God's Grace in Every Detail

When a wedding planner gets to plan her own wedding, it’s beyond a dream for the little girl who sat on her bedroom floor planning her wedding when she was young. I always dreamed of planning the sweetest backyard wedding with everyone I love in one place and every single detail being perfect. And that was the wedding I planned!! My fiancé and I got married in the backyard of a family friend I had known almost my whole life and we had invited over 300 of our friends and family who had journeyed with us to this big day. And of course, we served In-N-Out Burgers since we had met working there. It was sure to be the perfect not-so-little backyard celebration!

The day before, the weather was perfect, everyone had arrived for the rehearsal, I was in a cute, white sundress, and we were about to get everyone lined up. Then my fiancé walked up to me and told me his dad had just suffered a massive stroke in the front yard. I instantly burst into tears as we ran out front and he was being put into the back of ambulance. Within a matter of moments, everything had changed. Every detail went out the window. And the only thing that mattered to me was being with Jason. I was ready to postpone the wedding or get married in the hospital. After a quick rehearsal, Jason and I sped to the hospital to see his dad and my entire family and bridal party went to our rehearsal dinner that was being hosted by Jason’s parents at their home. There were a lot of questions, and no answers. With less than 24 hours before I was supposed to become Mrs. Dingwall, I didn’t know if we were even getting married the next day.

At 2am on the day of our wedding, Jason had the chance to visit his dad in the hospital and talk to him about the wedding. He said no matter what, May 20th was the day we had prayed for and was the day God ordained for us to get married. When I first met Jason in Hawaii on a work trip two years ago, I talked to his dad more than I talked to him. I couldn’t imagine our wedding day without Jeff there. The doctors told us there was a slight chance Jeff might be released from the hospital in time for the wedding, so I called my coordinator and she rewrote my entire timeline to push the wedding back in order for him to make it. The details didn’t matter to me anymore and we definitely weren’t on time, but the wedding was on and our families and friends prayed fiercely for a miracle in the hospital for Jeff! And God made himself so known and Jeff recovered in amazing ways in the first 24 hours in the hospital! But then 3pm rolled around the doctor said he couldn’t release him. Our guests had begun to arrive, we hadn’t started pictures, Jason was stuck in traffic, and Jeff wasn’t going to be allowed to come to our wedding. Everything I dreamed of and planned was not turning out to be perfect.

Jason had arrived, our guests were seated (bless their hearts for waiting over an hour with no explanation as to why we were so delayed), and Jeff was there on FaceTime. I walked down the aisle and got to marry my love. AND. IT. WAS. PERFECT. Seeing my husband at the end of that aisle, sharing our vows, and promising to serve together forever was the happiest moment of our day. While the details were out the window and nothing seemed perfect, marrying Jason was the most perfect thing. Promising to stand beside him in sickness and in health and in the good times and hard times, was perfect for what our family was experiencing while Jeff was in the hospital. The night flew by on our shortened timeline, but we were surrounded by everyone we loved and got to cut cake, light sparklers, and share a few dances.  

After the wedding, the first place we went was to visit Jeff in the hospital. We read our vows with him and got to share about the day with him. It wasn’t the perfect wedding day we dreamed of (and my planner heart had planned), but God’s grace was evident. Walking through the hospital in my white dress after leaving our wedding was not exactly what I imagined for my wedding night, but God being glorified and being surrounded by everyone we loved was all I had hoped for. The day didn’t unfold as I had perfectly planned, but God’s grace was in every detail.


Amanda Grace


Best of Both Worlds

Reylena was my first friend I met at Biola University over seven years ago and she quickly became one of my dearest friends. Reylena has the most beautiful heart for serving those in need, is an incredible listener, and woman of grace. When she met James in grad school where they were both working on their Master’s in Social Work at USC, I knew there was something different about this guy. She would call me and tell me about this amazing man and the conversations they were having. I knew it was only a matter of time until he would pop the question and we could start planning her wedding together!

During their engagement, James finished school, Reylena worked full time, completed her internship, moved, planned a wedding, and finished school a few months after James. Needless to say, this woman is amazing! Their wedding day in the desert where Reylena grew up was the absolutely perfect day! Every detail fell into place, the weather was beautiful, and Reylena was the most calm bride. Her family coming together with James’ family was so special to witness.

