Navy Pilot's Dreamy Seaside Celebration in California

Katheryn and Patrick

Photographed by: Joe Buissink PhotographyLocation: Rancho Palos Verdes, California, United States

For Katheryn Rollo and her man in uniform, Patrick O’Connor, certain elements were a must in the planning of their wedding: a beautiful, natural setting; close proximity to family; and the ability to have the entire celebration at one location. All three requirements were met when the couple landed upon a beautiful seaside resort that offered impeccable service, luxurious accommodations, and a sunny California setting.

Since Patrick is a Navy pilot, the couple felt a gold-and-white color scheme would coordinate perfectly with the crisp dress whites he would be wearing on their wedding day. Katheryn had long dreamed of an all-white wedding, and was more than happy to focus on the creamy hue as the focal point for the affair. “I always wanted a wedding that exuded romance, natural beauty, and elegance,” she shares. Katheryn’s parents shared the couple’s vision of a memorable day focused on love, family, and the true meaning of marriage. “Since Patrick was often working,” explains the bride, “my mom was my number one supporter and fellow planner throughout the process.”

The “light, flowy feel” that Katheryn hoped to create for the ceremony was accomplished beautifully. Combinations of white hydrangeas, roses, peonies, and gardenias flanked the area while lush green garlands provided a lovely organic contrast. The welcoming atmosphere was complemented with the strong familial connection displayed by loved ones. “It was very important to me to have each of my three brothers walk down the aisle with their families,” says Katheryn. “I wanted to show the importance of what family means to me.” A mini orchestra cued Katheryn’s walk down the aisle, and the bride made her appearance wearing a delicate lace gown designed by Vera Wang. “Seeing Katheryn walk toward me with her dad is a moment I’ll always remember,” confides Patrick.

The reception began with the couple’s first dance to the song “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison, a sentimental choice given that Patrick’s career can keep him out to sea for months at a time. The ballroom served as an impressive setting with its high ceiling, dramatic draping, and classic light fixtures. Other décor elements were understated and maintained the laidback, comfortable vibe the couple felt best represented their personalities. Reception tables held centerpieces filled with dozens of white and off-white roses. Floating candles and drifting blossoms accented the pristine arrangements, and stands of glass created a striking illumination effect. “The candles and glass throughout the room continued the romantic feel of the ceremony,” says the bride. Lacy table linens and place settings rimmed in gold completed the luxurious look.

Loved ones sat down to enjoy a three-course supper finished with pieces of scrumptious wedding cake. The white fondant confection was decorated with gold bands on each of four tiers, along with gold ribbon accents and the couple’s monogram. Guests were favored with pretty bags filled with treats and organic snacks from Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, a restaurant owned by Katheryn’s brother. Delicious carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies, and small bottles of wine were some of the personal favorites of the bride that were included.

Since music has been a major part of Patrick’s life since childhood, it wasn’t surprising when he and his high school buddies took to the stage to entertain the crowd in between sets by the Cowling Band. “It was awesome that my childhood friends and I got to get up with the band and play a few songs for the guests,” he says. The groom and his friends concluded the celebration by serenading Katheryn with “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers. All in all, the elegant location and breathtaking décor did nothing to detract from the relaxed atmosphere of the event. “The entire day really reflected both Patrick’s and my laidback ways,” confides the bride. “It was a dream wedding that came true indeed.”