Sometimes fate aligns with a perfect date. On 10/10/2020, Selling Sunset star Vanessa Villela and creative director and photographer Nicholas (Nick) Hardy connected virtually. "We met online as friends," shares Vanessa with Brides. "He was in England and I was here in L.A. It was an instant amazing connection we felt and after three months of beautiful friendship, we met in person in Mexico. It has been a fairytale since then."
Just a year and three months later, Nick knew Vanessa was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. On January 26, 2022, he took her to the iconic steps of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles at sunset and popped the question. "It was a very private and super romantic moment with just the two of us," reminisces Vanessa. "It was truly magical with the Hollywood sign in the background like a movie! Just like our love story."
When it came to choosing where they would say "I do," Nick and Vanessa decided to connect both their roots and their history together. "We started our love story at the Fairmont Mayakoba," share the couple. "What started out as a 10-day trip turned into a seven-week romance! We made very good friends with Silvia Ferrer, Fairmont's director of marketing and PR, who attended the wedding. Since then, Silvia has supported us and has introduced them to many other Fairmonts around the world."
The pair decided on The Fairmont Grand Del Mar to host their wedding celebration. "I have very strong family roots within San Diego and the Fairmont was one of the favorite places for my late sister Jackie to visit," says Vanessa. "It seemed like the perfect place to bring the family back together."
As for the vision for their affair, the couple dreamed of a wedding that was both "magical and cinematic." The bride and groom explain, "We wanted the event to be intimate yet grand, and to create something that would blow people's minds. Just like our love, this event had to reflect their fairytale love story."
The first step on the planning agenda was to curate an amazing team to bring the day to life. "The most important thing for the both of us was to create a family that all came together to create an epic wedding! Every single vendor spent time speaking with us before they were selected," explain the couple. To lead the charge, they hired Jenan Dakroub of Ladee Designs, with help from Holly Kalkin on the day of. Vanessa adds, "I wanted to work with as many women as possible and to help create exposure for the talented crew she chose."
On September 3, 2022, Vanessa and Nick hosted 69 friends and family in San Diego, California to celebrate their fairytale love and beginning of their new family. Ahead, see all the details with planning by Jenan Dakroub of Ladee Designs, photography by Christine Flower, and videography by Vanessa and the Raconteur Collective.
The couple chose a palette of blush, ivory, and gold for their wedding day. Captured in their invitation design, the hues were meant to capture the romance of the event. The couple shares, "It was always our vision to have a night time event with lots of candles underneath the summer's moon and stars!"
The morning of the wedding, the bride donned a stunning Maria Elena headpiece, which set the tone for her royal-inspired beauty look. "She made it for me and blessed my crown so it was magic as well," says Vanessa. With help from makeup artist Pepe Gutierrez, she looked gorgeous with romantic glam and her signature cat eye. To prepare her skin for the day, the bride went to the Fairmont Century Plaza spa to receive award-winning treatments by Dr. Rita Rakus. "They did treatments to hydrate and improve the texture and color of my skin," she shares.
Vanessa adds, "My beautiful mother-in-law Kriztina gifted me two days before one of my favorite perfumes from Le Labo. So not only I was wearing my favorite smell, but it was gifted from the mom of the man of my dreams, and that made it even more special and so meaningful."
Vanessa spent the morning having fun and getting ready with her closest circle, who all wore matching robes given to them by the bride.
Vanessa had three stunning looks for her wedding day. She begun with a beautiful Galia Lahav strapless ball gown. "When Gigi my stylist sent me the photo of options at Galia Lahav, I fell in love with that one," shares the bride. "The moment I tried it one I felt magic and my friends were crying. I just felt it. It was the perfect dress for my wedding."
Nick worked with John Park of Zeglio Custom Clothiers to create his wedding day look. "I wore a Black custom-made bespoke tuxedo with a two-tone purple and pink silk inside," the groom explains. "Red contrasting stitching was added to the sleeve and the words 'NV x TE AMO 3.SEP.22' was stitched inside."
One special accessory he wore for the day came from the bride herself. "I had a surprise gift for my gorgeous husband which was a heart locket engraved with forever together and our wedding date," shares Vanessa. "Inside, it had a picture of him with his late grandmama who he loves deeply and one of our first photos together. But before I gave it to him, he asked me to close my eyes and he gave me a beautiful bracelet for me to wear in our wedding. As always, we both had a surprise for each other.
The ceremony was truly magical with plenty of white florals around the outdoor space. The couple share it was "influenced by an enchanted garden with flowers looking like they had grown in and around the dome and along the aisle. Our florist, Nancy Lobo, was one of the key additions to the wedding as her imagination and skills were beyond perfection. She did such a beautiful job with her floral designs."
Turning around and seeing Vanessa walk down the aisle for the first time took my breath away.
Vanessa's brother, singer Tony Ferrari, walked her down the aisle as strings played the classic "Canon in D." Nick remembers, "Turning around and seeing Vanessa walk down the aisle for the first time took my breath away. I felt like I was going to pass out. It was beautiful. Thanks to Adrian, my best man, I didn't fall over."
Vanessa and Nick exchanged vows they wrote themselves for the ceremony officiated by both Patrick Aroff and Eva Tamargo.
