Major-league baseball player Steve Finley had a career full of accolades, and upon meeting Meaghan Hunt at a dinner with mutual friends, knew their relationship would go into extra innings.
When Steve eventually realized that Meaghan was the person with whom he wanted to grow old, he took the gentlemanly step of calling Meaghan’s mother to ask for her blessing. He received her enthusiastic approval, and set out to plan the proposal.
One of the greatest moments in Steve’s life was winning the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He asked Meaghan to join him in Phoenix for the team’s celebration of the win’s 10th anniversary. There, he joined his greatest achievement of the past with an achievement that will last a lifetime: He asked Meaghan to be his wife, and she accepted.
As they delved into wedding planning, the couple searched top venues across Southern California, and from their very first visit had a good feeling about The Grand Del Mar. “It felt right,” Meaghan explains, “and was more private than any of the other venues we looked at. It was warm and inviting, and the staff was excellent.” It was also meaningful to begin their marriage in the city where they lived, as well as where Steve first rose to fame as a member of the San Diego Padres.
The outdoor ceremony was staged amid the property’s stunning environment of sage-rimmed vistas surrounding a Moroccan pavilion. White irises in tall hurricane vases sat at the foot of a rose petal-lined aisle and around the altar. A string quartet played arrangements of contemporary love songs during the processional.
The colors of the event were established by snowy white flowers with cool touches of green set against fabrics in striking black. Bouquets of celery-hued cymbidium orchids interspersed with coal-centered Star-of-Bethlehem were carried by the bridesmaids, whose midnight-colored dresses featured sleek halter necklines. Even the flower girls were darling visions in black, their formal cinch-waist dresses accented with charcoal tulle.
Meaghan carried a creamy bouquet of gardenias finished with an off-white ribbon. Her golden locks fell in curls toward her bare, sun-kissed shoulders, and her flowing A-line dress played to her tall, sleek frame. The bride’s ensemble was spiked with a black sash above the waist to coordinate with the gowns of her ladies in waiting.
Classical guitar music set the mood for the reception, a touch not lost on the number of guitarists in Meaghan’s family. As guests entered the hall, they were met with mood lighting lent from four stone fireplaces as well as floating candles. The tables were set with ebony linens and surrounded by chairs that continued the sultry color scheme. Vanilla calla lilies and orchids filled glass centerpieces of alternating shapes.
The couple’s multi-tiered cake rested on a lush green stage of horsetail reeds and orchids. “As the cake topper, we had a bobble head of me riding a horse and Steve in his Diamondback baseball jersey,” Meaghan proudly adds. “It was a fun touch to our wedding cake.”
After a five-course dinner, guests moved into the salon, where a DJ kept the group dancing well into the early hours of the morning. Philly cheesesteak sliders were served as late night snacks. Thanks to the venue’s award-winning kitchen, the meals were, in a word, memorable.
Meaghan praises her wedding planner’s guidance throughout the planning: “I was surprised that the planning process was so easy.” Steve has few illusions that any groom will be the primary planner of a wedding, but he offers this nugget of advice to men: “Be involved in the parts of planning that really mean something to you. Be a positive supporter of the rest.”
The groom goes on to reflect with astonishment how smoothly the day went. “Usually something goes wrong somewhere with a wedding of this size and number of moving parts, but everything went off perfectly without a hitch.” When asked what he’d do differently, had he the chance, he replied simply, “Nothing.” In other words, they knocked it out of the park.