Beautiful Traditions Abound in Hindu American Wedding at Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

Ruchi and Abhi’s beautiful and colorful wedding at The Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa overlooking Mission Bay is one of our favorites! Rich with tradition, this Hindu American wedding brought life, love, and gorgeous jewel tones of brilliant hot pink, glittery gold, rich saffron, navy, red and more, to one of San Diego’s most iconic settings, and brought everyone’s family together for an amazingly great time truly fit for royalty! We especially love the artful Mehndi work on the bride’s hands! …read more below….

How we began. Our story started with an intercontinental connection! We have our moms to thank for bringing us together...a little exchange of a phone number here and a picture there and we were off and running! story continued below gallery…

Facetime is our friend. We got to know each other mostly through many Facetime calls thanks to our long-distance status, but on the bright side, those calls produced lots of screenshots of one another looking goofy or falling asleep (*ahem* Abhi). 

Eventually, we met in-person in the Bay Area...and later in the motherland (India, of course)...and shortly thereafter, talk started to turn toward something more...our future. Conversations often touched on a ring and when to get engaged...though we didn't always explicitly discuss the "when," we both knew about when it was coming since we only got to meet so often...

story continued after credits…

Wedding Vendor Credits:

Photography by True Photography Weddings

Ceremony and Reception Venue by Hilton San Diego Resort

Wedding Decor by Blush Moments Events

Wedding Cake by Baby Cakes San Diego

DJ and Music by G2 Entertainment

Event Planning & Coordination by Sweet Love Designs

Hair, Makeup and Henna by Reena Threading Center


The Art of Bridal Mehndi

Mehndi is an ancient form of body art that has been practiced in India for thousands of years. Mehndi is the art of applying designs to the skin through the application of pastes made with henna powder on different parts of the body. Mehndi started in the Middle East and Northern Africa over 5,000 years ago and has been used for artistic, ritual and ceremonial use. Archeologists have even found mummies with hennaed hands.In the different cultures where the practice of Mehndi flourished, different styles and patterns, like the rays of the sun or intricate patterns, developed, like the fine lines of designs of Pakistan and India and the geometric patterns and designs of Morocco, or the bold geometric shapes from various parts of Africa. This ancient art form celebrates a bride’s wedding day and special religious festivals.


the bride and groom’s story continued…. "No, not yet" (aka The Engagement - as told by Ruchi). We met one weekend in Chicago thanks to my work trip. Abhi never explicitly told me that this was the weekend, but I had a feeling this was it! I was anxious and doing my best to make sure the engagement would be a surprise as much as possible...I didn't want anyone to say anything to me about it and I didn't want to somehow hear any details about it...but our very excited families made that a bit difficult. ;0) No, peeps--not yet...it hasn't happened yet!! Next to the engagement, the best part about the weekend was that our families seemed to get us engaged before we did!

But it was all worth the wait. We both got jazzed up and Abhi drove us to a lovely little Greek restaurant for dinner. We took pictures together, and then I assumed we would head back to the hotel. But instead, Abhi drove us to the Bean in Millennium Park. It was late, it started to rain just as he parked the car, but he had a plan and he was going to execute it! He led me by the hand to stand under the Bean. But yeah--that rain--no one wanted to get wet, so anyone near the Bean moved under the Bean. So much for privacy! I could tell Abhi was stalling a little...I think he wanted a chance to get away from all those people...so when the rain stopped, he pulled me a few feet away from the Bean...he pulled out a white tissue and unwrapped this beautiful ring...he slipped it on my finger, and with that cute little shy smile he has that I love so much, he asked me to marry him. :0) We took more selfies to commemorate the evening, and after getting soaked in a downpour, we eventually ended up in the car. This time it was our turn to call the family!

Red, Wine and Blue! A Mr. and Mrs. America Styled Real Wedding!

What do you get when you wed a DIY Queen to a 3rd generation veteran with an affinity for Captain America at a super cool aviation themed Temecula Vineyard ?? You get an awesome wedding day full of fun, life and lots of red, wine and blue [can you say custom American flag dance floor!!?]!! Marquie and Ryan wed in front of their closest family and friends at a private estate vineyard in Temecula, CA. combining their passions into a wedding day that was perfectly tailored to their lives together. Together, Mr. and Mrs. America made their special day one that they will never forget, and neither will we!

