There are tons of great venues out there, that is a given. But taking a venue and really letting it’s natural beauty shine is the secret sauce. And believe me when I tell you this Malibu garden is shining bright. The details by Amazing Grace Design and florals by The Hidden Garden add a layer of romance to an already beautiful backyard. And the result is an intimate celebration, heavy on the pretty captured by Aurelia D’Amore. See it all right here.

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From the Bride…Before Shmug and I were even engaged, I knew that I wanted our wedding to be in a dear family friend’s garden in the Malibu Colony. As a child, I spent a lot of time in Malibu, and it has special meaning to me and my family. Our design goal was to let the garden speak for itself, using its natural, simple beauty as the stage for a magical evening under the stars. White and lavender paper lanterns graced the trees, while roses, lavender and blue wildflowers adorned the tables in assorted glass and silver vintage containers. Our table numbers were printed on wine bottles, mingling seamlessly with the delicate floral design. Votive candles twinkled throughout and added to the magical aura. One of my favorite details was the magnificent chuppah, which consisted of four large tree branches interwoven with smaller branches and grape leaves, enhanced by actual grapes! It was strategically placed under a large and graceful sycamore tree, reflecting the natural beauty of the surroundings.

My wedding gown was “Bianca”, from Ulla Maija, designed by Anna Maier. I didn’t know I would have chosen a lace gown until I tried it on. The woman at Ultimate Bride in Chicago seemed to know me better than I knew myself, and I was thrilled with its simple elegance and unique design. It’s a far cry from the A-line gown with a sweetheart neckline that I thought I had wanted: it enhanced my photographs and made my wedding so much more memorable. While I enjoy design, I am not much for fashion. My sister, my maid of honor, chose the bridesmaids’ dresses, gorgeous lilac Monique Lhuillie gowns of billowing chiffon. They were a perfect complement to the whimsical garden setting, and blended beautifully with the lilac and lavender color pallet.

My engagement ring, wedding ring, bracelet, and stud earrings were designed by Cathy Waterman, a family friend and an awesome talent. Before our engagement, I not so subtly hinted to Shmug that I’d like him to work with her. He did, over the course of about six months. Cathy’s signature style has an antique essence, with an element that reminds me of nature. After our garden ceremony, the guests strolled to the house for a seaside cocktail hour. The weather was exquisite, with the sun setting just as we headed back to the garden for dinner and dancing. My husband and I love to dance; we had a blast coordinating a flash mob to the song “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO that included all of our friends who had flown in from Chicago. It was a great surprise to my parents, who had been so involved in every other element of the planning process. Everyone had a fun time performing, and I think it was a cool way to start off the dance party, as dancing was such a big part of our reception.

All our personalized “Schmucy” (a combination of Nathanial’s “Schmug” nickname and “Lucy”) headbands preserve a cherished family tradition, which originated as gifts for the guests as far back as Shmug’s bar mitzvah. They were quickly incorporated into every Meadow event thereafter. Personalized headbands are definitely a Meadow family staple, and many of their friends in Chicago have quite a collection. We hired Debra Parr from Amazing Grace Design as our wedding coordinator, who worked in concert with my mom. Debra helped us with visualizing the overall design and really brought our vision to life.  She especially helped with the table design and centerpieces, and lighting. If anything went wrong, we had no idea. She made our wedding day go sweetly and smoothly. As for our photographers, Aurelia and Peter were great, truly great They made everyone, guests, family, bridal party, feel comfortable and relaxed. They did an amazing job of capturing all the memorable moments of the day, the ones we’ll look back on for years and treasure. I love the candid shots of our guests, and the way they recorded the love, energy, sparkle and humor of our wedding. Candid wedding photographs are my favorites, because they’re authentic and spontaneous.  Our joy and excitement literally emanate from all the pictures taken that day.  But one shot in particular really stands out — the way the memory itself will always stand out — the moment Shmug and I made our “grand entrance” as Mr. and Mrs. Meadow!

Photography: Aurelia D’Amore | Event Planning: Amazing Grace Design (info@amazinggracedesign.com) , Debra Parr | Floral Design: The Hidden Garden | Catering: Kitchen for Exploring Food | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Lighting: Daylight Events | Officiant: Todd Shotz (todd.shotz@gmail.com) | Ceremony Music: The Rolling Steins (justinstein.events@gmail.com) | DJ: B.E.G./LTMP www.1800DJ.com + Donald Glenn (airdonald23@gmail.com) | Cake: Jamaica’s Cakes |Hair: Kylee Heath | Makeup: Kellie Batiste (Kellie.batiste1@gmail.com) | Calligraphy: (guest bag inserts, ceremony programs, escort cards, wine bottle table numbers, chalkboard buffet menus, chalkboard drink menus): Lisa King Design | Invitations: Jane Weber Ink: (j.weber.ink@att.net)

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