We love when we get to plan a wedding as sweet as the couple themselves. Despite living in Minneapolis, Sarah and Ryan made the decision to get married in Southern California. Planning a wedding long distance can sometimes come with a unique set of challenges, but working with this couple made it as breezy as the weather on their wedding day.

Read on to learn more about Sarah and Ryan’s Newport Beach wedding.

Tell us the story of how you met

Sarah: Ryan and I met while in December of 2014 while we both worked for AT&T. I was living in Iowa City and engaged to someone else when Ryan was promoted to my area manager. We worked together for 5 months and then parted ways when I moved back to Des Moines in June of 2015. I didn’t see Ryan again until August of 2016 when I found him on Bumble. After leaving AT&T and ending my prior relationship I was on the dating app for entertainment purposes when I came across his profile. When I found his profile I took a screenshot of it and sent it to my friends I worked with at AT&T and said “Look who I just found on Bumble!”

Ryan: It’s funny because we were both texting our mutual friend Richie. He was telling me to swipe right to match with her and he was telling her to do the same thing.

Sarah: After some peer pressure from Richie and a few other friends I did swipe right and we matched immediately. After some bantering and a lot of laughs, Ryan made me ask him out on our first date.

We had our first date at a brewery in the East Village in Des Moines and he pretty much interviewed me. He asked me all the tough questions and after several glasses of wine I answered everything he wanted to know

Ryan: I wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time! I was tired of dating and over the whole process.

Sarah: He asked me out for a second date before the first one was even over. I think I passed. We’ve been inseparable ever since!

What is the story of your engagement?

Ryan: Something we love to do together is play board games and put together puzzles. I had a puzzle made of the ring with placemats that said, “Fall in Love”. I removed the pieces of the puzzle that included the ring set aside with the ring. The morning I proposed, we made brunch together and I told Sarah I had a puzzle made for us to put together.

Sarah: We got the puzzle put together and I told Ryan, “I think Walgreens messed up your puzzle. It’s missing pieces”. There was a giant hole in the middle of it! That’s when Ryan pulled out the missing pieces from under the table and there was a ring sitting on top of them. He told me I was his missing piece in his life and his life wasn’t complete without me. I just started crying!

Why did you choose to get married on a Hornblower yacht?

Sarah: I have family that lives in San Clemente and I’ve been coming out to California since I was a little. I have always loved California and suggested getting married there when we started looking at destinations.

Ryan: We wanted to do something unique and fun. We wanted to do a destination wedding since our families and friends are all in different places. After Sarah suggested California, I started looking at venues and fell in love with the idea of getting married on a yacht. We found Hornblower and didn’t look back!

How did you go about planning your wedding?

We planned our entire wedding from Minneapolis so that a unique challenge. We took two trips to California to finalize all of our plans, but I used Instagram, Pinterest, and plenty of apps for inspiration. When we met with our Hornblower coordinator to tour the Mojo, we immediately knew it was our venue. Our food tasting with Hornblower was incredible — overall all of our vendors really stepped up. I feel that every vision I had was turned into a perfect reality.

How did you make your wedding unique to you?

The wedding itself was unique to Ryan and I. None of our friends have been married on a yacht and many family and friends had not been to Southern California. For the wedding, I am very detail oriented and crafty so I made a lot of different things. Rather than a wedding day, we made it a wedding weekend. We wanted all of our guests to feel loved and appreciated for traveling so far to join us. I made welcome bags that were delivered to each room along with a card with details about the weekend and things to do in the area. I made a lot of the decorations for the wedding (the ribbon garland, starfish place cards, the card box, and polaroid frame for our guestbook). I purchased other personalized items on Etsy as well. Ryan planned a welcome reception for all of our guests on the Friday night before our wedding with drinks, appetizers, and s’mores. To help everyone get acquainted at the welcome reception, I made lanyards for everyone with their names and relationship to Ryan and me.

Ryan, what went through your head when you saw Bride walking down the aisle?

The only thoughts I had were don’t cry! And don’t mess up. I thought I was going to pass out.

Sarah, what was going through your head when you were walking down the aisle?

As I walked down the aisle I had so many emotions. I was excited, nervous and so incredibly happy.

Ryan, the first look was so sweet. What did you think when you saw Bride in her dress for the first time?

I thought she looked beautiful. I was trying so hard not to cry because we did the first look with the photographer before the ceremony and I was trying to keep it together.

How closely did you work with your coordinator up until your wedding?

Sarah: Grace and I talked quite frequently. Leading up to the wedding we talked on a weekly basis if not more. Any time I needed help, she was there. After our wedding, we had an issue with our marriage license and she took care of it for us. I couldn’t have asked for a better coordinator than Grace!

What was your favorite part of the day?

Seeing Ryan for the first time during our first look and then sailing around the Newport Beach harbor with our loved ones. It was the best wedding we’ve ever been to! So much fun!

Ryan: Cocktail hour. Right after the ceremony and before dinner. I loved being out on the bow with Sarah and our friends. Everyone was mingling and having a great time!

What was the best piece of advice you got from family members about marriage?

Be patient and be kind to one another.

What’s one word you would use to describe your wedding day?


What piece of advice would you give to couples planning their own wedding?

Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy every minute of it. Don’t let little things stress you out, they won’t matter as much in hindsight.


Vendor Information

Ceremony and reception venue: Hornblower Newport Beach, The Mojo

Photograper: Baby Got Bokeh (Danielle Rouillard)

Dress: Wtoo by Watters from The White Dress, Corona del Mar

Groom Attire/ Best Man: Men’s Warehouse

Bridesmaid: Lulus

Flowers: Flowers by Cina

Hotel room block & Welcome Reception location: Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

Cake: Cinderella Cakes

Invitations: Minted