Tropical Wedding Vibes at the San Diego Botanical Gardens with SD Wedding Photographer The DeLauras

Niki a Hayden were married at the San Diego Botanical Gardens located in Encinitas, California and if you haven’t been to this tropical paradise, you MUST check it out. Surrounded by thousands of plants and flowers you and your guests are transported to Mexico, Bali, Hawaii, or some other far off destination in a blink of an eye. Everywhere you look your eyes feast on jaw dropping scenery and therefore, we had the best time photographing our way through the bamboo forests and banana leaf groves capturing the laughter, the love and the raw emotions of these two beautiful souls.

It’s such a privilege to photograph a couple’s love story and document their wedding day, its even more special when the bride is a friend and colleague, and furthermore when that beautiful bride/friend is a SUPER talented photographer herself–(view Niki’s work here.)

Niki and Kendal went to photography school together at OCC (Orange Coast College in Orange County) They both studied fashion photography and were at the top of their class–having a similar vibe and shooting style, Kendal was over-the-moon when Niki reached out after becoming engaged to Hayden and told her ‘there was nobody else in the world that she trusted to capture her wedding day.’

Niki’s level of trust, her ability to let go of control, and her willingness to stand in front of the camera when she’s use to standing behind the lens, on the most important day of her life, was such a gift, and Kendal was humbled by the honor.

Check out all of the beautiful details and moments from Niki and Hayden’s wedding day below! We worked with wedding planner Sheila Foster of SHINE COORDINATION to pull off this epic day!


  • What was the inspiration for your wedding day? Our inspiration was tropical boho paradise that felt authentic to us!  We’re both Socal beach bums who are both low maintenance and easy going, so planning a wedding with that vibe was very important to us!
  • How and why did you pick your wedding venue??  We picked the SDBG because it felt like our own private piece of paradise.  I grew up beach camping in Encinitas and even have it tattooed on my arm, so getting married 5 minutes from my childhood home away from home was a no brainer.  After walking through the venue, we booked the venue before we were even officially engaged because we loved it that much!
  • What special details did you include in your wedding or reception?? We included my late Grandfather’s Ford Model A that my parents got married in 28 years ago.  It’s becoming a family tradition to incorporate it!  We also used my Mother-In-Law’s vintage trunks with photos of our passed loved ones.  Hayden also built the wedding arch that we got married under, as well as the picture pallet wall!  I’m also not a girly girl and grew up always wearing Vans, so the whole bridal party wore classic Vans, including me!
  • How did you make your wedding day special and make it about the two of you??!  We took most of the formality and traditions, and just made it a giant party and a celebration of love with our family and friends!  It was perfect for us, and that’s all we asked for!
  • Most memorable moment (s) of your wedding day? Groom: Our First Look!  The entire wold shut off for 30 seconds and it was just us.  It was magical and it felt very private and intimate!  Bride: Our First Look!  I completely agree with Hayden! Even though we weren’t alone, the moment was OURS and no one else existed! I have never felt more overwhelming love rush over me than in that moment – I burst into tears and seeing him knowing we were about to make the ultimate commitment to one another took my breath away.  Our First Dance was also very memorable.  We were nervous about it because we only practiced dancing to it a couple of times, but actually doing it on the dance floor around everyone we loved the most was the best feeling, and I will never forget how that felt!
  • What was your favorite part about the wedding planning process?  My favorite part of the wedding planning process was taking inspiration from all different directions and watching it come to life.  It was really overwhelming at times and the organization of everything and everyone was a lot, but seeing it all come together made it worth it!  Hayden and I argued about so much stupid little stuff that didn’t matter, and I think that’s really fun to look back on and laugh at!
  • Music
    • Processional: Best Part – H.E.R. & Daniel Caesar
    • Recessional: Loving is Easy by Rex Orange County
    • First Dance: Unconditional by Freya Ridings


  • Any advice for those planning now?  Take a deep breath! You can plan every moment and move and rehearse it in your head a million times, but SOMETHING WILL GO WRONG – and that’s okay! My hair refused to hold any sort of curl and I cried off my makeup during our first look!  They had to redo it before I walked down the aisle, and my hair fell out immediately after!  There’s nothing you can do about it.  Our hiccups made it so much more US and I love that!
  • How was your experience working with The DeLauras??   The DeLauras made us SO UNBELIEVABLY COMFORTABLE!  Being a photographer myself, I was extremely nervous trusting someone else to shoot the most important day of my life, but Kendal and Anthony gave me so much confidence and reassurance that I didn’t have to worry at all!  


ceremony + reception SAN DIEGO BOTANICAL GARDENSdestination ENCINITAS–SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIAevent planner SHINE COORDINATION | floral design 800 ROSE BIG  |hair + makeup JUNA BEAUTYcatering + cake VG’s DONUT + BAKERY | catering  HABIT BURGER | wedding dress GRACE LOVES LACEshoes VANS| grooms suit HOLLYWOOD SUITS |invitations MINTED | video STEPHEN ALBERTS | photos  THE DELAURAS




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