A Rustic, Elegant Beach Wedding at Monarch Bay Club in Dana Point, California

Leah Petersen (25 and a physical therapy doctoral student and yoga instructor) met Brian Wolfman (26 and a commercial real estate broker) at a “When I

Leah Petersen (25 and a physical therapy doctoral student and yoga instructor) met Brian Wolfman (26 and a commercial real estate broker) at a “When I Grow Up”-themed party on a cold night as students at the University of Colorado Boulder. Leah dressed as a dolphin trainer in a blue wetsuit and immediately stood out in the crowd. “While other girls were [barely] clothed and freezing, Brian tells me he knew I was a keeper, with brains to match the beauty.” The two held a refined seaside wedding on Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California, the same spot where Brian had proposed. The 134 guests followed a wooden walkway to the beach ceremony. Stainless steel lanterns lined the aisle, and guests kept cool under ivory paper parasols. The day’s colors reflected the oceanside site and included pale blue, ivory and silver accents. Bouquets and boutonnieres comprised mostly white flowers, with velvety dusty miller adding a touch of color and texture. During cocktail hour, guests lounged on couches in the sand and located their seating assignments on large mirrors, which also displayed the dinner buffet offerings. The day’s nautical theme continued at the reception, which was steps from the ceremony at the St. Regis Monarch Bay Club. Table settings were made with driftwood, sea glass, candles and roses. For dessert, a variety of 10-inch cakes were shipped from a Denver, Colorado, bakery and displayed on a long wooden table decorated with more driftwood and model ships. “Find your partner at least once or twice during the entire event, and step back as if you’re and outsider looking in,” Leah says. “Scan the party and take in what is happening around you, watch family and friends interact, watch grandparents dance with your best friends. A wedding brings together all aspects of your life and provides a special gathering, so make sure you stop and take it all in.” —Carolyn Meers

"Our custom-made letterpress invitations from Sugar Paper were simple and contemporary, with clean fonts in pale blue on crisp white stationery," Leah says. "We designed our own monogram which was included on the invitations, the programs, and was painted on our distressed wood aisle treatment. We finished off the invitations with a small piece of twine to tie in the sand element of our wedding day."
"My bridesmaid bouquets comprised white roses and dusty miller leaves with exposed stems wrapped with twine," says Leah, who relied on Orange's BloomBox Designs for all the day's flowers.
"I had nine bridesmaids, and they wore the same Joanna August dress," Leah says. "The light blue color looked good with all skin tones and hair colors. The long length, straps and belt around the natural waist were figure flattering for all body types."
"My bridal bouquet was a breathtaking, hand-tied loose romantic round style, consisting of patience ivory roses, gardenias, garden roses, lisianthus, dusty miller and sprigs of greenery," Leah says. "I wanted a lot of white in various shades and textures and used the dusty miller to add a touch of light blue and velvet texture. I used a handkerchief from my grandmother to tie the flowers together."
Leah and Brian had Sugar Paper create simple and contemporary wedding programs with clean fonts in pale blue on crisp white stationary topped with a custom monogram.
A custom wooden walkway imprinted with Leah and Brian's initials served as the aisle, which led the couple to an arch made with white blossoms and draped with white fabric.
Oversize silver lanterns filled with candles provided romantic lighting later in the evening.
Flower girls and the ring bearer were outfitted with sunglasses and beachy, light-toned apparel.
A custom wooden walkway imprinted with Leah and Brian's initials served as the aisle, which led the couple to an arch made with white blossoms and draped with white fabric.
Immediately after the beach ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails and relaxed on lounging vignettes set up on the sand.
During the cocktail hour, guests lounged on couches in the sand and located their seating assignments on large mirrors, which also displayed the dinner buffet offerings.
After the beach ceremony and a cocktail hour, guests headed to the nearby Monarch Bay Club in Dana Point, California, where there were white linen-covered tables topped with driftwood, candles and sea glass.
Table settings at the Monarch Bay Club in Dana Point, California, were made with driftwood, sea glass, candles and white roses.
The reception site, the Monarch Bay Club in Dana Point, California, provided fresh fare for the cocktail hour on the beach.
Leah and Brian had several specially made mini Bundt cakes shipped from the Bundt Shoppe in Denver, Colorado.
"My Alvina Valenta gown was made of ivory English net over champagne charmeuse with French Alencon lace throughout," Leah says. "The shape was a slim-fitting A-line with a deep V-neck, low-back and jeweled ribbon at the natural waist. I loved how it felt soft, flowing and elegant—perfect for our beach wedding."