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Up Close & Personal

Three spectacular Southern California real weddings set the scene for a storytelling experience.


Creativity, adventure, craftiness and style were the traits that made Emily Baines and Spencer Balliet’s wedding unique. “Emily’s a writer and has impeccable taste as well as a love of all things stationery,” explains Natasha Coughlin and Sarah Tivel of Gather Events in Los Angeles. “Spencer is basically the hip male version of Martha Stewart. He can make anything!” Case in point: the hanging ceremony installation at HNYPT (Honey Pot) in Los Angeles, where the couples said their vows. Designed and installed by Spencer, this labor of love required a pulley and rig system and many a friend on hand to help. “Emily and Spencer wanted to create a celebratory evening where guests could enjoy themselves in a choose-your-own-adventure manner,” says Coughlin. And with a variety of distinctive stations, from a campsite to a scrapbook bar, guests got to take a step into some of the passions that drive the couple’s lives.

Catering: Whoa Nelly Catering Coffee bar: Cause Roast Florist: Inessa Nichols for Gather Events Photographer: J Wiley Photography Planning and event design: Gather Events Rentals: Archive Rentals, Classic Party Rentals Venue: HNYPT


The bride loves to create scrapbooks for important events so they set up a DIY station, complete with craft supplies, Polaroid photo booth and a vintage typewriter, so guests could create their own page for the wedding guestbook


The save-the-date cards, designed by the groom, served as design inspiration for Gather Events


The bride’s penchant for popcorn led to a late-night bar featuring the popped snack plus a slew of toppings



Karin Alpert, a born and bred Angeleno, met her Southern gentleman, native Kentuckian Hart Cole, during a work event at the Jewish Federation in Birmingham, Alabama. They quickly bonded over a love of country music and Judaism—and the rest was bashert (meant to be). “Nothing sums up our story better than this Hebrew-rooted word,” explains Karin. Malibu’s Saddlerock Ranch was the perfect location for their nuptials—Malibu is home to Karin, and feels like home to Hart, with its scenic rolling hills, white picket fences and horses. Their design blended Hart’s Southern roots—bourbon and hospitality—with Karin’s love for family, tradition and art. Thoughtful nuances were included in every detail, from the custom-designed ketubah that Karin created to the flowers in the ceremony and reception.

Cake: Top Tier Cakes Catering: The Kitchen for Exploring Foods Florist: Brad Austin Imaginative Florals Invitations: Tulaloo Ketubah: Karin Cole Designs Lighting: Images by Lighting Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals Photographer: Maya Myers Venue: Saddlerock Ranch Wedding planner: Coordinator, M.D.


Blooms included blue hydrangeas, the bride’s favorites, along with touches of yellow roses and dusty miller; the former were the favorite flower of the groom’s late mother, and the latter was in honor of his mother’s maiden name, Miller.


Karin designed and drew their ketubah which depicts their ceremony and has a small beehive as a nod to her groom’s nickname for her, “honeybee”.


Honoring the Southern tradition, a gold horseshoe charm was sewn into Karin’s Casablanca bridal gown; The good luck symbol was also on the table during the ketubah signing, nestled on the sweetheart table and the guests’ party favor.


The bride, Karin, designed the couple’s monogram with a silhouette of the couple inside the letter “C”.


The couple shared their favorite country music songs on a USB stick, which also served as an escort card


Bourbon played a key role in the wedding, from the rare bottle of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Karin gave to her husband to the reception’s Southern-style bourbon bar.


The phrase “meant to be” appeared on their invitations, ketubah and wedding bands.


Sabrina and Miguel Maldonado’s vow renewal at McCoy Equestrian and Recreation Center in Chino Hills was an ode to the life they have built, so it was fitting for time to become an overall theme, as seen in their table numbers, cake display and more. When they became engaged two decades ago, Miguel was deployed by the military, so they tied the knot at the courthouse. Twenty years and three children later, Sabrina’s father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a rare blood cancer). His wish was to walk his daughter down the aisle, so Miguel and Sabrina—who is co-owner of Orange County’s Golden Arrow Events and Design—decided it was time for their dream wedding. “Having our three children watch us profess our love for another was incredibly special,” says Maldonado. And cue the waterworks: Their oldest child, who is in the military, surprised them by making it to the wedding. “As I’m walking down the aisle with my dad, I see my son standing by my husband’s side,” remembers Maldonado. “It was such an emotional day; there wasn’t a dry eye in sight.”

Bridal attire: Ferndales Bridal, Christian Louboutin (shoes) Cake: Beverly’s Bakery Calligraphy: Penelope Pots Floral and Event Design Design/coordinator: Golden Arrow Events and Design Florist: Bottles and Blooms Photographer: Dulcet Creative Rentals: Signature Party Rentals Venue: McCoy Equestrian and Recreation Center


The couple opted for an industrial boho flair with copper, dream catchers and cool dip-dyed accents, from the table runners and napkins to wooden candleholders and tassels.


Five clocks adorned the cake table, each set to a memorable time in the couple’s life: their first meeting, nuptials, and the three children’s time of birth


Time was a motif ticking throughout the design, from the signage to the table numbers, serving as a reminder to enjoy every moment with loved ones.

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