One standout moment from the ceremony? "When the rings were requested, no one knew who had them! The ceremony stopped and the flowers girls appeared from the back. They arrived, but they didn't have the rings," recall the bride and groom. "At that point the page boy, Lucas St John ran out shouting, ‘I have the rings!’ He walked down the aisle holding a custom-made golden crystallized box by Elena Honch from the Ukraine containing both."
To celebrate their magical romance, the couple released doves after saying "I do."
The newlyweds happily walked back up the aisle as the bride's brother Tony serenaded them with the song "Ave Maria."
The wedding party celebrated with the bride and groom and captured some portraits with photographer Christine Flower. Since the groomsmen were coming from all over the world, Nick asked them all to wear classic black suits. Vanessa adds, "I chose black for my beautiful bridesmaids to match the groomsmen and they looked sensational."
The couple reflected on how beautifully the day came together. "Honestly nothing was too difficult thanks to Jenan, our amazing wedding planner and her team," they share. "The vendors that were chosen were beyond enthusiastic to help our vision come to life. Everyone involved went above and beyond!"
At cocktail hour, guests could sip on three different sidecar creations designed for the couple by Rémy Martin infused a choice of tamarind, spicy mango, or peach.
The reception was absolutely dreamy with tons of neutrals, blush, and twinkly lights. "Custom lighting surrounded the perimeter with two moon lights to set the romantic scene with an addition of 250 large church candles," share the couple.
"Blush runners were introduced to break up the neutral pallet with lots of candles and orchids on the tables," they continue. "Every plate had an open rose situated on a bronzed glass charger plate and each place card had a chiffon ribbon. To compliment the table setting, it was finished off with blush swirl pink glassware."
The sweetheart table was its own masterpiece overflowing with florals.
Cold fireworks went off as the couple made their grand entrance to the reception.
The reception had plenty of surprises, starting with a cinematic experience. "We wanted our guests to be surrounded by the romance between us," says the couple. "A giant LED screen presented video and photos of our beautiful love story with private behind-the-scene clips from travels and amazing experiences that we shared together so far."
Music was a big part of the night for the couple. A mariachi band was on sight to play as they had their first dance to “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion. For this part of the evening, Vanessa wore a shimmering gown from For Love Bridal.
Later, Nick danced with his mother to "Three Times A Lady" by The Commodores and Vanessa swayed with her brother Tony to "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King. Another musical surprise? Tony gave a surprise performance of "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera. "He was perfection! The setting was sensational," recall the newlyweds. "There wasn't a dry eye in the audience."
The three-tiered white wedding cake had special filling as nods to the couple's British and Mexican roots with both English fruit cake and tres leches flavors.
The party moved indoors as an 11-piece band got all the guests on the dance floor. The bride shined in her final outfit of the evening—an embellished custom-made gown by Charbel Karam Haute Couture.
One final performance of the night came from the bride herself. "I surprised my husband singing live for him 'I Love You Baby' in the after-party," shares Vanessa.
A word of wisdom for other couples planning a wedding from the groom? "It’s all about you as a couple. Enjoy every second as it flies by and go with the flow if anything happens. It is the most important day of couples life to begin a new journey of love and joy, so it should only be smiles and love surrounding the both of you. Nothing else matters. Just hold each other tight and never let go."
Ceremony and Reception Venue The Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Planner Jenan Dakroub
Officiant Patrick Aroff and Eva Tamargo
Champagne Flutes, Cake Cutter, and Ring Box Elena Honch
Ceremony Bridal Gown Designer Galia Lahav
Veil For Love Bridal
Third Bridal Gown Custom Charbel Karam Haute Couture
Bride’s Jewelry JustDesi
Bride’s Engagement Ring Giantto
Wedding Bands Happy Jewelers
Shoes Bella Belle Shoes
Bridal Crown Maria Elena Headpieces
Hair Elie Raad
Makeup Pepe Gutierrez
Bridal Party Makeup Suzy Aoude
Bridesmaids’ Dresses David’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Shawls Gosha Pinno at Beautiful People
Bridesmaids' and Mother of the Bride's Jewelry Charlie Lapson
Groom’s Attire Zeglio by John Park
Groom’s Watch Hamilton Watches
Groom’s Engagement Ring Holy Gems
Flower Girl Attire David’s Bridal
Ring Bearer Attire Little Tuxedo
Floral Design Nancy Lobo Design
Invitations Paperdoll Invitations
Menu, Place Cards, and Table Numbers Dolldine Designs
Calligraphy, Welcome Sign, and Seating Chart Shelby Creative Designs
Ceremony Entrance Decor Enticing Tables
Doves Feathers from Heaven
Cake Mircat Cakes
Wedding Cocktails Rémy Martin
Rentals APR Boutique Event
Table Runners BBJ La Tavola
LED Screen Ladee Designs
Candles Socal Candle Rental
Transportation Royal Exotic Car Rental
Videographer The Raconteur Collective
Photography Christine Flower
Photo Booth Pixster Photobooth
Opera Singer Tony Ferrari
Mariachi Band Mariachi Victoria
11-Piece Band Cardinal Gold Represented by On The Beat Music Agency
Ceremony Strings Angelica Strings