A Malibu Wedding With a Surprise Reception Location
Aislinn and Eric
Aislinn Diaz and Eric Vera's wedding guests were in suspense. Following the couple's August 7, 2016, Catholic ceremony at the historic Mission San Fernando Rey de España, in Los Angeles, their friends and family were in instructed to head back to their hotel. From there, they would be driven to the undisclosed reception location. "Except for our parents, no one knew where they were headed," says Aislinn, a postbaccalaureate student.
As the shuttles made the drive up the Malibu hills, everyone got their first glimpse of Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, an Italian-style estate and winery with stunning vistas of the Santa Monica Mountains. After cocktail hour, when margaritas and blueberry mojitos (named for the bride and groom) were served, guests were escorted to another part of the estate, where a velvet rope was lifted to reveal Aislinn and Eric on the property's helicopter pad, ready for their first dance. They actually used two songs: "All of Me," by John Legend (which Eric, a lawyer, had hired a string quartet to play when he proposed eight months earlier during a visit to UCLA, where they'd first met in 2009), and "Colgando en Tus Manos," by Carlos Baute featuring Marta Sánchez (a nod to their Mexican heritage).
The couple joined 57 guests as they sat down to dinner around the estate's infinity pool. Tables were laden with flowers that included the bride's favorite color—pink—and antique-style place settings inspired by the old-world elegance of Italy, Spain, and France, their honeymoon destinations. After the cake-cutting, glasses of champagne were passed and toasts were made. For Aislinn, one of the most memorable was given by the couple's godmother, who asked that they turn to face their friends and family as she spoke. "The whole day we had been running around, but in that moment we were able to stop and take in all the love," she says.
During the speeches, their fathers had planned a surprise of their own. "In Mexican soccer, we support rival clubs," says Eric. "So we had to put on each other's jerseys." As Aislinn donned the shirt of Chivas and Eric that of Club América, everyone cheered the joining of two people who were now, officially, a team.
The Bridal Bouquet
Several varieties of garden roses in shades of pale pink and cream were used throughout the wedding in a romantic, just-picked style. Aislinn's bouquet by Oak & the Owl, also included clematis.
A Small Bridal Party
The intimate wedding party included Eric's brother (far left), his best friend from high school, and Aislinn's sister, who wore a dress by Aqua.
The groom and his wedding party wore boutonnieres of garden roses created by floral and event design studio Oak & the Owl.
Ceremony programs featured a custom illustration of the Mission San Fernando Rey de España, sketched by Kelsey Malie. They were printed on handmade Arpa paper and tied with rose quartz-colored silk ribbons from FrouFrou Chic.
The Catholic Ceremony
The bilingual Catholic ceremony incorporated Mexican traditions, including a mariachi band that played during the mass, and a lasso rosary, placed around the couple by their godparents.
The Reception Location
As the party was driven up the hill to Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, the location began to look familiar to some of the guests. "Several of the guys recognized it as the house from The Hangover Part III," says Aislinn.
One Epic Moment
The newlyweds hiked the rocks surrounding their wedding venue—Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards—to capture one last kiss before the sun set behind the Santa Monica Mountains.
During cocktail hour, guests sipped signature drinks and nibbled on bites from a cheese and charcuterie station and passed hors d'oeuvres created by Urban Palate.
Escort cards were displayed on a vintage gate during cocktail hour.
Setting the Tables
The couple considered venues throughout California. "We wanted an amazing view—and as soon as we saw Malibu Rocky Oaks, we knew it was the place," says the bride.
Pretty Place Settings
Place settings at reception tables featured salt-cellars filled with Aislinn's favorite seasoning: Pink Himalayan sea salt.
Dinner with a View
Guests dined at long, banquet-style tables. The décor was chosen to keep the spotlight on the location. "We wanted the beauty of the estate to stand out," Aislinn says.
The Wedding Cake
The dark-chocolate espresso and chiffon with vanilla buttercream cake was infused with Kahlúa and decorated with olive branches.
Ceremony location, Mission San Fernando Rey de España
Reception location, Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards
Event design and styling, Sarah Park Events
Event planning, Berlanti Azhak of the Elegant Ninja
Catering, Urban Palate
Flowers, Oak & the Owl
Photography, Joel Serrato
Videography, Cloudless Weddings
Stationery and calligraphy, Kelsey Malie Calligraphy
Ceremony music, Mariachi Palenque de Aurelio Reyes
Reception music, Vox DJs
Bride's gown, Romona Keveža
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Joe Escobar Diamonds
Hair and makeup, Janet Villa
Maid of honor's dress, Aqua
Groom's tuxedo, cuff links, studs, and shoes, the Black Tux
Groom's shirt and bow tie, Ralph Lauren
Lighting, Décor Event Services
Transportation, Mars Valet
Hand-dyed silk ribbons, Froufrou Chic
Guestbook, Velvet Raptor
Restrooms, Bella Luna
Mother of the bride's dress, Pronovias