The Orange County couple chose to have their wedding far in the hills of Temecula, away from the main roads. They chose a muted but patriotic red, white, and blue color palette that worked perfectly in the surrounding hills and the warm fall weather. All centerpieces were created out of wine bottles, string lights, and their engagement photos by Marquie that accompanied the gorgeous florals. Marquie hand-made every decoration at the reception, including a free-standing marquee wall for table assignments. 

Earlier this year, Marquie and Ryan appeared on TLC’s new show called “I want THAT wedding” and Ryan became enamored with the idea of a light up dancefloor. He eventually settled with the idea of saving some money and skipping the extra dancefloor. However, about a month before they said “I Do” Ryan’s uncle contacted Marquie and told her that he would get them a light up dancefloor if she kept it a secret until the reception. Needless to say, Ryan was speechless when he saw the dancefloor boasting an American flag pattern. 

The guests were dancing all night long with Marquie and Ryan and ended the wedding with a sparkler sendoff and an after party!

A Beautiful Christmastime San Diego Wedding Makes for a Day Rich with Love and Family

We love holiday weddings in San Diego!  We may not have snow but we can celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with the most heartfelt weddings you’ve ever seen!

Christmastime in San Diego!  Lily & Greg met in San Diego in 2009 while Lily was in the Air Force. Like many other couples, Lily & Greg had to overcome many struggles in their relationship surrounding family, finances, moves and careers. Through thick and thin, they always kept one thing above all else - their love for each other and Lily's 3 children. After 8  years, Greg decided to propose in front of Lily's 2 sons and daughter while hiking one of their favorite spots, Double Peeks Park in San Marcos. With both Lily & Greg working 2 jobs and living in Arizona, planning their perfect San Diego destination wedding was difficult. They wanted to get married in the city the met (San Diego) during their favorite time of year, Christmas! Lily & Greg planned the perfect holiday themed wedding on a budget! Bridesmaids dresses were purchased from Amazon, decorations were from Michaels & Hobby Lobby and they DIY'd all of their arrangements. To save money, they decided to get married on a week day with the ceremony at Greg's father's church - Faith Lutheran in Vista, CA and the reception at the Thursday Club in La Jolla. We stopped for couples portraits at the iconic Sunset Cliffs in La Jolla. Lilly was walked down the aisle by her 2 sons and she held her passed father close to her in a frame on her bouquet. It was the perfect wedding honoring their families and their love for one another during their favorite time of year. 

Ring Designer:Ben Bridge Jewelers//Groomsman Attire:Mens Warehouse//Dress Store: Bridals by Susanti//Makeup Artist:Beauty by Carina Santa//DJ:DJ Eric Starr//Floral Designer:Rhapsody Flowers//Caterer:Epic Catering//Ceremony Location:Faith Lutheran Church//Reception Venue: The Thursday Club//Photographer: Paul Douda Photography//

Dreamy Boho Glamping Wedding Has Family, Friends, Fab Fashion & Florals, and Tons of Feels

Natasha and Mitchel had the most beautiful, dreamy Temecula wedding at the exciting new venue Ethereal Resort. This whole affair was perfectly rustic and boho (hello glamping!), all the while while maintaining an intimate, rich and private feel. The whole wedding overflowed with love and joy. We especially love the decor and the groom’s gorgeous teal suit and oh those socks!! We hope you enjoy looking through this lovely wedding as much as we did!

San Diego Wedding Venue Spotlight: Ethereal Resort:

Set on 40 acres of edible gardens, surrounded by old growth orchards and 100 acres of organic herb and vegetable farms, Ethereal Resort offers an "out of the box" vintage venue that is completely private and not just another golf course, winery, banquet hall or hotel. This exciting venue is open to creative ideas and outside vendors such as florists, photographers, photo booths, food trucks and so much more!

