Kristine and Scott in Carmel, CA

A summer bride and her easygoing groom wed in a charming coastal town

Kristine Mellor, the quintessential California girl, lived for beach weekends with friends and sunsets with her dad. So of course the 29-year-old middle school teacher would shoot for the shore when planning her July wedding to Scott Gardner, 35, an energy investor. "I wanted everything to feel fresh, alive and summery," says Kristine, who decided that the small town of Carmel would be a divine destination for a weekend wedding. "It was like a little vacation for everyone," she recalls.

Come Saturday afternoon, the 200 guests traded in swimming togs for more formal attire and gathered at the quaint seaside All Saints Episcopal Church, where Kristine and Scott exchanged brief and simple vows. The couple then hopped into a vintage Rolls-Royce and headed to the Tehama Golf Club, known for its cliff-top ocean views. Summer fruits, bright blooms and coral accents decorated tables set up beneath a billowy tent. In lieu of favors, Kristine and Scott kept to the seasonal theme and made a donation to Summer Search, a group that sends low-income kids to camp.

Though most of the revelry took place under the lantern-lit shelter, the bride—her groom in tow—slipped out to see the last of the day's rays. "Sunsets are very special to me, so when I have the chance to catch one, I take it." Spoken like a true belle of the beach. —Kim Acosta

Our Favorite Things

A Seaworthy Sign-In: In honor of San Francisco's Fish Bowl bar—the site of Kristine and Scott's first love connection—the couple asked guests to write their best wishes on fish-shaped paper, then drop them into fishbowls. (Goldfish crackers swam about in the welcome bags.)

What's Old is New Again: Kristine's veil incorporated lace from her mother's wedding dress and a bow borrowed from her grandmother's gown.

Giving Dad His Due: Kristine surprised her father with his favorite dessert, apple pie, and his own cake-cutting ceremony. "He paid," she says. "He should get what he likes!"

An "A" for Effort: Two of Kristine's eighth-grade students hunkered down in her living room and helped assemble the welcome bags provided for out-of-towners.

Scott’s smart Brooks Brothers suit, paired with a coral and cream striped tie, echoes the day’s fresh feel as the couple strike a pose on the sand.