Clean Neutrals and Ikebana-Style Floral Arrangements Infused This Micro Wedding with a Minimalist Vibe
Claire and Benet had been happily engaged for six months when the pandemic sent them both into indefinite work-from-home mode. "We decided what better time than now to start wedding planning!" says the bride. The Los Angeles-based pair started researching venues and dates for 2021 and 2022, and were strongly considering sites on Catalina Island, but as their guest list grew, the locations became less and less realistic. "Eventually all of the weddings we were going to attend in 2020 were pushed, rescheduled, or cancelled," says Claire. "As the pandemic dragged on, we felt that this was an opportunity to embrace our unique times and plan a small, intimate gathering—something we could appreciate even more right now."
After selecting an October 2020 wedding date, the couple had just two-and-a-half months to plan. Fortunately, they had already enlisted the help of Summer Newman of Summer Newman Events. "Hiring Summer was the best decision we made—none of it would have been possible without our planner," says the bride. "Summer took a sketch of an idea and brought it to life with her incredible vision and amazing vendors, and as our ideas evolved, she was able to pivot and redesign this experience for what we were looking at."
The pair dreamed up a classic, minimalist affair that leaned into soft neutrals and autumnal colors, and chose Redbird, a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles with a breathtaking garden, as the backdrop for the event. "Redbird has been a memorable and romantic date-night spot for us given its rich history and architecture," says Claire. "Having the wedding at a familiar restaurant in our hometown was special, and the location is so unique with a lot of character and beauty on its own." Another perk? The food. "We had a three-course plated dinner starting with a silky gazpacho with lump crab," says Claire, "followed by ricotta cavatelli with lobster and chanterelle mushrooms, and finished with a choice of halibut, filet, or BBQ tofu."
Ensuring the health of their guests and day-of staff—and adhering to constantly changing city and county regulations, for that matter—was a challenge for the couple, but in the end, they managed to create a safe environment. Custom masks were printed with their logo and single-serving hors d'oeuvres were plated for each attendee at his or her individual table—where they remained for the entirety of the event, from ceremony to dinner. Also, the intimate guest list allowed the couple to spend quality time with each loved one. "We loved being able to speak and take pictures with everyone at our wedding," says Claire. "It was special to watch our guests enjoy the evening and for us to have one-on-one moments with each person from our parents to our nieces and nephews."
Claire wanted a natural-looking bouquet with mixed flowers, so Judy Molina of Enchanted Garden Floral Design delivered a modern arrangement with a semi-asymmetrical shape. The bouquet included narine lilies, double tulips, toffee roses, garden pansies, butterfly ranunculus, and lisianthus in colors of white, taupe, mustard, and rust.
As soon as the couple decided to plan an intimate event, Claire went wedding-dress shopping. "With only two months, I needed to find something available immediately that could be tailored in time," she says. She limited her search to a single day and fell in love with a gorgeous crepe gown from the Atelier Collection by Pronovias; the garment featured long lace sleeves and a full lace back. "It was the third dress I tried on and knew it was the one to beat," she says of her shopping experience at En Blanc.
Benet donned a black suit from Hugo Boss, which he finished with an ebony tie. "It'd been a while since I had to put on a tie, but this was worth the effort," he says. An extra special touch? "My bride had my tie and pocket square embroidered (without my knowledge)!" he adds. "A great surprise on the wedding day." His boutonnière was designed with a mix of Sahara spray roses, butterfly ranunculus, nerine lily blooms, and fall foliage.
First Things First
The bride and groom's first look took place at the Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles, where Benet spent the night before the wedding. "Our friends and family were able to watch our first look from the balcony off of Benet's suite," says Claire. "It was really special to have them all there, watching the moment."
A Distinctive Design
A single outdoor space served as the site for both the ceremony and reception, with dinner tables arranged to create a spacious aisle down the center. "Every guest had a perfect seat," says Claire.
An Amazing Arch
"Our flowers were spectacular," says Claire of the ceremony décor. "The altar was an art piece. The candles mixed with the florals were the perfect complement to the garden and greatly enhanced the space, without overwhelming it." The arch was composed of bold statement blooms, such as banksia, cymbidium orchids, hybrid delphiniums, bittersweet vine, toffee-colored antherium, and fall blooming branches, notes their florist.
Individual bottles of hand sanitizer with personalized labels were offered to guests as they entered the space.
White masks, embroidered with the couple's initials were on hand, as well.
Walk This Way
Both Claire's mother and father escorted her down the aisle, which began with a stairway lined with candles and flowers. "Here on Out" by Dave Matthews Band played during their processional—a song that the couple has seen performed live in concert.
The Perfect View
A raised platform ensured that guests had an unobstructed view of the non-religious ceremony, during which Claire and Benet exchanged heartfelt vows they wrote themselves.
A Joyful Exit
The newly-minted husband and wife walked back up the aisle with joy.
A Delightful Dance
They shared their first dance almost immediately after the ceremony; they swayed to "Butterflies" by Kacey Musgraves, a song that speaks to their relationship, says the duo.
The tabletops were kept minimal, and featured a combination of Ikebana-style and bud arrangements displayed in modern white vessels. Floral colors ranged from honey and toffee to white, and the displays included both dried and fresh blooms.
Clean and Classic
Settings were streamlined and simple, as well. Beige fabric napkins were topped with crisp white place cards; gold flatware added a small touch of opulence.
White on White
A cascade of snowy sweet peas accented the couple's petite white wedding cake.
Dinner for Two
Claire and Benet enjoyed dinner at their sweetheart table, set up on the very same stand where their ceremony took place. When reflecting upon her own experience, Claire has the following advice for couples considering planning their own event during a pandemic: "It's not a micro wedding, mini wedding, boutique wedding—it's your wedding," she says. "Make it special."
Photography, Jeremy Chou Photography
Venue, Redbird LA
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Summer Newman Events
Flowers, Enchanted Garden Floral Design
Invitations and stationery, Amy Tarah Designs
Bride's Gown, Pronovias
Veil, Anna Campbell
Bridal Salon, En Blanc
Alterations, A Stitch in Time
Hair and Makeup, Veiled Vanity Artistry
Groom's Attire, Hugo Boss
Custom Embroidery, Mr. Stitch Embroidery
Rentals, AV Party Rentals; Bright Event Rentals; Theoni Collection
Favors, BBJ Linen; La Tavola Linen
Catering, Redbird LA
Cake, Redbird LA