All wedding photos are by Brian Lee of Etcetera Photo
Hannah and Chris initially planned to have their wedding at The Estate on Second in Santa Ana. It is a stunning building surrounded by brick on the inside and outside. One month before the wedding, during the final walkthrough with the venue coordinator, it became clear that this mostly-indoor space wouldn't be able to host their 60 guests with strict adherence to COVID restrictions. While concessions and safety plans could have been made to accommodate everyone with ample distance, Hannah, Chris, and their families did not feel comfortable hosting the event there.
Thankfully, The Estate operates under Jay's Catering, which shares the same management as The Rose Center in Westminster. With their same date of November 14th still being available, it was an obvious choice to move the entire wedding to an outdoor location. Was is absolutely insane to relocate all plans with 4 weeks before the big day? 100% YES. Is it possible? With vendors who are willing to do whatever it takes, 100% YES.
Read on to see how beautifully everything came together in just 27 days.
The wedding day began with the bridesmaids and groomsmen arriving on scene early from their nearby airbNb. Already having their hair and make up done, the girls were immediately ready to pose in their robes with the bride.
Then, it was time to help Hannah put on her dress. For all future brides with traditional wedding dresses, you might not realize it, but you will need around 30 minutes for this, not including all bridal photos! It will also help to ensure you have at least 1 person (typically the maid or matron-of-honor) who knows how to bustle your dress, if you have one.
Of course, Chris also had a moment to get himself ready before the first look!
This stunning landing on the second floor of the theater was the perfect backdrop for the first look!
After a special moment alone, it was time for Chris and Hannah to join the (at this point, slightly tipsy) bridal party for some entourage photos in the beautiful gardens outside! One thing we LOVE about The Rose Center is the endless variety of photos you could have because each corner of the building and each surrounding area outside gives a very different look and feel. You would never know that the photos were taken mere steps away from each other. It's like getting married in 5 different venues!
As Chris and Hannah were directed back to the bridal suite to await the start of their wedding, the photographer took the chance to capture a few more romantic shots in. Remember when we said that the Rose Center feels like a new place at every turn? The slideshow below is proof!
Having a wedding during COVID requires out-of-the-box thinking in many ways. Hannah and Chris were adamant in using only the outdoor area in order to maintain the safest possible environment for them, their guests, and all vendors. Thankfully, the Rose Center offers a hedging package (a divider covered with faux greenery) that splits their courtyard into two distinct areas: 1) welcome area and cocktail hour, and 2) ceremony and reception. We were able to coordinate with their Event Specialist during the planning stages and the Event Captain during the execution to make sure that all the "flips" were done on time and according to plan.
The ceremony was very intimate with the processional only including the bride and groom's parents. Their officiant was a childhood pastor who flew all the way from the Bay Area. All music was live and performed by a groomsman.
During cocktail hour, guests walked back to the welcoming area, which now had delicious appetizers and the open bar! Hannah and Chris mingled with their guests in the photo booth. Because their guest list was reduced down about half of what it initially was, we all agreed to make sure that they were able to spend quality time with each person to thank them for making it to their big day.
While this was happening, the previous ceremony space was being transformed to become the reception site, with guests being none the wiser. Alright, admittedly, there were a few who successfully poked their heads in to see what was happening. It was still awesome to see how amazed the guests were when the hedging was brought down! The flowers were definitely a showstopper.
The tone of the reception was set by the bride and groom who entered the space with drinks in their hands! LOL. The program began with the first dance, which was immediately followed by the cake cutting, and a prayer for dinner. All guests and vendors were impressed with Jay's Catering's filet mignon and salmon entrees, as well as all appetizers and side dishes. Definitely a 10/10!
While an intentional decision was made not to have any dancing for the night, the rest of the reception was full of laughter and tears from the speeches of the Hannah and Chris's best friends, and games that everyone played.
The night ended with a memorable surprise serenade from the groom himself. He wrote lyrics for his now-wife, which brought everyone to tears. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful November night.
Thank you to the Chi and Yoon families for trusting us with such an important milestone. As we tell all current and prospective clients, we never take this responsibility lightly, especially in a time like we are all currently in right now. Congratulations to the newlyweds; we're sure we'll see you again in the future!
Bride Not Zilla is on a mission to help couples live out their wedding dreams in California. Both of BNZ's lead planners and coordinators got married in the notoriously expensive LA County area, and were able to execute big ideas at a low cost. They have the experience and expertise to help you visualize, prioritize, and organize all things bridal.