Hello my friends!
I know that it has been quite a long time since I’ve been here but I promise you – I have a good excuse!
The thing is – I just got married!
That’s right. On April 9th, we celebrated our five year anniversary together by getting married on the beach near Centennial Park on Coronado Island. It was…perfect. I know probably a lot of people say that but genuinely it was so perfect, from beginning to end and I keep looking at the photos and the videos and reliving every moment. We’ve turned in our paperwork and received our copies of the marriage license and it’s official! I’m a married woman!
Daniel and I got engaged in December of 2020 and we immediately knew we wanted to get married on our anniversary in 2022. We jumped into planning and I was so excited and obsessed with planning. Everything felt so great, and POSSIBLE! It all felt like it was going to be amazing. We were going to have our dream wedding.
Then I lost my job in May of last year, smack in the middle of wedding planning. I got a job immediately but it was part time. I was so determined to keep things going, make it work, and we struggled and I got to this point where I didn’t even want to talk or think about the wedding because I knew that I couldn’t make it work. No matter how many hours I tried to pick up, I struggled to pay my basic bills and keep myself fed and all of that.
It kind of hit reality in January when I realized, my god, our wedding date is three months away and we have to make decisions. And we did. It took a lot of discussion but we ended up just canceling everything and completely starting over, with less than three months to go.
And guys, I think that ended up being the best decision ever. It ended up being exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t know it. I’ve spent so much of my life, being bombarded by the idea of the perfect wedding, but that means different things to different people. At the end of the day, Daniel and I just wanted to get married. We just wanted to make it official.
We ended up having the best weekend ever.
We picked Coronado Island as our ceremony location and Old Town San Diego for our dinner reception. We go to San Diego often. My favorite bookstore (Mysterious Galaxy) is there, a lot of our favorite places to eat and drink are there, we love going to San Diego Comic Con, and we eat at the same restaurant in Old Town SD nearly every time.
We spent the entire weekend down there, staying in an absolutely gorgeous hotel. We had originally booked a small suite in a motel in our budget but we ended up in this gigantic suite at the Glorietta Bay Inn, as a gift from several of my family members. It was absolutely gorgeous and we loved every moment spent in there. It was so perfect for my bridal party and myself to get ready in and it was perfect for us to celebrate, just the two of us.
We spent Friday getting ready for the wedding and hanging out with friends and family. We had lunch with my family at a Mexican restaurant just across from our hotel before heading to our rehearsal on the beach, which felt surreal and insane. I was always totally aware that I was engaged and getting married but that’s when it really started to feel real! After that, we hung out with some of our friends at this really cool restaurant and bar called Bali Hai. Id been wanting to try it for awhile and it was such a great time. I can’t wait to try it again.
The next day was wedding day and I know I keep saying it, but guys it truly was so perfect from beginning to end.
Daniel and I ignored a lot of traditional stuff for our wedding and I’m so glad we did. We took the checklist for most weddings and drew a big fat sharpie line through most of it. One of the big ones I said no to was sleeping separately the night before the wedding. I have spent nearly every night of the last five years with Daniel, I wasn’t going to change that. Plus I knew I was going to be nothing but nervous and anxious and it would be worse without him. I think it was the right decision to because waking up together, having a quiet breakfast early in the morning and taking a walk along the beach was the perfect way to start a day of chaos.
Eventually we did separate and my girls came and took over my room, where we all got ready for the day. Part of our new plans was cutting so much out and that included getting professional hair and makeup done. Instead, I decided to just to do it myself and it came out great. I had some help from my friend and bridesmaid, Jade, who has more experience with makeup than I do but it was definitely a super DIY situation. We got my dress on – it only took about four people to get the tiniest zipper in the history of all tiny zippers to zip it up – and then the day really felt like it started.
I did both a first look with my dad and Daniel and I’m so glad I did both. I’m the first one out of my siblings to get married (my sister will be marrying her fiancé in October of 2023) and I think it was super emotional for my dad to see me get married. And I loved being able to have a special moment with Daniel where we saw each other for the first time. Again, another turn against tradition. I loved it because we were able to get SO many photos before the wedding and we still got to have that special moment.
In true Daniel fashion, when I tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around, his first words were “oh shit” and everyone burst out laughing.
Another part in us cutting back on our original wedding plans was having to cancel on our wonderful photographer, Tess Alexander, which we loathed to do but we just couldn’t afford her anymore. (It’s okay because it all worked out!) We were and ARE so lucky because we reached out to our friends who are photographers and they stepped up hugely and I’ll never be able to thank them enough. Our friends Gregorio, Jaime and Kayla all took amazing photographs and my brother, Joey, who legit had no experience whatsoever but was given my dad’s camera to play around with also took gorgeous photos.
