Tropical Backyard Wedding with Bright Citrus Hues in San Diego

Marni and James
Photographed by: Barber PhotographyLocation: San Diego, California, United States

It came as no surprise to anyone when good friends Marni LeMay and James Grass finally confessed they had been seeing each other romantically. When two people are falling in love, it is nearly impossible to keep it a secret. Perhaps that is why Jim, as soon as he realized he was going to marry Marni, could not keep it to himself any longer. He and Marni were already together on a last minute trip to Mexico, so one quick visit to a local shop for a temporary ring and Jim had everything he needed to propose to the woman of his dreams: a setting of total romance and the ephemeral element of surprise.

Marni and Jim had already arranged to hold their wedding at a location in Orange County, but when friends of the couple offered to host the party at their Spanish style home, the bride and groom jumped at the chance. It was the perfect location for their wedding fiesta and gave the children who would be attending the party some freedom to spread out and enjoy themselves, too.

Since Marni would be taking Jim’s last name, and in light of the chic, backyard style of their wedding, the theme for their celebration naturally emerged as “Splendor in the Grass.” Save-the-date cards that were mailed out in grass-filled boxes introduced this unique idea, and once guests arrived at the wedding, they found their seating cards resting on a bed of fresh wheat grass. A contrasting color scheme of lime green and orange vitalized every element of the event, from the bridal party’s clothing to the signature cocktails. The most striking use of color was in the bouquets and tablescapes that were comprised of Marni’s favorite flowers: lime green cymbidium orchids, orange tulips and mango calla lilies. The couple’s initials created out of lime green button mums also welcomed guests into the party set beneath a sky of orange paper lanterns.

Marni and Jim worked hard to design a ceremony that was personal yet inclusive, hopeful that their guests would enjoy it as much as they would. They were successful with the help of their charismatic minister. The couple recalls, “he had everyone laughing and crying. So many people commented on how refreshing and unique the ceremony was.” A reading from the “Velveteen Rabbit” brought guests to tears, allowing them to make use of the personalized packets of tissues imprinted with funny quotes like “Cry Me a River” and “There’s No Crying in Baseball.”

The mood was set for the cocktail hour by the couple exiting their ceremony to the upbeat tune “Best of My Love.” An evening of continuous dancing followed with special consideration given to the littlest guests whose dancing feet might need a break. The kids had their own table stocked with toys and games and access to a “wishing fountain” just begging for pennies to be tossed into it.

Guests mingled between dinner stations offering fresh fish seared to order, authentic tacos and mashed potato martinis before sitting down to eat at tables inspired by “Faith,” “Kindness” and, of course, “Love.” The couple’s five-tiered cake was decorated with edible tropical flowers and fluttering butterflies and boasted layers of carrot, lemon and chocolate mousse. Just in case guests still had room left over, orange Chinese take-out containers were waiting at the candy bar to be filled with tempting sweets for the ride home.

Thrilled with their fun-loving celebration, the couple was just as happy with their peaceful honeymoon spent in an over water bungalow in Bora Bora. Together, they enjoyed being the only patch of grass as far as the eye could see.

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