A laid-back, seaside military wedding

California, Real Weddings

Photos: Melissa Koehler with Jena Olson

Grace and Chris met through mutual friends at a barbecue in 2002. "Chris was so interesting to talk to, and I remember leaving the party with a big smile on my face," says the bride. The couple got engaged while living in San Diego and decided to host their wedding there. They chose the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa for their venue. "I used to ride my bike by the resort and would swoon over the weddings taking place," says Grace. She wore a Cymbeline minidress with silk flowers at the hemline. "I didn't want to look like a princess," Grace says. "I wanted something sexy and sweet." Chris, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, wore his dress blues. The alfresco reception was also held on the lawn.

The reception was illuminated by strands of lights and tall "floating lanterns." Lighting was by Concepts Event Design. For dessert, guests helped themselves to cupcakes arranged on old-fashioned Coke crates. The couple posed for portraits on their tandem bicycle. "My favorite part of the night was the very end," says Grace. "We gave glow sticks to our guests and everyone stood on the boardwalk as Chris and I rode away on our bike with the Beach Boys' song 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' playing in the background. " The couple later rejoined guests for the after-party at a nearby beach house. See more photos from this couple's wedding here.

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