Rising to the Challenge

A note from our Publisher, Thea Hargrove
Written by
Thea Hargrove


Spring/Summer 2021

We are heading into what is predicted to be a very busy latter half of 2021 wedding season, due to all the postponements of nuptials in 2020. This may even become the busiest wedding season ever experienced, with an overflow of celebrations extending well into the future. For a little historical perspective, the flu pandemic of 1918 was followed by the Roaring ’20s, a period of provocative social and political change, a booming economy, an evocative new sense of freedom for women—and glamorous celebrations. With that in mind, now is the time to embrace your personal style and be confident in expressing yourself. We are already seeing this surface; for example, our Runway Report features Flowers by Lady Buggs’ creative revisions of the classic bridal bouquet.

The virtual possibilities presented by technology for weddings are only beginning to be realized. Although celebrating in person is more desirable and can never be fully replicated in the virtual world, there is something to be said about how Zoom (and similar virtual-meeting platforms) have allowed us to stay connected. As this virtual technology continues to develop, it may be possible for guests from afar to be present virtually as holograms at one’s wedding. Take a look at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, which created a surreal gift of a holographic first-dance experience that can be shared with distant guests, a thoughtful way to memorialize this special occasion.

California Wedding Day members have also shared with us some incredible adaptations. The most notable is the arrangement of guest seating. Guests are now being seated in their own personal groupings. As guests arrive, they are tested for the coronavirus and then gracefully escorted to their intimate table and personal lounge. At last, an excuse to forgo the tedious hours spent arranging that seating chart!

A new theater-style floor plan is also emerging as an option. Teaming up, The Riviera Country Club, BreLuxe Beauty and Shawna Yamamoto Event Design reimagined the traditional wedding layout by combining the ceremony and reception, and putting the ceremony center stage as a live show. As this
incredible styled shoot developed, we decided to transform it into a wedding-day giveaway to one lucky couple. After receiving many submissions, California Wedding Day presented the special day to Kellie and Tyler! We learned that COVID-19 had brought this couple together after a long-distance
relationship, and that their first date was at The Riviera Country Club, and, well, we knew it was meant to be. Pictured above and below are photos on how Kellie and Tyler exchanged vows surrounded by guests seated at reception tables. Other creative design details included a ceremony aisle that was transformed into the dance floor for the couple’s first dance, and live entertainment performed in a spotlight throughout the reception. Check out the full details on this stunning wedding here.

A new theatre-style floorplan is also emerging; we turn to The Riviera Country Club, BreLuxe Beauty, and Shawna Yamamoto as they reinvest a wedding’s layout, combining both the ceremony and reception, and positioning the ceremony centerstage as a live show. As this incredible styled shoot developed, we could not resist giving this wedding day away to one lucky couple. Kellie and Tyler won this amazing wedding day, and how could they not?!? After learning Covid actually brought this long-distance relationship together, and their first date several years prior was at The Riviera Country Club, you’ll have to visit californiaweddingday.com for the full story, but for a sneak peak, you’ll love how Kellie and Tyler took their vows surrounded by their guests seated at their reception tables, how their aisle transformed to the dance floor for the couple’s first dance, the ingenious way the ceremony backdrop later becomes the focal point behind their sweetheart table, and how live entertainment was hosted in the limelight throughout the reception.   

Special welcome to Alexis Sanabria, our new Associate Publisher for San Diego & Orange County! With over 15 years of experience, California Wedding Day is delighted to welcome her talent and knowledge to the team!

Many blessings and positive experiences have arisen from these challenging times. Certainly, the highlight of the year has been embracing our diversity with even more pride; yet, while recognizing our differences of origin and even our different opinions, we know that none of it truly matters, because love binds us all and will carry us forward. So, here’s to the wedding mania to come, filled with an abundance of love!

Thea Hargrove
[email protected]