An Intimate, Al Fresco Wedding in the Hills of Malibu

After 16 years together, this couple celebrated their marriage in serious style

Bride and groom in embrace

Photo by Sally Pinera

They say you should be careful when dating a superior at work, but does that apply to after-school jobs, too? Back in 2000, Genia Chechersky was working at a dry cleaner in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, when a new employee showed up. “My boss offered me a 50-cent raise if I agreed to train him,” says Genia of her now-husband, Tim Yovankin. “We started dating two months later, and have been together ever since.” After 15 years together, Tim took Genia to Paris and surprised her with a fairytale proposal in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

After 16 years of dating, Tim and Genia finally tied the knot on September 17, 2016, at Malibu Rocky Oaks, a stunning estate surrounded by vineyards. With just 75 guests in attendance, the couple planned an intimate celebration full of California romance, which photographer Sally Pinera captured in the stunning images below.

Wedding venue
Photo by Sally Pinera

The stone architecture of Malibu Rocky Oaks could be straight out of the Italian countryside. In fact, the couple loved the venue's look so much that they flew cross-country for a site visit and booked their Malibu wedding right away!

Solo shot of bride with bouquet
Photo by Sally Pinera
Bride holding bouquet
Photo by Sally Pinera
Full body bride solo shot
Photo by Sally Pinera

The bride’s ornate Yaki Ravid gown was the perfect fit for the dreamy setting, with embroidered sleeves, crystal detailing, and a sophisticated plunging neckline. Genia accessorized with a flowing veil and a timeless bouquet of garden roses, ranunculus, and white calla lilies.

Bride with bridesmaids
Photo by Sally Pinera
Bride and groom with wedding party
Photo by Sally Pinera

Genia'sbridesmaids wore nude-colored gowns, while the groom and groomsmen wore navy blue—creating an ocean-inspired palette that tied in with the processional song, “I Could Be Nothing” by the Great Lake Swimmers.

Wedding invitations
Photo by Sally Pinera

Tim and Genia to put their own touch on the paper goods without breaking the bank by opting for a semi-custom invitation suite by Written Word Calligraphy. The beautiful suite featured an illustration of the venue, deckled edges, and gold calligraphy added a touch of shimmer. “We received so many compliments on the invitations,” says the bride.

Bride and groom on mountain
Photo by Sally Pinera
Bride and groom on mountain
Photo by Sally Pinera

The bride and groom took full advantage of the venue's varied grounds, which resulted in absolutely breathtaking portraits.

Bride and groom under chuppah
Photo by Sally Pinera
Bride and groom kiss under chuppah
Photo by Sally Pinera
Bride and groom during recessional
Photo by Sally Pinera

The couple wed beneath a chuppah draped in gold satin fabric and topped with blush and cream roses. A rabbi performed a traditional Jewish ceremony but personalized it with stories and sentiments from the bride and groom.

Wedding reception table setting
Photo by Sally Pinera

After the ceremony indoors, guests headed outside for cocktails and dinner. Here, bartenders mixed up a signature drink—made of vodka (for the pair’s Russian family members), rosemary, and berries—that everyone sipped as they took in the sunset from the terrace.

Floral centerpiece
Photo by Sally Pinera
Reception dinner menu
Photo by Sally Pinera

Long tables on the patio were draped in beige linens—and instead of expensive, large centerpieces, Genia and Tim opted for medium-sized arrangements of white roses and lisianthus. Printed menus, beige napkins, and gold-rimmed chargers completed each place setting. “Renting glassware and flatware from Casa de Perrin was expensive, but it added so much glamour and detail to the tables. Our planner encouraged us to use simple white dinnerware atop the fancy chargers to help offset the costs,” says Genia.

Guests at wedding reception
Photo by Sally Pinera

“In true Malibu fashion, everything was local and humanely-sourced,” says Genia. “The highlight was definitely our amuse-bouche: caviar and crepes to honor my Russian heritage!”

Bride and groom cutting cake
Photo by Sally Pinera

Genia loved the idea of a cream-colored cake with hand-piped details and had her heart set on a four- tiered creation. “It was enough cake for nearly 100 guests, so we sent everyone home with slices of cake instead of favors,” says the bride. Each tier was made of a different cake flavor, including red velvet cake and strawberries and cream to honor of the bride’s late grandmother. “That’s what she would get me for my birthday every year, so I wanted to pick something she would have loved,” Genia says.

Bride and groom with streamers
Photo by Sally Pinera

Says the bride, “Investing in an amazing photographer is worth every penny. After the day is done and the party as over, those photos will be your ticket back down memory lane. The time really flies by, so it’s wonderful to be able to take it all in again!”

Wedding Team

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Malibu Rocky Oaks

Catering: Urban Palate

Event Planner: So Happi Together

Bride's Dress: Yaki Ravid

Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Hair & Makeup: TEAM

Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss

Floral Design: Heavenly Blooms

Wedding Bands: Hearts on Fire

Invitations & Paper Products: Written Word Calligraphy

Rentals: Casa De Perrin, La Tavola

Music: VOX DJs

Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop

Photography: Sally Pinera

Videography: Steelhead Cinema

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