Kelsey Hodge and Drew Kittleson have known one another all their lives. “We grew up together,” says Kelsey. “Our parents were friends, and we even went to the same elementary school.” While their romance didn’t start quite so early on, the connection was immediate when they reconnected in the fall of 2013, and they’ve been together ever since. A year and a half later, the couple was heading out for a dinner date when Drew said he needed to stop by his parents’ house to pick something up. “We went through the backyard to get to the back door, and it was in the yard that he stopped me and proposed,” Kelsey remembers. “After I said yes, he revealed that my mother was hiding in the bushes, taking photos!” At that moment, their families came out of the house with bottles of champagne to celebrate.
The couple spent nine months planning their April 9, 2016 wedding. “We live in Arizona, and wanted to get married out-of-state so it could be a little vacation for all of our guests,” Kelsey explains. “The Resort at Pelican Hill was perfect: I adored the rotunda, and Drew was a big fan of the golf course!” They invited 150 guests to Newport Beach and braved rain showers before the sun came out in time for the ceremony.
Kelsey’s Maggie Sottero ballgown featured a beaded bodice, full tulle skirt, and lace appliqués at the hem. “It was the third dress I tried on, and I couldn’t have been more pleased,” she says. “If you find your perfect dress early on, consider yourself lucky and buy it! Don’t drag out the process unnecessarily.”
Her bridesmaids wore ice blue dresses from Amsale, finished with beaded white belts that matched Kelsey’s gown. The bouquets combined blush pink roses and sprigs of astilbe.
Sophisticated draping and urns full of roses and hydrangeas added a soft touch to the stately rotunda. Drew’s brother’s dog, Callie was specially trained for the occasion. “He taught her to formally walk down the aisle and take a bow once she’d delivered the rings!” says Kelsey.
Though it had rained for days, the skies cleared as the first chords of “Here Comes the Sun” began – seriously! “The rotunda was the reason we chose the venue, so we didn’t even consider an indoor ceremony site,” says the bride. “Our planner ordered 150 clear umbrellas at the last minute, but we didn’t need them! It started raining again as soon as everyone was inside for the reception.
The ballroom was filled with chandeliers, urns of fresh blooms, and classic furniture. Guests sipped cognac and champagne cocktails in honor of the bride’s sweet tooth, then filled the dance floor for an all-night party.
“Every single person will have an opinion about what your wedding should be,” says Kelsey. “My advice? Ignore them all! It’s your day, so do exactly what will make you and your partner happy. The people who matter most will support you!”
Wedding Planner: A Good Affair || Venue: The Resort at Pelican Hill || Bride's Dress: Maggie Sottero || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Design Visage || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Floral Design: Square Root Designs|| Paper Products: Rachel Brandzel Creative || Entertainment: Angelica Strings; West Coast Music || Rentals: Elevated Pulse Productions, Edge Design & Décor, Hire Elegance || Live Painting: Laura Jane Fine Art || Photo Booth: Yorokobi Booth || Videography: Good Time Productions || Photography: Jessica Claire Photography