Julia and Nicholas's first meeting was classic California: They met riding bikes on the boardwalk at Newport Beach. Eight months later, they were engaged. For Julia's birthday, the couple went on a morning hike in Monarch Beach. Nicholas surprised her with the new camera she'd been dying for, as well as a night at the nearby Ritz Carlton Hotel. Once at the hotel, the couple headed outside to test out Julia's new camera as the sun set. While Julia fiddled with the settings, Nick reached into his pocket and pulled out a letter Julia had written her father when she was little. When she recognized what it was, Julia realized that Nick could only have the letter if her father had given it to Nick himself. When she looked up from the letter, he was down on one knee, ring in hand. Of course she said yes!
A two-year engagement allowed Nick and Julia to go with the flow as they planned their simple, modern wedding. "Since we were getting married four days before Christmas, we wanted a wintery feel that wasn't too over the top," Julia says. "We looked for a venue that would be a blank canvas, allowing us to create whatever setting we wanted." On December 21st, 2012, the couple danced the night away with 175 guests at 7 Degrees in Laguna Beach.
Julia eschewed traditional white for a full-skirted mermaid gown in blush pink. "I wanted something a little different," she says. "I'm by no means a girly girl, but when I saw this gown, I had to have it!" Layer upon layer of chiffon ruffles filled out the dramatic train.
Julia paired her gown with a bouquet of pink roses studded with crystals, white ranunculuses and hydrangeas.
The couple's 8-month-old daughter served as their (absolutely adorable!) flower girl. "She wasn't quite walking, but she did wonderfully," says Julia. "She smiled at everyone and clapped throughout the ceremony."
The ceremony took place on the rooftop of 7 Degrees, just after sunset. Guests were greeted with a glass of champagne, and then were seated under a tent lit with paper lanterns for the short and sweet ceremony.
Nick and Julia's wedding party was outfitted in shades of gray. The bridesmaids' soft gray gowns complemented Julia's blush pink and carried soft white bouquets.
The reception's cool blue tones gave the space a wintery feel. "We didn't want to waste flowers, so we used succulents in concrete vases and just a few floral arrangements," says the bride.
The couple's first dance was to an acoustic version of John Legend's "Stay With You." Then, the volume was pumped up and the couple and their friends danced all night. "We had a hard time with my bustle," Julia says, "but my photographer saved the day!"
Instead of stacking the tiers of the cake, the couple served four individual cakes in different flavors: White chocolate, vanilla, tiramisu, and red velvet. Clusters of buttercream flowers were the tasty finishing touch.
A sparkler send-off was the perfect ending to the evening. "The best compliment I received about our wedding had nothing to do with the details," says Julia. "It was that guests could feel the love we share, and had a wonderful time making memories with us." And isn't that what it's all about?
Ceremony & Reception Venue: 7 Degrees || Bride's Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero || Jewelry & Wedding Bands: Traditional Jewelers || Groom's Attire: Burberry || Music: Ceremony - John Troy, DJ Julius || Catering: 7 Degrees || Cake: Family Friend || Photography: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography