's layout was also a priority, as evidenced by this climbing installation, which was anchored against two nearby pillars.
Ready to Mingle
The bride cites being able to mingle with each and every guest during the evening as one of her most special takeaways: "We attended all of our cocktail hour and appreciated that we were able to spend a few minutes with each guest. That was hugely important to us!"
An Array of Cakes
Cavin and David displayed this three-tiered cake, with clean lines of blush and gold and plenty of lush flowers, from Hey There, Cupcake!. But they sliced up and ate a confection from Nothing Bundt Cakes, made with layers of marble and red velvet. "It's our favorite cake and I made sure to eat an entire piece after cutting it with David," Cavin says. "Many of my brides only eat one bite, so I was determined to enjoy an entire slice!"
The Dessert Spread
Other desserts, also from Hey There, Cupcake!, included passion fruit tartlets, white chocolate-covered Oreos, mini s'mores, and mini apple pies.
Putting the "First" in First Dance
For their first dance, Cavin and David took a spin to "Goodbye Horses" from Q Lazzarus. "Most people know the song from a classic thriller movie, but don't know who sings it or what it's called," Cavin says. "One night out with David, early in our relationship, I heard the song playing over the speakers of the bar. I said how much I loved the song and he asked if I even knew what it was. I said, 'Yes, it's 'Goodbye Horses' from Q Lazzarus.' He was so impressed—he also loved the song. When I was pondering what music to choose for our wedding, that was literally the only song I could think of that had shared history for us."
The couple took two classes to prepare for the moment—a necessary pre-wedding task, since they'd never—not once—danced together. "Somehow in over six years of dating, we'd never danced together. Our first dance was our literal first dance!" says the bride.
Photography, Tenth and Grace
Location and Catering, The Grand Del Mar
Event planning, Amorology
Fashion styling, Cavin Elizabeth
Flowers, Compass Floral
Stationery, Twinkle and Toast
Day-of Paper and Calligraphy, Four Things Paper
Stamps, Little Postage House
Music, Impressions San Diego
Bride's gown, Marchesa
Bride's shoes, Michael Kors
Hair and makeup, 10.11 Makeup
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, SD Social Lights
Smoothies, Jamba Juice
Backdrop, Back Up Backdrops