Photography by Annie McElwain.
This wedding is all about the location – and when you’re marrying on a stunning Malibu hilltop, why wouldn’t it be? Bride Rachael, an Event Planner herself, didn’t let this gorgeous venue do all the work, though. Based on a fresh palette of pinks and greens, this wedding features plenty of pretty details, from modern botanical stationery to bright fall florals!
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Since the majority of the wedding guests were traveling from out of town, we wanted to ensure they experienced the best that Southern California has to offer. We knew we wanted our wedding ceremony and reception to be all at one location, and outside. We also really wanted our reception to be long, and that makes sites pretty difficult site to find in California due to local noise ordinances. When we arrived at Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyard for a walk through, we immediately fell in love! It spoke to my strong Italian roots and Eric’s avid interest in wine. Since the music and dancing took place in the living room with floor to ceiling windows, the party could go late into the evening, while guests still enjoyed the outdoor terraces. The ceremony took place on a helipad that gave the appearance in all our photos that we were marrying up in the clouds. It all felt perfect for us!
What was your ceremony music? Processional: Main Title and Our Love Can Do Miracles, Aaron Zigman / Bridal Processional: A Thousand Years, The Piano Guys / Recessional: Come Fly With Me, Frank Sinatra.
Your ceremony in three words. Celebratory, non-traditional, passionate.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? I developed the broad outline of the ceremony and then left the details to our officiant. It was important that family members who could not be in attendance were honored and recognized. It was also important that the ceremony was reverent. Weddings are always a big party but we also wanted everyone to remember the important commitment we were making. We wanted to demonstrate, share and celebrate our love with them.Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Our good friend Mark. Mark had been present for so many milestones in our relationship. He also is the most passionate and enthusiastic individual we know. We knew he would put his heart and soul into making our ceremony exactly what we envisioned.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We included readings from scripture as a nod to Rachael’s faith.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own!
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Our recessional! My nerves kind of got the best of me during the processional. The recessional was such a celebratory, special moment for us and to see everyone clapping, smiling and standing with you was such a surreal moment for me.
How would you describe your reception? We wanted our reception to feel like a Mediterranean dinner party, and for our guests to feel like they were at our home… if we lived in an Italian villa! Relaxed, joyful, but full of small, interesting details.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? My style has always been about quality over quantity. I wanted a really elegant event, though nothing too opulent. I wanted to incorporate lots of small details that guests would notice. I spent a lot of time on blogs and Pinterest but relied heavily on our planner Nicole‘s opinions and aesthetic.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Be very upfront and honest with yourselves and/or anyone else who is paying for the wedding. Also, be aware that most vendors don’t accept credit cards! So make sure your budget is based on what cash you actually have available.
What was your wedding menu? Italian Antipasti, Burrata Salad, Branzino and Steak.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Make sure to do it how you and your partner want to do it! If you want to elope, elope! If you want to get married in Timbuktu, do it! It will only be a special day if its exactly how you envision it together!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Wedding cake, plus raspberry, basil and cinnamon sugar donuts with cereal milk.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? It’s hard to pick one favorite moment but we were really able to enjoy dinner. It was so nice to sit amongst friends and family and watch them all enjoying themselves. Our families haven’t had a chance to spend much time with each other so it was a real treat to see them all enjoying each other’s company so much. The speeches were also all so touching!
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? First dance: Can’t take my eyes off of you / Father and daughter: I loved her first / Mother and son: Somewhere over the rainbow.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? We wanted to do a cigar and scotch bar, and have a crazy dance party. But at a certain point in the night, it seemed like there were two different parties going on – I think we could have done with just one!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I am an Event Planner myself, so the best advice I received was to not worry about details and logistics on the day of. I had been obsessing over how people were arriving and who would talk to who at the reception! By midday, I realized I couldn’t worry about any of it anymore — and guess what? It all turned out better than I could have ever imagined!