A Black, Berry, and Lilac Color Palette Grounded This Couple's Romantic Cliffside Wedding

wedding couple walking on the beach hand in hand
Jenny Quicksall

While in Barcelona for a work trip, Erin Toerner stopped by her hotel's bar for an after-dinner glass of wine and struck up a conversation with another group of Americans passing through the city. As they chatted, one of the men began texting the last member of the group—who had already gone to bed—saying, "You have to come meet this girl." When Matt Emmerson arrived, says Erin, "there was an instant spark. We eventually spent the night walking the streets of Barcelona, hanging our feet into the harbor, watching the moon rise. We made it home just after sunrise and just in time for Matt to catch his flight back to Los Angeles."

Back in the states a few days later, Erin and Matt planned their first official date, which took place two weeks after they met. "Of course it took me going to Spain," says Erin, "to meet a man from Los Angeles!" Matt proposed at home a little more than two years later, and he and Erin began planning "an intimate and free-flowing wedding day where guests were well-fed and enjoyed themselves," says the bride. The event for 115 guests at Rancho Dos Pueblos, a private venue in Goleta, California, took place on February 16, 2020.

A Snoop Dogg-inspired save-the-date guided the couple toward a neutral color palette with accents of deep red, black, yellow, and lavender, while unique details included paella for the evening meal, a cosmic bowling after-party, and a gold leaf-accented cake. "Go with the flow," says Erin. "Things will happen, flower girls will go rogue, that uncle will dance like it's still the '70s, and the speeches may go out of order, but those actually make the best stories. Perfect is boring."

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Rap Sheet

personalized save the date rap on black and gold stationary with maroon flowers
Jenny Quicksall

Though Erin and Matt had initially ideated a big-day theme that was "exotic rustic," their save-the-date pushed them in a different direction—romantic and classy with a hint of edge, notes wedding planner Summer Newman of Summer Newman Events. Erin tweaked the lyrics to the Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg classic "Nuthin' But a G Thang" for the text, using an elegant gold script to print their improvisation on a charcoal card; an all-capital font across the bottom specified the wedding date.

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Simple and Chic

black, gold and maroon wedding invitation suite
Jenny Quicksall

The couple's "clean, classic, and minimal" invitation suite from Amy Tarah Designs continued the color scheme and font choices from the save-the-date. Erin and Matt's names ran vertically through the center of the white invitation card, while the bottom right corner displayed the details in a small block of text. A reply card directed guests to RSVP through the couple's website.

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Star Quality

bride in simple white dress on garden path
Jenny Quicksall

Erin's five-ply silk crepe wedding dress from Ramona Keveza featured an asymmetrical neckline and a fluted skirt. "It made me feel like an old-Hollywood movie star," she says. She added a custom veil made of Italian silk tulle and pearls from Daphne Newman, embellished heels, and a ring passed down from her grandmother.

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Father and Sons

wedding men in black suits standing on patio
Jenny Quicksall

Matt and his two sons wore classic tuxedos with vests and bow ties; they matched the rest of the groomsmen, who followed suit in black ensembles.

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Together at Last

couple hugging during first look on lawn
Jenny Quicksall

Endless views from the bluffs near the ceremony site offered a sweeping backdrop for the couple's first look. Erin and Matt describe their wedding-day emotions simply: "Pure excitement before, during, and after."

  • How to Make Sure the First Look Stays Between the Bride and Groom
06 of 24

Bold Blooms

orange purple and neutrals wedding bouquet
Jenny Quicksall

Enchanted Garden Floral Design created Erin's asymmetrical bouquet from "delicate, gestural blooms" in contrasting dark and light tones of purple, black, red, pink, ivory, and yellow. Matt's boutonnière—a velvety ranunculus—coordinated with the florals throughout the wedding.

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By the Sea

flower girls walking hand in hand on beach
Jenny Quicksall

The couple's four flower girls wore satin dresses with slate-and-beige tulle skirts from Little Livey Boutique.

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Outdoor Elegance

wedding ceremony space with black chairs set up on grass by ocean
Jenny Quicksall

Erin and Matt chose low-to-the-ground floral arrangements that defined their altar space, but didn't blocking the ocean views, and cross-back chairs in black to create a more formal atmosphere.

