If you ask Erika Wolf and Alex Orbison how they met, they'd have different stories. Alex would say they met in 2003, outside Point Dume Chinese, when Alex's Yorkie tried to bite Erika and he shot out the line, "Maybe she's a great judge of character." (To which, Erika had a memorable retort.) But if you ask Erika, she would say they met on February 14, 2004, when Alex asked her to be his Valentine while she was pumping gas. (She said no, and he wrote his number in the dust on the back of her car.) Following this encounter, the Malibu natives had several run-ins over the years before ultimately reconnecting in New York City 10 years later.
In July 2013, Erika won Alex over for good with a Louis CK joke, and in September 2016, Alex proposed at Headlands of Point Dume in Malibu, their favorite spot on earth. "Its beauty is overwhelming and there's no place I could better imagine beginning our new chapter together," Erika says.
After their Malibu engagement, Erika and Alex, the son of Roy Orbison, considered a California wedding—but their friends begged them to do it in Nashville, where they now live. "They were curious about this new hub they heard about and were tired of familiar Malibu weddings," Erika explains. So on May 13, 2017, the California natives said "I do" at Bloomsbury Farm, a working organic farm just outside Nashville. "There's a certain magic about it there," says the bride. And since their guests wanted to get to know the southern city, Erika and Alex gave them a weekend's tour—from welcome drinks on lower Broadway to the day-after brunch at their home.
The bride hand-selected each piece of her bridal ensemble, just as she did with every other bit of the wedding. She wore a cape by Alexandra Grecco, a top from Leanne Marshall, and a skirt by Nashville-based designer Olia Zavozina. "I looked exactly how I wanted to feel," she explains. "I was so particular about the shape, style, and vibe, and I just knew when I saw it—I felt transported to another time!"
Erika wore an engagement ring and wedding band from her two grandmothers, as well as an 18th-century gold locket (her first gift from Alex) and a gold bracelet from her friend's jewelry line, Jen Meyer Jewelry. "Jewelry was my main accessory," Erika says. The final touch was an art deco gold brooch, a day-of gift from the groom that she added to her birdcage veil.
The bridal bouquet (of roses, peonies, and viburnum) perfectly coordinated with the bride's look and the venue's natural setting.
Before Erika walked through the meadow to meet Alex at the altar, she took a minute to spin around in her amazing cape!
The bride created custom invitations—starting with the wedding's crest, which was inspired by the "O" in Orbison and featured all the things the couple loves (their Studebaker Lark, Yorkie Gracie, poodle C'est La Vie, a bass drum, Roy's guitar, and more).
Erika entered the ceremony site on her own, but walked the last 20 paces with her mother and father. The couple included readings by Khalil Gibran, Alex's late father's favorite poet, in the Ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract), and exchanged vows they'd written themselves. And, naturally, they personalized with the music. "We had the rare and serendipitous opportunity to be planning our wedding while the record Roy Orbison with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra [was being made]," Erika explains.
They selected five tracks from the upcoming record, which will be released on November 3, 2017, and included them throughout the ceremony. "Our guests didn't know they were getting a sneak peek," she says.
The groom always envisioned himself in a baby blue tuxedo like the one in Dumb and Dumber—yes, really! "This was quite the task," explains Erika, laughing. Thankfully, Erika and Alex discovered a custom suit tailor in Los Angeles that was able to recreate the look in a chic way. "He made our greatest tuxedo dreams come true," Erika says.
The couple's 1961 Studebaker Lark (an engagement gift) was front-and-center on the big day, as the couple posed with it for portraits and the bride took it to the ceremony.
When brainstorming ideas of unique escort cards, the bride had an idea: Chandelier crystals! The execution was more difficult than she had imagined, but Erika took the DIY project on wholeheartedly—sourcing the crystals, buying the hooks, stringing them together, and adding each chain. "It was one of my favorite parts of the day," she says.
"Our reception was its own little town—from the cocktail hour pavilion to the dancing area, we ran string lights from the trees to connect the spaces and make a cohesive little universe," says the bride. On the tables inside the tent, Erika worked with planner Jessica Sloane to create tables lined with gold and brass bud vases (all sourced by Erika from antique malls!), gold flatware, and gold china. Each was also topped with a black table cards (featuring the couple's crest) and black taper candles.
"I was very hands on," Erika says. "I put my twist on everything."
The newlyweds posted up at a sweetheart table as their friends toasted them with their signature cocktails—the "Barbara" and "Roy," named for the groom's parents.
The couple cut into a strawberry sour cream pound cake, which was decorated with flowers and berries.
For their first dance, the music lovers selected "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney but also snuck in a dance at cocktail hour when their favorite Western swing band, John England & the Western Swingers, was playing. "They played the best old country you could ever think of—Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Pasty Cline, and more."
The real dance party got started with the hora. "When it came time for the hora, Alex looked at me confused," Erika remembers. "I told him to sit down and enjoy the ride and it was quite simply the best five minutes of my entire life."
For the late-night dancing, the bride slipped into a vintage jacket that she found at Lily of Happy Isles Salon. Erika adds, "I later found out, according to the designer, that the jacket was originally designed for Princess Diana but gifts weren't allowed at the time!" The statement piece now sits in the couple's living room, along with their matching silver sequin shoes from the rehearsal dinner.
And a night this epic deserves an epic exit, which Erika and Alex planned in the form of a sparkler tunnel. As for what the bride learned from her five months of planning, she has this to say: "Take your time, take your time! My girlfriend gave me this advice and I didn't listen—but I sure learned the error of my ways."
Venue: Bloomsbury Farm || Wedding Planner: Jessica Sloane || Officiants: Philip Dichter & Rabbi Judith Halevy || Bride's Attire: Lovely Bride; Alexandra Grecco; Leanne Marshall; Olia Zavozina || Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Polly Wales || Wedding Bands: Chrome Hearts || Vintage Diamonds: Arrow & Anchor || Bracelet: Jen Meyer Jewelry || Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Hair & Makeup: Amanda Gros || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Lily Ashwell || Groom's Attire: High Society Tailors || Flowers: FLWR Shop || Invitations & Paper Goods: Wouldn’t It Be Lovely || Entertainment: Roy Orbison; John England & Western Swingers; DJ Osmu || Catering: South Fork Catering || Cake: Dessert Designs || Rentals: Southern Events; Music City Tents; Southern Social || TinTypes: Giles Clement || Coffee Bar: Nashville Espresso || Ketubah: Ruth Mergi || Videography: Needle + Thread || Photography: Sarah Falugo