Avenue Of The Arts Hotel Costa Mesa Wedding | Norman & Colleen
One of the reasons I love shooting wedding photography in Orange County is the variety of wedding venues to choose from. There are more natural locations such as the mountains, the beaches, the parks and others. And then there are venues that are complete opposite, which leads us to one of our favorite venues to shoot weddings at, the Avenue of the Arts Hotel.
The Avenue of the Arts Hotel combines modern architecture with nature and is committed to making your wedding and reception meet your personal style.
We were fortunate enough to photograph the wedding of Norman and Colleen at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa. These two are a wonderful couple and a real joy to be around.
The ceremony took place by the lakeside and the day could not have been more perfect. Prior to the wedding, Norman and Colleen opted for a “first look” photo session, which saves a lot of photography time after the ceremony and before your reception begins.
At the reception, they had one of the best dessert bars we have ever seen. There were a variety of small bite desserts, churros and a donut wall! The donuts hung on pegs and were frosted in the couple’s color theme.
Such a great time!
Colleen and Norman, you are a beautiful couple and we thank you for allowing us to be part of your special day.
Here is their Love Story. I hope you enjoy it, and their photos, as much as we do.
Colleen and Norman’s Love Story
This is from Colleen’s point of view…
Q: How did you both meet and who liked who first?
A: On December 20, 2013, we met at a mutual friend’s party in college. We both almost didn’t go to this party but decided to show up anyway. The moment we saw each other, there was instant attraction. I think we can agree that we both liked each other at the same time. We spent the night playing video games and talking. Norman was impressed with my Call of Duty skills and I was impressed with his Halo skills. I drove him back to his car, but we ended up talking for another hour before parting ways. I added him on Facebook, and he accepted. He asked me out on a date and mentioned how he wanted to ask for my number.
Q: Tell us about your first date. What did you guys do and who was more nervous?
A: We had been texting each other over the weekend, and then, our first date was on December 23rd. It was for coffee and a movie. We met at a Starbucks to get to know each other. Then, we went to watch The Hobbit. I leaned toward him and had my hand out for him to hold it, but he didn’t until near the end of the movie. He said he was super nervous because he didn’t want to make any mistakes and rush things. I thought that was really funny, kind and cute. Obviously, I was really nervous too, but it sounds like Norman was more nervous.
Q: What’s the proposal story? Give us the details and who cried first?
A: We went to Big Bear to rent a cabin for our fourth anniversary. We had gone to a cabin almost every anniversary. The first was just the two of us, while the second and third were with close family; which was really fun too. We had talked about marriage before and both agreed we were ready to be together for the rest of our lives. It was still a huge surprise though because I didn’t think it would happen yet. He had a trip to Japan planned and I assumed it would be then. He admitted he was planning to propose in Japan but couldn’t wait that long.
We went hiking on a trail by a nature center and it was cold but beautiful. We both love the mountains and woods, so this was really refreshing for us. He told me to take a break and sit on one of the benches on the trail, so I did. That was when he got down on one knee and proposed. I obviously cried first. He totally teared up, too, when I said yes. The ring was a little too big, but it was beautiful. Norman later admitted that he tried to measure my finger while I was asleep but must have done it incorrectly.
Q: As you approach the wedding day, what have you both enjoyed most about the wedding planning process?
A: Norman most enjoyed working together with me and thinking about our actual wedding day and being married. He enjoyed sharing ideas and trying to picture what everything would be like. I definitely enjoyed that too, but I also loved the creative aspect of everything.
Q: What has been the hardest part about planning your wedding?
A: In my opinion, the hardest part of planning the wedding was dealing with my parents. They are helping with some payments for the wedding, which is very generous, and we are definitely grateful. However, the beginning felt like they were planning their own event and trying to push their ideas through. It was tough and we had to really talk to them and stand up for what we wanted. Eventually, they realized it is our wedding and they can’t make a final decision on how we want things to be. I did compromise and let them choose the catering and include some Cambodian traditions. Chinese food is great anyway, so we won’t lose on anything by choosing that for catering. Norman and I actually wanted a really small wedding, even considering a courthouse wedding, but I have such a big family, it would be amazing to be able to celebrate with everyone.
Q: Why did you choose your particular wedding and reception venue?
A: We loved the Avenue of the Arts because it was more modern and smaller than hotel chains. We didn’t want a crazy large wedding and a smaller venue would limit the guest count. My parents wanted a huge wedding, but this is our way of keeping it the way we prefer. We loved how the garden ceremony space looked because it was surrounded by the modern hotel and by trees that made it feel like we were in a forest. We liked how the walls and floors in the ballroom looked more neutral, which makes it easier to use the colors we chose. We definitely wanted a venue that could be used for both ceremony and reception so that guests would not have to travel between locations. It is also nice to have rooms available to stay the night.
Q: Where did you draw some of your inspiration from for your wedding day?
A: Navy blue has always been one of my favorite colors. Even before meeting Norman, I thought about wedding colors and decorations, especially after each wedding I attended. I feel like most girls have thought about it before. I wanted navy and blush pink. I saw it online and fell in love with the color combination. I actually always loved the idea of getting married in the winter time. It was a great coincidence that we met in December and that our anniversary is then. That is why we decided on a December wedding. We both like simple and romantic styles. We like some rustic aspects, but we don’t want it to feel like a farm or country wedding. Norman isn’t too picky, so that made planning and deciding on things much easier for us. The only thing he requested is string lights, which I love as well.
Q: Where are you two going for your honeymoon and how did you choose that destination?
A: We plan to go to Japan in February for two weeks. It will be a bit after my birthday, which is February 4th, so we will celebrate it in Japan, along with Valentine’s Day. We chose to go to Japan because we went in May 2018 and really enjoyed it. We loved it so much and felt like we didn’t get to do everything we wanted, which is why we chose to go again. May was a bit too humid and warm for us, so February will be much better.
Vendors that Norman and Colleen used for their beautiful wedding ceremony and reception include:
VENUE: Avenue of the Arts Hotel
FLORIST& DECOR: The Finishing Touch Wedding Design
DJ: Vox DJs
CAKE: Van’s Bakery
WEDDING COORDINATOR& CATERER: Furiwa
DRESS: Beautiful Day Wedding | Brand / Designer: Stella York
HAIR& MAKE-UP: Meghan Valerie Hair and Makeup Artistry
GROOM’S SUIT: Friar Tux | Brand / Designer: Michael Kors
WEDDING INVITATIONS: Ann’s Bridal Bargains
PHOTOBOOTH: Fresh Printz Photographyk
PHOTOGRAPHY: Three16 Photography