What started as a professional relationship for Victoria Dickerson and Zachary Morton in the summer of 2015 rapidly turned into a romantic one. It was Victoria’s first day on the job at a financial planning firm in Newport Beach, California, where Zachary was already working. Victoria learned that Zachary was the go-to person to contact if she had any questions, so she decided to reach out. “I got his cell phone number from his email signature and took it upon myself to text him,” Victoria recalls. “The conversation soon turned into chatting about personal things.” Just three weeks later, Zachary asked her out. “Six weeks into the relationship, we already said ‘I love you’ and knew we wanted to get married, but we wanted the timing to be right,” Victoria shares.
Since their relationship was moving quickly, a proposal was not a matter of “if” but “when.” In November 2020, the couple was planning a trip to Paso Robles, California. Before the getaway, Zachary told Victoria to get her nails done, so she had a suspicion something momentous was bound to happen. “I had always warned Zachary that I didn’t want to get engaged without a fresh manicure, so I could show off my ring,” she explains. “Deep into the pandemic, it had been a while since I set foot in a nail salon, so I knew something was up.”
Her intuition was right. Zachary popped the question while the pair was standing on top of a hill at Calcareous Vineyard, overlooking wine country. After Victoria responded with an enthusiastic “yes,” they captured the moment with a photo shoot and celebrated with an Italian dinner.
Ever since she was a little girl, Victoria envisioned a black-tie event for her nuptials. When the time finally came to execute her longstanding vision, the bride knew she wanted to take the reins on planning her own wedding. “The planning process ruled my life for a year, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Victoria reveals. “I worked every day—countless hours into the night—to try to make sure my day was unique.” Her goal was to create an extravagant affair that authentically captured her relationship. So, Victoria paid attention to every little detail. “I really wanted to surprise and delight my guests, so I worked to create things you don’t see every day,” she elaborates.
After working tirelessly on planning her special day, Victoria said “I do” to Zachary on November 4 at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, where 55 guests cheered them on. Keep reading to find out all of the details on the duo’s upscale and elegant nuptials, as planned by the bride with month-of coordination from Jane Alexandra Events and photographed by Alicia Mink Photography.
The twosome set the tone of their chic soirée with ornate invitations, which featured gold foil letterpress on ecru paper along with a special touch: a custom wedding crest. “I worked really hard to create a custom wedding crest that was the embodiment of the wedding theme,” Victoria illuminates. “The crest was extremely regal and let guests know what type of event was ahead.” Their invitations also gave everyone a glimpse into their color palette of pink, white, and cream with gold accents. “Gold was a large part of branding for this event,” the bride notes. “All of this gold gave the event a warmth and a traditional and vintage vibe that was very romantic.”
Zachary spent the morning getting ready with his father and the father of the bride by his side. The groom dressed himself in a slim-fit black tuxedo with a classic notch lapel from Suitsupply. He accessorized with monogrammed gold cufflinks that Victoria gifted him on their wedding day, a white pocket square, a silk bow tie, and shiny black shoes.
The bride donned an elegant long-sleeve ball gown with a plunging neckline and lace embroidery from Pronovias, which perfectly matched her luxe aesthetic. Initially, Victoria imagined herself wearing a figure-hugging wedding dress, but she ended up sporting the complete opposite. “This was the third one I tried on, and I was in love and ordered it that day,” the bride describes. “I loved that it was a regal, classy show-stopper and so unique. I loved the drama of this dress.”
To complete her lavish look, Victoria slipped on a pair of pearl heels from Jimmy Choo. “The Jimmy Choo heels were my dream wedding shoes and a gift from a dear friend,” she explains.
While getting glam, Victoria selected matte eyeshadow and muted lipstick. “I like a sweet and romantic look that’s very classic but very contoured and highlighted,” she explains. The bride had her long locks tied back into a sleek updo, which she topped with a pearl headband that complemented her heels. Victoria also gave a special tribute to her mother, who passed away when Victoria was young, by wearing her earrings. As for the finishing touch? A spritz of Delina by Parfums de Marly.
