Ocean Institute Wedding

Ocean Institute Wedding

After hunting up and down the coast of Southern California, we discovered the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. The modern, sharp architecture up against the stunning Harbor meant we got to keep décor simple and really let the venue do the talking. As San Diego natives and Los Angeles locals, the beach is a definite constant. That being said, we did decide to stray away from a barefoot on the sand wedding, and instead used the ocean as inspiration for the day.
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Ocean Institute Wedding

We asked my Uncle Gary to officiate the ceremony (an idea we shamelessly stole from a cousin of mine), where we shared vows that we had written together. He told the story of how we met, read quotes from throughout history, and saved a quote dear to our hearts for last: “I want a marriage more beautiful than my wedding.” As an event producer, this was my mantra throughout the wedding planning process. As beautiful and fun as planning such a special day is, I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose sight of the purpose. I didn’t want planning our wedding to feel like work, and I didn’t want to get so caught up in making everything perfect that I was missing the big picture. So, when I spelled my new last name wrong on our Save the Dates, I sent them anyways. I shed some minor tears, but we decided to travel this whole journey to have a marriage, not just a wedding. If he could forgive me for the spelling typo, I figured I could and should get over it, too.
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Ocean Institute Wedding

Due to the unique layout and variety of rooms, it is difficult to provide exact capacities. That said, the Ocean Institute has hosted events as intimate as 40 guests for a seat and serve dinner inside the Surf Science Sleep Deck to events as large as 750 utilizing multiple all 3 facilities for parties with in-and-out flow.
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Ocean Institute Wedding

What is the capacity of the facility? Due to the unique layout and variety of rooms, it is difficult to provide exact capacities. That said, the Ocean Institute has hosted events as intimate as 40 guests for a seat and serve dinner inside the Surf Science Sleep Deck to events as large as 750 utilizing multiple all 3 facilities for parties with in-and-out flow. The Samueli Conference Center has hosted:
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Ocean Institute Wedding

In celebration of California’s rich maritime history, the Ocean Institute annually hosts a fleet of historic tall ships that sail into Dana Point Harbor.  This extraordinary event takes place each year the second weekend in September.  History comes alive, as crews from each ship, along with historical re-enactors, engage the public in cannon battles, pirate adventures, mermaid encounters , ship tours, and much more.
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Ocean Institute Wedding

When beginning this crazy ride, we weren’t too specific with what we wanted, but had some broad strokes of a vision. We wanted to be close to the ocean, to keep things intimate, to have the boys in suits, the gals in black, but most of all we wanted to have a really fun party.
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Ocean Institute Wedding

We kept our colors simple — blues, dark greenery, black and cream, and pulled from the elements of the beach and the venue to bring it all together. Beach stones, driftwood, candlelight, and a suspended whale skeleton above the head table brought it full circle. Instead of table numbers, our guests sat a tables named after various beaches from our lives. I walked down the aisle to Van Morrison with a bouquet wrapped in lace. The lace was a keepsake from a bouquet I caught at Sean’s cousin’s wedding, our first year of dating.
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Ocean Institute Wedding

At the end of the day, our wedding was filled with romance and laughter, but most of all it felt sacred to who we are. We watched the sunset over the water, toasted our beautiful family and friends, and danced the night away. Our guests were happy and full — we couldn’t have imagined a better day.