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A Wedding in Del Mar Inspired by Bridgerton and an English Garden Party

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Joseph Rogero

|Planning by 

HauteFêtes

Five years after meeting at a friend’s birthday party, Dakota Michael Carson proposed to Paulina Anne Szczsponik, owner of picnic event company Popovers + Peonies, at the Dallas Arboretum. She was told she would be taking some photos with her mother, which wasn’t unusual, and as they reached the pagoda, Dakota got down on one knee. The engaged couple knew they wanted to get married by the water, and once they saw L’Auberge Del Mar in San Diego, California, they were sold on the venue. 

In 2019, they started planning for a “beachy, boho wedding with pampas and all the things,” Paulina explains. After they moved their date from July 2020 to 2021 because of COVID, they switched to an aesthetic that reflected their styles more—“a mix of LoveShackFancy, Bridgerton and English garden party, all rolled into one.” Their wedding planner, Dani Blasena of HauteFêtes, helped to bring that vision to life. And Foundry Paper Co. set the tone of the day with a beautiful invitation suite.

For her wedding wardrobe, Paulina had a pretty clear vision. “The vision was modern day Marie Antoinette with my own twist,” she explains. With bridal stylist Gabrielle Hurwitz’s help, the bride ended up choosing Monique Lhuillier’s colorful Jardin dress to wear to her ceremony and accessorized with Manolo Blahniks and a bouquet from Plenty of Petals. On the morning-of, Paulina got ready with dresser Maradee Wahl, a hairstylist from Beauty Bespoken, and makeup artist Ashley Fierro, who gave her a timeless, romantic beauty look, while bridesmaids changed into their Shona Joy slip dresses. And to cut her cake, Paulina changed into an Alex Perry minidress with a feather-trimmed veil and Kate Spade shoes. 

Outside on July 8, 2021, the ceremony space was designed as an open-air church. Paulina arrived to the park with her father in a vintage Bentley, and the two walked down the aisle. “I was having a little stage fright before hitting the aisle, but once I saw Dakota, I may as well have run down the platform into his arms,” the bride recalls. The bride’s uncle officiated the sentimental service, and once the two were announced as man and wife, guests moved to the rooftop terrace, overlooking the ocean for dinner. 

Paulina and Dakota’s favorite part of the day was grabbing a drink, just the two of them, after the ceremony. They took a quick drive in their getaway car and stopped at a little cantina, grabbing the first barstools they could find. “We ordered a drink and got to bask in the moment together before making our way back,” she recalls. “Once we stood up and turned around to leave, we realized we were being photographed and filmed by the other customers; it was quite a spectacle but so much fun. We look forward to grabbing margs at that cantina in the future with many memories to come.”

Back at the hotel, the al-fresco dinner tables featured La Tavola Fine Linen embroidered tablecloths, set with Monique Lhuillier Tuileries cotton napkins from Pottery Barn that matched Paulina’s dress and Casa de Perrin lace-rimmed chargers. Round lights from Amber Event Production were hung from a light wooden structure by Bright Event Rentals, defining the space even more. The newlyweds made their entrance and had their first dance to “You Are Gold” by The National Parks. And after the delicious dinner, the LoveShackFancy-inspired cake by Hey There Cupcake was served. 

Once the formal celebration came to a close with entertainment from Encore, the after-party struck up at the dive bar across the street and continued until the early hours. Paulina may have woken up with a few french fries on her pillow—the sign of a perfect wedding.