Shipwrecked Winter Beach Wedding: Cortnie + Donny – Part 1

bride and groom

I’m super excited for today’s wedding feature since it is for two of our dear, sweet friends – Cortnie + Donny! Cortnie is the talented designer behind Canvas and Canopy Events and her hubby Donny is a talented musician! They are two of the sweetest people and recently welcomed the birth of their adorable daughter Pilot! Since Cortnie is in the wedding industry, she knew exactly what type of wedding she wanted and worked with an amazing team of artists including the one-and-only Jose Villa capturing the day. I am completely obsessed with their formal winter beach wedding. They loved the idea of doing a different twist on the traditional summer beach wedding – and something completely different for San Diego! Their vision included a mixing of modern + rustic, with the overall design being beachy + eclectic…a shipwrecked vibe if you may!

One other important detail to note, their wedding was set for 11.11.11 (such a great date!). But after learning that a huge storm was arriving on their wedding date (and they really wanted the ceremony outdoors), they decided at the last minute to move up the wedding an entire day! Since most guests were arriving that day anyways, the biggest challenge was getting all the vendors on board. Thanks to all their amazing “frienders” (as Cortnie dubbed them) and the amazing coordination skills of Carolyn from The Special Day, who coordinated their wedding, they were able to move an entire wedding up a day – in less than a weeks time!

A bit more about the wedding vision from Cortnie: I wanted the wedding to have a shipwrecked vibe…a washed ashore, nautical, ethereal almost ghostly feel. I also wanted it extremely eclectic. We had modern ghost chairs on the sandy beach for ceremony and our ‘altar’ was a vintage white washed canopy bed that we repurposed into a ceremony structure. We also propped a vintage church window upon a washed ashore table that we got married in front of. This became our self-made “Little Chapel by the Sea.” The main color scheme that tied our eclectic ideas together were shades of gray, blush, cream, white, gold, and touches of silver. I personally don’t think there can be too many ideas or styles. It’s all about personal touches and finding a way for them to work. Usually tying them together with colors and making sure that certain elements make multiple appearances throughout the wedding keep it from looking undone.

illustrative invitations

One of our personal touches that appeared on the invitations, menus, programs, and cakes were the silhouettes of bears. My nickname for both Donny & our dog Bubba are my bears. Even the ringBEARers wore lapel pins with bears on them, and my bouquet had a necklace that had a bear locket wrapped around it with photos of Donny and Bubba inside.


silver shoes

ringbearer bear pin

ring bearer

Um, cutest and most stylish ring bearer ever!


For my bouquet, I wanted to channel the giant bouquets carried by brides in the 1930’s and 40’s, so I asked Studio Fiore Design to create a really textural and ‘undone’ giant bouquet.


first look

first look

Isn’t Cortnie’s Joan Shum dress just stunning?!! Love all the ruffles…

bride and groom


My dress was custom designed by Joan for me. I tried it on for the final time the day before my wedding, that is how much I trusted her design sense! She designed it to be long sleeve and the color was a blush/beige mixture which I dubbed ‘BLEIGE!’. It had a gorgeous full skirt with tons of textural elements on it and a dark charcoal sash. I loved the idea of wearing this extremely elegant formal gown on the sandy beach. I wanted long sleeves because it was Winter time and chilly.


bride and groom with dog

Stay tuned, we have their chapel by the sea ceremony up next!

photography: Jose Villa // venue name: private estate in Carlsbad, California // event design: Canvas & Canopy Events // planning: The Special Day // wedding dress: Joan Shum // bride's shoes: Jimmy Choo // hair stylist: Alexis K Brows // makeup artist: Alexis K Brows // groom attire: Theory Suit from Bloomingdales; shoes from Salvatore Farragamo // videography: Elysium Productions // paper goods: Kristy Rice of Momental Designs // calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy // catering: Toast Catering // cake: Cupcakes Couture // furniture rentals: Found Vintage Rentals // styling: Canvas & Canopy Events // coordination: The Special Day // floral design: Studio Fiore Design // bride: Lo Boheme // flower girl hair pieces: Lo Boheme // vintage dinnerware: Casa De Perrin // glassware: Casa De Perrin // flatware: Casa De Perrin // modern furniture rentals: Hire Elegance // table linens: Wildflower Linen // event containers: Canvas & Canopy Events // props: Canvas & Canopy Events // wedding invitation: Printed Palette Ink // cookies: Cupcakes Couture // mixologists: Snake Oil Cocktail // canopy bed ceremony structure: Designed & Constructed by Canvas & Canopy Events // custom floating table: designed by Canvas & Canopy Events; constructed by The Timber Library // lighting: San Diego Events Lighting