After being introduced through mutual friends at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Lauren Doucette and Matt Kettles became fast friends. “What I remember the most about meeting Matt for the first time was just how easy it was to be around and have fun with him – and honestly that feeling has never gone away,” Lauren confesses. A romantic marriage proposal took place on their two-year dating anniversary. “Without hesitation, I said yes!” recounts Lauren of the special day.

With a clear vision in mind for their nuptials, Lauren made sure to stay focused on the details that were important to them rather than be overwhelmed by numerous sources of inspiration. “You can spend a lot of time on it if you choose,” she explains, adding that she was thoroughly decisive throughout the preparations.

The couple began visiting potential wedding venues nearby their home in Los Angeles, as well as throughout the San Diego area. “As soon as we toured The Lodge at Torrey Pines, we immediately knew that was the perfect place for our wedding,” admits the bride. “We wanted a location that was not only a destination for our guests to easily access and enjoy, but also one that would be local to us to help make the planning process easier.”

With the expert guidance of Merilee Hennings of EverAfter Events and support from their families, Lauren and Matt breezed through the arrangements for their spring celebration. “Everyone – including Matt’s mom flying out from Philadelphia – attended the food tasting, which was really fun for all of us to do together,” recalls the bride.

“As soon as we toured The Lodge at Torrey Pines, we immediately knew that was the perfect place for our wedding.”

For the late-afternoon ceremony, bright white chairs were arranged on the lush, manicured lawn of the five-diamond property. A row of flower arrangements in shades of crème brûlée and green lined the last row of seats, whilst four pedestals with additional large floral creations decorated the area for the vow exchange. The clean color scheme complemented the setting beautifully, fulfilling the aesthetic vision the couple desired. A classic string trio played a blend of pop and contemporary music as loved ones filed into the area.

Though the couple had opted for a romantic “first look” prior to the service, when Matt saw his bride walking down the aisle, she still took his breath away. “I was shaking uncontrollably,” the groom describes of the excitement. “It’s a moment I’ll never forget.” She was resplendent in a V-neck lace gown paired with a cathedral veil and held a classic bouquet of creamy white blooms wrapped in silk ribbon.

The service was lovingly officiated by Lauren’s older brother who took time to honor two special people who had passed on: Matt’s father as well as his friend Brian, who the groom had asked to be his best man. “Since the best man traditionally holds the rings during the ceremony, it was unforgettable to have Brian’s family at our wedding and have his parents hold the rings in his honor,” shares the bride.

After cocktail hour, family and friends shifted into the ballroom of the Craftsman-style hotel for the reception. The décor was consistent with that of the ceremony, focusing on understated elegance and clean details. Short centerpieces highlighted lush vanilla blooms and bright-green verdure. All-white table settings showcasing custom menus tucked into linen napkins were made complete with a fern leaf and single ivory bloom.

As the night went on and guests danced to the live band, which had been perfectly handpicked by the groom, Lauren and Matt reflected on the happiness of the big day. They agree their favorite moment was during their “first look” when they privately shared their vows with one another. They admit the intimate meeting was filled with endless smiles, tears, and kisses.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” confirms the bride of the overall celebration. As for Matt, his only wish would be to slow it down a bit. He urges other couples: “Really enjoy the day. There may never be another time in your life where all the people you care most about in the world are all in the same place.”