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A California-Chic Wedding at a Roadside Motel in Ojai

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When Sarah Levy and Adam Krasner first met—through a mutual friend, podcast host Lindsey Metselaar—they were living 3,000 miles away from each other. “Adam was in Los Angeles and I was in New York, but he traveled to New York every month for work,” Sarah remembers. “I joked to our friend that a ‘part-time boyfriend’ might work for me!” But, when they began texting back and forth, it quickly became clear he’d be much more than that. “From our first conversation, I immediately felt an ease and comfort with him,” Sarah shares. “In one of our first conversations, we figured out that we had both briefly lived in the same New York suburb as kids and Adam’s mom was my pediatrician!”

A few weeks later, Adam invited Sarah to meet him in San Francisco for a Justin Timberlake concert. It was their fourth official date. “In San Francisco, our relationship started to shift,” remembers Sarah, a writer whose first book, Drinking Games, will release in early 2023. “We spent the weekend walking around the city and sharing details about our lives. I had offhandedly mentioned to Adam that I would be a year-and-a-half sober that weekend, and he made us a dinner reservation at a Moroccan restaurant to celebrate. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture, because my dad’s side of the family is French-Moroccan.”

She continues, “I was scared of entering into a long-distance relationship, but I knew my feelings for Adam were different than anyone I had met before. I trusted that things would work out the way they were supposed to.” Her instinct was right: “Within six months, we were living together in New York.”

The couple later moved to Los Angeles and, less than a month after the move, Adam got down on one knee. “He proposed on July 1, 2020 after a hike,” Sarah shares. “We had talked about getting married and I knew an engagement was coming, but I was not expecting it on a Wednesday morning in workout clothes.”

As they turned their focus toward wedding planning, “I was initially very overwhelmed by all the options. I honestly had no idea what I wanted, especially given pandemic restrictions,” Sarah admits. “I toyed with so many different options: a small city hall ceremony, exchanging vows in France where my dad’s side of the family is from, a New York wedding since that’s where we met and where many of our friends live. But, once we decided on California—where we live now and are building a future together—our vision started to fall into place.”

They kept the guest count to 75 for an intimate outdoor affair, and live-streamed the ceremony to loved ones across the world. “The overall vibe was ‘California chic’—approachable yet refined,” Sarah says. “We worked with our planner, Kat Ferguson at Little Creek Events, to carefully curate details that felt subtle and understated. Our goal was to create a beautiful weekend that felt true to who we were and would allow our guests to enjoy the setting and each other.”

With so many guests traveling from New York for their nuptials, the duo wanted to find a unique venue with West Coast flair. “We loved the history Capri Hotel,” Sarah says. “Having originally been a roadside motel in the 1950s and recently renovated for a new generation of travelers, it offered a mix of something old and something new that we loved. It has 30 rooms and our guests rented out the entire property, which allowed us to curate an intimate experience for our friends and family.”

Maybe most importantly, the couple allowed themselves to enjoy the planning process. “We tried not to take ourselves too seriously or get caught up with other people’s points of view,” Sarah says. “We were planning a wedding that felt authentic to us, not one designed for Instagram.”

Read on to see all the cool West Coast details of Sarah and Adam’s October 2, 2021, wedding in Ojai, California, planned by Little Creek Events and photographed by Brandi Crockett.

A watercolor invitation suite by Minted introduced the cool color palette for their early autumn event. The laid-back verbiage set the tone that it was to be a relaxed, intimate weekend with loved ones. 

In addition to getting regular facials, “Adam and I both started using iS Clinical products leading up to the wedding,” Sarah shares. “It was fun doing our skincare routines together! I became obsessed with the brand’s Pro-Heal serum, which has ingredients like vitamin E and retinol, and its Hydra-Cool serum, which has hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5. I used both religiously leading up to the big day and they really made my skin glow.”

To inspire her day-of beauty, “friends suggested looking at references of people who really nail the ‘elevated everyday look’ and have great looking glam. Natalie Portman was my beauty muse,” Sarah says. “We did bold eyebrows and a strong eye with dark eyeliner on upper and lower water lines without heavy shadows.” The final touch was a dash of Glossier You perfume. “I wore it on our first date!”

“From the day I got engaged I remember thinking, ‘I want to wear Zimmermann on my wedding day,’” Sarah says. “I loved the idea of a nontraditional wedding dress that felt romantic and whimsical. I still went through the motions of trying on tons of dresses in all different styles, just to be sure, but none of them felt right.” Finally, Sarah went back to her gut feeling and headed to Zimmermann. “From the second I tried it on I knew it was the one; I felt totally like myself in it and I loved how feminine and ethereal it was,” she says. It had meaningful bonus factor, too. “My grandmothers and mom were all married in wedding dresses with long sleeves, and I loved the idea of continuing that tradition.”

The vision for Adam’s look? “Timeless with pop of color, to lean into the California 1950s roadside-motel vibe,” Sarah says. He nailed it with a Dries Van Noten suit and Paul Smith tie, and accessorized with a Cartier Trinity bracelet gifted from bride’s family and a vintage Japanese pearl tie pin that belonged to his late grandfather. 

We were present with each other and able to soak in the giddy fact that we were about to get married.

“Our photographer suggested doing a first look, and we’re so glad she did!” Sarah says. “In the days leading up to the wedding we had been with other people nonstop as friends and family arrived in town, and it was really special to spend a few quiet moments just the two of us and take in the beauty of our surroundings before the ceremony. It was a nice reset—we were present with each other and able to soak in the giddy fact that we were about to get married.”

