Two years after first meeting at the Abbey in West Hollywood in 2011, Rachel Waters and Brittany Collins were both certain they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. But it was Brittany who made the big move. For Rachel's birthday in December of 2013, Brittany surprised her with a photo session for the couple and their beloved dogs at El Matador Beach. When the photographer asked Rachel to turn and face the ocean for a few photos, Brittany dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring.
The pair decided to wed on July 4, 2015, at the Westlake Village Inn in Westlake Village, California, which was fitting as Brittany serves as a pilot in the United States Air Force. With the help of Christine Sperry of Christie Rose Events, the couple spent 18 months planning a pale pink, white, and gold celebration with a classic, romantic aesthetic. Gina & Ryan Photography captured every moment of this sweet pair's wedding day, all seen below!
"The venue was so easy going and even allowed us to extend our wedding until 2 a.m.," the pair says. "It was seriously the most perfect place for our wedding." The brides chose a black and white invitation suite from Wedding Paper Divas, complete with foil accents.
Rachel was inspired by Carrie Bradshaw's bridal look in the Sex and the City movie, so she knew she wanted a fashion-forward wedding dress. "I thought it was such a chic dress," she says of the strapless Zac Posen ball gown she ultimately chose.
Brittany surprised Rachel with a pair of rainbow studded Valentino heels to wear down the aisle. Rachel also donned a 30-carat diamond necklace borrowed from her friend's mother and drop earrings lent to the beaming bride by her wedding planner.
Brittany knew she wanted to wear a fitted white suit but feared she would never be able to find just the right look. In the end, she got just what she wanted from an Elie Tahari jacket and pants, paired with a Vince top.
Each bride had 12 attendants by her side on the wedding day. Rachel's bridesmaids wore floor length Adrianna Pappel dresses while Brittany's "broomsmaids" wore a mix of the same gowns and suits from Men's Wearhouse.
Brittany's nephews, Colton and Hayden, served as the couple's ring bearers while Rachel's former soccer coach's daughters, Hannah, Molly, and Lilah, stood in as flower girls.
The couple exchanged vows officiated by Brittany's aunt, Terry Adamson, beneath a copper dome decorated with flowers. Although they decided on a non-denominational ceremony, they included ideas both Rachel and Brittany appreciated from traditional Jewish vows.
The two brides decided to write their own vows, each making heartfelt but goofy promises to the other. Rachel's favorite line to Brittany: "I take you to be my wife, the mother of my children and poodles, and best friend until death do us part. Under one condition, we get to eat at Sugarfish once a week!"
Cocktail hour was held on the patio just outside the reception space. There, guests enjoyed bruschetta, chicken satay, sushi, and vegetarian dumplings. Rachel and Brittany named their signature cocktails after their three poodles: The Napolean (vodka with strawberry-lemonade, mint, and lemons), The Oliver (a classic margarita), and The Hewbert (a whisky ginger).
Once inside the reception space, everyone was seated at round tables decorated with high or low arrangements of pale pink flowers, including dahlias, roses, and hydrangeas.
Rachel and Brittany sat at a sweetheart table decorated with lush centerpieces and a "Mrs. & Mrs." sign.
For dessert, guests enjoyed salted caramel apple, triple berry cream, and double chocolate cake, along with a variety of cake pops, cupcakes, and cookies.
Rachel and Brittany partied with their guests until 2 a.m. before enjoying a honeymoon in Thailand. "Wedding planning is actually really fun," the couple says. "Make sure to do it together. It's something that you can use to create an even stronger bond."
Venue & Catering: Westlake Village Inn || Rachel's Wedding Dress: Zac Posen || Shoes: Valentino || Brittany's Attire: Elie Tahari || Wedding Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas || Florist: Garden Florists || Rentals: CMC Party Rentals || Cake: House of Pastry || Photographer: Gina & Ryan Photography
Searching for more California wedding inspiration? Then watch another couple's west coast party in the video below.