Rachel Estrada and James Sperry had been friends for half a decade thanks to the fact that Rachel’s sister is married to James’s best friend! But it wasn’t until Rachel returned from a year in Italy that their flirtation turned into a romance. Once they started dating, though, the pair fell hard—and fast. In April of 2015, the couple took a day trip to the Malibu Beach Inn for lunch. “I thought it was a spontaneous trip on a sunny day,” Rachel says. After lunch, they asked the concierge if they could peek into a room.
“I’ve always wanted to stay there, and wasn’t suspicious at all,” Rachel remembers. That is until they walked into an ocean-view room to find champagne and flowers set by the balcony, where James got down on one knee. “We spent four days at the hotel, walking on the beach, calling family and friends and dreaming about our wedding,” the bride remembers.
The couple—who also works together—planned every detail of their July 15, 2016 wedding themselves. And thanks to their small guest list (of just 74 people!), they were able to explore non-traditional wedding venues, eventually booking Carondelet House in Los Angeles. “It used to be a family home, and we loved the warm and welcoming energy,” Rachel describes. They added a hint of Art Deco styling to dress up the celebration and kept to a sleek black, white, and gold palette to match the venue's 1928 construction.
Check out the gorge design in Sposto Photography's images below!
Rachel looked beautiful in a lace Katie May gown, which featured lots of lace, a plunging back, and a removable soft tulle train. “It was so flattering, and I knew James would love it,” she says.
The bride accessorized with a pearl crown from Agnes Hart above her simple white veil.
Rachel’s bridesmaids wore sequined Badgley Mischka dresses (from Rent the Runway!) that matched the venue’s gilded accents perfectly. They also wore their hair in sleek chignons to show off the gown's statement cowl back.
The Carondelet House was built as an Italian villa and features exposed beams and brick walls. The couple lined the aisle with pillar candles to add warmth to the ceremony space.
The bride walked down a candle-lit aisle to meet her groom in front of a statement mirror that served as the altar. Musicians played the Harry Potter theme as Rachel made her grand entrance, and “Tiny Dancer” after the first kiss.
After an Italian-inspired cocktail hour featuring bruschetta and prosciutto-wrapped melon, guests sat down for a meal of sea bass and vegetarian tortellini.
"We really wanted to be able to seat our guests at two long tables,” says Rachel. Bare tables were topped with a white runner and all-white dahlias, ranunculus, and sweet peas in gold vases. Place settings featured gold-rimmed plates, gold flatware, and vintage cut-crystal glassware.
The cake’s design combined modern and Art Deco influences. Triangles of gold, black, and gray topped the sleek square shape, with layers of chocolate cake and blackberry filling inside.
At the end of the night, guests waved sparklers as the couple made their getaway. “It was a lot of work, but designing and coordinating the event ourselves was so worth it!” says the bride.
Venue: Carondelet House || Day-Of Coordinator: Green Apple Event Company || Bride's Headpiece: Agnes Hart || Bride's Dress: Katie May || Bride's Headpiece: Agnes Hart || Bride's Jewelry: BHLDN || Hair & Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup || Groom's Attire: Michael Kors || Engagement Ring: Shirazi Fine Jewelry || Wedding Bands: Blue Nile || Floral Design: Lavender’s Flowers || Paper Products: Minted || Catering: Très LA || Cake: Bottega Louie || Entertainment: Jake Justice, Vox DJs || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Photography: Sposto Photography