Luxe Destination Wedding Inspired by Marie Antoinette in San Diego

Heather and Wes

Photographed by: Paul Barnett PhotographerLocation: San Diego, California, United States

When Heather Wylie and Wes Fleming started dating, “everything was so perfect,” shares the groom. “I had never experienced happiness like that before, so it didn’t take me long to fall in love.” After one year, Wes realized Heather was truly his soul mate. “I couldn’t imagine life without her,” he adds. Before asking for her hand in marriage, Wes first received a blessing from her father. Then, while on vacation in the Florida Keys, he surprised his beloved with a proposal at a beautiful location decorated with white roses and blue hydrangeas, a bottle of Dom Pérignon Champagne, and an album of photos taken throughout their courtship, with the last page displaying a poem. “I love poetry!” exclaims Heather, who found her beau on bended knee presenting the stunning engagement ring they designed together earlier that year.

When planning their nuptials, the couple, who reside in Alabama, agreed they wanted a destination fête so their guests could enjoy a vacation while celebrating their vows. Though they’d never been to San Diego, the location seemed to offer everything they wanted in a locale. Since golf is very important to both the groom and the father of the bride, an on-site golf course was a must. “We also wanted a resort, a city, and an all-around cool place wherein everyone could be comfortable,” explains the bride of their venue choice. With a location selected, Heather and Wes, as well as the parents of the bride, worked alongside Victoria Schroeder of Victoria Weddings & Events to design their faraway celebration. “Victoria, our planner, was an absolute dream,” says the bride.

Since the couple desired a traditional ceremony inspired by Catholic nuptials, the service took place in a beautiful ballroom with checkered flooring reminiscent of a house of worship. “Neither of us are Catholic; however, we are in the process of converting and love the symbolism and Mass that takes place during a Catholic ceremony,” notes the bride. Candles, foliage, and blooms in shades of pink and ivory decorated the space. Bridesmaids preceded Heather down the aisle dressed in mismatched metallic gowns designed by the bride, who owns an online clothing shop called bohēm. Before the groom entered the space, he felt a rush of excitement. “A tidal wave of emotions hit me unlike I’ve ever experienced,” affirms Wes. “I felt like every dream and desire I’d ever had was coming true at that moment.”

At last, his gorgeous bride made her grand entrance in a lovely ball gown with a cathedral-length veil carrying a colorful bouquet of peonies, poppies, anemones, thistle, foliage, and succulents in shades of ivory, pink, azure, and lavender. Her “something borrowed” was a sparkling bracelet from her mother, and her “something blue” was her grandmother’s blue diamond ring, which made the day even more special. “I’ve never seen such radiant beauty and I’ve never been more excited than I was at that moment,” remembers Wes.

Following the vow exchange, attendees entered another ballroom, which was transformed into a stylish setting brimming with French opulence. When it came to the final design, Heather trusted her planning team to execute her vision, which was inspired by the Marie Antoinette film directed by Sofia Coppola. “I knew that I had the dream team planning the celebration and that it would be executed tastefully,” elaborates the bride. Reception tables showcased textured linens topped with low centerpieces that complemented the bride’s bouquet. “I wanted them low so guests could see across the tables,” explains Heather. Ambient candlelight glimmered from candelabra, gold charger plates were accented with pastel blue menus, and gilt chair covers decorated seating.

To ensure every guest in attendance was satisfied, the dinner menu featured an array of options, from a hot rock station offering lamb, beef, and shrimp, a savory waffle station, and a salad bar, as well as satay, quesadilla, and pasta stations. For dessert, slices from a striking light blue wedding cake decorated with bullion details were served; the breathtaking confection rested on a bed of blush blooms and was suspended from the ceiling like a crystal chandelier. “It was unlike anything I had ever seen,” reveals the bride.

The couple’s first dance to “Love Song” by The Cure began a night of revelry for the couple and their loved ones. “Everyone danced throughout the entire wedding and after-party,” confirms Heather, who admits the party didn’t end until 2AM. The after-party space was illuminated with vibrant lighting and attendees enjoyed freshly rolled cigars and music spun by a DJ. To keep revelers energized, late-night snacks included a build-your-own taco bar, sliders, and fries, as well as chocolate desserts, bonbons, lollipops, house-made ice cream, and miniature pies, tarts, and cakes.

When looking back on their destination wedding, both Heather and Wes agree they wouldn’t change a thing. The groom shares some sound advice for future couples: “Don’t get caught up in all the details and let it take away from what the celebration is for. It goes by fast so cherish every moment.” The bride agrees with her beloved and encourages those planning their own nuptials to follow this sound advice: “Do not get stressed over the tiny details; most likely, people will not remember them anyway. Keep the big picture in mind.”