USA Road Trip
Our California Beach Wedding – Part 2
My black town car stopped at Coronado beach to drop off an extremely nervous bride. I phoned my groom who ensured me that our photographer and our celebrant were on their way to meet me. They found me after my driver had left and gave me a hug and my beautiful bouquet. Their faces were familiar from photos and Skype calls. Aline and Ron had got married on a beach themselves many years ago and were now running ‘Dream Beach Wedding’, San Diego’s most successful beach wedding business. Ron had a very comforting and reassuring manner about him and I felt safe when he fixed the hair under my blusher as I took one last big breath before walking down the ‘aisle’. In my case the aisle curled along the beach, with sand dunes on either side. The music started and I got goose bumps when I spotted Nigel waiting patiently under the canopy, still facing the sea. ‘About time he turned around now’, I thought as I was getting closer and closer, gesticulating wildly at Aline. Shortly before I arrived at the ‘altar’ it was finally time – my groom saw me as a bride for the very first time.
Both of us are still surprised at the fact that we did not cry during our ceremony, but this was the moment that had us both choked up a little bit. My shoes were waiting for me beneath the canopy, where Aline had kindly placed them on decorative wooden boards in order to allow my dress to shine in its full length. Nigel helped me into my heels and for a moment I felt a little bit like Cinderella. ‘Nigel, you may now reveal your bride’, Aline reminded my slightly emotional groom, who now finally lifted my veil. And then everything seemed to happen very fast. A poem was recited, which we had chosen a while ago. Then it was time for our vows. Both of us mentioned Nigel’s children, who over the years have become three of the most important people in my life. We know that we are very lucky in that we get along so well. They mean so much to me and we are very grateful for that. Of course neither of us made it through their vows without the occasional inside-joke. Our wedding team said that our words to one another were some of the most beautiful they had heard in the course of over 1000 weddings and we hope that this came from the heart. Suddenly, we were already putting rings on each other’s fingers and – like in a Hollywood movie – we heard ‘By the power vested in me by the state of California, I now declare you husband and wife. Nigel, you may now kiss your bride!’. A steel drum version of the wedding march faded into Shania Twain’s ‘You’re Still the One’, as Aline presented us for the very first time as ‘Mr. and Mrs. Kane’. While we did not have any of our own guests, our wedding crew consisted of five lovely people, who all congratulated us and on the top of the sand dunes a group of teenagers cheered us on while we were taking photos.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Our photo session with Ron took about one hour and Nigel surprised me with his completely unexpected modelling talents Ron really ensured that every frame we had wanted was taken and stayed for longer that we had paid for. He also helped us pose and everything was flowing very naturally and without any awkwardness. Our videographer Joe followed us around filming and every time Ron was taking single shots of me, Nigel took the opportunity to capture some ‘Behind the Scenes’ photos, which meant that sometimes three cameras were pointed at me at the same time.
After we had said goodbye to Ron, Joe followed us to the hotel, because we had agreed that he would take some additional photos there. Looking back, we are very happy with this decision, even though photographers are considered a bit of a luxury. We are excited that our wedding photographs now include a wide range of settings: the beach, Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego skyline in the sunset, the marina outside our hotel as well as some photogenic spots inside it, such as the impressive staircase in the lobby.
In the middle of striking poses I remembered that I had completely forgotten to pay my driver, who had dropped me off at the beach and just returned to the hotel slightly puzzled, not wanting to bother me about money in this emotional moment. Luckily, we met him back at the hotel and I could correct my embarrassing mistake.
After almost three hours in front of a camera, my new husband decided to retire from modelling and wanted to get back behind the lens. I must have been the world’s most photographed bride, because Nigel took some beautiful sunset images of me back in our room and on our balcony.
A Truly Unforgettable Dinner
Soon it was time to head across the bridge into the centre of San Diego, where we had booked a table in a Hawaiian fusion restaurant. Our wedding dinner had been meant to take place in our hotel’s fancy restaurant, but shortly before our departure we realised that it was closed on Tuesdays. And it so happened that a few minutes later I was gliding through Downtown San Diego in my white wedding dress. Oh, I had imagined it all to be very glamorous. Unfortunately, reality had other plans. It was now completely dark and when we had finally found the right car park, we were still nowhere near where we had to be. We had been warned by Tripadvisor reviews that the restaurant was very difficult to find and this turned out to be true. My now aching feet would have to carry me for a little while longer and my white veil was slowly turning grey. A nice lady took pity on us and walked us right to the restaurant’s door, where we received a warm welcome.
We took our seats on the heated terrace with marina views and were kindly given a keepsake card saying ‘Happy Anniversary’ in Hawaiian. We are still slightly puzzled by that one, but it was the thought that counted and we appreciated their efforts. Our food was definitely special, but we had to learn that our taste buds are not quite as adventurous as we had expected. Poor Nigel especially had a harsh encounter with reality when he, oblivious and full of relish, put a tablespoon of wasabi in his mouth. Colour-blindness, the dark and exotic foods are clearly not the best of friends. The expression on my poor husband’s face the moment his taste buds became aware of this mistake did scare me for a short moment. Luckily, he soon got over the shock, as the restaurant kindly offered us a free dessert as a wedding gift, which we shared gratefully before heading back to our car.
Dude, where is my car?
As it turned out, the Tripadvisor comments had not been all that accurate after all because one of the restaurant staff knew a much more direct way back to the car, which the bride in her gown and heels was immensely grateful for! He was right! After only a few steps we were back where we had parked our car – wonderful! There was only one slight problem – Our car was nowhere to be seen! For a few confused minutes we walked around the dark car park. Was this definitely the right place? Had our car been stolen? The only other person around was a man in a high visibility vest, who was in the middle of cordoning off the part of the car park we thought we had parked our car in. He would not volunteer any information to the clearly confused married couple, so Nigel went over to speak to him and was told: “We had to tow away the cars that were parked here to the far end of the lot as we are carrying out work here in the morning. You must not have seen the signs!” No, strangely we had not – in the dark … in a completely unfamiliar place … on our wedding night. “A white Toyota Camry? I think we put it over there!” They had – unfortunately not ours. My sweet husband set off on a walk around the entire car park with his thumb firmly on the car key remote, while my aching feet and I waited for him.
You will be happy to hear that in the end everything worked out and we made it back to the hotel, but the experience had made a lasting impression on my dress and veil. Back in our room, we spent the rest of the night quietly, just enjoying our beautiful surroundings and the novelty of being married.
Our big day probably wasn’t for everyone but there is no setting more beautiful for exchanging vows than the beach of Coronado and the team of Dream Beach Wedding coordinated everything for us without any problems. Our private joke is that we will do everything exactly the same way again next time we get married … except maybe this time we’ll pay the driver, inspect our food better and keep a closer eye on our vehicle!