A Black, Berry, and Lilac Color Palette Grounded This Couple's Romantic Cliffside Wedding
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."
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.
Simple and Chic
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.
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.
Father and Sons
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.
Together at Last
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."
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.
By the Sea
The couple's four flower girls wore satin dresses with slate-and-beige tulle skirts from Little Livey Boutique.
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.
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.
Down the Aisle
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.
Blessed and Happy
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."
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.
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.
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.
This Way In
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.
A Look Inside
Inside the tent, octagon-shaped lanterns hung from the ceiling over the polished black dance floor.
In the Round
Bare black pedestal tables and long farm tables covered in oatmeal-colored velvet linens were paired with black dining chairs.
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.
See Right Through You
Acrylic table numbers marked each station.
A Place at the Table
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.
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."
Love to Spare
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?"
Photography, Jenny Quicksall
Venue, Rancho Dos Pueblos
Event Planning, Summer Newman Events
Catering, Paella Project; Silverlake Socialite
Flowers, Enchanted Garden Floral Design
Stationery, Amy Tarah Designs
Cake, Vanilla Bake Shop
Music, The Replicas
Rentals, Bright Event Rentals; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; The Tent Merchant; Theoni Collection
Bride's Gown, Romona Keveza via En Blanc
Bride's Veil, Daphne Newman
Hair and Makeup, Veiled Vanity Artistry
Flower Girl Dresses, Little Livey
Lighting, Spark Creative Events
Transportation, Santa Barbara Trolley
Bar Service, Simply Cocktails SB
Dessert, Fernando's Churros
Photo Booth, Mir Mir