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Rebecca and Nikolas
The courtship of Rebecca Dunlevy and Nikolas Takacs had all the makings of a digital-age romantic comedy. First, the online meeting: a pixelated encounter via Match.com. Then, after two dates, the mobile miscommunication in which Nik discussed his dating life in a text meant for his sister—but accidentally sent to Rebecca. The snafu might have derailed a less practical couple (they're both lawyers), but they remained undeterred. "By the third date, we knew things were becoming more serious," says Rebecca.
That confidence endured throughout another all-too-familiar trapping of modern love: the long-distance love story. After they'd dated for two years and lived together in New York City for seven months, Nik accepted a job in St. Louis; Rebecca stayed on as a prosecutor in the Bronx. They made their relationship work by visiting each other every three weeks or so—for more than two years. The secret? "We've always been good about communicating," says Nik. (In a cinematic bit of irony, however, on the day Nik proposed, Rebecca's phone died and she was unable to locate him; as he waited in the appointed meeting spot, she was stuck in a nearby Starbucks charging the battery.)
Still, the skill proved useful when they dived into wedding planning far from their chosen destination in Santa Barbara, where Rebecca's family has a home. Seeking a lush garden setting, Rebecca and Nik chose the Upper Estate Lawn at San Ysidro Ranch, which has views of both the mountains and the sea.
The wedding reflected the glamour of a bygone era. "We both love Gilded Age ambience and classic cocktails," says Rebecca. The ceremony and reception spaces were accented with red— Rebecca's favorite color—and a nod to her premarried initials. The nondenominational ceremony invoked a range of traditions, starting with the bride's younger sister singing lyrics from a German love poem and ending with an English blessing. In between, 120 guests looked on as the couple recited vows based on those spoken by generations before them. Even in a modern world, after all, some things don't need updating.
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A Rosey Glow
The bride shared a happy moment with her maid and matron of honor—her sisters, Kara Dunlevy (left) and Jessica Henning (right). Each carried a rose garland (made by Mindy Rice Design) instead of a bouquet. The sleeves on the bride's Jenny Packham gown recalled those on her mother's wedding dress.
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A Garden Ceremony
Nik and Rebecca recited their vows under an arbor of bougainvillea vines on San Ysidro Ranch's Upper Estate Lawn. The non-denominational ceremony ended with an English blessing and included a reading by Nik's grandmother, Carolyn Wagner, and a song performed by Rebecca's sister, Kara.
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Red-y to Celebrate
Guests—and the mother of the bride (center)—were encouraged to wear red.
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The Reception Tables
The tablescapes paired gold-rimmed plates and other gilded details, and accented them with lemons, figs, and pomegranates.
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At the reception, Rebecca surprised Nik by replacing a traditional groom's cake with a cheese tower embellished with citrus, a reference to San Ysidro Ranch's lemon grove.
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The First Dance
For their first dance, Nik and Rebecca waltzed to Nat "King" Cole's rendition of "Fascination."
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Location and catering, San Ysidro Ranch
Event planning and design, Alexandra Kolendrianos
Floral and event design, Mindy Rice Design
Photography, The de Jaureguis
Videography, Elysium Productions
Officiant, Reverend Dr. Jon Ireland
Stationery and calligraphy, Julie Song Ink
Cake, Lele Patisserie
Music, Bob Gail Special Events
Bride's gown, Jenny Packham
Hair and makeup, Team Hair & Makeup
Flower-girl dresses, Watters
Ring-bearer attire, J.Crew
Groom's tuxedo, Armani Collezioni
Transportation, Gold Coast Limousines
Lighting, Images by Lighting
Restrooms, MarBorg Industries