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Our Philosophy

Our Perfect Couple

We know that you’re a busy couple, and that you’d much rather be sipping champagne at sunset than researching vendors or perfecting the wedding day timeline. You may have a specific picture of exactly how the day will look OR you may have no idea what you want, but either way, you know that we’re your advocate and wholeheartedly want to find the best value for everything you want to incorporate in your wedding. Bonus points if you love wine and to travel!

We believe that the wedding planning process can be just as memorable and fun as the wedding itself.

We take your vision and pair it with our expertise to create an inspired event that showcases how awesome you are as a couple.

At First Comes Love, we take a value approach to wedding planning. We know you are investing a lot of time and money into the day – so let’s work together to find the best wedding professionals to create your personal dream team – for whatever budget and priorities you have.

It is so important for you to be able to confide in us and tell us anything and everything about your wedding – we want our clients to feel comfortable with us, so much so that most of our clients become friends and we keep in touch after the wedding.

The “wedding planner gene”: a Type-A personality

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Meet the Team

“I love learning about my clients, their lives and what makes them happy.”

Amy Ulkutekin

Over the years I’ve learned that what’s really important about a wedding is the couple coming together and being surrounded by friends and family. I love learning about my clients, their lives and what makes them happy. This allows me to hone in on what’s really important to them and help them create the most memorable day imaginable.

If you ask anyone, I’m a stickler for detail and my timelines are on point! I can be a bulldog, but only when I have to (in the best interest of my clients of course!) I founded First Comes Love with my best friend Lindsay in 2008 and took a huge leap of faith by leaving my job working for the world’s largest PR firm. But I’m so glad I did and have been so grateful that phenomenal couples like you allow me to call this my job.

What I Love

Traveling, Valle de Guadalupe, big jammy red wines, spending time with my husband and two kids, Orangetheory (I'm obsessed!) and the color purple.

Lindsay Johnson
“I want my clients to have fun and be able to relax at their wedding.”

Lindsay Johnson

I love anything and everything about design. I started in the wedding industry while I was in college. I worked for a wedding florist and a wedding photographer and got to see how design played into each of their roles.

I’m also a graphic designer so feel that all of my collective experience really helps me to create stunning weddings for my couples. When we launched First Comes Love, it was the perfect balance of design and logistics for me. I get to make things look pretty and keep the day running smoothly. I want my clients to have fun and be able to relax at their wedding.

What I Love

Hiking, live music and partaking in San Diego’s craft beer scene (oh yea, and I run a beer festival every year)

"My feet are sore but my heart is full" (at the end of a wedding)

Allie Applegate

With a degree in event management, I've worked in both the corporate and social sides of the business but wedding planning is truly my passion. I left behind my corporate roots to join the First Comes Love team so that I can help our clients plan their dream weddings and have been planning weddings for over 5 years. I'm also the office manager so work daily to develop timelines, coordinate final details and make sure our clients are well taken care of.

I shamelessly cry at ceremonies because I love what I do, and consider it an absolute privilege to be trusted with the details of someone’s special day. Seeing a couple's vision become a reality, more beautiful than they could have imagined, is the best part of my job!

What I Love

I'm mildly obsessed with picnics and have the cutest Vizsla puppy Penny, who we are currently trying to train. I also love hiking and exploring San Diego.

Nena Villavicencio
“My perfectionist side is definitely the perfect fit for weddings.”

Nena Villavicencio

I’ve always loved the excitement of events, whether it’s weddings, sports or festivals.

I started my event career working for the Padres and then interned for Amy back in the day. She kept me onboard and I trained up to become an event manager, which I’ve been doing since 2013.

I think what draws clients to me is that I’m a go-getter. I always make sure everything is just right and my perfectionist side is definitely the perfect fit for weddings, where we only get one shot to get it right.

What I Love

Wine and champagne, hiking, camping, movies and concerts.

Marissa Davis
“No matter how many times I work at a venue, no two weddings are the same.”

Marissa Davis

I may be the newest event manager at First Comes Love, but if you work with us, chances are you’ll be hearing from me. Like Nena, I too interned for First Comes Love.

After college I moved back to San Diego and now in addition to taking on my own clients, I’m the office manager. I work on timelines, contact vendors and overall keep us organized.

The thing I love most about weddings is how each one is different. No matter how many times I work at a venue, no two weddings are the same.

What I Love

Reading, cooking and adventuring with friends.

Ruthie Malak
“I run a tight ship, but still have fun doing it.”

Ruthie Malak

I couldn’t imagine a job more perfect for me. I studied interior design, work as a home stager AND love organization. I have meticulous attention to detail and anyone you meet in the wedding industry will tell you that I run a tight ship - but still have fun doing it.

I’ve been working with First Comes Love since 2011. Right now I’m taking very limited weddings because I am enjoying being a new mom.

What I Love

Spending time with my husband and baby girl plus our fur baby Oski (he even has his own Insta), walking around Balboa Park, gardening, and good local beer.

“I’m calm, cool and collected under even the most stressful circumstance.”

DeShai Roberson

I’ve been around the block and back - in a good way! I’ve been planning weddings for over 15 years and have worked at practically every wedding venue in San Diego.

Originally I owned my own wedding planning company but decided I wanted to focus on what I was really passionate about, working directly with my clients, instead of managing a business. So with that, I joined First Comes Love in 2013 and haven’t looked back. As for my style, I’d say I’m calm, cool and collected under even the most stressful circumstance. In fact, that’s why people hire me.

What I Love

The beach and Sunday Funday!

Scenes from some First Comes Love weddings

Where You’ll Find Us

We’re preferred planners at over 20 wedding venues including the US Grant Hotel, La Valencia, The Prado at Balboa Park, Rancho Valencia, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, Manchester Grand Hyatt, Loews Coronado and many more!

We’ve been published too! You can find our wedding featured in San Diego Style Weddings, Exquisite Weddings, The Knot, 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty and Green Wedding Shoes, just to name a few.

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Awards

WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardThe Knot’s Best of Weddings HALL OF FAME The Knot Best of Weddings

Best of the Knot – 8 years in a row!

Inaugurated into The Knot’s Best of Weddings HALL OF FAME for Wedding Planner

WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award

Love Notes

Liz and Mike

From the planning stages to hours after the wedding ended, these ladies are remarkable. Their attention to detail, quality, and care of their clients is bar none. They are well connected with excellent vendors and they truly assemble a “dream team” for your big day. Not tomention, they are fun and easy to work with. I had my dream wedding thanks to First Comes Love. Would recommend to any couple who needs help coordinating their wedding.

Liz and Mike