Vendor Credits:

Wedding Photographer: Asha Bailey Photography

Wedding Venue Location: Ethereal Resort

Hair Stylist: Abbey Dunford

Makeup Artist: Sabrina Lizalde

Desserts: A Delight of France

Wedding Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Bridal Gown Designer: Mia Solano

Groom’s Fashion: Noose and Monkey

Event Planner: sdspecialeventsco.com

Photo Booth: Can Ham Photo Booth

DJ: MUZZii

Temecula Wedding Braves the Heat and Comes Up Shining With Love

Santannah and Mitch had the most gorgeous boho wedding at Galway Downs in Temecula, CA. It was a record breaking 116 degrees that day, but these two handled the heat with such grace. Their amazing wedding location, an equestrian center surrounded by the beautiful So Cal countryside, made for a gorgeous backdrop to their special day!

Wedding Venue Spotlight: Galway Downs:

Galway Downs is a venue like no other! This equestrian center turned special event venue offers beautiful rolling hills and lots of beautiful, natural, locations for you to celebrate in!

Carriage House: With its own unique and historic character, The Carriage House at Galway Downs is the perfect venue for rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, farewell brunches and more. The romantic setting will bring a magical sense of intimacy to your ceremony or event and a timeless, charming atmosphere you’re sure to treasure.

Oak Falls: Perfectly tucked privately beneath shady trees The Oaks Falls at Galway Downs offers the perfect spot for “I do.” Surrounded by perfectly manicured grass and the sound of the tranquil waterfall this ceremony site is nothing short of luxurious. This is the outdoor ceremony people dream of.

The Meadows: Imagine your ceremony under cascading trees near a flowing stream and peaceful pond of lily pads. The Meadows at Galway Downs offers a majestic backdrop of lush greenery and a tranquil garden feel. Say ‘I do’ amidst vast horizons and majestic surroundings.

Reception Venue: Galway Downs//Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu//Dress Designer: Grace Loves Lace//Apparel: Mens Wearhouse//Makeup Artist:Salon De La Mariee//Floral Designer:Floral Sensations Riverside//DJ: Austin Murray Entertainment//Event Planner: Galway Downs//Bakery: Sugar Divaz Bake Shoppe//Photographer: Leah Marie Photography//

San Diego Mountain Wedding in Julian Celebrates Charm, Amazing Views and Pie!

Here comes the slight sweet clear feeling in the air that say Fall is coming! This is the time where San Diegans’ hearts and minds travel east to Julian for crispy evenings, beautiful mountain vistas, and, of course, pie! Today to celebrate the beginning of Fall you need not make the trek to the mountains as we show off this utterly charming Julian wedding! Allee and Taylor met at college orientation when they were freshmen at California Polytechnic-San Luis Obispo, and as graduation neared, the couple knew they were meant to be together. So when they married in April, they chose a location in the mountains east of San Diego, reminiscent of the mountainous Lake Tahoe area where Allee grew up. Among their favorite memories of their wedding day were reading their vows, which ended up being almost the same in wording even though the couple didn’t discuss them beforehand, and when Taylor got a little flustered after cutting the wedding pie, Allee shares that he ate her piece by mistake! They also loved their circle arch, beautifully decorated by their florist.

Wedding experts will tell you that although San Diego has an amazing year long ‘wedding season’ of fabulous weather and options, September, October and November are the most popular wedding months for good reason. Happy Fall San Diego!

allee and taylor wedding 2879898-502.jpg

San Diego Wedding Venue Spotlight: Sacred Mountain Julian

Sacred Mountain is located in the quaint historical town of Julian in Southern California and is a short drive from San Diego. Sacred Mountain consists of two unique ranches; Sacred Mountain Retreat and Sacred Mountain Private Ranch.  Each of these two private ranches have distinct rustic elegance and charm.  Our property is “awnatural” in beauty, extremely private and with a dreamy atmosphere of  character and tranquility. This country estate celebrates four seasons with distinct natural beauty creating perfect spaces for your wedding vision!

Wedding Vendor Credits:

Photography: Classic Photographers
Wedding Venue: Sacred Mountain Julian
Catering: Jeremy’s on the Hill
Pie: Candied Apple Café
Flowers: Florals by Maher Haroun
Signage: Yuki Ishii
Invitations: DIY
Hair and Makeup: Say I Do Updos

A Secret Garden Theme and Two People Overflowing with Love Make for a Wedding to Remember

We just love featuring weddings that show this much love! Especially when our favorite wedding pros had the honor in sharing in the love all day too. Check out this perfect sunny day San Diego wedding with two people so in love [love their first peek around the corner images!] it will make you feel it too!

