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Classic on the Coast

For one Chicago couple, the famed Hotel del Coronado proved the perfect venue to unite family and friends for a spectacular January wedding. 

Newlyweds Marissa Pines and Jared Berman

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A diamond set offers a counterpoint to the traditional gold bands used in the ceremony.

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Marissa found her lace gown at the same boutique where her mother found her own wedding dress and veil in 1983.

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Although clouds threatened the outdoor ceremony, it went off without a hitch.

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The sugar pine-clad Crown Room was built in 1888.

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Guest had a blast on the dance floor.

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“A winter wedding sounded lovely,” says Marissa Pines, “but Chicago in January wasn’t ideal for family who needed to travel.” So at the suggestion of fiance Jared Berman, whom she’d met in business school in 2010, the couple looked to San Diego, where both have family. “On our first trip to the Del together, Jared asked if I’d like to get married there,” she recalls. Though they wouldn’t become engaged for several months (it would happen over a surprise dinner at the Waldorf in Chicago), the answer was yes.

For guests traveling from across the United States, the wedding offered a minivacation. “Our welcome bags included snacks, beverages, candy, flip-flops and a pamphlet sharing our favorite things to do in San Diego.” Festivities began with Thursday night drinks at The Tavern, yoga on the beach on Friday morning and a welcome dinner at Bluewater Boathouse. Saturday threatened rain, so they moved the cocktail hour afterward inside, but the skies held and the outdoor ceremony, lead by Rabbi Jordana Gerson, went off without a drop. “She personalized the ceremony for us based on what we said we loved about each other,” explains Marissa. Special touches included the bride borrowing her mother’s veil and carrying a handkerchief from Jared’s great-aunt. The rings were personalized too. “In a traditional Jewish ceremony, the bands are unbroken—no stones, so Jared and I exchanged gold bands inscribed with a Hebrew phrase: ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.’” (She also has a diamond engagement and wedding band set.)

The party, some 260 strong, then moved to the Crown Room, where the reception started on a funny note: A miscommunication meant that their arrival music, the melodic piano opening of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” played too long and kicked into grinding guitar and the full-blown rap song. Marissa didn’t miss a beat and just sang along and laughed. The seated dinner included mushroom bisque, arugula salad, and entrees of beef, sea bass or risotto, followed by a chocolate and peanut butter cake. But it was their siblings’ speeches that stood out for the couple. “They told touching stories that gave guests a sense of our families.”

On Sunday morning, everyone reconvened in the ballroom. “We stuck around for brunch!” says Marissa. The couple continued the island theme with a honeymoon in French Polynesia. “Bora Bora was magical,” she adds—a feeling we wish them forever.

THE LIST
Wedding Planner
Francine Ribeau Events 
On-Site Coordinator Andrea Peña
Bride’s Gown Anna Maier Couture
Bride’s Shoes Shoes of Prey
Bride’s Earrings Kate Spade
Bride’s Hair & Makeup Beauty by Stacey
Groom’s Tuxedo Suit Supply
Rings Gottlieb & Sons
Catering Hotel del Coronado
Cake Hey There, Cupcake!
Florals Organic Elements
Entertainment Wayne Foster Entertainment