Elizabeth Messina is the photographer of choice for celebrities like Kate Walsh, Brooke Shields and Tori Spelling, so it's no surprise that she selected a picturesque setting and visually stunning details for her marriage to her longtime love, Lee Moore, in November 2007. Planner Lisa Vorce, of Oh, How Charming!, in LA, helped the couple organize an intimate, French country-inspired gathering for 40 guests near their California home at Casa Elar, a European villa-style estate owned by the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. The scenic property made meaningful photo ops even more beautiful, including a close-up of the newlyweds walking hand in hand. “There's something so intimate about holding hands with the one you love,” says Elizabeth, a 2008 MB Trendsetter.
The couple wanted their wedding to be a family affair, so they gave each of their three children, Mykela, Jasmine and Malik, a role as a flower girl or ring bearer, and listed them as hosts on the invitations—letterpressed cards wrapped in taupe linen, by Jo Gartin, of Love Luck and Angels, in LA. The stationery's casual elegance set the tone for the day: As guests arrived, they stopped by a lemonade stand, picked up programs from vintage trays, then witnessed Elizabeth and Lee exchange vows beneath an ivy- and rose-covered arbor. Lavender infused the air with its distinctive scent— the bride and her seven flower girls all carried the fragrant flower—and added a fresh twist to cocktail hour as the garnish on martinis.
At the reception, the adults' one long table was topped with a pale blue velvet runner and natural arrangements of garden roses, lavender and herbs by local floral designer Mindy Rice. The sight to see, however, was the couple's collection of 30 chandeliers hanging above the table. “It was magical to see the lights as we approached,” says Elizabeth. After two father-daughter dances—the bride with her father, and then Mykela with Lee—the crowd enjoyed R&B tunes and rustic yet refined French fare, including spinach salad with blue cheese and grilled filet mignon. Wines in bottles Elizabeth had adorned with photos from her portfolio personalized the meal. Their own wedding pictures are now a part of this impressive collection of star-studded images, but for these happy newlyweds, theirs will always shine brightest. —Michaela Garibaldi
Learn From Elizabeth and Lee
Bring your decor home: Elizabeth and Lee found special places in their house for many of the chandeliers they had collected to decorate their wedding venue, and even gifted some lucky guests with the pretty fixtures.
Be Kid-Friendly: “I hand-picked different treats for our younger guests to make it a special experience for them,” says Elizabeth. At each place setting on the kids' table, she left a customized box filled with goodies like barrettes and lipgloss for the girls and little cars and Etch A Sketches for the boys.
Prolong the Party: Though the couple live close to Casa Elar, they rented it for a week and invited their guests to stay at the Ojai Valley Inn. “It had the feel of a destination wedding but with the ease of home,” says Elizabeth.
Kirstie Kelly, kirstiekelly.com
Hugo Boss, hugoboss.com
Oh! How Charming, ohhowcharming.com
Love Luck and Angels, loveluckandangels.com
Mindy Rice, mindyrice.com
Christine Dahl, santabarbaracakes.com
Ceremony and Reception Site
Casa Elar, ojairesort.com
Thayer Allyson Gowdy, thayerphoto.com