When Oscar De las salas and Gary Jackson decided to get married at Centennial Park in Coronado, California, they wanted their San Diego destination wedding to underscore their diverse backgrounds, perspectives and continents. Like their different styles, energy and talents, they wanted their wedding to reflect the balance they had discovered with each other in life and love.
Gary was born in a small port town north of Seattle, Washington, while Oscar was born in the port city of Barranquilla, Colombia, South America. So holding the most important ceremony of their lives near the ocean and bay, and next to a marina, offered this Phoenix couple a connection to their roots, as well as a beautiful backdrop and the ease of travel for their 28 guests, all close friends.
As both men were not from California, they relied on two close friends — Mark and Angela Karp, owners of Angelic Grove Events in Phoenix — who opened both their California home to them for scouting trips and their book of resources.
They also relied on the city of Coronado Recreation Department which helped lead them to the right ceremony location. “When we walked into Centennial Park in Coronado, which overlooks the San Diego Bay and city skyline,” Gary said, “We knew we had found our location.”
Once they had the location, it came time for everything else. While the couple knew many Phoenix-based event planners, florists and entertainment companies, the San Diego market was unknown to them. Using the Internet, the couple decided to coordinate their own wedding. They checked rates, booked the location and handled all the details with consultation from Angelic Grove.
The couple wanted a close, personal ceremony that reflected their sense of style and the importance of marriage equality for them and their friends. With Oscar’s background in fashion, he also had a clear vision of the overall feeling he wanted in the color scheme, which was based on the beach, bay, and natural pieces of nature. The overall look of the ceremony was classic with a fresh design.
The guests sat overlooking the bay on crystal ghost chairs, with sun parasols and sandalwood hand fans to keep them cool. To emphasize their diverse backgrounds and countries, Oscar and Gary incorporate those origins in the event but maintained an open format and wrote the entire ceremony, which was backed by acoustic classical Spanish guitar performed by artist David De Alva.
Close friend and artist, Mayme Kratz, officiated and brought personal emotion to the proceedings. Without family at the ceremony, and avoiding traditions set for opposite sex couples, the couple chose to include their closest friends to present the two grooms for marriage. Jeff Brodin and Irma Diehl give their approval of the union as representatives of all of the couple’s friends. To note the cultural mixing, another couple of Anglo and Latin backgrounds, Bill and Irma Diehl, read a verse in both Spanish and English, representing the diversity of culture in this marriage.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the couple selected a twist on a Jewish tradition of breaking the glass. The twist? They wrote several myths and negatives on cards that they wanted to crush and “break,” so friends Erika and Russ Dickey, read aloud each item that included bigotry, hatred, false traditions, and ignorance, and put them into a bag with the glass, which they then broke by foot. The overall impact of the ceremony was one of love and hope.
Oscar and Gary, with their Pug, Hugo, made their way to the reception in a classic 1955 Bel Air convertible, one of their favorite moments. Cresting over Orange Avenue to the historic Bluewater Boathouse on Glorietta Bay Marina and seeing all of their guests standing and waving to greet the new grooms at the reception was exhilarating and emotional all at once for the couple and stands out as a favorite memory.
The entire balcony overlooking the marina became a perfect setting for cocktails, with a four-course, seated dinner in candlelight. The texture and simplicity of white linens, and white hydrangeas in clear cylinders maintained the classic look, with a contemporary tone. The reception was underscored with big band music from the 1940s completing the retro mood and complementing the history of Coronado and the boathouse, which was built in 1887.
A close friend provided a special dessert table with Brazilian and Lebanese chocolates and sweets, adding both a sweet and stunning addition to the reception.
Oscar and Gary’s Advice to Self-Planning a Wedding
• Give yourself time to plan and use your friends as much as you can for a sounding board.
• Understand that nothing will be perfect. The perfection of the day lies in your connection and love from your friends, your family and the personal moments.
• If you are getting wed in a public venue, hire security.
• Invest in a fantastic photographer. The event itself goes by so fast that you will not remember the individual moments themselves – but good photos will revive those memories in your heart to relive again and again.
• When you choose your flowers, colors, outfits, etc. – remember that these photos and images are forever. Trends and fashion may come and go, but your photos will be there forever. The last thing you want is to have some current fashion trend that will disappear and leave you with a look that you and your family will cringe each time you see those photos.
• Have someone you trust, whether that is a coordinator or a friend, double check on the ceremony and reception set-‐up prior to walking in. As we noted, nothing goes as planned, but don’t leave your requirements for your wedding in the hands of the people who manage the space. What is the adage? Trust by verify.
Photographer – Wedding and Reception: Kristina Lee Photography
Wedding Planners: Oscar and Gary
Ceremony: Centennial Park, Coronado, California
Reception: Bluewater Boathouse, Coronado, California
Florist: Flowers By Erin
Wedding Consultant: Angelic Grove
Cake: Extraordinary Desserts
Dessert Table: Sweets Table by Micheline Etkin
Ghost Chair Rentals: Raphael’s Party Rentals
Parasols and Fans: Paper Lantern Store
Classic Car Transportation: Haynes Antique Car Chauffeuring