I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Nicole and Mike were inspired by the glam and romance of the 1930’s art deco style, so they decided to carry that inspiration over for their wedding day! We are over-the-top obsessed with how much personality and creativity they put into the look of their big day, and are head over heels for their chandelier inspired cake by Hey There, Cupcake! We know you are going to LOVE these images by Studio Castillero!


What made the wedding special and unique?

This wedding was inspired by the fantastical glamour of 1930’s Hollywood. Art deco and art nouveau designs permeated throughout the wedding. To start, vintage telegram save-the-dates and gilded invitations set the tone. The locale, Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, provided the perfect backdrop. The Spanish-Colonial architecture is reminiscent of old Hollywood mansions and it provided a seamless event from ceremony to reception without pause. Gypsy jazz musicians, Zzymzzy Quartet, set the mood as guests arrived. The wedding party embodied elegance in mis-matching neutral toned sparkling gowns and varying grey 3-piece suits. Once the ceremony concluded, everyone was escorted to the cocktail lawn party. Croquet and libations were enjoyed as valets presented seating cards on silver platters. Unexpectedly hot air balloons floated in the sky making it truly magical.

Guests were then greeted to the reception’s ballroom with an overflowing champagne tower. The white and wrought iron-accented room incorporated many intricate and glowing details. Set upon the metallic sequined tablescapes with emerald accents were Isari Flower Studio’s sculptural, yet soft and romantic floral arrangements. The nouveau-esque flowers were placed inside terrariums and trophies, all flanked by candlelight. The final presentation was the cake. It was inspired by a deco chandelier turned upside down, which was perfectly executed by Hey There, Cupcake!

The sophistication of it all was beyond comprehension. What made it one of a kind was being surrounded by our nearest and dearest in celebration of our union.


Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

Nicole’s mother visited the couple at their home in San Francisco to help shop for the gown. The two ladies scurried all over town having a ball in one store after another. Once Nicole tried on Reem Acra’s Lady Slipper dress at the Bridal Galleria, Nicole knew it was the one. The dress was made of silk charmeuse, which is the fabric often worn by many Hollywood sirens in the 1930s; however, this dress’ style was simple, modern, and could be gussied up with accessories that made it unique. Deco-style crystal accents, a cathedral-length veil, and a white fur shawl completed the look. This dress became the inspiration for the wedding’s theme.


What were some touches added to make it personal?

The little things. Specific songs were played throughout the wedding that were important to the bride and groom, their parents, and friends. Jazz also fit the wedding’s theme and was intentionally thought of in honor of Michael’s father who is a jazz aficionado. During the ceremony the jazz quartet played their rendition of a song by The Cure, one of Nicole’s favorite bands, as Nicole walked down the aisle escorted by her father, the host, and stepfather. Nicole’s blue sequined purse was something old and something blue; it is a family heirloom handmade 70 years ago by Nicole’s great-grandmother for Nicole’s grandmother. Nicole also wore a ring from her grandmother who could not attend. The something borrowed was a heart-shaped diamond necklace that belongs to Nicole’s beloved mother. Everything in the wedding, including the experience of it all, was something new. The “love bird” cake toppers, 2 crows, were picked because they reminded the couple of themselves. Lastly, Mike and Nicole worked on their wedding vows together, so they were authentic and heartfelt.


What was the most memorable part of the day?

BRIDE: Absolutely everything! Just to experience the day in its entirety was incredible. From small details like waking up in the morning, to big events, like getting married, stick in my memory so vividly. Also witnessing the details of my vision and style coming to fruition was so amazing. (Enormous thanks to the extraordinary collaboration with Francine Ribeau Events who really made this wedding come to life.) What I am also really proud of is how Studio Castillero Photography nailed my challenging request to capture portraits that look as if the Old Dutch Masters painted them. They’re just so cool.

GROOM: The ceremony. It was one of the few moments in my life where everyone around us disappeared and I became aware that I was experiencing a major life milestone. That was very special.


Tell us how you met and became engaged.

We used to work together in 2008. In our first meeting Nicole had a cold and greeted Mike on his first day at his new job by sneezing on his keyboard. Assuming Mike was a threat to her job’s position, Nicole growled while sanitizing said keyboard. Thereafter she walked away while coughing up a storm. Mike was smitten.

Nicole would have known something was up if Mike made plans for a romantic evening. Lucky for Mike, Nicole made dinner plans at the Pelican Inn at Muir Beach just to have a romantic Saturday date.

The couple arrived an hour early and decided to go on a stroll to the beach. They found their way to a bench set on a cliff overlooking the water. Unbeknownst to Nicole, Mike was nervous but acted cool. He made his first attempt at the proposal by saying how much he loved her. Nicole did not seem to pick up what was about to happen and asked, “What’s with the mushiness?” Undiscouraged, Mike thought to change the setting. He suggested they hike further for a better vantage point of the setting sun. Finding the right spot Mike stopped, turned to face Nicole and said, “I’ve loved you since I first laid eyes on you.” Again, Nicole said densely, “Really? When I sneezed on your desk?” Despite the distraction Mike kept on. He got down on his knee and asked Nicole to be his wife. Finally Nicole realized the momentousness at what Mike was hinting all evening. Without hesitation Nicole said, “YES!” Eventually they made their way back to the Pelican Inn to enjoy their first dinner as a newly engaged couple. It was perfect! Mike loves hiking, Nicole loves British pubs, and they love each other.

Rancho Valencia • Nicole & Mike • Rancho Santa Fe, CA from XOXO Wedding Studio on Vimeo.

Vendors: Photography: Studio Castillero // Videographer: Xoxo Wedding Studio // Planning and Design: Francine Ribeau Events // Venue: Rancho Valencia // Florist: Isari Flower Studio // Cake: Hey There, Cupcake! // Linens: La Tavola // Table Top Rentals: Archive Rentals // Coupes/Chargers/Chairs: Classic Party Rentals // Hair and Makeup: Team Nicole // Officiant: Patricia Coleman // Bride’s Dress: Lady Slipper By Reem Arca // Bride’s Veil: Bridal Galleria // Bride’s Shoes: Hey Lady // Bride’s Earrings: Ben-Alum // Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss