When you think about the Twilight saga, images of towering redwoods, epic romances, and (obvi!) vampires come to mind. Actress Ashley Greene, who played Alice Cullen in all five of the movies, is more than familiar with those scenes—so much so that when she was planning her July wedding to Paul Khoury, she started with a similar vision (minus the blood sucking, of course). She wanted to celebrate her and Paul’s own love story—the two met through mutual friends in 2009—in a unique environment, which led her to Nestldown, a family-owned retreat near San Jose, California, that looks straight out of Twilight. “I loved the idea of getting married among the redwoods,” she says. “They’re so majestic and they’ve been there such a long time. There’s something special about starting a life there.”
With the location booked, Ashley and Paul—a partner at Lokai—hired planner Mindy Weiss to bring their dreamy woodland theme to life. Keep reading to see all the details in these stunning photos by Sarah Falugo and video by Grover Films.
Ashley admits that she was initially worried about finding "the one" for her wedding—but when it came time to shop, it was surprisingly one of the first decisions she made. "I found a designer named Katie May who created a 'Barcelona' dress that spoke to me," she explains. "Thankfully, she’s based in L.A., so I worked with her to create a custom gown that was 100 percent Ashley. It was absolutely perfect."
For his attire, Paul selected an Armani suit, a Dior vest, and shoes by Christian Louboutin.
Ashley called on her seven best friends—including Caitie Uhlman, her maid of honor, and Joseph Chase, her man of honor—to stand by her side. Each woman wore a blush gown by Watters, but Caitie's dress was embellished to make her stand out as MOH.
For the ceremony, the couple selected an area surrounded by redwoods. (After all, that's what made them first fall in love with the family-owned venue.)
Ashley and Paul married in front of a round altar made of pampas grass. “It was the perfect choice to represent the eternal and everlasting love that we were celebrating on our wedding day,” she explains. In fact, they loved it so much that they had their florist move the six-foot-plus structure behind their sweetheart table for the reception.
At 4 p.m., the bride, wearing a body-hugging gown by Katie May, walked down the aisle with her father as strings played “At Last” by Etta James. Paul was waiting for her at a circular altar, and they soon started a playful game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who would recite their vows first. Granted, the showdown was largely ceremonial: “Paul won—but he still let me go first,” Ashley says with a laugh.
The newlyweds exited to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
Following the ceremony, guests took a toy train to a nearby lawn for cocktail hour. There, they played with miniature horses and donkeys before finding their seat assignments for dinner.
The couple celebrated with 120 friends, including Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and his anti-bullying activist wife, Lauren; actress Barbie Blank and Olympic fencer Miles Chamley-Watson; and Unsolved actor Josh Duhamel.
Ashley slipped into a sheer and sparkly dress by Windi Williams-Stern for the rest of the evening.
The bride’s godson and ring bearer, Nico, rang a bell to announce dinner—and the new Mr. and Mrs.! “Dinner was gorgeous but so comfortable and casual,” Ashley says. “My godson sat in my lap at one point. We got up and danced. It was not a formal celebration, it was about love and life.”
At the reception, tables were set up in a U formation so everyone would feel connected. Each was decorated with driftwood and arrangements of roses, orchids, and peonies (Ashley’s favorite!) in the wedding’s pink-and-white palette.
Ashley and Paul decided to sit at a sweetheart table set for just the two of them.
The lighting looked so perfect during dinner that Paul, who loves photography, suggested they sneak out for more portraits in the woods.
Following the ceremony in the redwoods and dinner by a koi pond, the group transitioned to a third setting on the property for dessert and dancing: a warmly lit wooden barn. “Nestldown is a fairy-tale space," Ashley says.
Ashley and Paul danced to "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra for their first dance, then spent the rest of the evening surrounded by their guests. "There was so much love in the room, not just between Paul and me, but among our friends and family," Ashley says. "It was like a bubble of warmth and love. Paul and I thought, "OMG we did it."
Wedding Planner: Mindy Weiss Party Consultants || Venue: Nestldown || Bride's Dresses: Katie May and Windi Williams Stern || Groom's Suit: Armani || Groom’s Vest: Dior || Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters || Makeup: Emma Willis || Hair: Joseph Chase || Stationery: Shine Wedding Invitations || Specialty Printed Items: Shutterfly || Floral Design: Arts District Florals || Catering: Taste Catering || Rentals: Theoni Collection || Ceremony Music: Pacific Strings || Reception Music: Big Fun DJ || Photography: Sarah Falugo || Videography: Grover Films