Crystal Cove has been a destination for love for decades. From first dates to proposals to weddings and getaways, the Cove brings out the magic in every relationship and every family. Some come from far away while others are within a stone’s throw, but they all come here for the same reason, to experience with their loved ones a slice of paradise. As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re excited to share a few of our favorite Crystal Cove love stories with you.
Katie Jurich writes: It was July 25th, 2015, on the deck at Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. I was waiting nervously in my ivory lace dress. It was my wedding day. I was about to marry my Prince Charming. The music started and the wedding party began to walk, one by one, down the sunny aisle of the deck. I hid anxiously around the side of the historic blue cottage (Cottage #35), holding on to my dad, trying to fight back tears of overwhelming joy. This was it. The day that I had dreamt about.
I thought back to playing wedding with my best friend as a child. We would take turns being the bride and having the wedding of our dreams. Mine always took place at the beach, overlooking the ocean.
I took a deep breath. The music changed and everyone stood, all eyes on me as I stepped out from behind the cottage. It’s an overwhelming feeling when your dreams come true. The sound of the waves crashing below the deck, the smiles and tears of my friends and family as I walked by, and the love of my life waiting for me under the white arch. My fairy tale wedding at Crystal Cove was a dream come true.
Photo: Sara Rico Photography
On May 21, 2016, we married at nearby Crescent Bay Park where we walked every day with our dog, Brewster, and then returned to the Cove’s Cultural Center deck for a sunset dinner party with family and friends. With a local guitar and a clam bake dinner, we watched the sun set and full moon rise as we enjoyed the peace and beauty of our favorite place.
We still walk the beach and hike almost daily. And whenever we pass by “our spot” it requires a quick shared “I do, forever and always, pinkie swear, amen!” We know we share this spot with many other people but, in our hearts, it’s our place.
Kayla Fisher writes: We were both born and raised in Orange County and it was hard finding a place that would allow us on the sand for the ceremony. We gallivanted around town with our mothers trying to decide which place we wanted to see the most since we only had a couple of days in Orange County. We had gone to one venue before going to Crystal Cove, and I remember it felt like there was a dark cloud looming over our heads. The talk went something like: pricing, strictly business, cold. No, no and no. We all agreed: no.
Then we went to Crystal Cove and the minute we arrived we knew, this was it. A gem. A hidden gem.
Sure, we all had visited the park before – played around the shore and scouted out seashells – but there was something so magical about it for a wedding. I’m telling you this place sucked us all in like a massive rip current. We had a tour and were overjoyed when we found out sand ceremonies were only allowed in the winter. Our date was January 3, 2015. The stars aligned.
It could have rained. It could have been the worst day ever. The ceremony and reception would be outside, and there was no plan B. If it rained, our plan was to just get soaked or hide under the umbrellas, but it didn’t go that way. That morning was paradise. Dillon and I, hand in hand – having our family and friends witness our love for one another – said our own vows and kissed. We celebrated at the Cultural Center deck at Cottage #34 overlooking the ocean. A little piece of childhood was with us that day and we were reminded how lucky we were.
That isn’t all though. Everyone at the wedding also fell in love with the Cove. My parent’s neighbors loved it so much, that a couple months later, they rounded up some friends and booked a reservation at your cottages. Dillon and I were so touched to receive a picture of them huddled up together with a glass of wine toasting…us.
Photos by Joel & Justyna Bedford