Green and White Oceanfront Wedding in Laguna Beach, California

Renée and Robert

Photographed by: Barnet PhotographyLocation: Laguna Beach, California, United States

One of the loveliest aspects of a wedding celebration is the creation of a couple from two distinctive personalities. For Renée Laurence and Robert Yanik, elements of their personal history both as individuals and as a couple played a major part in their very personalized wedding celebration. From her own experience, Renée now shares with other couples the importance of never giving up on their dreams and desires for their wedding, and to allow their personalities to shine through their choices.

One of a couple’s toughest wedding decisions – where to hold their nuptials – was a no-brainer for Robert and Renée. Robert had the good sense to propose at Treasure Island Park, just adjacent to the Montage Resort & Spa Laguna Beach, and the couple did not consider any venues other than the elegant resort. Laguna Beach also held special meaning for Renée because she was living there when she first met Robert. The couple was introduced through mutual friends, who knew the pair separately for eight years before deciding to arrange an introduction over dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Renée must have made quite an impression, for Robert asked to see her again even though she later discovered she had spinach in her teeth!

Many important wedding decisions fell into place with the same sense of fate as their choice of location. Several years ago, Renée noticed a sage green ribbon on a floral arrangement her sister had received, and decided then and there that, if Robert ever proposed, she would incorporate that color into their wedding design. Once wedding plans commenced, Renée told her sister how she had chosen the sage color concept. Her sister produced the very same ribbon, having saved it to give to Renée for the purpose of helping her coordinate her wedding color scheme. The result was a positively verdant wedding: the floral arrangements, flower girl dresses and page boy vests, rolled fondant cake, and votive candles given as favors all sported lush sage tones.

Like the color scheme, many other experiences or discoveries from the past came to life at Renée and Robert’s wedding. Once on vacation in Paris with a friend, Renée stopped into a cathedral and was moved by the hymn “Ave Maria”; Renée’s dream of hearing the song performed at her wedding was realized. Prior to her engagement, Renée had admired a wedding dress she saw in a magazine photo. After trying on over 100 dresses, Renée found “the dress” that matched her memory of that photograph. The first time Robert and Renée ever danced together was at his high school reunion, so they chose the same song (“Faithfully” by Journey) for their first dance as husband and wife. This time they took dance lessons to prepare, and their performance was quite an impressive treat for their guests. In fact, Robert’s father likened his son’s smooth moves to those of Fred Astaire!

Renée and Robert’s strong sense of family permeated their ceremony planning. They chose to be attended only by children, with nieces and nephews recruited for the job. Renée’s nieces’ affection for the movie “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” helped guide some key decisions. Taking her cue from lyrics to the movie’s song “June Bride,” Renée chose to get married in June. Her nieces performed Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of Song” during the ceremony, serendipitously echoing the lyrics of “June Bride” that say a bride and groom ride home “side by side with the echo of Mendelssohn’s tune” in their hearts.

Renée was inspired to personalize the simplest of details. Seating place cards were strung on ribbons and hung from a six-foot tree symbolizing the new “family tree” born from Renée and Robert’s union. Instead of a traditional guest book, Renée and Robert’s engagement photographs were organized into a lovely book, which guests autographed like a high school yearbook, creating a unique keepsake for the newlyweds. The menu was vegetarian, with the couple’s signature cocktail, Bloody Marys, readily available as a lively accompaniment. Toward the end of the reception, her wedding coordinator thoughtfully decorated the bridal suite with lit votive candles and strewn rose petals in a path to the bed and bathtub.

With all the resources available and minutiae to coordinate, planning a wedding can seem like a daunting task. Renée and Robert’s wedding is proof that you need to only to look to yourself and your new partner to find everything you need to plan the perfect wedding day.

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