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Real Wedding: Nicole & Christian

From the Start, two things were apparent about this match: the couple had an immense love for one another and their canine companions. So much so, Nicole and Christian just couldn’t resist infusing a little puppy love into the planning of their San Diego wedding. The fun began with Christian’s proposal. Having asked Nicole’s father earlier that day for her hand in marriage, Christian showed up for their dinner date with his golden retriever, Ava. Nicole couldn’t help noticing a card hanging from Ava’s neck, and as she read it, Christian dipped to one knee and popped the question. With tears in her eyes and her much adored Pomeranian, Kaya, at her side, she said, “Yes.” She and Kaya would be pleased to marry Christian and Ava.

Planning an entire wedding around one theme might have easily gone to the dogs, but careful collaboration with gifted vendors–specifically Heather Balliet from Amorology–ensured that the entire event gracefully represented the couples shared values and dedication to family and friendship.

The event took place at the Thursday Club in Point Loma. The bride looked ravishing in Vera Wang, the groom smart in Jos A. Banks, and the matron of honor gorgeous in a lavender J.Crew dress.

Shades of deep purple, lavender, and sage green appeared throughout the design elements. Charming Anthropologie china plates hung on the wall as a backdrop for the dessert station with bursts of vibrant turquoise echoing in the room. The dog-fashioned graphics used in the Brightly Designed paper elements played off the plates. Also, complementary, elegant bouquets and flowers, created by Leigh Anne Landman at Floral Lab, using succulents, tulips, anemones, roses and dahlias, set a breathtaking tone of understated style and beautiful simplicity.

In lieu of a traditional escort-card table, the couple’s love of canine’s further revealed itself in individual dog tags for each guest that indicated their tables, designated by breeds of dogs (naturally), including “boxer,” “Springer spaniel” and “dachshund.” The sign presenting the dog-tag placeholders read, “You’re a Rare Breed.”

Nicole and Christian opted to forgo favors and instead donated to the American Cancer Society. Each guest arrived at their seat to find a purple paper dog bone, which read, “We’d love to throw you a bone, but we chose to donate to the American Cancer Society in your name.”

Tasty, passed appetizers included savory Gruyère and fresh thyme tarts, and cones of garlic herb French fries with sea salt. The classic seated dinner comprised of sautéed beef tips, in a red wine-caramelized onion sauce, oven-roasted mojito chicken dressed with garlic, cilantro and fresh citrus juices was offered alongside vegetable tamales, mashed potato demi cups and a fresh grilled asparagus bundle.

A gorgeous custom candy bar at the reception included an array of sweets in all shades of purple, including purple barber poles, and small licorice “Scottie” dogs and grape jelly beans along with more pops of turquoise treats. “Doggie bags” with custom labels were provided for guests to take home some of the delicious sweets. The three-tiered cake and cupcakes, adorned with tiny lavender florets, by Sweet Cheeks in San Diego, in red velvet and custom “blackout” chocolate, with peanut butter mousse frosting, delighted the guests. Lavender and ivory cheesecake pops added to the whimsy.

After dessert, DJ Effren, from Tim Altbaum Productions, set the mood for dancing, with purple up-lighting adding a festive tone. When asked what his favorite moment was, Christian explains how he felt dancing the first dance to “California Stars” by Billy Bragg. “I felt completely at peace and at one with Nicole—it was my happiest moment.”

Nicole then adds, “The wedding couldn’t have been more perfect; I didn’t want it to end.”

Thursday Club, Photography by The Youngrens

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