Gina and Joe’s story begins like so many others in this generation: via a dating app and an awkward first date. Despite the fact Joe was not a Francophile and “avoided all of the French words” at the French restaurant they ate at, the pair met up again and the rest was history. Before they knew it, they were planning a wedding in Temecula’s wine country with Ashley Bee Photography documenting their day. Purple was common favorite color between the two of them, yet they wanted to break up the hues with various shades. Mauve, gold, and the deep brown wood interior at Wiens Family Cellar created a classic and rustic feel. Gina and Joe are fond of the outdoors, yet due to the weather and the season, they opted to stay warm and cozy inside. Despite this, they wanted to extract those aspects of the outdoors they love and add them into their indoor venue. Long, wooden tables mostly exposed with Sweet Flowers’ wildflower-esque creations gave this nature-loving couple exactly the motif they wanted, and it’s a treat for us all too!
In their own words
How did you meet?
We met on a dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel via a single mutual friend we shared. We connected and spent several weeks texting before Joe asked Gina to meet in person at a French restaurant during San Diegoâ€™s Restaurant Week. After an awkward start to the date, the ice was finally broken as the server joked that Joe was avoiding all of the French words on the menu. After a good laugh and two hours of conversation later, Joe surprised a broke, then college-student Gina to split the bill with him. Whatever it was must have worked, because Joe called Gina the very next day asking to meet up again. They never went back to that restaurant because Joe didn’t think it was a convenient location, but we all know that it’s because to this day, he still cannot correctly pronounce “beef bourguignon.”
What is your proposal story?
We have a long history of driving out of town to spend the weekend watching meteor showers. After going out to the desert several times to stargaze, we rented a cabin instead near Big Bear Lake to enjoy the scenery and skies. The night of the peak of the meteor shower, we drove out into the woods to get a better view of the sky, when Joe asked Gina to marry him.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important thing that we kept in mind was for everyone to enjoy their time. Knowing that we would be hungry after a long day, it was important for us to have a well-executed dinner menu. We upgraded our menu to the highest level, and then provided our guests with things to do while dinner was being served. We did not want anyone to be bored while the food was being brought out to each table, so we had an open bar and a photobooth available for the guests to use. We also had appetizers and games laid out during cocktail hour so that our guests wouldnâ€™t be starving by the time the food came around.
Aside from the food, we splurged on three specific areas in our budget: photography, florals, and styling details. We made sure to spend money on a quality photographer/videographer so they could capture the special moments of our wedding day, florals and greenery because the brideâ€™s love for flowers, and we also upgraded most of the stylistic aspects of our wedding: glassware, cutlery, charger plates, linens, and calligraphy. One area we skipped was paying for expensive wedding invitations and save the dates. We had a few invitation suites handmade by our calligrapher as a keepsake, but we sent out e-vites to our guests.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Our wedding ceremony was the most nerve wrecking, but exciting and favorite part of our day. It was special to be able to exchange our vows and to finally be able to be married to one another. Although we loved being around our guests, some of the moments we shared with our family were especially memorable. The brides grandparents, both in their mid 80s, flew in from Korea to attend the wedding, and it was a blast watching them have fun, let loose, and dance together on the dance floor. It was also special to witness their brother-in-law and two year old niece share their first father-daughter dance together.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Create a budget, stick to the budget, and have fun planning! Wedding planning can be overwhelming, especially if you are on a short timeline, so I would suggest seeking guidance from either a wedding planner or close friends who have already gotten married. If you can afford a stylist or a planner, it helps to have one because most people are surprised with how many details go into the planning of a wedding. If it’s not within your budget, then no worries – as long as the two of you love your wedding and are having a blast, the guests will notice and their attitudes will reflect the fun and loving environment that you have created. Whatâ€™s more important than the style and details of your wedding is your relationship with your future spouse, so take a breather and a mental vacation from all the stress, and enjoy each otherâ€™s company whenever you can.