“We’re so happy we started the next chapter in our lives,” says Andrea Alvarado of her family-only wedding at home during the pandemic. “While it wasn’t what we expected, the wedding was perfect, more fun, and more special than we ever could have imagined.”
Andrea, a manager at Netflix, and Landon Thompson, a director at Global Mutual, originally planned an October 2020 celebration at One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico. Like many other couples, they postponed the big party, but still wanted to honor the date of their official nuptials. The pair worked with their planning team at The Lynden Lane Co. to throw an Amalfi Coast-inspired, wine-fueled beach wedding at Andrea’s family home in Laguna Beach for 11 guests. Coincidentally, it’s also where Landon popped the question over a game of gin rummy the year prior.
We have always loved spending time at the beach and after getting engaged there, it was a no-brainer,” Andrea says. Since the home naturally lent itself to a coastal theme, the couple decided to pull inspiration from one of their favorite seaside places, Italy’s Amalfi Coast, for the food Italy’s Amalfi Coast, for the food and décor. It would feel different enough from their Mexico destination wedding but still be authentic to them.
Cecile’s Paper Co. designed the couple’s new invitations and paper goods, like the Amalfi Coast-inspired menus.
Instead of wearing her original gown, Andrea opted for a more beach-appropriate outfit: a floral-print, ruffled dress from Brock Collection that she bought online. She added a simple pair of diamond studs from the same jeweler who designed her engagement ring, and a blue ring that was a wedding gift from her sister, who served as maid of honor.
Landon also opted to go with beach-friendly attire, rocking a sand-colored Hugo Boss suit sans tie.
“For the aisle, we wanted something very organic and that didn’t overpower the natural beauty,” Andrea says of the semi-circle altar space and curved aisle.
The 11 guests watched the ceremony from wooden chairs, and Andrea admits they gained a few socially distanced guests during the nuptials. “The beachgoers all cheered and applauded on our kiss!” she says.
“Due to COVID, we downsized our list to just immediate family,” the bride says. “It was an extremely tough decision, but it was the right one to keep everyone safe.”
A family friend led the ceremony, which stuck to traditional vows and recorded music, like Cat Power’s “Sea of Love” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere.”
“The whole day felt natural and relaxed,” Andrea says of the simple beach ceremony. In fact, she says that the planning was actually very easy, despite all the variables. “It was fun to do things we weren’t going to do [at our Cabo wedding].”
While it wasn’t what we expected, the wedding was perfect, more fun, and more special than we ever could have imagined.
Getting married in Southern California did have a special place in the couple’s hearts. Andrea and Landon both met as students at the University of Southern California, and currently live and work in Los Angeles.
At the same time, they both love Italy’s focus on family and friends, food, and wine. Combining the two for a laid-back celebration just felt right.
“All the details helped us create an elegant yet comfortable feeling,” the bride says.
The reception took place overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The planning team pulled inspiration from the restaurants of the Amalfi Coast for the décor, incorporating hanging vines and woven lanterns, bistro-style chairs, lush arrangements of flowers, and plenty of candles. “We didn’t want the dinner to feel like a themed party, so picking and choosing which elements we brought through was a big part,” Andrea says.
One detail they loved was the handmade plates from Ravello that graced each place setting.
Landon was in charge of the playlists for the entire day, and he took the job seriously, including all their favorite songs throughout cocktail hour and dinner. “When the song ‘That’s Amore’ came on during dinner, we all spontaneously sang together!” Andrea says.
Andrea and Landon are big on food and wine, so they quickly found out that a smaller guest count meant you could really splurge on it! The couple designed a wine pairing for the dinner that included wines significant to their relationship and from vintages that nodded to important years in their love story. That included an Antinori Tignanello from 2014—a producer they shared on the night of their engagement and the year that they started dating—and an Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet from 2018—their go-to white wine for celebrations and the year they moved in together.
The couple pulled dishes from the favorite Italian restaurant, Toscana, for the Sunday dinner-inspired meal: Margherita pizza, cacio e pepe pasta, and branzino with lemon confit, plus a delightful finish of mini espresso martinis.
We had only planned on my dad giving a formal toast before dinner began, but as dinner went on, everyone around the table gave a toast or speech.
“We had only planned on my dad giving a formal toast before dinner began, but as dinner went on, everyone around the table gave a toast or speech,” Andrea says. “It was so special and unexpected.” To keep safety in mind for the evening, the couple skipped official entertainment, relying instead on great conversation, funny speeches, and impromptu sing-alongs.
“From the moment we pivoted to our smaller ceremony, the Lynden Lane Co. ladies read our minds and brought our vision to life,” Andrea says. “While it wasn’t what we expected, the wedding was perfect, more fun, and more special than we ever could have imagined.”
The newlyweds cut into a chocolate chip-flavored wedding cake from The Buttered End.
If you’ve had to postpone your wedding, still get married to your nearest and dearest. It’s the most special and lovely experience.
“We got so lucky with a beautiful and warm day at the beach,” the bride says. “It truly felt like a summer night.
As the night went on, everyone sang and danced together. Despite being a change of plans, Andrea and Landon say they are glad they did it. “If you’ve had to postpone your wedding, still get married to your nearest and dearest,” Andrea says. “It’s the most special and lovely experience.”