This professional event designer created her own customized celebration.
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Courtney and Josh's love story actually began on a dating app. After the connection they felt on their first date, they both deleted their accounts—and have been together ever since. Courtney says, "I knew from the moment I saw him that Josh was the one." On their two year anniversary, Josh proposed to Courtney in their home. The bride-to-be had her suspicions—she knew that Josh was going to pop the question over dinner that evening—but was still a bit nervous (and excited!). Little did she know, Josh had also invited close friends and family, so the night actually doubled as their engagement party. Courtney describes Josh's thoughtful surprise as "the perfect way to celebrate."
Courtney and Josh were married on September 22, 2018, at the Hevadu Estate in Malibu, California, in front of 150 guests. While they both very much wanted to be married on September 21st, as a reference to the Earth, Wind & Fire song, it fell on a Friday, so they decided the 22nd of September was the next best thing. As a professional event designer and stationer, Courtney ensured her wedding was perfectly aligned with the aesthetic she wanted to cultivate: A luxurious outdoor estate wedding with homey touches. The result? A chateau-inspired event filled with all kinds of unique accents, like dried citrus and wildflowers, that was all about family (including the couple's dog, Cosmo!).
The bride and groom's accute attention to detail helped them execute their big-day design vision. Their biggest goal, however, was ensuring their friends and family had a memorable eperience: "Our guests' comfort and enjoyment was at the center of all of our decisions," says the bride.
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The save-the-dates, which were designed by the bride, nodded to Courtney and Josh's desired wedding date with a playful homage to "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire.
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Courtney designed the stationery herself, too. The invitation envelope was custom-printed with the couple's signature toile illustration by Rana Akhavan. The toile design included cosmo flowers, a rendering of the Hevadu Estate, an illustration of the couple, and a headshot of Courtney and Josh's chocolate labradoodle, Cosmo. The invite itself was printed on handmade paper and bound to a rectangle of linen; Courtney even printed a customized illustration of the cosmo flower on the linen, ensuring the invitation was also a keepsake. Calligraphy was provided by Fawn Lettering.
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The creative bride had a hand in creating her own engagement ring. The ring's base, a unique silver hexagonal shape, actually belonged to Josh's mom. Courtney knew she wanted sapphires incorporated in the ring design, and says "the rest of the design came together around" the base.
The diamonds in Courtney's wedding band were also family heirlooms—they were given to the groom's mother by his dad on the day of his birth. "Wearing those pieces in my band means the world to me," says the bride.
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French Chateau by the Cali Beach
Courtney and Josh chose their location deliberately; as a wedding industry professional, it was of paramount importance to Courtney that she avoid any location that felt like "work." The Hevadu Estate, complete with horses and a vineyard (despite being minutes away from the beach!), evoked a sense of grandeur, but also supplied a feeling of home.
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The Bridal Gown
Although Courtney originally did not want to wear a wedding dress, she fell in love with an Ines di Santo creation that she felt both spoke to the venue and her personal aesthetic. Her desire to find something "timeless with modern elements" was realized in her floor-length French lace gown. Intricate lace was also featured on the sheer sleeves; the bride describes the carefully-placed line of pearl buttons down the back as one of her favorite details.
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Courtney's bouquet, which she cites as one of her favorite elements of the day, was entirely comprised of white cosmos. Jenn Sanchez Design created the bouquet, which Courtney described as a perfect mix of "gathered and natural, but not wild" blooms. The loose blooms were tied with the same French blue silk ribbon that was used on the save-the-dates.
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A Perfect Fit
Although the off-white dinner jacket and black tuxedo pants were one of the first outfit combinations he tried on, Josh visited around six other stores before revisiting the Hugo Boss pieces he ultimately selected. He describes tuxedo shopping with his dad as "very special"—and maintains that nothing else he tried on fit as perfectly as his Hugo Boss ensemble.
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Bridesmaids were left to their own devices when selecting their dresses; the only stipulation was that the gowns had to coincide with the bride's mood board and color palette. They ended up in cohesive white numbers, many with lace elements as a callback to Courtney's gown.
Their bouquets were comprised of loose gatherings of various blooms; all were tied together with a French blue lace ribbon as a unifying element.
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The groomsmen all wore black tuxedos with black bow ties. Josh gifted them matching socks with a wolf howling at the moon as a nod to his college nickname: "El Lobo."
