When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or if you’re a couple planning a wedding and life gives you a pandemic, make beautiful memories with a Catalina wedding you’ll cherish forever! Which is exactly what Annie and Conner did this summer.
While they had originally planned a much larger wedding and had everything pretty much booked, as most 2020 brides know, plans changed. So Annie and Conner went with the flow and invited their family to a beautiful Catalina wedding weekend instead. More from their photographer, Lisette OC Photography, below:
“The ceremony took place at Buena Vista Point, a scenic overlook with an amazing view of Catalina’s harbor and Casino. They had a unity rope ceremony and shared a sweet kiss after their vows. Then it was time to hop on a golf cart and find beautiful locations for couple’s photos. The last stop was Lovers Cove, where Annie and Conner didn’t hesitate to get in the water! It was such a blast hanging out with these two and being able to capture their effortless love.”
Annie’s mom couldn’t agree more, and shared these thoughts about the couple.
“These two are the ultimate team. An August wedding turned into a November wedding turned into a bachelorette trip turned into a family elopement. Talk about rolling with the punches and becoming stronger each step of the way. Some people may see canceled vendors, crushed dreams, and a beautiful dress never worn. I see a God who knows best and always shows up. I see the perfect wedding that no one planned for. I see a new family that is better together.”
Read on to hear more from Annie about their Catalina wedding, and see the beautiful pics!
Also Read: Our best wedding dance songs for 2021
How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
Conner and I met through mutual friends in high school and dated through college. After 5 years of being together we went on a Valentine’s day trip to San Francisco. Conner purposed at the top of Coit Tower with beautiful views of both the Golden Gate and Bay bridges in the background.
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What was the inspiration behind your Catalina wedding day?
Our [original] wedding was planned in the beautiful redwoods of Felton, CA surrounded by 200+ of our family and friends. We had the venue secured, the dress purchased and all the vendors booked. We had sent out the Save the Dates and the excitement was building. Then COVID-19 hit with a vengeance. Things began to shut down and people began cancelling events.
READ MORE: 6 Wedding Reception Styles…Explained
We always try to see the bright side of things and rather than cancel my bachelorette getaway weekend in Catalina Island, Conner and I had the idea to make that our destination elopement. We brought the idea to our families and with a little bit of hesitation everyone was on board.
We originally had planned for a rope unity ceremony and were happy to be able to include that in our elopement. It was important to us to show a visual of the strength of a marriage where God is in the middle. The three ropes represent husband, wife and God. We took three ropes and braided them together to represents the scripture Ecclesiastes 4:12 which says “A cord of three is not easily broken.”
Was any part of your wedding decor DIY?
When we changed our plans to be an elopement there were no decor ideas. We knew we had to make a major sacrifice as far as decor, since we would either need to bring things in our suitcase or purchase things on the island. With less than a month to plan we had high hopes that the backdrop of the island would be sufficient and it more than exceeded our expectations.
Talk to us about your wedding flowers!
Once we made the switch to the elopement my focus was on getting a dress and making the travel arrangements. I had no plans for flowers. We arrived on the island on Friday. We were accompanied by our immediate family of parents, siblings/spouses and nephews and niece. Conner and I rented a golf cart and were off to find our ceremony spot. Little did we know that our family went into planning mode and trying to add some small but special touches. My sister Angela went to the grocery store and purchased white roses, babies breath and greenery. She surprised us with beautiful natural bouquet and boutonnière.
Did you do anything special to personalize your wedding day? What were some of your favorite parts of your Catalina wedding?
There were so many unplanned personal moments. A few of our favorites were that on the night before we went to Catalina Island, we received a call that they didn’t have enough bookings at the Atwater Hotel and they were moving us to the Pavillion Hotel. This change turned out to be amazing. There was a beautiful garden area that our family was able to gather in for many personal moments. My sister Angela brought her guitar and played a song for our first dance.
Another special moment was Conner’s sister Lenae had booked a dinner for all of us for after the ceremony, and since all the restaurants were closed to indoor dining it turned into a beautiful dinner on the beach. After dinner they brought out a white cake that Angela and Lenae had purchased at the grocery store and decorated with white roses. There were just so many unplanned personal moments.
How did you both choose your wedding day look?
Fashion was another just roll with it moment. My original dress just wasn’t going to work for a Catalina wedding. I needed something more practical and that would fit in my suitcase. I ordered a beautiful floor length white dress with a sweetheart neckline, lace sleeves and an open back from Lulus. With changing to an elopement, Conner went for a classic look with khaki pants and a long sleeved white button up shirt.
What was the most special moment from your wedding day?
The most special memory of our Catalina wedding will be that everything fell into place in just a few short weeks. We got the wedding of our dreams and we have the photos to prove it.
Do you have any advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their big day?
Just roll with it! Sometimes the unplanned and unexpected will be your most cherished memories.