A Classic, Fashion-Forward Wedding in California
About 11 years ago, Morgan Lopez (the director of entertainment public relations for Dolce & Gabbana) and William Penney (a reality television producer and satirical writer) first crossed paths in college at their sitcom writing class, which set the stage for their own real-life romantic comedy. While it wasn't quite love at first sight, the screenwriting students slowly built their bond after discovering their mutual love for South Park; they were later paired together for a full semester to create a spec script for the show. "We became fast friends over our shared sense of humor and early 2000s pop music knowledge and had a real When Harry Met Sally thing going on for a couple of years before we finally decided to give dating a real try in September of 2012," Morgan notes.
As their relationship progressed over the next five years, William noticed that, of all of their fun nights out and trips all over the world, the memories they cherished most were almost always made in their home. So, as he planned to pop the question in December 2017, he created a scenic proposal reminiscent of a winter wonderland right in their apartment; the carefully crafted proposal would take place after picking Morgan up from a trip out of town. "I was overwhelmed with the sight of extravagant bouquets of flowers, candles flickering, all of our Christmas décor twinkling, and Will down on one knee with our pup Fiona close by," she reflects. "Will said some beautiful words, I said yes, and we celebrated the evening by grabbing our favorite sushi from Sugarfish, popping Champagne, calling our families to tell them the news, and watching It's A Wonderful Life. It was an absolutely perfect evening that I will cherish forever."
The couple opted for two venues to commemorate their big day on May 26, 2019: The Wayfarers Chapel and La Venta Inn in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The former served as the perfect spot for their intimate I dos (the space could only hold about 100 guests) and the latter became the ultimate reception locale thanks to its sweeping views of Los Angeles. "My vision was simple—one in which Morgan was happy," William shares of his goal for their wedding. Morgan adds that putting their love on full display was hers: "I wanted it to feel timeless and classic, like all of the best love stories do," she says. "I wanted to infuse as much of our shared history and the things that brought us together into the day as possible."
The duo's romantic color palette, which featured muted pastels, was introduced via their invitation suite, created by Emily Mayne Studio. The set was punctuated with several illustrations: The save-the-date featured a painting of the ceremony venue; the RSVP card depicted one of their dog, Fiona; the formal invitation included a custom wedding crest with a vintage-inspired monogram; and the detail card was completed with a painting of the La Venta Inn, their reception venue, and a floral motif.
All in the Details
Morgan, who was working as the VIP and celebrity relations manager for Versace at the time of her big day, got the chance to work with the fashion house to design her custom Atelier Versace wedding dress. "I told the design team that I wanted something romantic, similar to my mom's off-the-shoulder, sweetheart neckline gown from the 80s—both formal enough to feel couture but effortless enough to wear by the seaside," the bride shares.
Fit to Perfection
The garment was made from heavy silk white duchess fabric with a soft Barocco-inspired floral motif, white Swarovski crystals, and micro-pearl embroidery.
Butterfly ranunculus, Juliet and Tiffany garden roses, and more filled the bride's big-day arrangement, which was created by Elena Holland of Breathe Visual Creations.
Jimmy Choo heels with a crystal crown detail were the "princess-worthy pair" of shoes that perfected Morgan's ceremony look (she slipped into the other sandals, which corresponded with her reception and late-night looks, later in the evening).
The bride's right-hand women donned playful and romantic gowns by Watters and Theia in muted pastels. "I tried to execute the styling in a way that felt very Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette meets high school prom, and I think I nailed it—they looked like a box of Ladurée macaroons come to life!" Morgan says.
William also wore Versace, sporting a classic shawl lapel tuxedo with matching shoes and a Tom Ford bow tie. Their beloved pup, Fiona, was dressed in a custom piece for the event, too: a sweet floral collar.
Ready for Forever
One of Morgan's favorite moments from the day? Finally arriving at Wayfarers Chapel to tie the knot. "It was so surreal to have finally arrived at that moment—with my writing partner-turned-friend-turned-love of my life," she says.
