Aarin Szer-Schlosberg and David Spiegelman met at summer camp when they were just 10 years old. “I remember her being the sweetest girl and one of my best friends,” reminisces David. “Around our third year at camp together, I had developed a full-on crush. Post-camp love letters were involved, but mostly we were just friends for the next 15 years.” When the pair reunited after college, they felt their connection rekindle. “There was always a special magic between us,” muses Aarin. After three years of dating, they moved in together and two years later, David took Aarin on a romantic weekend getaway to Santa Barbara. While on a bluff overlooking the ocean, he proposed with a sparkling engagement ring featuring her grandmother’s diamond.
Since both Aarin and David were born and raised in California, they wanted their wedding destination to showcase the beauty of their home state and also be reminiscent of their summers at camp. They chose an outdoor venue in Santa Barbara – just down the coast from the proposal site – where they could host a themed celebration dubbed “Camp Spiegelman.” Guests were invited by way of an invitation suite including an “official camper guidebook” wrapped in twine, and as guests checked into the hotel for the weekend, they received canvas bags filled with camper necessities, including snacks, drinks, maps, and first aid items.
On the afternoon of the ceremony, 180 of the couple’s closest friends and family gathered beneath a lush canopy of trees. Bridesmaids wore chic white jumpsuits and carried compilations of "Blushing Bride" protea blooms, olive sprigs, hellebores, ranunculus blossoms, and blush astilbe as they walked down the aisle to the sounds of a string quartet playing “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. The groom, who wore a navy blue suit, patiently awaited his bride beneath their stunning chuppah. Support poles made of trees from the summer camp where the couple first met were decorated with antique hydrangeas, ivory and blush roses, and light pink astilbe.
Aarin was glowing in a flowing dress featuring a keyhole back and beautiful beaded details at the shoulders and waist, with a jeweled headdress to match. She carried a bouquet that appeared freshly picked from the garden filled with hellebores, "Patience" garden roses, and fresh sprigs of fruiting olive, lavender, and mint as she was escorted by her two mothers to a string rendition of “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. “I had been thinking about that moment for so long and it finally arrived. I could hardly breathe as we began to walk,” remembers Aarin. “My mothers stood on either side of me and held me the whole way. They are my best friends and taught me how to love unconditionally. I was so proud to walk with them.”
The couple exchanged their own vows during a ceremony co-officiated by the bride’s Buddhist godmother and the couple’s rabbi, who is also a close family friend. “We wanted the ceremony to feel very intimate and full of love,” says Aarin. “For us, it was a perfect combination of spirituality and tradition.” Following the proceedings, guests were lead by musicians to the beach for a cocktail hour before walking to the rustic reception site, which was transformed into a glorious fairy-tale setting. “We chose a venue that was very logistically heavy – bringing in absolutely everything including kitchens, bathrooms, generators, and furniture for three different locations,” she explains.
As the sun set, guests made their way to the open-sided barn adorned with elegant drapery to soften the space. Beside urns filled with blush florals and greenery at the entrance, attendees found their table assignments pinned to a wooden panel. “I really viewed this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring all of our friends and family together in one place,” shares the groom, who was heavily involved in planning the seating arrangements for dinner. “Instead of putting groups of friends and family at the same table, we made a point to mix them during the meal: her cousins with mine, her college friends with mine, her parents with mine.”
Thus, new relationships were built between the couple’s loved ones as they enjoyed a family-style meal of fresh California fare. Long dinner tables were decorated with low glass pedestal vases and gold footed vessels holding fresh garden roses, ranunculus blossoms, and astilbe in blush and cream hues, as well as loose branches of olive leaves and herbs. Edible centerpieces consisting of elaborate crostini boards were filled with artisan cured meats, fresh milk cheeses, olives, flatbreads, and a variety of dips. Overhead, verdant garlands suspended wrought-iron crystal chandeliers to add drama to the romantic space. Toward the end of the evening after slices from a four-tiered “naked” cake were served, the newlyweds and their loved ones walked outside to view the supermoon lunar eclipse, joining a drum circle to dance together in the moonlight.
“My biggest priority from day one was to look at every aspect of the ‘traditional’ wedding, deconstruct it and ask why, then put it back together in a way that seemed right for us,” shares the groom of their planning method. Aarin agrees that their nuptials were the perfect representation of them as a couple and urges others to keep the following advice in mind: “At the end of the day, your wedding is about joining your life with your favorite and most special person. As long as you can do that with the support of all your most beloved people around you, it’s going to be the best day of your life.”