Tying the knot at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, McKenna and Sam only had a couple of days to replan for their COVID-19 safe wedding. The couple had a beautifully intimate day of 14 guests with a beautiful surprise from some other family & friends.
Purchasing her gown from Love & Lace Bridal, McKenna explains how she knew it was ‘the one’
I went to a total of three bridal boutiques before I tried on the Lennox gown, I immediately could see myself getting married in that dress… and that was that! You hear people say “you just KNOW when the dress is right!” I’m so picky with style, I was unsure if that would be true for me, but it totally was!! I instantly fell in love and felt so myself in the dress.
Names: McKenna & Sam
Wedding Date: March 28, 2020 (had a week and a half to re-plan a covid style wedding!)
Guest Numbers: 14! (decided to keep our wedding date & just have intimate family attend – we originally had 150 guests)
Wedding Location: A private piece of property owned by my grandparents, my parents actually got married there and so did my aunt and uncle, so it was really sweet for us!
Photographer: Jana Contreras – THE BEST
Tell Us Your Love Story: It was kinda love at first sight for Sam!! He caught feelings as soon as we connected early on in college. He asked me out the summer going into our junior year. I thought he was so cute and sweet, but ended up “friend-zoning” him. He continued to pop into my days however he could, I swear he must have memorized my schedule so he could “accidentally” run into me. After some casual, friendly hang-outs, he took me on our second first date! I just had a feeling on that date that this thing was gonna take off, and it did! I fell for him hard and fast after that. He quickly became my best friend, and the rest is history!
How did you meet? We met at our college orientation day in San Diego, despite growing up 20 minutes away from each other in Napa Valley!
How did he put a ring on it? We were visiting our families in Sonoma County for the holidays, and I was not expecting it AT ALL! He took me to a very nice restaurant (the same place his parents got engaged), and then brought me to my grandparents house and sat me down on a bench (built by my grandpa – and also the same place MY dad proposed to my mom!!). Despite the obviousness of what was going on, I swear I didn’t even realize what was happening until he was halfway through his little speech – I was SO surprised, it was incredible!
Where did you draw inspiration from? I have worked as a wedding coordinator, and also work for a media & design assistant for a luxury wedding photographer in San Diego… so I have seen a LOT of weddings!! I have always loved a wedding day, and especially love working with couples who really show their personalities through the way they design and plan their wedding day! I loved being able to work on so many different weddings, and the inspiration that brought me was so fun! Once I got engaged, it was even more fun to watch and learn and pick up ideas from the weddings I was able to be a part of!
What made the wedding personal to you? Because we got married right at the beginning chaos of Covid-19, our wedding looked really different than we had originally planned! So many brides have reached out to me since asking how we navigated reimagining our wedding during this pandemic. Pandemic or not, my advice when I work with brides always starts with: be true to yourself, and your partner!! There is SO MUCH out there to get inspired by, it can be sometimes too much, and certainly very overwhelming. My husband and I really held onto this advice for ourselves too as we were planning our own day! We did a lot of the detail work ourselves, to ensure that we were creating a day that truly represented us! Some examples… We’re both really close with our families, and have been shaped by the marriages of our parents and grandparents, so we incorporated them by designing a gallery wall with pictures from their wedding days. (This turned out so sweet since they ended up being our only guests!). Our hexagon altar/arch was built by hand by Sam & my grandfather. I designed all the tablescapes myself (only because I have so much experience, and LOVE the design part of weddings! 🙂 ) Since San Diego is our home now, and a huge part of our story, we incorporated some pieces of SD into place settings and decor. Ultimately, we just chose things WE loved, from the menu to the music and rental furniture… it was “us” through and through!
What were you most nervous or excited about? Because of my experience on the backside/behind the scenes of weddings, and working so closely with the brides, I could always see how much pressure can be put on a bride on her wedding day: looking beautiful all day, saying hi to everyone, not losing your photo smile face, knowing everyone is looking at YOU alllll day, etc! I was so nervous to have all that attention put on me! Thankfully, I was much more excited to get married than I was nervous!
Now, the most important part – the Dress!
Tell us about your dress? Dress shopping was something I thought was going to be SO hard for me! I have a very consistent, classic style in my day to day wardrobe, so I had no idea how that would translate when it came to a wedding dress! I feel like I knew more what I didn’t like vs. what I did! I went to a total of three bridal boutiques before I tried on the Lennox gown, I immediately could see myself getting married in that dress… and that was that! You hear people say “you just KNOW when the dress is right!” I’m so picky with style, I was unsure if that would be true for me, but it totally was!! I instantly fell in love and felt so myself in the dress.
What stockist did you get it from? An adorable boutique in Orange County, Love and Lace Bridal. The girls there are the SWEETEST and extremely helpful!
What was your most memorable moment from your day? Again, since our day was so different than originally planned, I cherish the whole day SO much. I hold onto those memories tightly because I don’t want to forget a second! There were truly so many beautiful, special moments throughout the whole day, but some of my favorite memories are walking down the aisle and seeing Sam for the first time (he was weeping!), and our time with our photographer just the two of us after the ceremony. Even with a small guest list, the day is a whirlwind! It was so special to have some sweet time alone with just my groom!! 🙂