Laura + Isaac by Alex Mari

We loved having such an intimate guest list as it meant being able to spend quality time with loved ones, without the pressure that comes with a big ceremony.

Laura: When we got married, it was a very small gathering at one of our favourite places in San Diego. Only a few of Isaac’s closest family members attended the ceremony and his aunt acted as our officiant. We never had a reception but had always talked about having one in the future and when our fifth anniversary was approaching, we decided now was the perfect time to do it. We didn’t want to throw a big event, just an intimate dinner with good food, good conversation and our favourite people.

Being able to host our anniversary celebrations at Isaac’s great-grandmother’s house made everything feel extra special. We held a vow renewal ceremony followed by a wedding band exchange. Because our new vows were based on our experience of marriage so far, it made them feel a lot more thoughtful. We both mentioned how we are able to push each other to be the best version of ourselves. I would definitely recommend a vow renewal to other couples, even if they have already thrown a big wedding. It’s a completely different experience, a lot more relaxed and intimate.

We wanted our anniversary to feel effortless, but elegant. I didn’t want to wear a formal bridal gown but knew I wanted to wear white and Isaac chose a navy suit with a Salvatore Ferragamo tie, which was a special gift from my sister.

We found our wedding rings at Vrai, a Californian company which works with lab grown diamonds and sustainable materials, something we really support. We never had wedding bands, so it felt like the perfect time to finally get them. The entire day was filled with incredible moments. We incorporated Spanish traditions such as throwing rice at the end of the ceremony and welcoming guests with a big glass of sangria. Our friends gave brilliant speeches and we all ended the night with a midnight swim in the ocean.

Sadly, my family couldn’t attend because of travel restrictions but we’re already thinking about doing it all over again in Spain! Everything went as planned on our anniversary. It was challenging at times as we didn’t know if we were going to be able to do everything we had hoped, due to the pandemic, but our friends and family were really supportive and made sure we had a safe celebration that was memorable. Being married means having a lifelong companion. Marriage is based on trust, love and unconditional support. The biggest challenge is being so far away from my family and not being able to spend more time with them, but we always try to get the most out of our trips to Spain and hope to live there one day in the future.

photographer Alex Mari / bride’s dress Zara / groom’s suit Bar III from Macy’s / invitations Isidore Augustine / planner & styling Moon Velvet Design / venue Private Residence in San Clemente / flora Ellamah / makeup Makeup By Ashley Tani / hair The Pinned Beauty / fragrance Coco Chanel / rings Vrai / shoes Zara / groom’s tie Salvatore Ferragamo / celebrant Isaac’s father / catering Flower Child / linens La Tavola and BBJ Linen / cake Peggy Liao / chairs Hire Elegance / tabletop Greystone Table