A destination wedding doesn’t need be far from home. This tropical Catalina Island wedding took place just across the pond from this couple’s mainland digs, and yet it feels like a total escape! The surreal ceremony venue overlooks all of Avalon bay – talk about picturesque! And the sunny summer day, tropical decor, and signature cocktails have us wishing for an island getaway. In addition to its locale, this wedding packs loads of style! Take in all the juicy details thanks to Gregory Ross Photography. Plus, get the low down from him and the bride, herself!
Gregory says, Britt is the talented creative behind the killer letterpress company Swell Press Paper so, needless to say, her wedding was one I was looking forward to all year. I knew she’d have not only great paper goods throughout the celebration, but that her amazing sense of style would show up in every facet of the day. She & Brian tied the knot at Wrigley Memorial on beautiful Catalina Island — and their celebration was filled with fun, tropical details and lots of love.
Exuding artful style and grace, Britt was such a stunning bride. She wore an airy dress by Temperly London, paired with a custom bohemian headpiece by Honeyfer Jewelry. I loved her GIANT protea bouquet by Bloom. Brian was equally as stylish in his midnight blue suit and floral print tie. Their laid-back looks really set the perfect tone for the day — one that was filled with lots of energy and a playful lightheartedness.
The bride and groom getting ready “island style” was the perfect start to what turned out to be such a great day. Everywhere you went that morning, you’d run into someone attending or involved with the wedding. Catalina is a tiny island with a small town feel!
Their ceremony up at the top of stunning Wrigley Memorial could not have been sweeter or more emotional. Britt surprised Brian by hiring a band to play the theme song from Jurassic Park during her processional, and that was the start of an amazing vow exchange. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as B & B read aloud their handwritten vows with a charming view of blue skies and the pacific ocean as their backdrop.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails with lucite stirrers and beers styled in custom koozies made by Britt. During cocktail hour, I snuck away with the newlyweds and we captured some incredible portraits around the island. This was easily my favorite memory from the day!
The bride, Britt says, Brian and I first stumbled upon the Wrigley Memorial a few short months after dating on our first trip (of many) to Catalina Island together. I say ‘stumbled’ because we had no idea it existed. But don’t let that fool you- it’s a massive, beautiful monument, kind of Babylon-esque, tucked away a mile or so in the interior of the island. A few years later, in a heist worthy of an Ocean’s 11 movie, Brian proposed at that very spot. We always said that if we had a wedding (we were on the fence, doing the ‘do we do it or do we elope’ dance) – it would be at the Wrigley Memorial.
We both love Catalina Island, and were so excited to share our weekend getaway spot with our family and friends- half of which were traveling from Atlanta. Getting to the island was no small feat for most (a plane, a cab, a ferry, a golf cart!?), but I think everyone would agree that it was totally worth it. If you’ve been to Catalina, you’re familiar with the island’s relaxed, ‘island time’y vibe. This is something we definitely wanted to embrace our wedding weekend while also keeping it very true to us- fun, romantic, and slightly non-traditional.
There isn’t much on the island for wedding decor (or anything, really), so I purchased or made everything for the wedding myself and barged it over, from the dip-dyed handmade napkins, to hand-painted signage, to furniture for the lounge area. I’m a crafty person, so the wedding was the ultimate chance for me to flex my DIY muscles.
We tried to imbue every little detail with our personality, starting with the save the dates (a set of 6 coasters, each with an iconic Catalina drawing on them) all the way to the gift bags. I didn’t really have a tight theme or strict colors, but I wanted to let the location’s beauty stand out. I opted for heavy jungle inspired greenery, and washes of ocean blues throughout the tables with watercolored place cards, dip dye napkins, and table numbers. I sourced an antique runner for the aisle, and got Nicole Miyuki on board to paint some amazing signage. We had custom cocktail stirrers made that said ‘foreva eva’, a throwback to our Atlanta routes, and custom napkins. In my opinion, the little details are just as important as the big ones.
It really was the best day of our lives- to stand atop the Memorial, and recite our vows to each other, in the very same spot Brian proposed, with my best friend as the officiant and our families by our side. One of the best memories was my surprise to Brian, who had no idea that instead of walking down to the traditional aisle music, I hired a brass quintet to play the Jurassic Park theme song.
After the ceremony, all the guests were shuttled down to the M restaurant in downtown Avalon for a taco bar, lots of drinks, and nonstop dancing. Brian and I both agree that one of the best choices we made was picking an amazing DJ. We wanted the night to feel like just a big party, so we skipped a lot of the wedding formalities. We did have a first dance and a few speeches, but after that, we danced until the cops came (literally).
My advice to brides planning now is to pick what is important to you early on. To us, it was drinks and dancing, so we made sure to make those a priority within our budget, and booked the best DJ early on. Paper goods were also of the utmost importance, because that is what I do for a living. Also, allot a good chunk of your budget for misc. costs- things will come up that even the best planners don’t anticipate.