“It felt as if it was always meant to be,” Erica España says of her relationship with Dustin Lakin. “We met in high school, but became close during summers home from college." In 2007, tey made it official, and took turns visiting each other on weekends until 2011 when Dustin, a software engineer, got a job offer in Santa Monica. “We made the move to the beach and never looked back.”
After a surprise proposal during a trip to Maui in June 2016, the couple decided to wed in their home city of Los Angeles. “I’m a wedding planner myself,” says Erica, owner of Twine Events, “so once we nailed down a date, we planned the wedding in just five months.”
Read on to see all the details from the couple’s intimate August celebration at two stunning L.A. venues, as captured by Mike Radford.
The couple’s custom invitation suite by Creative Works Designs featured calligraphy by MBOJ Studio and bright, cheerful botanicals. It also included elements that hinted at reception elements to come. “For favors, I asked Danielle Keene of Sheila Mae to make cookies and macaroons that matched the invitation suite,” says Erica. The treats were packaged in mini velvet bags, the same material used to line the envelopes.
“I’ve always loved the femininity of Monique Lhuillier's gowns,” says Erica. “I didn’t think I’d fall in love with a ballgown skirt, but the front slit added some edge and it felt mature-yet-super-comfortable, and not too princess-y. I instantly knew it was ‘the dress’ when I couldn’t stop smiling.” On the wedding day, Erica added a pair of pearl earrings Dustin had given her for an anniversary and a dainty pearl necklace, as well as a veil from A Stitch in Time. While she’d purchased new heels, she ended up wearing a favorite at the last minute. “I ended up wearing a pair by Christian Louboutin I already owned because I loved the height, way the nude color elongated my legs, and that they didn’t distract from my dress.”
For their ceremony, Dustin and Erica held an in-town elopement, with just the two of them exchanging vows in the English Gardens of Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. “I’ve always loved the Old World feel of the property,” Erica says of the Tudor Revival manor estate completed in 1928. “Luckily, Greystone is so beautiful we didn’t need to bring anything in—we just had to find a shady spot!"
The couple elected not to write their own vows and instead used words from a Buddhist-style ceremony that “described our love well,” Erica explains. Dustin donned a suit from European brand The Kooples (“perfect for guys with a slimmer frame,” says Erica) and a white butterfly ranunculus boutonniere.
“I loved waking up with Dustin on our wedding day, getting ready together, and riding to the ceremony in a vintage Rolls Royce,” says Erica of the car from Classy Chassis Rentals. “It made the morning that much more special.”
Post-ceremony, the couple hosted 30 family members for dinner at Hotel Figueroa in Downtown Los Angeles. The hotel had recently undergone a renovation, “and I loved the idea of throwing a party in a fresh space,” says Erica. “The new outdoor area was perfect for an intimate dinner and the Spanish-inspired, alfresco vibes were right up my alley.” The couple purchased pretty, blush-colored dresses from Tutu du Monde for their nieces “to make them feel extra special,” while their nephew and godson wore bowties.
The couple served a Pisco punch as their signature cocktail, made with pisco, citrus, pineapple, Peruvian bitters, and aquafaba. “It was a hit with everyone and so refreshing on a hot summer day,” says Erica. For a personal touch, the couple added their initials to cocktail napkins, beer koozies, and coasters. “They now serve as keepsakes at our bar cart at home," adds the bride.
“We kept the natural vibe of the terrace and added pops of color with the flowers and menu,” Erica says of the reception décor. “I brought in drapery to add softness and intimacy to the space. I also have a love for mauve and caramel tones, so they made an appearance.”
“The place settings from the Ark were so beautiful and elevated,” Erica says of the tablescape, which also included menus with the same botanicals and calligraphy as the invitation suite. The couple surprised their nieces with flower crowns on their plates.
“Sharing food always brings people together,” says Erica of their dinner, which was served family-style because, “I really enjoy the presentation and conversation it creates between guests.” Dishes included braised beef short ribs, pan-roasted bass, beets, broccolini, and Moorish-spiced carrots.
“For dessert, we couldn’t pass up the buñuelos and churros, a nod to my Mexican heritage," adds the bride.
After dinner, the couple opened up the reception to friends, hosting 90 people for dancing. “For the after party, I enhanced the caramel and gold tones tones in the lounge space and brought in velvet linens for a cozy look,” says Erica. Guests nibbled on appetizers like flatbreads and croquettes, and the couple cut their show-stopping cake, a confection of vanilla, red velvet, and berries inspired by traditional cakes in Capri, Italy.
For entertainment, the bride hired members of Postmodern Jukebox, a band which sings popular music in the style of jazz or Motown, to perform. “They sang John Legend’s ‘All of Me,’ for our first dance,” says Erica. “It felt like a private concert for our family and friends.” Then, Matthew Rubino of Flashdance DJs started playing. “I didn’t stop dancing until the wedding was over!” says Erica who, as both a planner and a bride, offers this piece of advice: “Go with your gut and do what makes you feel comfortable. When guests see that you’re relaxed and having fun, they’ll follow suit.”
Ceremony Venue: Greystone Mansion || Reception Venue: Hotel Figueroa || Wedding Planner: Twine Events || Officiant: Diedre Gray-Breijo || Bride’s Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Bride’s Veil & Alterations: A Stitch in Time || Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Hair & Makeup: Amy Clarke of the Halcyon Agency || Groom’s Suit: The Kooples || Flower Girl Attire: Tutu du Monde || Floral Design: Kate Holt of Flower Wild || Stationery Design: Creative Works Design || Calligraphy: MBOJ Studio || DJ: Matthew Rubino of The Flashdance DJs || Musicians: Work of Art Entertainment || Wedding Cake: Rafi’s Cakes || Drapery & Lighting Rentals: A Rental Connection || Tabletop Rentals: The Ark Rentals || Linens: La Tavola || Dessert Favors: Sheila Mae || Transportation: Classy Chassis Rentals || Photo Booth: Tag Me Booth || Personalized Napkins, Coasters, & Koozies: For Your Party || Videography: Sharkpig Weddings || Photography: Mike Radford