The ceremony was short and sweet and took place on the beach, overlooking the bay and downtown San Diego, near Centennial Park. Once Daniel and I had changed our plans, we knew we wanted to have a small wedding – 30ish people tops – and we wanted to find a place that we could all show to do a ceremony without any crazy fanfare and without having to shell out any money. We spent an entire day driving the coast from Oceanside to San Diego and we settled on this location. It had actually been suggested by my dad, who had ran into a wedding there by happenstance when he was there, and we fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. We knew immediately it was what we wanted. It had a beautiful view of the city skyline, it was tucked away another to not be bothered and it just…fit.
As I said, we kept the ceremony short, sweet and simple. Neither of us is religious at all so we cut anything to do with religion and we cut the ring ceremony since the two of us have been wearing our rings for quite some time now. We chose our friend, Brian, who is the reason we met, to officiate the ceremony and he did a perfect job. He touched on some beautiful stuff, made everyone laugh and really understood what Daniel and I were doing. We exchanged our own vows. Daniel’s was short and direct, to the point and sincere, exactly like him. Mine were…well, long and verbose and cheesy, just like me, and I quoted both City of Glass by Cassandra Clare and Twilight: Breaking Dawn, the movie. It was something that I’ll never forget because it was exactly what we always wanted.
After the ceremony, we took advantage of the gorgeous view on the beach and at the park itself to take SO many photos with our friends and our family and just the two of us. There are SO many pictures that I couldn’t possibly share them all so I’ll just share a few of my favorites.
After taking SO many beautiful photos, Daniel and I escaped to our hotel room for a bit to enjoy some time to ourselves. We did this because we had time to kill before we had to go to the dinner in Old Town but honestly, I highly recommend that all couples do this. It’s such a whirlwind of a day and you’re surrounded by people all day and its very intense and chaotic and busy and taking this moment to just be together the two of us was a great choice. We poured ourselves some champagne and just took in the moment that we had done it, that we had gotten married. It was such a sweet moment and easily one of my favorite parts about the whole day.
We spent our wedding dinner at our favorite place to eat in all of San Diego – Cafe Coyote in Old Town San Diego. I don’t think we ever skip it when we go down there because we love it so much. We booked one of their rooms almost immediately when we started over with planning because we knew we wanted to have dinner there and we’re so glad we did. Just a couple of days before the wedding, they called us and actually upgraded us, free of charge, to the bigger room that we had wanted in the first place but couldn’t afford and it was so great. They were able to do a chips and salsa bar, a dedicated cake and guestbook table and to give us our own sweetheart table, which is something I’ve always wanted. We had delicious food and enjoyed our bride and groom cake and cupcakes and were even able to have a first dance to “Still In You” by Paramore and covered by Ashley Tisdale and her husband. It was exactly what I always wanted and it was a perfect dinner celebration.
We had originally planned on having everyone over to our hotel room after the dinner, keep the party going, but in the end, Daniel and I decided to go back to our hotel ourselves and I’m so glad we chose that too. After the craziness of the day, it felt good to come back to our room, just the two of us, and just celebrate the two of us and take in the events of the day.
There is so much more I could share about the big day but honestly I feel like this has gone on so long already haha! I did want to share our guest book because I’m pretty proud of it. I had had the idea for awhile but didn’t know how to execute it. I tried to commission someone to 3D print it but it just didn’t work out so I ended up buying a wooden craft circle, some paint and other materials and made it work on my own and I really did end up super proud of it. It’s super unique and something I’ve hung up to look at it whenever and it reflects the two of us so well.
We’ve been having such a wonderful time since then. It’s been so great to be married and to have a husband. We did a short mini-moon at Disneyland and had such a blast. We even got to celebrate a few days ago at Club 33, thanks to the generosity of a friend of mine. We are working on planning our full honeymoon to Disney World in the beginning of next year. We have our license and we’re official. We even got to do a really cool post wedding photo shoot at California Adventure, where we both work, with our original photographer, who used our original deposit for the shoot. It’s all been wonderful and I’m super happy! I’ve always wanted to get married and I’m so glad that I got to marry my best friend and the person who loves and respects and trusts me more than anyone. I’m so lucky and I’ll be thinking about this day forever.
Now that this craziness is over (for the most part haha), I’m hoping to get back to writing and reading and blogging soon! I haven’t read a thing in ages, nor have I written or blogged and I miss it! And What A Nerd Girl Says turns a decade old this month and I’m ready to celebrate!
Dress – JJ’s House in Chocolate Brown
Shoes – Converse in Brown (no longer available)
Jewelry – Clockwork Angel Necklace from Hebel Design
Hotel – The Garden Suite at the Glorietta Bay Inn
Ceremony Location – Centennial Park, Coronado Island, CA
Dinner – Cafe Coyote in Old Town San Diego (Ask for Lauren, she’s amazing!)
Flowers – Kate Baker aka my amazing, talented aunt
Photographers – Joey Santana, Gregorio Morales, Jaime Lee, Kayla Michelle Photography
Cake – Jar’d Up by CK (this was her first wedding and she was amazing!)
Rings – My Ring / His Ring
Champagne – Cuvee 89 Brut Champagne
Post Wedding Photographer – Tess Alexander Photography