For Melina Wadhwani and Patrick Carey, it was a natural choice to be married by the sea. “We both feel our happiest when near the water,” explains the bride. However, the pair also sought the spirituality and reserve of a church ceremony. The perfect compromise was a breathtaking resort perched atop a bluff on Northern California’s rugged coastline. Overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean, the hotel provided everything the couple desired: spectacular ocean views, delectable food, warm hospitality, and an elegant gazebo lawn, replete with brick aisle. “The formality made us feel that we weren’t missing out by not having the traditional Catholic church wedding,” says Melina.

The bride confesses she had dreamt of her wedding day since she was a very little girl, but acknowledges that her vision had evolved over the years. While she wanted guests to feel transported to a fairy tale-like setting, she wanted the vision accomplished in an elegant way. Accordingly, a chic, ethereal wonderland was created that boasted Melina’s favorite blooms: roses, hydrangeas, and tuberose.

For the ceremony, thousands of vanilla rose petals lined an alabaster aisle runner imprinted with a graceful swirl composed of the couple’s initials and a fleur-de-lis logo. The fleur-de-lis held special significance to the bride and her mother, as both were members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority in college, which is represented by the “flower of the lily” emblem. Readings from India were woven into the ceremony to honor the heritage of the father of the bride. “I could tell that was so important and special for my dad, as it also was for me,” reveals Melina.

Tall, hurricane vases boasted arrangements of leggy calla lilies and spritely tailored crème brûlée roses, as well as glittering eggshell candles. White chairs were adorned with neutral satin ribbon, and a gazebo was outfitted in a sea of buoyant blooms. Cylindrical vases of varying heights held arrangements of pearly roses and orchids, while diaphanous fabric was suspended from the ceiling of the gazebo, each panel bound with orbs of pale roses. “To this day, we are still getting compliments on our amazing flowers,” gushes the bride. Paper cones featuring the fleur-de-lis monogram housed rose petals that guests were encouraged to toss as the couple exited down the aisle after the vow exchange.

The reception space was transformed into an otherworldly oasis of its own. An outdoor lounge was outfitted with tufted white sofas and ottomans. Pillows embroidered with the couple’s monogram added a splash of color and sentimentality. “Something that I have taken away from Patrick’s family over the past five-and-a-half years is their strong bond and pride in their family,” says the bride. To further reflect Melina’s enthusiasm for becoming a Carey, additional pillows prominently featured a large “C.”

Indoors, lush greenery and roses formed a magical archway. Gossamer fabric was suspended from the ceiling and cloaked the surrounding walls, while lavender lighting cast a glamorous glow. Round tables were draped in custom tablecloths from India embroidered with borders of gold. Tabletops were festooned with soaring flower arrangements that varied in height and composition, including orchids mixed with purple and pink roses ranging in shade from pale to poppy. Crystal beads draped languorously from the towering centerpieces; lower arrangements featured taut clusters of white and lilac roses upon which fleur-de-lis table numbers were poised. Gleaming glassware was trimmed in gold leaf, and fleur-de-lis-shaped menus were each topped with a single fuchsia flower. “The centerpieces added the perfect amount of color, fragrance, and texture to the reception,” recalls the bride. The groom concurs. “I have never seen so many flowers in my life,” Patrick says. “They were everywhere and attached to everything! They even built trees out of flowers.”  

While the groom was involved in all aspects of the planning process, he was most passionate about the music and the food. He carefully curated a menu of unique dishes that weren’t typical wedding fare. “We wanted to honor our guests who came from all over the globe with a memorable dining experience,” he reveals. Patrick also arranged for a bar that exclusively featured Scotch of various ages and brands, a unique feature that proved a huge hit with guests.

A soaring multi-tiered wedding cake, surrounded by fresh hydrangeas, was adorned with delicate sugar flowers and even boasted a subtle fleur-de-lis. “Not only was it visually decadent, it was flavorfully delicious as well,” says the bride of the strawberry-and-crème confection. Melina also surprised Patrick with a groom’s cake in the shape of Dodger Stadium to celebrate his beloved hometown team. “I’m a diehard fan, so having that as my distinct, unique cake was perfect,” enthuses the groom.

While there isn’t one thing the couple would change about their magical day, they were amazed at how quickly it all passed. “I look at the pictures and I want so badly to step back in time and relive each moment,” says Patrick.  And the bride who had dreamt of her wedding for so long? Her favorite memory has nothing to do with the details.

“Right after the ceremony, Patrick and I were whisked away to a more secluded part of the property – just close enough to the ocean to hear the waves crashing – where we had a few minutes to just be with each other and take in the moment,” Melina recalls. “We didn’t realize how profound that time would be for us after everything was said and done, but having those moments alone together to share our feelings was priceless.”