Classic Alfresco Celebration in Carmel, California

Chrystal and Blair

Photographed by: Kavan Photographic ArtLocation: Monterey, California, United States

It seems that Chrystal Evans and Blair Bowman were destined to be together…the question was when they would realize it themselves! The two knew each other as children, because their parents had been close friends for over 40 years. However, they didn’t fall in love with each other until well into their adult years, when Chrystal and her mother attended a party hosted by Blair’s parents. As if continuing a conversation that had been started many years earlier, Chrystal and Blair stayed up all night talking in front of Blair’s parents’ fireplace, and romance was sparked.

Timing is everything, particularly in matters of the heart. As Chrystal’s beloved friend Tiffany Morrison explains: “Both Chrystal and Blair had focused on education and career for most of their adult lives, and both put love and marriage on hold until they had achieved career success. When both were ready to settle down, they never expected it to be with a childhood friend!"

Blair and Chrystal’s eleven-month engagement was put into motion with a romantic proposal at the Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara. Attention was paid to every detail, even the wedding date itself which was chosen in honor of the couple’s first date. The bride and groom chose The Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel as their wedding location, after agreeing that it was the most beautiful place they had ever visited. With Carmel as a gorgeous backdrop, the couple decided to create a three-day celebration filled with constant smiles and laughter with loved ones.

Chrystal’s mother, Dolores, was a tremendous help with the decisionmaking, and her close friends were extremely involved with the planning of several key events during the engagement. Three of Delores’s friends threw a bridal shower for Chrystal, and two other friends, along with one of their daughters who is a friend of Chrystal’s, hosted a bridesmaids’ luncheon – all in first class style. The groom’s family and friends rose to the occasion as well. In fact, Blair’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. Bowman, hosted the rehearsal dinner at their home in Monterey for all 200 wedding guests!

After the whirlwind of wedding planning, the bride and groom were beyond thrilled when the big day finally arrived. A pre-wedding reception kicked off the nuptials at four o-clock, followed by the ceremony at five o’clock in The Meadows of the resort. Chrystal and Blair’s ceremony was “In-The-Round” with their 200 guests seated in a full circle around them. The wedding included influences that blended their New Orleans, California, and New England roots as well as many different cultural and religious traditions. For example, the couple was married under a chuppah, which is a traditional Jewish wedding canopy. The ceremony itself was filled with unexpected rituals such as The Seven Steps (a Hindu tradition), The Twelve Symbols of Life (an African tradition), and a moving wine ceremony joining the two families. Chrystal’s most sentimental moment was during the Seven Steps. Blair would take a step, say a vow, and ask his bride to follow. In turn, Chrystal took a step and recited a vow. They repeated this process for seven steps, making very specific promises to each other, and prompting most of the wedding guests to tears.

A cocktail reception followed the ceremony, and a trolley then transported the guests to the dinner reception at The Quail Lodge. Again fusing a variety of influences, the festive buffet included delightful food stations such as a seafood station with crab, prawns and mussels; a roast beef station and a delicious Chicken Vera Cruz station complete with all the trimmings.

Evident throughout the entire affair was the theme of “Crystals, Champagne and Roses.” Besides playfully honoring Chrystal’s own name, the theme also represented a few of the bride’s favorite things. The elegant premise was threaded throughout the wedding: the bridal gown had large crystal buttons down the back, the bridesmaid dresses featured crystal beaded straps and all the champagne-colored rose bouquets were embellished with crystal stems. The table decorations as well as the four-tiered wedding cake were adorned with crystals and champagne-colored roses. As a special touch, Chrystal presented her bridesmaids with crystal lariat necklaces and earrings that she proudly made herself.

While there were just so many incredibly unique elements of their wedding, Chrystal and Blair agree that music stands out the most in their memories. Before being excused to the buffet table, each guest table was required to croon to the bride and groom with a song containing the word “love.” The couple will never forget being serenaded by their friends and family. Equally distinctive was the lively First Dance, to “Betcha My Golly Wow” by Phillis Hyman mixed with “I Feel Good!” by James Brown. These, and so many other outstanding moments, made the celebration a perfect crescendo to a love story that had begun so many years earlier.

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