An Elegant California Wedding at The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

Real Weddings
Bride and groom on bicycles in Ojai, California

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Karin, 32, an attorney and account, and Billy, 32, an attorney, had known each other since childhood, but didn't get together until their eyes met at a bar—while Karin was on a date with someone else! After an ultra-romantic surprise proposal in Karin's favorite garden, the couple searched for a secluded, naturally beautiful venue for their traditional wedding. The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, with its sweeping grounds and stunning Mediterranean architecture, captured the quiet elegance they were searching for.

With simple décor and an understated ivory and champagne palette, Karin and Billy let the beauty of their surroundings—and a tight-knit, hilarious family—speak up at the 170-person bash. In the couple's own words, "We wanted to combine Karin's dream of creating a Jane Austen ball at Netherfield Park with Billy's laid-back beach volleyball style. Ojai was an easy choice because it is relaxed yet elegant, at once comfortable and beautifully manicured, and it feels like it's worlds away from the city."

Wedding rings in Ojai, California

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Billy proposed on Karin's birthday in one of their favorite spots, the garden of the Getty Museum. As he dropped to one knee, he pointed across the garden, where Karin's friends and family waited with cameras and well-wishes. "It was a magical beginning to a fabulous engagement," Karin says.

Ojai, California wedding invitation

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple searched for a location close to Los Angeles that felt tucked away, and Ojai, California fit the bill. "When we found the Ojai Presbyterian Church, Karin felt chills," Billy said. "We had to get married in this quaint town."

Ojai, California wedding stationery suite

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

A friend designed Karin and Billy's invitations, welcome packages, menus, table numbers, escort cards, and all other paper goods, which included a customized monogram and black-and-gold detailing.

All-white wedding bouquets

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Karin and her bridesmaids carried all-white bouquets of peonies, roses and tulips, which matched their color palette of ivory, cream, and champagne.

Silk kimonos for bridesmaids

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Karin toasted the day with her bridesmaids in silk kimonos. Her 'maids later changed into short Monique Lhuillier dresses, chosen for their simple elegance.

Romona Keveza wedding dress

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Karin chose a Romona Keveza dress that made her feel like Cinderella. "It looked different from all angles," she says. "It was timeless and classic."

Royal blue Manolo Blahnik wedding shoes

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Royal blue, jeweled Manolo Blahnik pumps were the perfect "something blue". "They popped in every picture," Karin says.

Bride and groom first look

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple exchanged vows in the Ojai Presbyterian Church, in a traditional ceremony officiated by Billy's longtime family reverend.

Bridal party in Ojai, California

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

After the ceremony, guests moved to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, a Mediterranean-style resort where Lake Bell tied the knot this year, for cocktails, dinner, and dancing. "We knew our guests would feel the palpable calm that comes over you as you enter the gate," Karin says.

Twin flower girls in Ojai, California

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Karin's twin flower girls were children of a friend, and reveled in their "princess moment" as they twirled down the aisle in matching tulle dresses.

Champagne-colored Monique Lhuillier bridesmaid dresses

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

One of Karin's bridesmaids helped her pick the knee-length, universally flattering champagne shifts.

White peony and ranunculus wedding bouquet

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Karin's romantic white peony and ranunculus bouquet complemented her sweeping, dramatic gown.

Green succulent wedding boutonniere

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Pale green succulents and foliage—a classic California combination—popped against Billy's neutral suit.

Tall white hydrangea wedding centerpieces

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple alternated long tables with round ones in the inn's Anascapa Ballroom, to avoid a corporate-event vibe. Long tables were scattered with tall arrangements of classic white hydrangeas.

Wedding menu with sage

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The menu included an avocado salad with lemon truffle vinaigrette, a prime rib roast, truffle mac and cheese, salmon, and vegetarian risotto.

Wedding sweetheart table in Ojai, California

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The newlyweds were regaled with toasts from Karin's dad, Billy's brother, and Karin's maid-of-honor. No one let Billy forget his reign as Cosmopolitan's California Bachelor of the Year in 2009!

Five white wedding cakes

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Karin and Billy served not just one wedding cake, but five, baked on-site at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. Flavors included vanilla with fresh fruit and vanilla cream, strawberry violet cake with cream cheese, and chocolate cake with fudge and mousse.

Bride and groom in Mr. and Mrs. chairs

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple spent the night cutting up the dance floor with guests before departing on a getaway to Hawaii. Karin's advice for brides-to-be? "Start early! It makes the day and the time leading up to it much more enjoyable."

Ceremony Venue: Ojai Presbyterian Church || Reception Venue: Ojai Valley Inn and Spa || Planner: All You Need Is Love Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Romona Keveza || Hair: Gayle Collings of Salon Farouk || Makeup: Kacee Geoffroy || Veil: The Bride's Mother || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Jewelry & Wedding Bands: Grady Taylor || Groom's Tuxedo: Jos. A. Bank || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Bridesmaids' Gifts: Comfy Clothing || Invitations & Paper Products: Alissa Bell Press || Florist: Rock Rose Floral Design || Catering and Cake: Ojai Valley Inn and Spa || Music: Bentley Foy || Rentals: Ventura Rental Center || Lighting: Bella Vista Designs || Linens: La Tavola || Photographer: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

—Amanda First

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