Love Story Costa Mesa California Wedding With Garden Topiary Feel

A great love story, everyone wants one.  Hanah & Michael Lim have one, both figuratively & literally!  Hanah & Michael met on a blind date, both falling head first only to figure out the timing wasnt quite right for them.  Fast forward to 2 years later, the phone magically rings & an engagement on Mount Kilimanjaro later and as they say, the rest is history!  I should apologize up front for the length of today’s feature, but I wont!  Between the immense amount of terrific details & Orange County wedding photographer Matthew Morgan Photography gorgeous gift for story telling through imagery, it simply felt unjust to whittle down the story… I mean we are telling a love story here!   Both Hanah & Michael are English majors as well as high school teachers, a love of books & a theme of a love story was the perfect choice for their wedding day!  Armed with willing friends & family while surrounding themselves with super creative people, the couple was able to pull off a truly gorgeous DIY wedding, all on a modest teacher’s salary.  Blending literary elements with a garden like vibe, the stage was set with books upon books serving as table numbers & signage, invitations & programs in the form of books, library card style notebooks for guests & so much more.  Bright yellow flowers & rich green moss beautifully intermixed with their novel counterparts, with areas set in a topiary like style.  The result is a dreamy world with words are whispered & heart strings tugged all gorgeously photographed by Orange County wedding photographer Matthew Morgan Photography.  Hanah & Michael’s wedding is a stunning example of the type of magic that can be pulled off with the right kind of effort!


Novella of the Bride…

Wedding Buzzwords ~ Modern, Storybook, Love Story, Teacher Wedding, DIY, & Modest Budget

Mike and I met on a blind date… set up by our parents! He said it was love at first sight, while for me, I thought the instant connection was too good to be true. After two amazing dates, I was convinced we were very special together. But it was too good to be true. Mike decided he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, said I lived “too far” and broke it off. The right thing at the wrong time was the wrong thing. I stayed happily single and did not want to date for a while. Then almost exactly two years later when I decided I wanted to date again, Mike called. We dated for 1.5 years, then got engaged on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa! I don’t know how we did it, but we planned our wedding in 6 months and it was the happiest day of our lives!

Since we were both English majors and both high school teachers, we decided to go with a Love Story/Storybook theme. We bought used books as much as we could for décor (our invitations were in book form, our programs had a ‘table of contents’, cake decor, table numbers, place cards, etc all got the book treatment. We even made personalized “library card” notebooks for everyone with book titles that described the progression of our relationship. (ie. 11.2008 When Harry Met Sally, 11.2010 Great Expectations, 6.2012 Into Thin Air, etc). Another very special item in our wedding was his wedding band. In 10th grade, I promised I would save myself until I got married and wore a sterling silver ring too big for me around my neck for 14+ years. I imagined myself giving this ring to my husband on my wedding day, and I did! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Since we are on teacher salaries, we managed to put together our entire wedding on less than the average wedding budget in California! A lot of this had to do with friends helping out. So many items were “gifted”: my custom dress, all of our prints (invites, programs, place cards), our wedding night suite, and much more! But the person who helped the MOST was my friend Jannie. She works for Potterybarn in the visual department, so she has an amazing eye. She decorated the cake, created all the ceremony florals and decor, and even helped me find the venue! Almost all of it was DIY, so co-workers, friends, and family all pitched in to help out with every detail.

Bride’s Favorite Moment: “I think my absolute favorite moment has to be our First Look. I will never forget the way Mike burst into tears when he saw me. Our wedding video does a better job capturing it. In that moment it was just us.”

Mike + Hanah Wedding Trailer from Hanah on Vimeo.

I was SO happy with the Center Club. Here is my raving review: 1. All inclusive packages for your budget
I was planning my wedding within 6 months so I needed a venue that would make it easier for me. I was planning to get married at a different venue where they were charging for EVERYTHING (valet alone was $3000 and we had to pay $50 for each time we wanted to visit the site). During this process I realized how expensive cakes would be and how chiavari chairs would easily be $8-$10 a piece. When I found out the Center Club PREFERRED credit cards (they don’t charge you extra for using one either), INCLUDED valet, cake (from awesome bakeries), chiavari chairs, hors d’oeuvres, and ALCOHOL all for a very fair rate, I was so relieved! It almost sounded too good to be true! But it got better! The food was SO good and guests commented that it was great as well!

2. Plan B for weather
Another important factor for me since I got married in January was the weather. If it rained, would I have an option to have the wedding indoors? I was at ease knowing there were both options. The day of my wedding there was a 60% chance of rain. It didn’t end up raining, but it was freezing and windy outside so we had the wedding indoors. I thought the room would be too small for our 125 guests, but it was still beautiful and guests were relieved it wasn’t in the freezing cold.

3. Sundays
Because I had my wedding on a Sunday, we had the entire club to ourselves! They have a brand new gorgeous bar on one side of the venue that can be used for the cocktail hour. They also have a 103 inch screen we looped our engagement photos on (way better than an easel for sure!). Our guests loved that room! I also loved the fact that the ceremony and the reception was all in one location (super convenient for us and the guests). I would suggest getting married on a Sunday just to use that beautiful area!

4. Amazing ambiance
The best thing about the venue is its new modern facelift. Our guests were in awe when they walked in and couldn’t imagine how we could afford such a nice venue. Our guests were having their own photoshoots throughout the place because of all the beautiful structures. There are not that many photos of the new venue online, so you MUST visit!

5. Can do attitude
Again I cannot express how grateful we were for Chris. When I saw him at the reception I almost burst into tears! He had become such a partner and an integral part to our whole planning process! I had no idea we would rely on him so much! He met with us whenever we needed and replied promptly to all of our emails. Even up until the night before the wedding he called me on my cell to discuss final details and was extremely patient with my last minute requests. I’ve witnessed him deal with difficult people for another wedding when we were visiting the site and he was so calm and professional. He had such a “can do” attitude and the entire time made us feel like he was trying to make our day the best day ever…. and it truly WAS!

Vendor Love

Venue: Center Club  | Wedding Dress: Atelier by Dawn | Bridal Hairpiece: Petit Plume  | Bridal Earrings: Kendra Scott | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jcrew  | Shoes: Ivanka Trump  | Hair: e2beauty  | Makeup: Spa Fuzion  | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse  | Invitations: Wet Ink Printing  | Bridesmaid Robes: Wedding Prep Gals  | Music: Extreme DJ  | Florist: Unique Sarah  | Baker: Cinderella Cakes  | Wedding/Event Planner: Jannie Nguyen | Videographer: Rain Studios | Photographer: Matthew Morgan Photography