Similar to her engagement, Victoria wanted manicured nails to make sure her pear-shaped diamond engagement ring popped. So, the bride painted hers with OPI dip powder.
She tied her look together with a cathedral veil that erred on the simpler side because “the dress was already a statement.”
Zachary always assumed I would wear a form-fitting dress, so he was completely surprised.
The couple decided to share an intimate first look before the ceremony. After descending a grand staircase, Victoria showed Zachary her attire for the first time. “Zachary always assumed I would wear a form-fitting dress, so he was completely surprised,” the bride exclaims.
Since Victoria wanted the entire day to feel cohesive, she carried an all-white bouquet of peonies. “A beautiful peony bouquet was an integral part of creating the classic, elevated vibe,” she remarks. The bride also used her bouquet as another opportunity to honor her mother, which she achieved by wrapping the stems in a piece of her mother’s old dress.
After their first look, the duo went outside to spend another moment together and to snap more photos. For Victoria, one of the easiest parts of planning her wedding was working with Alicia Mink, the pair’s wedding photographer. “Alicia was such a delight,” the bride gushes. “She really understood me and put me at ease. She is an amazing artist, and her work speaks for itself.”
Paige, the couple’s 14-year-old Maltipoo, was a very important guest who showed up to the wedding in style. “She matched her mama by wearing a pearl necklace, pearl collar, and flowers,” Victoria says.
Although the couple decided against having a wedding party, Victoria’s two best friends coordinated in black, serving as a nice contrast to the bride’s white gown.
“The unbeatable view overlooking the ocean” was something that drew Victoria and Zachary to The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel and made it the ideal spot to swap vows. Two urns with pink and white floral arrangements and a greenery arch framed their altar, while gold Chiavari chairs faced the display.
At the ceremony, Victoria reserved a special seat for her mother, which she placed next to her father’s seat. She adorned the chair with ‘Stargazer’ lilies, her mother’s favorite flower, and a photo of her parents on their wedding day. “I wanted my mother’s presence to be felt throughout the day,” Victoria explains.
Victoria linked arms with her father, who escorted her down the aisle while a live violinist and guitarist played the classic wedding processional song, “Canon in D.”
The lovebirds personalized their ceremony by writing their own vows and choosing special readings, which Zachary’s father and Victoria’s best friend read aloud.
After they kissed, the newlyweds recessed to “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole with a smile on their faces.
Once everyone arrived at the reception, they found their names, written in gold calligraphy, on escort card envelopes. Inside each envelope was the guest’s respective table number.
The pair made sure their reception décor aligned with the same luxurious aesthetic as the rest of the event. The couple repurposed their metallic ceremony chairs and had ivory linens draped over the round tables. “It was really fun to go to La Tavola Fine Linen Rental in Beverly Hills to pick out the linens,” Victoria admits. “I chose the most formal ivory linen they had.” Each table boasted either a high or low arrangement of white, cream, and pink flowers with Italian ruscus for the centerpiece.
Looking back on the evening, one of the couple’s favorite moments was sharing dinner at their sweetheart table. “Our sweetheart table was so special to us,” Victoria reminisces. Pink and white roses and peonies covered the table, and the same urns from the ceremony served as the backdrop.
I loved sitting back and looking at how well the vision came together.
To prepare for their first dance, Victoria and Zachary took dance lessons, and it certainly paid off. The newlyweds swayed to “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke.
At the end of the night, Victoria was beaming with pride. “I loved sitting back and looking at how well the vision came together and seeing everyone have the time of their lives.”
For dessert, the duo kept it simple and served a two-tier white cake, topped with pink and white blooms. The flavor was a lemon cake with vanilla mousse, lemon curd, and fresh raspberries.
Even though planning her own wedding was a vast undertaking, the feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment after watching her dream day come to life made it all worth it. For other couples planning their own nuptials, Victoria advises, “Do the work and put the time in to make your day special. Live without regrets.”