Not only did I have the privilege of being Reylena’s coordinator, I also got to be a bridesmaid and stand next to one of my best friends on the most exciting day of her life! I got to celebrate with her in her bridal party, but also serve her doing something I love! What a special gift it was to part of her day! It truly was the best of both worlds for both of us!

Game, Set, Match Made in Heaven

Chris and Kelsey met doing what they love. Kelsey and a friend of hers found a sand volleyball group on an app called Meetup and started going. Kelsey started to become a regular at this sand volleyball group that met at a church with friends and her connection with Chris was obvious to everyone from the start. For the proposal, Chris took them back to where it all began and asked Kelsey to marry him on the sand volleyball court where they met.

Their wedding was the sweetest of days with their church family who all pitched in to help make the day happen. The members of the church where they attend helped with set up, made floral arrangements, and served appetizers. The girls got ready on site at the pastor’s house and the guys met up before they came to the church. With a January wedding, weather is always questionable but as guests arrived, the sun was shining, the air was crisp and Chris couldn’t wait to see his bride in white. The church filled with friends and family from all over as Chris and Kelsey exchanged vows. As they made their exit and went outside for photos, Chris whispered to Kelsey, “Your dress couldn’t be more perfect, you look beautiful.” The way Chris cares for Kelsey is incredible and he truly cherishes the woman that she is.

When I first met with Chris and Kelsey, I asked them what is one thing they really want to make sure happens on their wedding day. They said they always envisioned their first dance happening under the lights right after the sun has set. This was something we made sure happened and the moment was perfect! Friends and family shared toasts, laughed, danced, and enjoyed homemade desserts made by the women who attended Kelsey’s bridal shower. When the night came to a close, we sent the bride and groom off in Chris’s uncle’s vintage VW van and it was the coolest end to the day!


2016: Year in Review

My goodness can you believe how close 2017 is?! This year seemed to fly by! It was filled with exciting weddings, a new website, and the most incredible bride and grooms:)

The year started with Drew and Ashley’s wedding in Palm Springs. It was a fun weekend getaway to the desert to celebrate two of my favorite people! In January we also had Steve and Lindi’s wedding at their church in Fountain Valley and reception at Angel’s Stadium. They invited 200 of their closest friends and danced the night away! In February Caleb and Maddy got married and their wedding ceremony was led by both of their fathers. They invited their musician friends to play music during their reception and served homemade cookies for dessert. It was so sweet!

June was very exciting with the launch of a new website! It was so fun to share our new blog, photo gallery, and website with you! Thank you for all your support! In July we had our hottest (seriously it was SO HOT THAT DAY!) wedding in Moorpark at Walnut Grove for Mike and Dani. With farm tables, candles, and string lights strung, it was such a beautiful venue! A few weeks after she got married, Dani came and helped coordinate Fredy and Leia’s wedding at the Betty Reckas Cultural Center. It was so fun to work with her again and she knew Fredy and Leia from crossfit!

Now it’s engagement season and we are gearing up for 2017! With some beautiful weddings on the horizon we can’t wait to see the year holds!



A Surprise for the Groom

Fredy & Leia

I met Fredy and Leia at crossfit two years ago. We used to lift together every day. They were my third crossfit wedding! Noticing a trend…I love crossfit weddings! When you see the same people every day and you face some of the toughest workouts together, you build incredible friendships. This was definitely true for Fredy and Leia who met in the 5:30pm class at the gym;) As these two fell in love with each other, the 5:30 crew definitely liked what they were seeing!

Fredy and Leia tied the knot in August and the day was perfection! Leia’s vision for a simple and elegant design came to life at the Betty Reckas Cultural Center better than she imagined. With an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception, their friends and family had a blast celebrating these two! I loved her choice of tall floral arrangements but with just baby’s breath. The gold décor looked amazing and their photographers did such a great job capturing the little details of their wedding!

Both and Leia and Fredy’s favorite part of the day was when Leia surprised the groom with a banda! Fredy had wanted a banda but they had both decided not to move forward with hiring one. Much to Fredy’s surprise Leia planned to have one come! Fredy had no idea Leia and his brother had been working together to hire a banda for their reception. He was so surprised when they opened the doors and they came in singing!

