TLDR: Kat and Aaron’s Flora the Venue, San Deigo, California Wedding Day in 15 seconds 👇 (keep scrolling to see some of my favorite photos, their love story, all of the eco-friendly wedding details and the amazing vendors!)
Before we get into how AMAZING this wedding day was, how do we feel about kaleidoscope photos? Is it funky cool or funky dizzy inducing? This was my first time playing with this kind of prism and I just love how fun the reception looks with this kind of fractal. Kat and Aaron really wanted to capture all their loved ones having a good time and I feel like this photo does that! Just a fun little artsy addition to their beautiful photos.
Kat and Aaron are both pursuing their graduate degrees in natural sciences and are committed to conservation and sustainability. They are an inspiration! These two light up when talking about how we can save the Earth and all the beauty it holds. When planning their wedding celebration these values were at the forefront of choosing their vendors, venue, decor, and all the details.
Their love story is full circle! In their words-
“We met under the wildest circumstances (at a rave while Katherine was dating someone else). We started dating under the craziest circumstances (two weeks before Aaron went on deployment – 12 years later and some life and military experience later, we would have waited until after deployment). The sweet part of that is that we got to know each other through letters. We ended up going our separate ways – Aaron ended up engaged to someone else for some time and Katherine had a practice marriage.
Periodically, we would check in with each other, but we were so far apart from each other we didn’t know how it would ever work (Aaron was in Ohio, and I was in California, Germany, Virginia, NYC during covid, DC during the inauguration, literally all over the place). But 2020 hit, and our thought process was if the world was ending, we’d want to spend it with each other). I think what is nice about our story is that we both felt that we were each other’s “the one that got away” and we were able to come back together. And the beauty of it all is that we had more than a decade apart, yet we formed the same values and want the same things in life. It’s kind of weird how similar we are. We think we are twin flames.
Aaron had a few close calls during deployment that he didn’t share with Katherine until the second round of dating, so she feels at ease and grateful that he is safe. Now, she just wants to help him reach his goals and for his (our) wildest dreams to come true. He deserves so much.”
Kat and Aaron secretly eloped and then planned this beautiful celebration to share their love with all of their friends and family. The perfect example of how you can have the best of both worlds!
I was blown away Silviyana’s passion and artistry with Kat’s gown. They met a few times to collaborate on the perfect bespoke wedding dress. “When I found this dead stock fabric, a full cotton fil coupe fabric adorned with modern Lillies! I knew that this dress was made for Kat! We quickly changed the design and made this beautiful vegan modern dress for her.”
I’ve never seen anything like it! The fabric was soft with imprints, almost like embossed paper, the lilies were raised yet not created from beading or another fabric. It is stunning!
I love that she included a little heart in the pocket (YES A WEDDING DRESS WITH POCKETS!!!). Kat could squeeze it if she got nervous or needed to de-stress. It was also a cute reminder of love.
How stunning are these colors together?! Aaron looked so good! Dashing gentleman.
Kat’s diamond wedding rings were from Brilliant Earth. They have the highest standards for ethically sourcing diamonds sustainably. They are beautifully designed as well!
Kat really is one of the most thoughtful human beings I’ve ever met. She put together the sweetest bridesmaid boxes for all her bridesmaids including an NTS bracelet for each – note to self bracelet the inspiring and empowering reminders for the wearer.
We started with getting ready and detail photos at the Courtyard Marriot. It’s a historic building in the Gaslamp quarter, a bank from the late 1800s! The charm is preserved throughout the lobby, elevators, and even houses a cool vault. All of the hotel rooms are updated, modern, and chic. “San Diego Trust and Savings Bank was founded by the Sefton family in 1889 and, under their stewardship, served as the city’s most prominent local financial institution until it was sold to First Interstate Bank in 1994. In September 1996, the doors closed after Wells Fargo Bank acquired First Interstate and sold numerous San Diego properties.” It was later acquired by Marriot and turned into this lovely hotel within walking distance of The Flora wedding venue making it a great place for you and/or your guests to stay before and/or after the wedding!
The use of space at Flora is absolutely incredible. The design is so thoughtful and with the limited space of downtown venues, they did a great job making every inch practical and even multi-use. With over 150 plants, a beautiful living tree, and even moss and mushroom walls this is a greenhouse wedding dream! We even took photos in the bathroom because it is so beautifully designed with floral wallpaper.
The aviary is a great room to finish up getting ready with chic wallpaper and fun birdcage accents.
Poppy and Wildflower Wedding Bouquet
I am obssessed with the florals from Flowers by Sunshine! The vibrant, dainty wildflowers brought a beautiful pop of color to the greenery at The Flora. The poppies bloomed beautifully and were extra special to Kat and Aaron.
Forever obssessed with bridal shoes, these Jewel Badgley Mischkas were the perfect compliment to Kat’s colorful bouquet.
You can really see the lily details on the dress in this lighting:
The most handsome flower boy, he passed out single stems to guests as he made his way down the aisle. He later gave the wedding rings to Kat and Aaron during the ceremony.
Not a dry eye in the room, including mine!
I’ve been waiting for a couple to do this in their ceremony! Such a cute idea and it is 100% Kat and Aaron! They picked out this sweet plant from House Plant Nation in San Diego. Their little “love fern” (I immediately thought of the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days haha). It will continue to grow as their love grows!
Flora is an almost speakeasy from the street. There is a little door along the sidewalk, you walk through this chic black hallway to this huge beautiful greenhouse room. They have these beautiful plant wall dividers to seperate the ceremony site and cocktail hour from the reception space. When it was time for the reception the dividers went against the walls and were lit up by beautiful neon colors.
The cocktail hor d’oerves were so unique, photo of the pizza roll sushi! Provided by JJ’s Island Grillz.
At the end of the night Kat asked me “Did you have fun? Are you creatively fulfilled?” OF COURSE! Again, just how thoughtful Kat is! I had a blast. We danced the night away! Everything came together so beautifully. These two kind humans deserve all the joy in the world! Thank you for letting me be your photographer on this special day – love you both!
Kat said her favorite part of the wedding planning process was “Interviewing vendors. We met so many amazing people turned friends, whether we hired them for our wedding or not. We loved knowing that others shared similar values as us. We were also awestruck with the kind words people shared with us in good times and sad times that weren’t even wedding-related. That level of care truly made the wedding planning process special.” I really feel like they were Captain Planet assembling this amazing team of eco-friendly wedding vendors. We are all so synchronized and brought out the best in the day!
Here is the team that made this beautiful celebration possible:
Photography: Kaci Lou Photography https://kacilou.com
Videography: Ruff Media https://www.ruffmedia.com/
Venue: Flora the Venue https://florathevenue.com/
Unity Plant: House Plant Nation https://www.instagram.com/houseplant.nation
Invitations: Paper Culture https://www.paperculture.com/
Bridal Gown: Silviyana Co https://www.silviyana.com/
Men’s Attire: Indo Chino https://www.indochino.com/
Ring: Brilliant Earth https://www.brilliantearth.com/
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Reformation https://www.thereformation.com/
Catering: JJ’s Island Grindz http://jjsislandgrindz.com/
Hair Stylist: Monarch Studio 109 https://monarchstudio109.com/
DJ: Suit and Tie Group http://www.suitandtiegroup.com/
Cake: Cute Cakes https://www.cutecakes.com/
Florist: Flowers by Sunshine OrderflowersbySunshine.com
If you’re still looking for a wedding photographer, please reach out at https:/kacilou.com/contact.
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