California Beach Wedding by Erica Mendenhall Photography

Real wedding Tuesday is taking a break from the Fall season and we get to enjoy Kelly and Alvand’s California Beach wedding by the amazing Erica Mendenhall Photography! The couple had their destination wedding at the gorgeous Portofino Hotel and Marina in Redondo Beach this past July. Originally from the Hermosa/Redondo Beach area, their love to return to it after a few years residing in the  Palm Springs area began with their beautiful wedding plans.

Apart from the beautiful photos you’d get to see, what makes me more excited is how detailed this bride has been in this post. Get ready to read and feel like you were present at this gorgeous wedding, because Bride Kelly is leaving nothing out as she explains about how it all came together with their story, vendor reviews and advice for future couples!


About the Couple/Proposal

Well we have a two year old named Lillian who is our world. We both try to go to Disneyland as much as humanly possible and our favorite little routine is to have scary movie nights. Both Alvand and myself grew up in the south bay and went to rival high schools of each other, I went to South High he went to West High. We ended up meeting when we were working at Vons in Hermosa Beach. I got hired into Starbucks and he worked in produce. We were friends for a couple years, then Alvand started coming over to Starbucks more frequently. Even though he despises coffee, he still came over every day and had me make him “his drink”, which he was extremely particular about.

After a while we decided that we did need to go out and after that first date we were inseparable. After a year we found out we were having our baby girl, and when she was seven months old Alvand proposed. He came home from work, and I had been having a terrible day. He said he would take the baby for a bit if I would just make him something to eat. After a few minutes he came into the kitchen and he had put Lillian into a onsey that said “Mommy will you marry my Daddy” and he was holding out a ring. It was so unexpected and I could not have pictured a more perfect proposal. – The Bride

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Isn’t her hair like overly gorgeous? Loving the waterfall look, perfect for a beach (by the ocean) wedding!

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About the Wedding

Our wedding took place on July 18th at the Portofino, I think our theme would be considered beach theme. I have always wanted a beach wedding without it being too “beachy” though. Sometimes beach weddings can be just that and I wanted something more to it. I did not want starfish and shells stamped over every piece of stationary and napkin. What I had wanted was to have beach elements. For the ceremony I wanted to keep it simple, I bought a mirror with sea glass as our welcome sign and just had a simple white arch with green hydrangeas up front and green hydrangeas up the aisles.

The ocean was next to us, I didn’t think it needed more. For the reception I decided on lantern centerpieces with a floral wreath around them and that turned out better than I even imagined. I had some distressed frames I made table numbers out of, also adding the sea glass to, and I painted the numbers gold. I had distressed wood trays for the place card table and had mismatched bottles and some shells, as well as our engagement pictures. That was the most fun for me. Was slowly collecting all of these little pieces and have them all come together like they did.

I swear by Pinterest, Etsy and Homegoods. I am pretty sure everything I made and ordered was from them. Etsy was perfect for all the really last minute things I did not have time to make. And everything came on time and in perfect condition. One of my favorite moments (besides seeing my husband to be of course) was seeing the reception set up before guests came in. It was just like a years worth of work all coming together and it being everything you wanted and more. Such an amazing moment. – The Bride

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Vendor Reviews

I think one of the best decisions we made was our venue. We first met with Lisa Fleming and she showed us around and it is so beautiful there. It was hard to say no. For the wedding day the staff was just on point. I do not think I can name one thing I wished would have gone differently. Parking was no issue, it was easy for our guests to find, there were discounted room rates for our guests as well. Lisa was there the entire day of to make sure everything was going perfectly. And the food, the food was delicious. It was not typical wedding food and everyone there said it was absolutely delicious. Everyone was just so nice and attentive. We had cocktail hour under their Baleen restaurant and everyone raved about that as well. I wish I could have seen it the day of (I told you, you’ll be kept you busy) but I heard it was perfect. I would recommend them absolutely.