Says San Diego wedding photographer Paul Douda, “We cannot say enough wonderful things about Katie & Stormie. Spending the day with them, their family and friends was nothing short of magical. Their love for one another is inspiring and represented so vividly with those who surrounded them. This madly in love couple fully committed to their 'Secret Garden' theme that was carried throughout their whole wedding planning process. From Stormie's proposal to Katie during the 'Garden of Lights' Christmas celebration at the Encinitas Botanical Gardens, to their engagement session we shot at Felicita County Park in Escondido, and finally to their romantic garden inspired wedding by the sea in Oceanside at Spring Hill Suites by Marriott. Katie & Stormie's day was full of so many special family details. They were married by Stormie's Aunt Liz, Katie's sisters completed her bridal party, they shared a double father-daughter dance and we know they were joined in spirit by Stormie's late mother and Katie's late second mom. The day was perfect and we are so honored to have captured it. They truly showed that love surely WINS in #KatiesPerfectStorm!” Editor’s Note: Paul Douda Photography is one of So Cal’s favorite LGBTQ friendly wedding photographers and you can sure see why! #loveislove

Wedding Vendor Credits:

Bridesmaid Dresses: JJ's House//Ring Designer:Weisfield Jewelers//Tuxedo and Mens Attire:Men's District//Dress Store:Poppy & Rose Bridal//Dress Designer:Justin Alexander//Makeup Artist: Mobile Beauty Team//Musicians:Celeste Barbier Events//Cake Designer:Kiki's Custom Confections//Caterer:Hello Betty//Floral Designer: Kendra's Floral Design//Cinema and Video:Paul Douda Photography//Reception Venue:SpringHill Suites by Marriott//Photographer: Paul Douda Photography//

Beachfront Destination San Diego Wedding Captures all the Love and Fun

We love all the happiness and beachside fun that is apparent in Danielle and Larry’s Point Loma wedding! This engaging couple decided to get married in their hometown of San Diego on the Navy Base at Oceans View of Ballast Point. They wanted a rustic beach theme wedding that was both simple and classic. Their photographer Paul Douda was so impressed with what they delivered especially considering they planned their wedding mostly apart and out of the country! Joined by their friends and family, Danielle & Larry celebrated their love for one another at their stunning beach setting in San Diego. Enjoy!

Danielle & Larry met online unexpectedly while they were both serving their country overseas. Larry was in Kuwait about to return to the U.S. and Danielle was gearing up for her second tour of duty in Spain. According to them, the timing was horrible and neither of them expected to meet their soulmate online while in the service! While on vacation together in Tromso, Norway over New Years 2017, Larry decided to propose to Danielle. Seeing the Northern Lights had always been on their bucket list and Larry couldn't think of a more perfect way to ask Danielle to be his wife. In Danielle's words, "One evening, we drove out of the city into the surrounding fjords to get a better look at the lights. They were stunning, truly breath taking. We stopped to get a picture of us with the lights, he usually sets up the camera as I stand in front of the camera so he can focus it and fix the settings. My back was turned towards him because I was looking up at the lights, I heard him walking up behind me in the snow, but I noticed it was taking him a bit longer than usual. Once he got next to me, he kneeled down, pulled out the ring, and asked me to marry him." 

Wedding Vendor Credits:

Etsy Designer: Creative Amme//Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie//Etsy Designer:AxMen (Grooms Ring)//Ring Designer:Ice Carats//Tuxedo and Mens Attire:Express//Dress Store: Nordstrom//Beauty: Lightly Brushed Makeup//Makeup Artist: Lightly Brushed Makeup//DJ: Dancing DJ Productions//Cake Designer:Shirley the Cake Lady//Cake Designer: The Cake Lady//Event Planner:Dina Ibarra (Friend of Bride)//Ceremony Location:Ocean View at Ballast Point//Photographer: Paul Douda Photography