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California Luxury Garden Wedding | Dawn + John

Updated: Mar 31

The greenery, the shadows, the venue, the couple.... everything about this California garden inspired luxury wedding day was perfect.

Dawn + John's perfect love is expressed so beautifully in their details and you'll feel that in their nostalgic, romantic wedding film. All I can keep saying is.... Dawn + John, you are perfection. PERFECTION.

I'm OBSESSED with everything and if I could go back and redo my own wedding day, I would copy everything about Dawn and John's day. From the guests and vendors, to the little details around the venue, this couple chose everything perfectly and intentionally.

Bride and groom: @dawnfore_ @officialjohnlocke

California Wedding Vendor Team

DJ: DJ Soirée and Hosts

Get To Know The Couple

How did you two meet?

"We met for the first time in December of 2017. He was one of my judges at a debate tournament, and no, I didn’t win that round. Obviously, I chose to forgive him.


John knew my best friend (and Maid of Honor) Sofia, which is how we would connect several months later. I joke that Sofia is the reason we ended up together, because, mostly in an effort two prove we were actually best friends, she gave John my Instagram.


In May 2018, we met again at another debate tournament, held at Point Loma Nazarene University, a beautiful school right next to Sunset Cliffs in San Diego (California). We weren’t really friends yet, but he had been messaging me on Instagram and I decided to ask him if he wanted to walk down to the beach with me. Lucky for me, he said yes.


He gave me one of his AirPods and played Frank Sinatra as we walked along the cliffs (what guy just casually breaks out Frank Sinatra?). We walked for hours along those cliffs, and I think we both knew in that moment that we were meant to be in each other’s lives. We’ve been walking together ever since."

How did John propose?

John and I had already decided that we were going to get married, so after we hit our four-year anniversary, I knew it was just a matter of time. I was finishing my last year at UCLA and John was still working in the Bay Area, so we were doing the long-distance thing. I could have sworn he was going to propose when he came to visit me for our anniversary, but he told me later that he wanted my parents to be there.


Instead, he caught me off-guard by proposing during a short trip that I took back home on November 13th, 2022. He was supposed to be working, and my parents and I were going to go to the Marin Headlands, my absolute favorite hiking spot in the Bay Area. Because it was such a short trip and I wasn’t expecting anything, I didn’t bring any of the outfits I would have chosen for a proposal. My dad said he wanted to take some nice family photos in an effort to get me to wear something a little nicer. Thank you, dad.


My parents and I started hiking up to the highest point in the headlands and I caught my dad recording me from behind, and that’s when the reality of it set in. I had started to suspect something was up on the way over, but now I was almost certain. This was it.


And sure enough, John was sitting on a bench waiting for me. He said he had a whole speech planned out, but he forgot every word once he saw me. All I remember is his big smile as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Easiest yes of my life.

What helped you the most with wedding planning?

Staying organized. I kept an excel spreadsheet of my tasks, budget, milestones, etc. I didn’t have a wedding planner, so I was juggling a lot and there was no way I would have kept track of anything without some sort of system.


Also, vendors, vendors, VENDORS! I had the most amazing team and I had complete trust in them. Choosing the right vendors is so important, not only for your wedding day, but for all the days leading up to it. Each of my vendors checked in with me and helped me plan their respective areas of the wedding, so I felt completely prepared and there were no surprises.

Why did you choose to get married at The Monte Verde Inn?

I had a whole list of possible venues, but I only ended up touring one. It was just one of those things where as soon as I saw it, I knew it was for us.


It’s important to remember that your venue is your wedding aesthetic. It’s the background to all your photos and it sets the vibe for your guests. Monte Verde Inn checked all our boxes. It had the exact vibe we wanted for our wedding. We were going for a classic, timeless, vintage aesthetic, and that would have been harder to pull off in a hotel event space, for example.


Monte Verde Inn is also an all-inclusive venue, which was really important to us. They took care of flowers, food, drinks, the wedding cake, set-up and break-down, and provided the most amazing day-of coordinator. I felt absolutely zero stress on my wedding day, and 80 percent of that is because of the venue we chose. They just made everything so easy!

Do you have any wedding advice for future couples?

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: vendors, vendors, VENDORS! Choose your vendors wisely, don’t cut corners here. Especially your photographer and videographer. I couldn’t have been happier with Taylor and my photographer, Karen. They both turned our wedding day into eternal memories that we will treasure forever.


Also, try to do as little as possible the day of. You are the guests of honor at your wedding, so enjoy it! My husband, our families and I did absolutely nothing the day of besides get ready and have fun. If feasible, I highly recommend hiring a day-of coordinator and set-up crew so your families and friends can enjoy the day with you. We didn’t have to lift a finger on our wedding day and were stress-free because of it!

California Vintage, Classic Wedding Theme at Monte Verde Inn

All photos on this blog were captured by Karen Khuc Photo

Feeling inspired and in love with this venue, color scheme and overall theme?

If you’re engaged and you’re looking for a wedding filmmaker that's ready to capture your memories and bring this vision to life, you can inquire with me here!

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