My hair and makeup artist was Kat Laskey. LOVE her. I would recommend her to anyone. We did a trial session first and I knew she would be great, for the day of we tweaked a couple things, but she was so nice and it turned out perfectly. Our Dj was George Bannura but he goes by DJ Baroud. He was also great. I was actually very specific with my ceremony music and when I wanted to walk in and it went flawlessly. The florist was done by Flowers by Laurel, her name is Lovorka. She could not have done our flowers more perfectly. She got my vision EXACTLY and was not overpriced. Worth every penny. I had wanted something non traditional and not over the top but beautiful. She was amazing.

Our cake was done by Torrance Bakery, growing up in Torrance I knew their food was delicious. And ironically enough the Portofino had them as one of our two choices for the cake. Again I was actually very specific about the look I wanted and it came out perfectly. Lovorka added the flowers and I am in love with how the cake turned out. I also used Photobooth Pro for our photobooth and that was a complete hit the entire wedding. It was slightly pricey but it turned out to be so fun that I am so glad we did that. We used pictures taken for our guest book, so it was really fun for people to get to take silly pictures and then sign our book next to those. Our last vendor was Dashing Events for uplighting. We had lighting around the room as well as a spotlight on the cake table and sweetheart table. To us it just brought the room together and they were so professional and nice. – The Bride

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Wedding Planning Advice for Future Couples

There are a couple things I would say to get that were an absolute must for us. For one, get a wedding coordinator. We had Michelle Tortuya and she was an absolute angel. She was so efficient and wonderful. I was able to email her months before hand and she recommended different vendors to me when I was having a hard time finding one. I met with her about a week before the wedding and she made such a thorough list of everything that needed to be set up. She even remembered things the day of the wedding that I had completely forgotten. I have no clue how I would have gotten things done on our wedding day if not for her and her team.

The second is to make sure you have two photographers. We had Erica and she brought an assistant which was perfect. While one person is getting one shot you have the other photographer getting another angle or position. SO WORTH IT. I not only have pictures of me walking down the aisle but I have back shots too of everyone seeing me walk in which is kind of rare to see.

And lastly, do a first look. That was my absolute favorite moment. Alvand and I got time just for us before the wedding and we got the most beautiful pictures because of it. Once the wedding starts it gets very chaotic and I know I would not have gotten all of those pictures of just us two if we had not done that. That day you are going to get pulled in a billion different directions with people to talk to and pictures to take, so it was just so special for us to get time for just that, us. It gives you a moment to breath and enjoy the moment.

And here is just some added advice, as much as I wanted everything with planning to be perfect, things will happen. You are going to deal with difficult bridesmaids, no ones schedules being open, or everyone disagreeing with how their hair will be worn. What would usually be no big deal becomes a catastrophy. The best advice I can give is to just go with it. Everything comes together in the end. And the hard work IS worth it. I was asked about a dozen times if I would do it over again and I absolutely would. All of the stress and tears are more than worth it in the end. – The Bride

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Gorgeous or what? There are so many details I am loving from this wedding and I could not be any happier to be the one to share this wedding with you, Thanks Erica! From the bridesmaids robes, to the pillow cases gift, to the welcome sign, location, cake and the centerpieces – all of them, ah-ma-zing! This is how a beach wedding is done using little or no beach objects but allowing the location to say it all in addition to the beach inspired colors.

Thanks to all the vendors that made this possible and congrats to the couple, wishing you an even more beautiful marriage!

Vendors – Photographer:  Erica Mendenhall Photography//Hair Stylist: Kat Laskey//DJ: Baround//Lighting: Dashing Events//Floral Designer: Flowers By Laurel//Officiant: Great Officiants//Photo Booth Equipmentt: Photo Booth Pro//Event Planner: The Charming Little Event Company//Event Venue: The Portofino Hotel & Marina//Cake Designer: Torrance Bakery//Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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