In May 2013, Will Watts, 29, surprised his college sweetheart, Alexa Mai, 27, by flying to Dallas, Texas to propose. "He knocked on my door and the rest is history," says Alexa.
For their July 26, 2014 wedding, the pair of Ole Miss grads flew across the country to Orange County, California for an outdoor ceremony overlooking the Pacific Ocean at The Resort at Pelican Hill. "I'm obsessed with California," says the bride. "It's the perfect place for a destination wedding!"
Alexa found her dream dress, a strapless Vera Wang number with a hand-draped bodice and French tulle skirt, at Warron Barron in Dallas. She punctuated the stunner with a custom crystal belt by Meridith Griffin and an organza-lined Homa veil.
The bride carried a cascading bouquet of white phalaenopsis orchids (her favorite flower!) down the aisle.
Alexa's bridesmaids were the definition of California chic in long, white dresses by Joanna August. To continue the dreamy all-white vibe, they carried tight bouquets of white roses.
The bride's identical twin sister, Olivia, served as her maid of honor and stunned in a deep-V Catherine Malandrino dress and gold statement earrings.
Will wore a black tuxedo (also by Vera Wang) with a white bowtie, white cummerbund, and Rolex submariner watch (a gift from his bride!). His groomsmen matched in black grosgrain bowties and cummerbunds.
The oldest flower girl, Ella, wore a blush chiffon dress and green-and-white flower crown.
Alexa and Will exchanged traditional vows in front of the resort's rotunda, which features panoramic views of the Tom Fazio-designed golf course and Pacific Ocean. "Will loves golf, the ocean, and being outdoors so I knew the spot was perfect," says the bride.
After the ceremony on the lawn, guests headed indoors for a seated dinner of crab, shrimp, and oysters at candle-filled tables. The tables were lined with low arrangements of white orchids, roses, and hydrangeas, and topped off with gold manzanita trees dripping with phalaenopsis orchids and candlelit orbs.
Even the chandelier was covered with white hydrangeas and, of course, more orchids!
The newly-minted Mr. and Mrs. Watts's tiered metallic wedding cake was a standout in both taste and appearance thanks to its Limoncello and strawberry flavors, plus the gold sequin and orchid table décor.
The groom's cake (a surprise from the bride!) was covered in gold-dusted magnolia leaves, deer antlers, greenery, and pine cones as a nod to Will's Southern roots.
After a destination wedding for the books, Alexa and Will headed to the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay for some much-deserved R&R.
The bride's top tips for fellow brides-to-be? "Don't forget to take it all in and enjoy every minute," she notes.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Resort at Pelican Hill
Wedding Planner: Heather White of Brooke Keegan Weddings & Events
Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair & Makeup: Molly Shriver
Groom's Suit: Black by Vera Wang
Bridesmaids Dresses: Joanna August, Catherine Malandrino
Florist: White Lilac Inc.
Catering & Cake: The Resort at Pelican Hill
Photography: Troy Grover Photographers
Did you love this California wedding? Watch another couple say "I do" on the west coast in the video below!