Scripps Seaside Forum La Jolla Wedding – Frances + Ilias
Frances and Ilias were married at Scripps Seaside Forum on a perfect, sunny day in in La Jolla, CA. Their venue sat upon a grassy hill that overlooked the ocean, providing a stunning coastal backdrop for their guests who traveled from all over the world to celebrate the day with them. Frances wore the most elegant and figure-flattering Pronovias designer gown and Ilias had a custom tailored burgundy suit that we’d all been hearing about leading up to the wedding. Her maids dressed in floor-length gowns, each in a different cut and shade of gray, and Ilias’s groomsmen all coordinated in classic black and white suits. Their vision was an elegant and timeless black-tie affair with neutral tones and subtle touches of blush. Molly of Tres Chich Affairs brought it all to life with her eye for design and the vendor team she helped them find. The florals by Carla Kayes Floral Design played into their color pallet perfectly, and the plethora of pampas grass gracing every arrangement of the day brought a wispy and romantic feel!
The day started at Estancia La Jolla just down the road, a hotel and spa that the wedding party stayed at the night prior, with lovely touches of Spanish architecture, cream colored arches, and perfectly landscaped gardens which offered great locations for a first look and portraits before the ceremony began.
Frances awoke in a beautifully lit room and began hair and makeup bright and early for her winter wedding. When it came time for her to slip into her wedding gown, her maids snuck away to get dressed down the hall and her mom Irma helped her to get ready. They shared such a special moment as Irma read aloud a card that Frances wrote to her. Irma then candidly turned, looked her daughter in the eyes, and started to give the most eloquent, candid and private speech to her daughter. It was in that moment that it became clear to me how strong the bond was between Frances and her mom. They kept quoting with smiles a famous line from Luke Cage, “Always forward, never backward,” something to remind them that change was good, and even though this day would mark a big shift in Frances’ life and priorities, they would always be mother and daughter. While Irma was resisting any of the sad feelings that might naturally come with change, she vocally claimed this change to be good and affirmed Frances and Ilias in their next big step, welcoming a new son to the family with great joy and admiration for the man her daughter had chosen. As a wedding photographer, I’ve often watched parents become filled with a mix of emotions on such a pivotal day, but there was something so impactful to hear Irma speak her feelings aloud and choose to proclaim all of the good in this shift in their lives. As I told her how special that was she gave me a huge hug and made me feel so welcomed to be invited in to such an intimate and exclusive day of memory making.
When Frances bridesmaids and best girl friends returned, they got to have a first look with Frances before the groom! I love doing first looks with bridesmaids because the expressions are always so filled with excitement!
As the time for Ilias and Frances to see each other approached, Ilias began to put on his final touches. It was no surprise that every last groom detail was chosen with thought and care. I’ve known since their magnificently styled, three-look Yosemite National Park engagement session that these two do not hold back with fashion, and they are so good at it too! When it came time for Ilias to open his gift from Frances and read her heartfelt card, our team caught the most precious reaction! I love what Frances said about Ilias when I asked her what she loved about him: “Goodness, where to start with this incredible man! I absolutely adore how silly and upbeat Ilias is. He is a ray of sunshine and ball of positive energy. I love how natural it is for him to be vulnerable and thoughtful in our everyday interactions… For those reasons and thousands of others, Ilias is the man that I admire and love.”
I’ve always thought it was a little unfair that during a first look the bride gets to see the groom first. Usually we’ll get him into place, have him close his eyes, and walk the bride out behind him before he turns to see her. When I received an email from Frances about a week before her wedding that she wanted to see him at the same moment he saw her, I kind of giggled with a nod, because I’ve always thought about that idea. This time, we got Frances into place first and Ilias braved a long walk with his eyes closed along with two steps down stairs as I guided him into place. When they turned to see each other they were jokingly arguing about who got to check out who first! They were thrilled to finally be able to spend the rest of the day together (the anticipation had built long enough!). After a few moments alone, we brought out all of their favorite people for some wedding party portraits and then headed off to the wedding venue to get them married!
The ceremony was set between a few palm trees with the guests facing the water, and the alter was uniquely designed with a low half-circle arrangement of pampas grass and blooms in blush and white. While I’m talking about florals I have to mention the incredible installation that hung at the sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors between the ceremony and reception space! Their vows included their “cliche, but so true” as they say, love-at-first-sight story…
They met in college through mutual friends on a night that Frances was determined to stay home and rest. After a long night prior and with a big exam in the days ahead, she turned down her friend Angela multiple times. Frances’ phone had broken the night before and Angela was making every last effort to reach her. Frances had turned down her earlier invitation multiple times because she had a big exam in the days ahead. Eventually, Frances gave in to her friend and joined Angela at a gathering where she met her future husband.
“As the night progressed, Ilias’ clearly stood out among all the men. Not only was he tall and uber handsome, he was an absolute gentleman with everyone he interacted with. His charisma was intoxicating. Frances felt that Ilias made an effort to get to know her, in a genuine and respectful manner. Ilias was truly enamored and captivated by Frances. The chemistry between us was undeniable and as cliché as it sounds, we started falling in love that night. Whether it was Frances’ sense of humor or how beautiful her eyes were, every little thing caught Ilias’ attention. By the end of the night that first encounter we knew one thing for certain, that we would have to see each other again and that we both felt a genuine connection with one another. That same night we made plans to see each other the following weekend. The rest is history :)” – Frances & Ilias
After the ceremony they enjoyed a bit of cocktail hour with guests and then snuck away for some sunset portraits. The reception space that awaited them was adorned with floral arrangements and filled with candles that flooded the room with a romantic and warm light for dinner. The cocktail hour space was styled with hand lettered signs and dressed up with friends and family who watched the sunset above the beach. They returned from photos danced the night away with everyone they loved. It was such a magical, joy-filled day that I was so honored to be a part of. It’s bittersweet it has already come and gone but I am so grateful to have been there to document it all for them!
Here’s another big thanks to all of the fabulous vendor team for making it all possible!
Getting Ready Location: Estancia La Jolla
Venue: Scripps Seaside Forum
Coordination + Design: Tres Chic Affairs
Photography: Jenna Joseph Photography
Videography: RSJP Films
Catering: Giuseppe Catering
Officiant: SoCal Vows
Hair + Makeup: SoCal Hair + Makeup
Floral Design: Carla Kayes Floral Design
Stationary: Design By Laney
Wedding Cake + Desserts: Bristol Farms
Custom Suits: By Design Tailors
Wedding Gown: Bella Wedding
Dress Designer: Pronovias
Bridesmaid Gowns: David’s Bridal
Linens: SD Linens