Chantal Yakou and Tyler Merritt threw the ultimate San Diego wedding. The SoCal natives decided to stay local, incorporating their love of California in every detail of the day—from the ocean views and beach-inspired floral designs to the Mediterranean food and Spanish-style venue. “We really wanted the whole day and experience to be personalized,” Chantal says of their vision. “It was very much an eclectic mix of us and our families.”
Nothing reflected family more than Chantal and Tyler's reception venue, the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. The couple chose the location after Chantal’s father suggested it: It's where he and Chantal’s mother married years prior. It didn’t hurt that it also offered a blank slate for their bohemian aesthetic. Similarly, Chantal and Tyler exchanged vows at Torrey Pines State Reserve, a location they selected for its panoramic views of the Pacific and proximity to their birthplace in La Jolla.
Both spaces were filled with neutral tones highlighted by pops of copper, amber, and fuchsia. Eucalyptus and pampas grass, accents of cacti and grapefruit, and canopies of bougainvillea added to the romantic boho vibe, while creative cuisine, music, and guest activities (hello, cigar rollers!) kept the couple's 150 guests entertained. “If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change anything,” adds the bride.
Chantal and her bridesmaids got ready together on the wedding morning. Her squad wore matching robes and fun slippers while sipping drinks.
“I fell in love with my veil first, then I picked my dress to go with it,” Chantal says of the cathedral-length headpiece and Rue de Seine gown.
Chantal’s bridal accessories included floral touches, like her Lele Sadoughi earrings and Jimmy Choo shoes. She also carried her grandmother’s rosary down the aisle, a tradition upheld by every woman in her family.
Tyler and his groomsmen kept things classic in tuxedos and bow ties. That said, Tyler’s bespoke ensemble had two creative twists: It was forest green—his favorite color—and embroidered with the couple's wedding date.
The ruffled skirts of the bridesmaid dresses reflected the Spanish inspiration for the day.
“Torrey Pines Reserve has always been a magical place to us and somewhere we went often,” Chantal says of their ceremony location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Her florist created an asymmetric backdrop (made of eucalyptus and pampas grasses) to frame the couple as they exchanged vows.
After an escort down the aisle by her father to Youth Lagoon’s “Cannons,” Chantal shared personalized vows with Tyler in a seaside ceremony.
“My favorite memory moment was being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Merritt for the first time,” Tyler says. “The confetti cannons went off, which was a surprise to Chantal and I. The energy was so high. You could feel the love.”
Once at the reception venue, guest found their seat assignments attached to modern gold rings hanging from a tree on the property.
The couple's Spanish boho theme came to life in the reception deco with fuchsia bougainvillea adding color to the neutral outdoor landscape. Tables were set below rattan lanterns and decorated with arrangements of peachy blooms, fresh fruit, and copper accents.
“I wanted it to feel like a beautiful romantic feast,” Chantal says of the dinner decor. Tables were finished off with cut glass chargers, copper mugs, and speciality coupe glasses. Florist Bloom Babes filled low arrangements with pastel heirloom hydrangeas, roses, and jasmine, then placed them amongst sheer runners, grapefruits, and pillar candles.
Guests dined on a Mediterranean-inspired menu and sipped two signature cocktails, a margarita and a martini, inspired by Chantal and Tyler’s mothers: Jeesh-a-Rita and Tere-tini.
Chantal and Tyler shared a first dance to “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins.
Hey There! Cupcake created the couple’s four-tier buttercream cake, which was filled with Oreo & confetti flavors. "Picking out the cake was the easiest part of wedding planning," Chantal admits.
After cutting into their floral-covered cake, the bride pulled her hair back and threw on an embellished cape for dancing. "If I could offer one piece of planning advice, I'd say to focus on the items that make an impact," Chantal advises.
The couple set off on a mini-moon to the Surfrider Malibu in Malibu, California. “It was just so surreal,” Chantal says of marrying Tyler in front of their closest friends and family. “We couldn’t believe it was real life.”
Wedding Planner: RO & Co. Events
Ceremony Venue: Torrey Pines State Reserve
Reception Venue: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Officiant: Marco Yakou
Bridal Gown: Rue de Seine
Veil: Untamed Petals
Jewelry: Lele Sadoughi
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair: Dry Bar Del Mar
Makeup: Ashley Fierro
Bridesmaid Dresses: Plum Pretty Sugar
Groom’s Attire: Klein Epstein & Parker
Groom Shoes: Ted Baker
Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux
Flower Girl Attire: Etsy.com
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Custom
Flowers: Bloom Babes
Invitations & Paper Goods: Twinkle & Toast
Music: DJ Matt Phipps
Catering: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Cake: Hey There! Cupcake
Accommodations: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Photo Booth: Union Booth Co.
Cigar Rollers: El Canito Cigars
Videography: The Hubs Films
Photography: Whitney Darling Photography