I had so much fun working with Fredy and Leia and talking wedding details at the gym as they planned their wedding!



A Couple that Lifts Together...

Dani & Mike

In July Dani and Mike got married and it was just the best day! I met Dani and Mike where we used to all workout doing Crossfit down in Mission Viejo. They are two of the strongest (literally!) people I know with the biggest hearts. Mike used to coach us and Dani was unstoppable in the gym! These two brought so much to our community and it was so sweet to watch them workout together and do life with one another in and outside of the gym. They met in college and had been dating for years. Mike is now a special education teacher and Dani just finished her doctorate and works as a chiropractor.  They are such fun people to be around and I absolutely loved getting to be a part of making their vision come to life!

For almost a year we worked together dreaming up each perfect detail for their wedding day. We shared many dinners and laughs as we talked through everything leading up to the big day. They got married at Walnut Grove in Moorpark and it was gorgeous with farm tables and oak vineyard chairs, string lights, and an intimate ceremony in the cool shade of huge trees.

Their reception had hundreds of candles, flowers arranged by a longtime family friend, signature cocktails, and lots of dancing! I don’t know many people who like to have a good time as much as these two! They are always dancing, adventuring, and celebrating together and their friends and families were overjoyed to finally share in their much anticipated wedding day!

Dani and her mom were extremely organized and thought of every little thing. From each table having its own box of décor to fans for their afternoon ceremony, they were on it! I had so much fun getting to know Dani’s family throughout the process of planning for their wedding and we had such a blast on their wedding day!

A week after Dani and Mike got back from their honeymoon Dani volunteered to assist me at another wedding…how sweet is that?!


Amanda Grace

Wedding Tip Wednesday: Dessert Tables

There are so many different ways to do dessert at your wedding these days! You could go classic with cake, trendy with cupcakes, fun with mini desserts or sweet and personal with homemade goodies!

If you're not a cake person, consider pie, cookies or homemade treats you grew up eating at grandma's house. I love the idea of cutting a small sweetheart cake and allowing guests to enjoy something that people will love like a mini dessert station. People always like options and giving guests the choice to choose from several options makes dessert time interactive and a piece of your wedding people are sure not to forget! 

I've seen "fake cakes" with sheet cake precut in the back, Ben & Jerry's ice cream cart, classic cake, donuts, varied desserts brought from friends at a local bakery, and even a churro cart! Below are some yummy desserts the sweetest couples have enjoyed and shared with their guests!


Amanda Grace

Love is Sweet

Maddy & Caleb

In February I got to be a part of one of the sweetest of weddings for a dear from college. Maddy and I met freshman year and have been friends ever since so getting to help create the day she envisioned to marry William Caleb Parker was such a treat! There were the most darling personal touches in every detail from the people that helped set up to both of their fathers officiating the ceremony to the dessert that was made in Tennessee and flown to California.

Early in the morning several people, young and old, came to the reception to help set up tables and chairs for 250 guests and carefully place handmade centerpieces. As we pulled everything together it was a true picture of community coming together to show love to two people we are all lucky to know. With both of their dads being pastors, they each got to play a role in the ceremony and together they spoke words of wisdom and love as Maddy and Caleb exchanged vows and promises to serve and love together forever. There was not a dry eye in that church!

Probably my favorite detail from the wedding was the dessert! Caleb’s family has a secret cookie recipe that Maddy wasn’t allowed to have until they got married. Maddy swore she wasn’t just marrying him for the recipe but I know it was a huge perk for that sweets-loving lady;) For their wedding Caleb’s grandma and aunts baked dozens of these magic cookies and flew them to California for the reception. At the rehearsal dinner Maddy was given the recipe as she was welcomed in the Parker family. With these sweet, melt in your mouth, cookies, Maddy and Caleb served brownies (made by the famous Mrs. Clarke!) and had a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cart! Maddy would eat ice cream for every meal if she could so it was perfect and guests loved it!

Maddy and Caleb are two of the sweetest people I know and it was such a blessing to get to be a part of making their vision for their day come to life!


Amanda Grace