The dog park is not a place you’d think to find your soul mate. But for celebrity chef Megan Hall, it was where her journey with Anthony Walker began. On a sunny March day, the two met while strolling with their pups, but said farewell without exchanging numbers. Anthony was smitten and felt he couldn’t let much time pass before seeing Meg again.
After some research, he learned that she was opening a new restaurant and decided to stop by, reintroducing himself as “the guy from the dog park.” She was happily surprised and agreed to a first date, which then led to many more. Two years later, Anthony popped the question while on a ski trip in Big Bear, California.
With 10 months to plan for their upcoming fall celebration, Meg knew exactly who she needed to help her with the planning and execution, her beloved friend Yvonne Wolf of Yvonne Wolf Events. “We have been industry friends for years and I trusted her advice implicitly,” says Meg.
The bride and groom decided to host a seaside ceremony on Catalina Island, California, a special locale to them because it’s where they would head when they wanted to escape the busyness of Los Angeles. The isle provided a fun destination-wedding vibe, while only being a short ferry ride from the outskirts of L.A.
The year had been particularly difficult for Meg’s family. Her mother had been diagnosed with cancer and became very ill. “She was told not to make the trip to my wedding, but the fact that she made it and was able to zip me into my dress meant the world to me,” reveals the bride. Coincidentally, Meg’s grandfather also fell gravely ill and passed three weeks before the event. “The wedding was one of the bright spots for our family,” she admits, and why she worked particularly hard on providing memorable details for her loved ones to enjoy throughout the weekend, such as hand-painted maps of the island, complimentary taxi rides, and personalized beach bags filled with goodies.
Instead of simply settling on a typical oceanic color scheme, the couple pursued a palette with a special meaning. “As our little secret, we made the wedding hues the color of each other’s eyes – green and blue – to symbolize looking into each other’s eyes, keeping the focus on our connection,” confides Meg. “The other reason is that Anthony and I love the ocean and all bodies of water. We centered our wedding colors on how the ocean colors go from white sand beaches to deep vibrant blue of the ocean.”
Sweet sentimental details were infused throughout the service, such as asking their families to contribute seeds for the couple’s garden. The seeds symbolized many different families coming together, combining unknown varieties. “We planned to nurture any kind of plant that grew in it – much like the variety in families,” Meg explains. Additionally, two close friends read passages from literature – in lieu of traditional Bible verses – beginning with a passage from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho followed by a passage from E.E. Cummings poem “I Carry Your Heart with Me.”
Though the blue and green tones were the main hues of the day, Meg’s bouquet and the reception centerpieces incorporated bright shades. “The vibrant colors really reflected our outgoing personalities,” the bride describes. “We love rock and roll, seeing the world, and living in brilliant color!”
Guests enjoyed beautiful décor elements and treats in every area: escort cards on hand-painted mini oars, a photo booth with fun props provided entertainment, and the personalized agate place cards served double duty when they became unintended party favors. Loved ones also took delight in the tasty gluten-free confection that the couple had crafted with the venue. “Each tier had a different design and coordinating color to match our theme,” illustrates the bride.
Aside from decor, Meg assures that a wedding planner is key to an ideal wedding. “They are worth their weight in gold!” she confirms. “Also, don’t offer a meal choice on response cards. As a caterer, I’ve seen friendships lost over finding out if someone wants fish or beef.” Meg and Anthony also found it helpful to honor how involved each would be in different areas of the planning. “Lack of involvement doesn’t necessarily mean lack of love,” she assures. “Keep the planning joyful or you’ll ruin it.
At the end of the night, surrounded by the love of their family and friends, Meg and Anthony knew they were entering married life with support and love – what more could they ask for?