Katie and Luke had the most epic engagement shoot in the waves of Laguna Beach, CA, last year, so we knew their wedding day would be just as magical. True to their Hawaii proposal and SoCal session, the couple continued the beach theme on their big day and exchanged vows right on the sand.
The bride told us that she was grateful she didn't drink any alcohol the day of. "I wanted to remember every moment, and even though it was a whirlwind, I do!" she said. "I can see why brides are tempted to have a few too many glasses of Champagne while getting ready — the nerves are real. But I'm glad I pushed past the emotions and was able to soak in every last drop of excitement."
Her favorite memory was Luke's sweet surprise when she got to the altar. After her dad walked her down the aisle, Luke pulled out a red rose, got down on one knee, and asked Katie if she'd accept this final rose. Knowing Katie's obsession with The Bachelor, Luke somehow pulled it off even though Katie did most of the wedding planning. "It really made me feel known and loved — a perfect example of our relationship," she told us.
Another special moment Katie mentioned was when she and Luke snuck away from their reception to capture sunset photos with their photographer. She loved that they were able to enjoy a little time together to themselves away from their hundreds of guests. Not only will they always have those amazing pictures to cherish, but that brief break away also allowed them to recharge their batteries to socialize with attendees and dance the night away.
Despite a few bumps in the road on their wedding day — including a missing groomsmen and a couple of hilarious mistakes made by the DJ — Katie's support system really came through with all the planning. Her solid group of vendors took away much of the stress, and her bridesmaids also chipped in by helping with dip-dyeing, ironing napkins, painting signs, and keeping her sane. Even Luke played a huge role in the process, which was a true test of their relationship.
"Since we had only dated each other for four months before getting engaged, we really got to know each other during our year-long engagement," Katie said. "I learned to ask for what I need, and he learned to make sacrifices for things that were important to me, even if it didn't necessarily make sense to him. He came to meetings with our wedding planners, cake tasting, helped with rentals, made our wedding playlist, and helped call guests who hadn't yet RSVP'd. He reluctantly took time off work to go to our catering tasting and ended up having a great time." Luke even surprised Katie a couple of times by taking charge of some of the logistics.
To keep things laid-back and easygoing, like the couple's own personal style, they had Soho Taco cater their wedding. The guests raved about the food and appreciated the unexpected twist on traditional wedding catering.
For any couples planning their own wedding, Katie advises to avoid getting too caught up, or else you'll lose touch of why you're doing it in the first place. "The pressure to have a 'perfect' wedding is unrealistic, and frankly, will ruin any fun you might have had!" she said. "It really is just one day, the FIRST day of your lives together as husband and wife. Make it special, infuse it with personal elements, and don't be afraid to put your own stamp on it. Be you."
Luke and Katie shared their first dance as a married couple to "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." The last surprise of the evening was Luke's karaoke performance à la Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. "It was classic!"
See their gorgeous photos ahead!