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A Lovely Beach Wedding in West Hollywood

By: 
Emilee Phelps
Issue: 

Taya and Andy met in Southern California, where Taya runs a wingsuit skydiving school. Andy was moving to Paris for a new job, but before going, he decided to sign up for a one-on-one sky-diving session. For three days, Taya and Andy jumped out of airplanes together and wrapped up the final lesson with a dinner—and the sparks flew. After several cross-continental trips and just four months after meeting, Andy proposed under the Eiffel Tower. Shortly thereafter, Andy packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles to marry his dream girl.

The nature lovers wanted their ceremony to be outside, and the beach near their home in Santa Monica felt like the perfect spot to exchange vows. A dreamy white tent adorned with soft, fluttering greens created the perfect setting. For the reception, the two envisioned an intimate space that would bring their family and friends together—especially since many were meeting for the first time. Florist Lilla Bello helped transform the rooftop of the Petit Ermitage Hotel into a bohemian-chic, secret-garden-themed paradise. The deep hues and natural arrangements of the flowers were chosen to reflect Andy and Taya’s deep and immediate connection. The dinner was served at communal tables on the fire deck, followed by cake and mingling around the saltwater pool.

The bride’s father had put together a spoken-word poem for the couple, which he read during a toast. Copies of the lyrics were handed out to the guests, who all participated in the reading. The couple’s cake featured two cardinals, which represented the state bird of Illinois, where Andy grew up, as well as the couple’s mutual love of flight. A good friend who is a graphic designer created a new family crest for them based on their nicknames for each other, “Dragonbear” (Andy) and “Kudu” (Taya). The crest was displayed on a balcony overlooking the dinner as well as on the gift bags, with the words “Carpe Diem” emblazoned on the shield. 

Avid readers, Taya and Andy handpicked a book for each guest from their collection of favorites, with the focus on art and poetry. Each book featured an “Ex Libris” bookplate inside with the wedding date and the newly designed crest.  

After cutting the cake, the couple exchanged their finery for bathing suits, held hands and ended the night by jumping into the pool to the cheers of their friends and family.

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