After Michelle and Jonathan met in sixth grade, the pair quickly became friends. They ran in the same circles all through high school, were both captains of the swim team, and stayed in touch through college, but the spark didn't ignite until after they'd graduated and both ended up in Los Angeles. "We fell in love with the adults we'd both become, and built on the friendship we'd had for all those years," says Michelle. Five years after they started dating, Jonathan surprised Michelle with a proposal on a vineyard in Santa Barbara.
When the couple started planning their July 28, 2012 wedding at the Bel-Air Bay Club, they turned to that long history together to help make it official. "Our high school swim coach, who'd known us both since the year we met, performed the ceremony," says the bride. "It made it so personal." Keep reading to see how Jonathan and Michelle made their wedding truly unique, planned with Sterling Engagements and photographed by Viera Photographics.
Michelle chose a Vera Wang mermaid gown that was sleek on top and a party on the bottom, with a full tulle skirt beneath a fitted bodice. She paired her gown with loose waves and an all-white calla lily bouquet, wrapped in fabric from her mother's veil.
Jonathan wore a sharp gray suit, adding striped socks for a touch of color and fun.
The bridesmaids wore dark blue convertible gowns, matching the couple's modern color scheme.
The ceremony took place on the Bel-Air Bay Club's lawn, overlooking the Pacific ocean. "Our dog was 'best dog' and did a great job walking down the aisle, then decided to dig a hole in the lawn in the middle of our vows!" Michelle laughs.
After the touching ceremony, guests gathered on the patio for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres like mini grilled cheese and bites of spaghetti and meatballs. The party-loving couple made sure to offer an open bar for their guests, including Patron Silver tequila. "At one point, my grandma even took a shot!" says the bride.
Inside the club, tables were topped with navy blue linens and blue and white chevron napkins. All-white centerpieces of calla lilies, tulips, hydrangeas, and roses were surrounded with candles.
After a surf-and-turf dinner of lobster tails and filet, the newlyweds cut into a four-tiered vanilla and chocolate cake topped with white hydrangeas and fondant sculptures of the couple's pup, Orly, and cat, Pfunk. "They couldn't be at the reception, but we wanted to include them in the celebration," says Michelle.
This couple loves to dance, so they made sure to pick a band that would keep the dance floor packed. "They played everything from 'Baby Got Back' by Sir Mix-A-Lot to 'Club Can't Handle Me' by Flo Rida," Michelle says. "We love to go dancing, and wanted our guests to have a blast."
To keep the party going, guests could grab bags of made-to-order mini donuts, then headed to the after-party at the nearby Huntley Hotel. Says the bride, "We made sure to create moments throughout the day that gave our guests an inside look into who we are as a couple."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Bel-Air Bay Club || Wedding Planner: Sterling Engagements || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti || Jewelry: Michael B. || Hair: Fiore Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Twobirds Bridesmaid || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Michael B. || Floral Design: The Hidden Garden || Invitations & Paper Goods: Prim & Pixie || Music: West Coast Music || Catering: Bel-Air Bay Club || Cake: The Butter End Cakery || Donuts: The Fry Girl || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Videography: Charles Lauren Films || Photography: Viera Photographics
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