“We didn’t have groomsmen or bridesmaids, but two of my closest girlfriends signed our ketubah, read a blessing, and gave a speech at the reception,” Sarah says. “I encouraged them to wear earthy dresses that matched their personalities and the setting. One went with a neutral flowy dress from Lisa Marie Fernandez, and the other wore a green number by Emilia Wickstead.” Two of Adam’s closest friends also participated, and wore suits in slate and navy to complement the groom.

The bride carried a bouquet of autumn florals tied with an off-white ribbon. “We wanted the florals to feel both earthy and light,” she says. “We focused on warm neutral earth tones in sun-faded terracotta, copper, sage green, and bronze. We went for traditional wedding flowers like roses, lisianthus, and ranunculus, but accented them with wild grasses and cocoa-colored autumnal foliage for an organic styling.” Adam’s organic boutonniere was a wild bundle of blooms gathered from the bridal bouquet.

“My grandfather passed away in December 2020, a few months after we got engaged,” Sarah shares. “It was hard for me to plan a wedding knowing he would not be there; we were incredibly close, and my grandparents had a huge impact on how I think about marriage. So, we made sure there were moments dedicated to family members who could not be with us on our wedding day.” The couple’s ketubah was a particular nod to her grandfather. “It was adapted from a marriage contract from Morocco, which was meaningful because my dad was born in Casablanca and it’s where my grandparents grew up and got married,” Sarah says. “We signed it with a pen from Adam’s late grandfather.”

“We immediately fell in love with Meditation Mount for our ceremony: the stunning views of the entire Ojai Valley, landscaped gardens, and peaceful energy,” Sarah remembers. “The first time we visited was to watch the sunset. People travel from all over to meditate on Meditation Mount, and being up there just felt magical. We knew right away that getting married there would be incredibly special.”

Ojala Floral crafted a birch wood chuppah and adorned it with trailing vines and magenta bougainvillea in an asymmetrical, organic style. “A piece of natural ivory fabric created a roof for the structure, and Adam’s family talit was incorporated,” Sarah says. “The bougainvillea was a nod to our first trip as a couple to Greece, where bougainvillea lined the streets.” Clay urns with clusters of light and airy earth-toned florals lined the aisle. 

Guests were treated to music by a live guitar and bassist as they arrived at Meditation Mount for the ceremony. “Walking down the aisle with my parents to ‘Only Wanna Be With You’ by Hootie & the Blowfish was such an emotional moment for me,” Sarah recalls. “I first heard the song at a wedding in 1996 where I was the flower girl. I thought it was the most romantic song of all time. My whole life, every time I’ve heard that song it’s made me think of weddings and love. Walking down the aisle and seeing Adam under the chuppah as that song played was just such a happy moment.”

“In lieu of vows, we had our rabbi read an excerpt from our ketubah; my favorite line is ‘We will remember why we fell in love,’” Sarah says. “During our ceremony, our rabbi asked our guests to take a moment and send us a wish for our marriage. Adam and I turned to face them for a few quiet seconds, and it was a really beautiful moment where we were all basking in the joy together.”

They exchanged rings inscribed with “Adam à Sarah”—meaning “from Adam, to Sarah”—and vice versa, then recessed out to “Here Comes the Sun.”

Back at Capri for cocktail hour around the pool, guests sipped Negronis and a non-alcoholic blackberry, lime, and seltzer concoction. “My biggest fear before I quit drinking four years ago was that I wouldn’t be able to get through my—then hypothetical—wedding without a glass of champagne,” Sarah says. “But I had so much fun the day of that I didn’t even think about drinking; after all the dancing, all I wanted to chug was water!”

Our vision was a romantic, intimate, outdoor dinner party.

“Our vision was a romantic, intimate, outdoor dinner party with our closest friends,” Sarah says. “The backyard at the Capri Hotel, with its date palm grove and hanging lights, felt like stepping into a dream.” She continues: “The lawn was completely transformed for our wedding. Two alternating table concepts lent variation and movement to the open space: Six of the tables were crowned with the aisle markers in clay vessels moved from the ceremony, and four of the tables had a deconstructed concept of floral, greenery, and clay candlesticks. Floral clusters were removed from the chuppah and added to the center of the tables in a way that they seemingly extended out from a bed of vine.”

“Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake played as the couple made their grand entrance into the reception, a nod to their fourth date—JT’s concert in San Francisco—that had changed everything. 

“We are huge foodies, so food was a big priority for us,” Sarah says. “Our chef, Clark Staub, is the founder of Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos, California, and specializes in handcrafted pizzas using all local ingredients. At dinner, we served farm-to-table, family-style dishes: market greens, an heirloom tomato and burrata salad, grilled tri-tip steak, and seasonal pizzas.”

“We went all out for dessert: We had a local fig and apple cobbler, s’mores, and our wedding cake, Sweet Lady Jane’s triple berry cake,” Sarah says. “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest played as they cut into the cake, which had an extra special adornment. “As a little girl, I used to love admiring the Lladró cake topper from my parents’ wedding day. They kept it on a bookshelf next to a framed wedding picture, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. On the night of our wedding, Adam and my parents conspired to surprise me with a cake topper just like theirs—they popped it on top of the cake right before we cut it. It was one of my favorite parts of the night! We have it in our living room now next to a picture of us cutting our cake. It just makes me smile.”

After dinner, a DJ came on to get the party started. “We wanted lots of old ’90s hip-hop and pop on the dance floor,” Sarah says. “One of the best moments was ‘Like A Prayer’—my parents and friends were all on the dance floor belting the lyrics with me!”

Looking back, Sarah says, “I was initially very overwhelmed by the planning process, so my biggest piece of advice is to accept help where you can. And, in the most stressful moments, remind yourself that your wedding day, as special as it will be, is still just one day. Even if the lead singer of your band gets COVID three days before the wedding—yes, this happened to us—you’re still marrying your person, and that’s what really matters.”

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