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The couple's first look took place on a path on the estate's grounds. Josh says he could hear Courtney approach him, and was so excited to see her that he felt like "she took forever to get close enough for the photographer to give [him] the green light to turn around." He had not actually seen her dress before the big day, but was "delighted to see that her dress looked almost exactly like [he] had imagined." Courtney describes their first look as a very emotional moment—she says she cried when he turned around "because it was the moment it became real that we were actually getting married."
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Although both Courtney and Josh are Jewish, they decided to forego the traditional chuppah, opting instead to showcase the estate's natural beauty. White folding chairs were placed in a circular pattern surrounding the ceremony area and a lush assortment of flowers was arranged as a backdrop. Potted floral arrangements and small bushels of apples lined the aisle.
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A Nontraditional Approach
Neither Courtney nor Josh identify as particularly religious, so they "kept the ceremony focused on their relationship" instead of religious traditions. The bride walked down the aisle alone by choice to a cover of "Such Great Heights" by Postal Service, played on acoustic Spanish guitar. They wrote their own vows; instead of a rabbi, a close friend served as the officiant.
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In lieu of a flower girl or ring bearer, Cosmo, the couple's chocolate Labradoodle, walked down the aisle in a "pupecedo."
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Cocktails with a View
The ceremony was kept short to ensure guests had time to enjoy themselves during the cocktail hour, which made ample use of the estate grounds (attendees were invited to sit and relax by the water). As a personalized touch, Courtney, Josh, and Cosmo all had their own signature cocktails.
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Instead of traditional paper escort cards, guests' names were printed on white ribbon and attached to resin pendants (created by Courtney) which contained dried lemons and flowers.
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After the cocktail hour, guests made their way to the open-air table setup, which Courtney describes as "a fresh take on the French countryside." Celebrants were seated at either wooden rectangular farm tables or round tables. String lights were hung from the trees to help illuminate the reception space and dance floor after dark.
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Loose blooms placed in urn planters defined the wooden tables. Additional décor included French blue taper candles, as well as citrus fruits (which provided an additional pop of color). Table numbers were printed on resin rectangles with dried lemon and flowers in the same style as the escort cards. Custom linen napkins, printed with the couple's signature toile pattern, were placed on top of white charger plates with blue designs.
At various food stations, guests were offered several California cuisine options from Made by Meg; there was also a make-your-own taco bar. Guacamole was made and served table side.
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For You and Me
Courtney and Josh's first dance was also a cute reference to one of their first dates—a friend's birthday at a karaoke bar. When looking through the available songs, they both immediately chose to sing ABBA's "Fernando," but were booed off the stage after the first few seconds. They decided their first dance would be a fun way to reclaim the song.
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Courtney, a self-proclaimed cake enthusiast, was seriously invested in the dessert selection. She and Josh each chose a flavor—hers was almond; Josh selected banana chocolate chip with cream cheese frosting. The three-tier confection, created by The Butter End, featured custom cosmo flower illustrations. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the cake, however, was an adorable rendition of Cosmo the labradoodle, which was placed on the bottom tier. As a small and thoughtful touch, a little hole was intentionally created to appear as if Cosmo had taken a bite.
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Choices, Choices, Choices
Favors were displayed on a French-style "farm stand" table, which was decorated with flowers and baskets of citrus fruits. Courtney and Josh allowed guests to choose from three options. As an homage to Cosmo the labradoodle, guests could take home cosmo seeds to plant on their own; the packet was decorated with the event's signature cosmo flower illustration and also included instructions for care. Other iterations included a small bottle of homemade limoncello decorated with a dried lemon and a satchel of lavender.
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Photography, Jessica Rieke Photography
Event planning, Samantha Phillips of Details, Details
Event Design and Stationery, Courtney Loeb of Cecile's Paper Co.
Catering, Made by Meg
Flowers, Jenn Sanchez Design
Calligraphy, Fawn Lettering
Custom Illustrations, Rana Akhavan
Cake, The Butter End
Spanish Guitarists, Cale Music
Band, City Connection
Rentals, Theoni; Signature Party Rentals
Hair and Makeup, Mirror Bridal Beauty
Bride's Dress, Ines Di Santo
Bridal Styling, Julie Feingold Style
Groom's suit, Hugo Boss
Lighting, Amber Event Productions
Custom Candles, Lait
Pet care, Black Tie Kids