We’re calling it—this is the most adorable elopement of all time! Seriously, you guys, it’s overflowing with personality and we love the way Julie Shuford Photography captured the super-fun vibe. The mid-century Beverly Hills Courthouse lends some serious Mad-Men-esque flair to the ceremony images. The graphic style carried through the bright portrait locations and graphic details in the table scape at Hotel Bel Air. We’re totally loving it and know you will too!
What made the wedding special and unique?
Emily and Bret knew they wanted to share this special day with their family in an intimate setting that focused on the family’s love and support for the couple. As part of this effort, the bride and groom decide the ultimate statement of simplicity would be a city hall wedding in beautiful Beverly Hills, CA, near Santa Monica, CA, where the bride grew up and the couple currently resides. By sharing their ceremony with a small group of 12 family guests, the couple was able to block out all the distractions and noise associated with large weddings and focus on the commitment they had made to each other. In the past year, Emily and Bret have had a blast celebrating their marriage with good friends from all over the country.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
The search for the dress was epic! The bride did not want to wear a traditional white gown but instead wanted something soft and elegant and flowy to match the intimate nature of the wedding. Finding the perfect color and design was a challenge. The bride finally found the perfect gown through hours of online searching that combined the champagne color she was looking for, sequins that sparkled but weren’t overpowering, and a design that captured a bit of whimsy and romanticism while still making a modern statement. Most importantly, the bride felt comfortable and beautiful all day long, and will save the dress to pass along to her own daughter.
What were some touches added to make it personal?
Despite the small guest list and simplistic theme, the bride was determined to add personal touches (having worked in finance for many years, the bride has a suppressed creative flair that often emerges through elaborate holiday decorations and epic adventures in baking!). When planning the decorations and favors, the bride knew instantly that Champagne Truffles from Teuscher Chocolate would be a yummy treat for her guests (Teuscher has been a long time favorite of the bride’s mother, a decadent tradition that was passed down to the bride). Sticking with the sweet theme, the bride and groom also knew the cake had to be special, so they went no further than their corner bakery which happens to be the renowned Sweet Lady Jane. Choosing a rich red velvet cake was an easy decision made even more fun by an indulgent cake tasting session. Choosing the Hotel Bel-Air for the post-ceremony lunch also had special meaning for the bride who grew up attending Christmas Eve dinners at the hotel with her family. Lastly, the bride’s older sister gave her a stunning bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels the morning of the wedding which the bride wore throughout the day; this special memory has turned into a tradition in which each sister and their daughters will pass along the bracelets (the bride’s sister has three daughters and the bride is expecting her first daughter this December).
What was the most memorable part of the day?
The wedding day was filled with memorable moments – both sentimental and silly. Having the bride’s 7-month pregnant sister fly in from London with the bride’s eldest niece (5 years old) was a big sacrifice that meant a lot to the bride. Another special family memory was from the father of the bride who gave a touching speech at the post-wedding lunch reception, a toast which brought everyone to tears. A fun surprise included a personal visit from star chef Wolfgang Puck who came over to the table at the lunch reception to wish the couple congratulations on their marriage (Wolfgang Puck is the food operation at the Hotel Bel-Air). Other fun memories include the bride taking an Uber ride from the makeup stylist to the courthouse (the Uber driver’s first ever wedding trip!), the Geronimo balloon popping on a tree outside the courthouse (luckily AFTER the pictures!), and the bride and groom forgetting their big exit photo and thus taking staging the celebration picture while walking out of the “Entrance” side of the courthouse. To conclude the day, the couple drove down from LA to Rancho Santa Fe to stay at the luxurious Rancho Valencia, and given the late October time frame, this meant that the couple spent the car ride listening to the MLB playoffs on the radio given the groom’s loyal love for the Kansas City Royals – the couple cheered the team to a victory, a memory they will never forget.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Emily and Bret met during their first year of business school at UCLA Anderson in Los Angeles. Specifically, they met at the school’s Entertainment Career Night at the Warner Bros’ table – both the bride and groom were pursuing careers in media and entertainment. Their first date was a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall followed by many more adventures including movie date nights, late night trips to the famous Diddy Riese, and attending UCLA baseball games. The couple graduated in June 2013 with their MBAs and began the next chapter of their lives together. After attending over 10 weddings together to celebrate new and old friends, and taking memorable trips to Ojai, Big Sur, Kansas City, and Vermont, Emily and Bret became engaged in March 2014 with a special proposal by the groom during a family vacation to the Cayman Islands – the groom asked the bride to be his wife under the moonlight and stars on the beach, and the couple hopes to take their children back to the same spot one day. The couple also plans to pass along their love of their favorite sports teams (Kansas City Royals, UCLA Bruins, Stanford Cardinals). Emily and Bret are currently expecting the arrival of their first child, a girl, due on New Year’s Eve 2015!
Photography: Julie Shuford Photography // Flowers: Ann’s Flowers // Bride’s Dress: Champagne Soiree Dress from Rickety Rack // Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade // Bride’s Jewelry: Van Cleef & Arpels (bracelet) // Marcia Shanker (earrings/rings) // Groom’s Suit: Halls Kansas City // Balloon: Geronimo Balloons // Cake: Sweet Lady Jane (Santa Monica, CA) // Treats: Champagne Truffles from Teuscher Chocolate (Beverly Hills, CA) // Heart Cloths: MadyBellaDesigns (Etsy) // Wedding Favor Tags: PrintSmitten (Etsy) // Confetti Bags with Hearts: thrasherandwren (Etsy) // Cake Toppers, Paper Mache Letters: Pelemele (Etsy) // Cake Stand: BHLDN (styling – DIY bride) // Confetti: PomLove (Etsy) // Bride and Groom Banners: ekaSpreadLove (Etsy) // Vintage Ring Box: CrystalCoveDS (Etsy) // Rustic Wooden Sign: ThePaperWalrus (Etsy) //Dried Lavender Bundles: Onederings (Etsy) // Wedding Venue: Beverly Hills Courthouse // Reception Venue: Hotel Bel Air