Southern California Wedding - Kate + Steven

Kate and Steven kicked off this beautiful year with the celebration of their love in sunny Southern California!

As soon as we jumped on the phone for our consultation last fall, I knew I had to work with Kate and Steven. In our conversation, Kate shared so much of their vision and intention behind their wedding day. Their openness and genuine care for their community and each other drew me in.

I am so fortunate and grateful that they trusted me to coordinate their big day all the way from Springfield, Missouri. Planning a wedding miles away takes a lot of extra effort and care, but is 100% possible, and we threw one great party for the Arceos!

Kate and Steven met at college in the Midwest and are starting their marriage together in Claremont, California. Today, Kate works at Pomona College and her family has a strong history at the school, so they decided to get married at the campus. As you can see, Pomona College is a gorgeous venue!

Their family and friends traveled from all over the country to be with them! So many people traveled from Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana, and more places just to celebrate with this amazing couple.

Kate and Steven let Amy, Darren, and I choose their first look location. We were thrilled to choose their first home together as the setting, and that moment was so sweet!

The details of this day are so meaningful. Here are a few that stood out to me:

As their first act as husband and wife, Kate and Steven chose to serve their community. Being Christians, they served their community communion. Witnessing each person present receive and take communion from and with the couple was moving—a meaningful representation of grace, love, and unity within their community.

All the guests enjoyed their dinner on Kate’s heirloom china! Her grandmother has been collecting these stunning plates for years, and we showed them off at the reception along with beautiful cloth napkins.

Before dinner, Kate’s grandparents said the blessing and gave instruction about dinner, which made it feel like a big family gathering.

Kate and Steven love the band Johnnyswim so their DJ played “First Time” as their last dance of the night.

Their stationary and escort cards were crafted by two members of their wedding party! Madison of Style & Grace Designs beautifully created their invitation suite, and Stevie of Stevie Rozean Co. hand wrote the escort cards.

In addition to taking digital photos, Amy and Darren snuck in a few film photos throughout the day. They captured so many perfect moments on this timeless medium!

The ways Kate and Steven included their guests and took care of the environment truly embodied that give back attitude that I talk about HERE. They chose to recycle at their wedding in addition to using china and renting flatware, linens and decor. Kate also chose a custom gown designer who sources her materials ethically. Seriously, amazing! You can have a mindful and beautiful wedding!

Kate and Steven’s day was so beautiful and special. Tacari Weddings shares about their gorgeous day too! You can read more about the Arceo wedding and see even more beautiful photos HERE.

Magic Makers for Kate & Steven’s big day:

Photography: Amy and Darren Photo

Ceremony Venue: Bridges Hall of Music, Pomona College

Reception Venue: Edmunds Ballroom, Pomona College

Wedding Coordinator: Unions With Celia

Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musician: Robert Sage Music

Officiant: Starla Gooch, friend

Linens and Rentals: EZ Party Rents

DJ: DJ Silk Farm to Turn Table

Dinner: Taco Man

Cake: Some Crust Bakery

Custom Gown: Beauty By Design

Hairpiece: Tania Maras

Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Stationary: Style & Grace Designs

Escort Cards: Stevie Rozean Co.

The winter in Claremont felt like spring to me. You can imagine this warm-weather soul was thrilled.

Of course, let’s hear from the couple about their amazing day and life together!

What do you love most about your partner? 

Steven: What I love about Kate is her story. Coming from a background that I had and experiencing a Christian environment like Evangel was a little bit of a shock. Because of that I had reserves about really opening up to people. When I originally met Kate, I put her in the “Christian girls I couldn’t touch unless I wanted to be smote by God” box. Fast forward a little bit to when Kate and I started hanging out a little more seriously, and I began to realize that Kate had one of the most genuine and real personalities that I have come across at school. When I look at her life now and where she has come from, it gives me a lot of hope. She is on the list of people that I know that tell me God is real.

Kate: I love Steven's pure kindness and quiet strength. I have never, not once witnessed him treat anyone with less than the utmost dignity. I've never even heard him express an undignified thought about anyone, not even about those who have caused him pain.

 What has been most surprising about marriage so far? 

Steven: How normal it is….in a really fun way. Kate and I are no strangers when it comes to drastic transitions in our relationship, so when we finally tied the knot our hearts were in place where our physical bodies weren’t…If that makes any sense. I don’t think that makes sense, but anyway, when we finally started living together and doing the married thing it felt natural for us. 

Kate: The most surprising thing to me is how peaceful marriage is. People continuously told us how difficult the first year of marriage is. Growing up, I witnessed un-peaceful marriages. But I think we both went into our relationship with eyes open, and did our best to deal with hardships during the four years we dated. I have longed for the stability we are now living in for years, and I am so glad it's with him.

 What did you love about your wedding day? 

Steven: Celebrating with everybody. So many people came so far and out of their way to be with us for one evening and that is something that I will always remember.

Kate: My favorite design element of our day, hands down, was our table settings. Early on, my grandma and I schemed up this plan to use our family china for our reception. My family worked tirelessly to pull it off, and it was priceless. I asked our beloved photographers to take a photo of each table, and they obliged! Bless them.

What I loved most about our wedding day was our people. Getting ready with my mom and my girlfriends, dancing the night away with friends and family, many of whom traveled so far to be there. Our reception was a few hours long, and at the end of the night, Steven and I noted how those who we were closest to were the ones left on the dance floor and the ones sending us off. Of course they were.

Any advice for a couple approaching marriage? 

Steven: Do what makes you both feel yourself. You’ll have a lot of people giving input, and that’s cool, but it’s your day. Let it represent everything you both are.

Kate: My advice for a couple approaching marriage would be to lean into who you are individually and as a unique couple. If you don't already know, discover what you like to do individually and together. Also, no one else can prescribe their experience to you; your experience is your own. Make the most of it. Live it up together. Go to bed angry if you know you'll have a more productive conversation in the morning. If you're struggling, seek help. There is no shame. We are all human. If you have divorce in your family and you're scared, know that it isn't hereditary. There aren't any secrets to success and it isn't a trick. You have every opportunity to live a full and happy marriage. And you deserve to. You both do. The best marriage advice I've heard is that marriage is what you make it. The person to whom you're married is a precious gift. Cherish them, spoil them, try not to keep a record of wrongs. Saying I'm sorry is worth so much more.

Their wedding day is one I will always cherish. Thank you, Katie and Steven, for inviting me into your lives. I love you and am so honored to know you!