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Elopement in Catalina Island | Annie + Conner

Annie & Conner decided to have their wedding celebration in Catalina Island with their closest family members after their original plans were derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. They traveled south from Central California to enjoy the epic views and fun water activities the island has to offer. They stayed at Pavilion Hotel, which reminded me of the 60's Hollywood bungalow-style hotels, and it was the perfect setting for getting ready photos and the first look.

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.

I'll end it with these heartfelt words from Annie's mom: "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."

Q&A with the bride

Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day? A: Our wedding was planned in the beautiful redwoods of Felton, CA surrounded by 200+ of our famly 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 vengence. Things began to shut down and people began cancelling events.  We always try to see the bright side of things and rather than cancel. My bachortlette getaway weekend in Catalina Island was approcahing, and 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".

Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY? A: 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.

Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding? A: 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 Vons grocery store and purchased white roses, babies breath and greenery.  She surprised us with beautiful natural boquet and boutineer.

Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding? A: There were so many unplanned personal moments. A few of our favorites were that on the night before we went to Catalina Island we recieved 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 famly 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 resteraunts were closed to indoor dining it turned into a beautiful dinner on the beach. After dinner they brought out a  whitecake that Angela  and Lenae had purchased at Vons and decorated with white roses.  There were just so many unplanned personal moments.

Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail. A: Fashion was another just roll with it moment. My original dress just wasn't going to work. I needed something  more practical and that would fit in my suitcase. I ordered a beautiful floor lenght 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.

Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal. A: Conner and I met through mutual friends in high school.  We dated through college.  After 5 years of being together we went on a Valentines 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.

Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day? A: Our most special memory of our 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.

Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day? A: Just roll with it! Sometimes the unplanned and unexpected will be your most cherished memories.

Check out these other Catalina Island weddings I photographed:


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