Photo: Erich McVey Photography
Ilana Stern, founder and CEO of online bridesmaid dress destination Weddington Way, may be in the business of weddings, but when it came time to plan her own, she admits, "I didn't have a blueprint of what anything would be like!" So on August 31, 2013, she and her now-husband, Jeff, took to a private club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of California–which reminded them of Stanford, where they met–and focused on amazing music, mouthwatering food, and a free-flowing bar that kept the party going all night. And you can bet her bridesmaids' dresses were gorgeous!
Here are five tips that brought their boho-chic wedding dreams to life:
Trust Your Instincts
Ilana bought the first dress she tried on, a backless lace Monique Lhuillier gown. "I knew I didn't want volume, and I wanted to show my back," she says. "It was the right balance of elegant and sexy." Perfect for a wedding with Pacific Ocean views!
Say Thank You
The couple wrote their own vows, mixing jokes in with the sweet and serious sentiments. "We both ended with 'thank you for marrying me,'" Ilana says.
Kick It Off Right
Escort cards were tied to mini Patrón bottles. "We wanted our guests to know we were ready to have fun! The Patrón bottles were also the favors, but I think most of them were consumed at the wedding or the after party," says the bride.
Break With Tradition
Jeff and Ilana hired a club DJ fresh from Vegas. Ilana doesn't love cake, so instead they served an ice cream sandwich cake and had a custom ice cream sandwich stand from Coolhaus for dessert.
Hire a Planner!
"It's so worth it to use part of your budget to not have to think, and to just enjoy yourself on your wedding day," says Ilana. The couple's planner helped them keep all their wedding events moving and on-time, as well as coming up with personalized touches based on Jeff and Ilana's love of travel.
Check out Ilana and Jeff's wedding in the February/March 2014 issue of Brides (on newsstands now!).