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wedding ceremony location by the ocean with pods of floral decor
Jenny Quicksall

Loose bunches of lilac, tulips, and orchids were accented with blooming branches and arranged in an asymmetrical shape that mirrored the neckline of Erin's gown.

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Down the Aisle

bride and brother processing at ceremony
Jenny Quicksall

As Erin's brother walked her down the aisle, a trumpet player and guitarist performed "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys. Though her mother wasn't able to be at the ceremony, she joined the festivities via FaceTime. "Modern technology can be a beautiful thing, especially when it brings family together," says the bride.

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Blessed and Happy

wedding ceremony couple and officiant amidst flowers
Jenny Quicksall

Erin and Matt designed a "non-religious, but heartfelt" ceremony officiated by a friend, which included their own personalized vows and a Native American blessing that Erin calls "one of my favorite things ever."

  • 19 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony
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Happily Married

wedding couple posing for portraits on rock at the beach
Jenny Quicksall

After the ceremony, the newlyweds took advantage of the afternoon sunshine and the waterfront location for portraits on the beach. "The lighting was so dreamy, and the scenery stunning!" says Erin.

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Bountiful Bites

wedding grazing station with cheese, fruit, vegetables, bread, and meat
Jenny Quicksall

While Erin and Matt posed for photos, guests at the cocktail hour sipped the couple's signature drink—sangria—while serving themselves from an expansive Silverlake Socialite grazing table provided by one of Erin's friends. "We worked together years ago, and since then, we've both taken the leap to start our own companies," says Erin. "Her board—well, table!—was the talk of the wedding." Passed appetizers included short rib empanadas, mushroom and goat cheese tartlets, and beef tenderloin on crostini.

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Places Please

elegant black wedding seating chart board with flowers
Jenny Quicksall

Guests found their table assignments via a modern black seating chart, which mirrored the fonts and colorways seen on the couple's save-the-date.

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This Way In

wedding reception tent on lawn with elegant florals and black tables
Jenny Quicksall

The clear sides and roof of the couple's black framed tent allowed guests to feel like they were dining under the palm trees, while a draped entrance—accented with asymmetric floral arrangements—offered a stately welcome.

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A Look Inside

long reception table with black chairs overlooking beach
Jenny Quicksall

Inside the tent, octagon-shaped lanterns hung from the ceiling over the polished black dance floor.

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In the Round

round black reception table with chairs on lawn
Jenny Quicksall

Bare black pedestal tables and long farm tables covered in oatmeal-colored velvet linens were paired with black dining chairs.

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Color Story

elegant warm tones floral centerpieces on white tables
Jenny Quicksall

Low centerpieces on the tables included the same rich colors and textural shapes seen via the ceremony flowers, with deep burgundy, pale mauve, taupe, and lilac continuing the couple's floral theme.

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See Right Through You

clear table numbers with candles
Jenny Quicksall

Acrylic table numbers marked each station.

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A Place at the Table

elegant black, gold and maroon place setting
Jenny Quicksall

Black chargers with gold rims coordinated with gold flatware, black place cards, and wine-colored linens. White menus detailed the evening's dinner options: three kinds of paella from the Paella Project. "All of the food exceeded my expectations—and those of my guests, which is the real win!" says Erin.

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Golden Touch

black and gold hexagon wedding cake
Jenny Quicksall

The couple's two-tier cake from Vanilla Bake Shop included dulce de leche for the top layer and black-and-white raspberry on the bottom, with a black fondant and gold leaf marble design on the outside. They also served made-to-order churros from Fernando's Churros.

  • 39 Elegant Marbled Wedding Ideas
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Music Notes

wedding couple first dance on glassy black floor
Jenny Quicksall

After Erin and Matt's first dance—to John Mayer's "Fool to Love You"—the band took over for and kept the dance floor full. "Watching our band, The Replicas, was like being at a concert—the guests were facing the stage!" says Erin. "At the end of the night, they surprised Matt, a Chicago Cubs fan, with the famous 'Go, Cubs, Go' song, played at the end of every win at Wrigley Field. The whole room sang along and we jumped on stage."

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Love to Spare

bride and groom at arcade after party under neon light
Jenny Quicksall

When the reception ended, the couple and many of their guests headed to their cosmic bowling after-party at Zodo's. "They kept the place open for us and we bowled through the night," says Erin. "How often do you get to bowl in a wedding dress?"

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