The second part of our wedding anniversary road trip was as fun and romantic as the first. My husband Jaya and I drove to Half Moon Bay, a quaint little town along the coastline where the air is fresh, the people are friendly, and the pace is slow. By the way, this is a great spot for a honeymoon by the sea, too.
We arrived at the Oceano Hotel & Spa in the afternoon and settled into our room. It was delightful, with a fireplace and couch, eating area, and a large bathroom with full-size soaking tub! After a rainy morning on the road, it was great to slip in for a long hot soak.
I was charmed by the shabby chic decor—the bed even had organic linens! After we spent the afternoon relaxing in these very pleasant surroundings, we met with owner Nancy Nerhan, who showed us around the hotel. Those of you planning a wedding in Half Moon Bay take note: Their banquet room has a dance floor with a large skylight over it, so wedding guests can spend the reception dancing under the stars.
That night we walked over to Sam’s Chowder House, where I tried my favorite seafood dish, cioppino. The food was delicious, and we sat at the window with a view of the sunset over Half Moon Bay. Walking back, we discovered a path that takes you along the waterfront, right to the hotel.
We spent the next morning exploring the tide pools at Moss Beach. Afterwards, Jaya napped while I took a stroll through Harbor Village, a light-filled boutique mall connected to the Oceano Hotel. I stopped in at Savvy Skirts for some retail therapy. The name itself means smart women, and it’s all about celebrating the girl in all of us: fun, stylish and practical gift items for the super busy woman. The story of how this company came to be is inspiring.
Their website is a great place to look for gifts for your wedding attendants, too!
That night we dined at Crab Landing Seafood and Steak House, which is just outside the Harbor Village. There was a live jazz trio playing on the lower level, easily heard on the upper level where we were seated. The ambiance was very modern and upscale. Since both Jaya and I love sushi, I kind of expected that we’d order that, but the other items on the menu looked so interesting we both couldn’t resist! I had salmon-wrapped scallops that were just out of this world.
All in all, our road trip was a perfect way to celebrate 5 years of being married, and we didn’t even have to go far! Just another reason to love California.
I think the most successful wedding color palettes take more than just the bride’s favorite hues into account: They include the wedding location itself—both the indoor décor and outdoor setting—as a starting point when color coding details like linens and flowers, which ultimately gives a greater sense of harmony to the whole event.
If you’re lucky enough to have a venue with a view of the outdoors, remember that taking inspiration from a natural landscape doesn’t mean you have to wear wildflowers in your hair or walk barefoot down the aisle. California brides are fortunate that they can simply look out the window for color ideas that are sure to make a statement, from the bright bottle blues found in the Pacific to the vibrant mossy greens of Muir Woods. We’ve created this Inspiration Board to show you an example. The palette is totally No Cal: sophisticated, sexy, and a little unexpected.
Location: Sofitel San Francisco Bay in Redwood City
Invitation: Wedding Paper Divas, Falling Leaves
Wedding Dress: Kirstie Kelly for Disney Fairy Tale Weddings: Ariel Collection Three.
Bridesmaid Dress: Kirstie Kelly Maidens for Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, Ariel.
Flowers: Tapestry Flowers
Before I begin my list of favorite wedding favor ideas from past events, let me tell you this: I have it on good authority that if you choose not to have favors at your wedding, your marriage will still be legal and binding. So if favors are not your cup of tea, give yourself permission to leave them out of your wedding.
However, if you’re like me and are one of those brides who’s looking forward to sharing a little trinket with your guests, here are a few ideas to personalize your wedding favors:
1. Lemon Drop Love: Marianne and her future husband met over a lemon drop obsession when they worked at a trash collection service. They both frequently purchased the candies out of the break room vending machines, so they began meeting there and, eventually, love bloomed. Their wedding favors were lemon drops in little dump trucks. The best man told the lemon drop love story in his toast, and everyone had fun competing in dump truck races on the dance floor.
2. Homemade Treats: You can’t go wrong with homemade goodies. Roseann’s mom makes the best snicker doodle cookies in the whole wide world. That’s a fact. For Roseann’s wedding, her mom placed homemade snicker doodles in pretty cello bags tied with French ribbon. The card read “From our family to yours, thank you for making our day the sweetest ever!”
For my own wedding, we filled half-pound candy boxes with homemade truffles. The boxes were engraved with a statement that said, “the sweetest things in life are those you share with the ones you love. Thank you for sharing our day, Kathy and Marv.” Before we even made it home, Marv and I had 15 phone messages from guests saying they ate their box of chocolates on the way home from the reception (that was a half pound per person—not family!) By the end of the next week, we’d heard from everyone who attended our wedding that the chocolates were gone!
3. Photo Op: Christine and Bob framed their place setting cards in these beautiful little frames that doubled as their favors. During the event, their photographer took a picture of each and every guest with the couple so they’d have a picture to send with their thank-you card, sized to fit the frame.
If you have some ideas for how you plan to personalize your favors for weddings, showers, birthday parties and other celebrations, please comment below!