A California Wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point With Old-World Charm

Real Weddings

Though their families had known each other for years - Fitz's parents were guests at Kilian's parents' wedding in 1967 - Kilian, 34, and Fitz, 38, didn't meet in person until the summer of 2009, when a family barbecue brought them both to Chicago, and to one another. In August of 2012, a 24-hour trip to Ft. Worth was kicked off with a proposal, marking the beginning of Kilian and Fitz's six-month engagement.

As Kilian puts it, "Our vision was...a very intimate party with touches of our favorite things. Our goal was to make our wedding really fun and a big celebration of love." Shades of orange and pink gave the day a romantic West Coast feel that was a true reflection of the couple and their relationship. Wed on March 16, 2013, their ceremony at the Serra Chapel at the Mission San Juan Capistrano and reception at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point were pure California love.

Simple, elegant invitations by Crane & Co. were accented with scrolled calligraphy.

Fitz proposed with an emerald-cut diamond ring. His big plan, to propose to Kilian with a bowl of ring pops after dinner in Dallas, was scrapped when Kilian's flight was delayed. Upon her arrival in Ft. Worth, she dropped her bags at the hotel and made a beeline for the elevator down to the restaurant. Only when she realized that Fitz hadn't followed her down the hallway did Kilian return to their hotel room to discover him down on one knee.

Kilian "had a vision" of her dream wedding dress. She knew she wanted lace, as well as a design that coordinated with the style of the church's Spanish architecture. Monique Lhuillier's talent with lace made the dress selection an easy decision.

Glitter-covered Christian Louboutin pumps added a playful twist to the classic lace wedding dress.

A cathedral-length mantilla veil was the finishing touch on Kilian's bridal ensemble. The veil has been in her family for over 50 years, and was worn by her mother, aunts, cousins, and sisters. "It was very special to wear it on our wedding day."

Kilian's classic all-white bouquet featured peonies, roses, ranunculuses and sweet peas. The mix of petals created soft, delicate texture.

The towering Spanish architecture of the Mission San Juan Capistrano provided a striking backdrop for portraits of the wedding party.

Killian's bridesmaids were outfitted in coral-hued frocks from J.Crew's bridesmaid collection. Kilian had her six bridesmaids pick their favorite style in this cheery hue, which they accessorized with nude pumps and statement necklaces. Pink peony bouquets played off of the bright dress color.

The groom and groomsmen were outfitted in classic black tuxedos.

The traditional architecture and Old-World details of the Serra Chapel provided a beautiful background for Kilian and Fitz's first look.

"We are a very Catholic couple, so getting married in the Catholic Church was important to us," says Kilian. "The Serra Chapel is intimate and beautiful, so we were lucky to have our ceremony in such a holy place."

Fitz's sharp tuxedo, accented with a white peony boutonniere, is by Tom Ford. He stuck with tradition, pairing the notched lapels with a classic bow tie.

Fitz and Kilian love to travel, so they had a sign made with all of the places they'd visited together. Destinations ranged from Los Cabos to Cape Town.

Salt-rimmed margaritas awaited guests at the cocktail hour, setting the mood for the celebration to come.

Kilian gave a nod to her native Orange County by featuring sliced oranges in the flower arrangements. Here, an oversized arrangement of sweet peas, hydrangeas and peonies decorate the table of escort cards, which were created by Jen Simpson Design.

A mariachi band greeted Kilian and Fitz's 145 guests as they arrived at the Ritz-Carlton. Says a guest, "They definitely set the tone for a fun fiesta celebrating you both!"

The bride and groom went on an African safari for their honeymoon shortly after the wedding, so they named each table after an animal they hoped to see on their upcoming trip. The table names were printed in a peachy-coral hue, matching the tablecloths and arrangement of peonies, orchids and sweet peas.

Raspberry-colored tables were topped with branches of white phalaenopsis orchids and hanging tea lights.

Though the main focus was the dessert and candy bar, Fitz and Kilian also cut into a coconut cake with cream cheese filling. Pink peonies and gold bands gave the simple cake some festive flair.

"Fitz loves candy, so instead of serving a traditional wedding cake, we had a dessert bar with sweets and a separate candy bar with the groom's favorite candy selections," says Kilian.

The bride and groom shared their first dance to Ben Folds' The Luckiest. Kilian's tips for couples currently planning their weddings? "Make lots of lists, get recommendations from a friend, and hire Brooke Keegan as your wedding planner! You'll be so glad you did!"

The couple left the reception through a wave of sparklers, heading toward a safari honeymoon - and happily ever after. Kilian say that married life has been pure bliss, and that her wedding day was "the best day I've ever had!"

Ceremony Venue: Serra Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano || Reception Venue: Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel || Planner: Brooke Keegan || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Hair: Alissa Smith of Meche Salon Los Angeles || Makeup: Berit of Makeup by Berit || Veil: Family Heirloom || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Jewelry: Van Cleef & Arpels || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew || Groom's Tuxedo: Tom Ford || Invitations: Crane & Co. || Paper Goods: Jen Simpson Design || Florist: Karla Flores of Elegant by Design || Catering and Cake: Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel || Music: West Coast Music || Rentals: La Tavola Linen, Chiavari Chair Rentals || Lighting: Lighten Up Inc. || Favors: Pacific Photobooths || Transportation: VIP Limo || Videographer: Artisan Production|| Photographer: Lane Dittoe Fine Art Wedding Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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