Here Comes the Bride
"Perched on a cliff overlooking the seaside of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the tiny prism of a chapel nestled in the redwood trees felt like a truly sacred place," Morgan says of their Wayfarers Chapel ceremony venue.
William notes that watching Morgan glide towards him, on the arm of her father, is a moment he will always cherish. "There's something so transcendent about your bride walking up the aisle," he shares. "The most important element, I think, is that that's when the reality of the day comes flooding in—and it happens all at once. This is no longer ethereal; this is no longer a thing you might do some day. This is happening, and I felt that so viscerally when I saw her. And when you're as sure as I was about this being the best decision of your life, the sheer awesomeness of that situation is overwhelming."
Two Become One
Since both Morgan and William have backgrounds in writing, they knew their vows would take center stage. "We were both heartfelt but not corny, funny but on-topic, and I think most importantly, we set up the day," William recalls. "Our love for each other was so apparent, that it made it clear to our guests: 'So, this is why you're here.'"
Welcome the Newlyweds
After falling in love with Emily Mayne's work on their stationery, Morgan enlisted her to create all of the big-day signage—including the welcome piece, which featured their custom crest, placed at the entry of the La Venta Inn.
A sea of Ladurée macaroons printed with guests' names and table numbers served as escort cards; the sweets, placed in the famed bakery's signature mint boxes, also doubled as favors.
Muted pastel colors—reminiscent of those in the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets—topped each reception table.
An Italian-inspired menu—including caprese salad, pumpkin squash ravioli, and chicken Milanese—defined their big-day meal and served as a nod to Morgan's frequent work trips to Milan.
Dancing the Night Away
After going back and forth on their first dance song, the couple ultimately decided on "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley, something that played into Morgan's hope for an all-around classic wedding day. "This turned out to be an amazing choice because about halfway through the song, all of our guests started singing along while we were dancing," William notes. "It was one of those unforgettable moments that fully shakes you into the present. It was everything beautiful about a wedding wrapped up in one occasion."
Morgan surprised her mother by wearing her 1980s wedding dress come the reception, adjusting the length to make it a mini cupcake dress. She finished off the look with tulle socks and Versace heels.
Sealed with a Kiss
The reception was filled with love for the newlyweds. "The food was incredible and the speeches were so funny that people are still talking about them!" Morgan says. "There was so much laughter and love and cake that my heart couldn't take it. I really can't imagine a more perfect night." Here, the couple snuck a kiss in their photo booth—a favorite attraction during the party.
In-N-Out-style sliders on Mo-N-Will-emblazoned napkins (they were created by Lizzie Mooney) were the highlight of their late-night bites.
As for the bride's final fashion moment? Morgan borrowed an Atelier Versace micro mini with Swarovski crystal beadwork and ombré detailing—it was perfect for dancing alongside her and William's 110 guests. "I wanted the last look of the night to be something nontraditional and little over the top, so I opted for a blushing-bride look with a subversive twist," she says.
Photography, Matoli Keely
Ceremony Venue and Minister, Wayfarers Chapel
Reception Venue, La Venta Inn
Day-of Coordinator, Christine Poletto with Ivory&Grace
Videography, Drew Wyman
Florist, Elena Holland of Breathe Visual Creations
Invitations and Paper Products, Emily Mayne Studio; Lizzie Mooney
Bride's Attire and Veil, Atelier Versace
Shoes and Clutches, Jimmy Choo; Versace
Hair, Caity Beard
Makeup, Anjelica Waight
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Watters; Theia
Groom's Attire, Versace; Tom Ford
Groomsmen's Attire, The Black Tux
Engagement Ring, Brilliant Earth (diamond; custom setting from Morgan's grandmother)
Guest Book, Artifact Uprising
Music, Wayfarers Chapel; Nick Dorian; VoxDjs
Catering, New York Food Company
Cake, Susie Cakes
Rentals, Lucky Photo Booth
Transportation, Classy Chassis Rentals