"Alice in Wonderland" Queen of Hearts-Themed Wedding

Love and Matthew
Photographed by: Lawrence Crandall PhotographyLocation: Laguna Niguel, California, United States

Eccentric, whimsical, magnificent and emotional. This is how the outside observer would describe the wedding of Love Slipock and Matthew Zubiller, an extravaganza inspired by Alice in Wonderland that pushed the limits of creativity and romance. Love and Matt, on the other hand, would describe it as, well, them. “Our love is kooky and a bit off kilter”, admits the bride, “And that was our wedding”. Armed with the recognizable characters and vivid colors of Love’s beloved storybook, she and Matt worked for twenty-one months to create a wedding that was not only pleasing to the eye, but that spoke very honestly from their heart of hearts.

Love and Matt, who were raised in California and New York, respectively, met while working for the same company in Texas. Even though Love had a hard time looking Matt in the eye at first (“He was just too cute!”) their relationship evolved even when Love moved to Cambridge, UK. On a visit back to see her parents in San Diego, Matt whisked her away on a surprise trip to Disneyland, a getaway that he had prepared for by asking her parents’ permission to propose. Despite her jet lag and being underdressed for the chilly evening, Love indulged Matt’s need to watch the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle. As Love was filming him with his camera, Matt began singing their favorite song, dropped to one knee and asked Love to marry him. She, in turn, dropped the camera, answered “of course!” and aptly enjoyed her first moments engaged to Matt at “The Happiest Place on Earth”.

The couple is indebted to their talented wedding coordinator, Gail Garceau, for linking them to the unique planning process taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, all the way from their home in Great Britain. In order to bring the pages of the book to life, it was essential for the couple to seek out vendors that shared their imaginative nature. Did their team meet the aesthetic challenge? “It was exactly as I imagined”, said Love.

Red rose topiaries, bright green apples and tributes to the Queen of Hearts were the underlying elements that created their non-sensical wedding world. While the bride carried a heart shaped bouquet of pink roses and stephanotis, her bridesmaids’ bouquets were of the same French roses called Glamiliads that her mother had at her own wedding. Topiaries lined the ceremony aisle leading up to the Chuppah that was covered in hearts and diamonds made out of red roses. It was also peculiarly hung with apples because, according to Matt, Love “is the apple of my eye”.

Spending a few precious moments alone together early in the day meant the world to Love and Matt. After she stepped from behind the gazebo to see her husband-to-be for the first time, Matt presented her with a pearl bracelet and they both acknowledged the inspiring magnitude of what was about to unfold. Love’s parents commissioned an original Ketubah for the couple that incorporated an Irish wedding prayer into its artistry to reflect Matt’s heritage. The Ketubah’s words were so heartwarming that their Cantor was moved to tears during the signing ceremony.

Love’s mantra is that she “can do anything as long as she has the right shoes” and for the most important day of her life, her shoes had to be divine. In London, she discovered a woman who personalized her shoes with Swarovski crystals and so, wearing heels encrusted with the words “I Love You” and “I Do” and with a queenly crown upon her head, Love floated down an aisle two inches thick with red rose petals. Harps and a cello played their favorite song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley, and the beauty of the ceremony was epitomized by a surprise dove release when the bride and groom kissed.

After delighting the couple with doves, Love’s parents arranged several more surprises that night, such as a martini that served signature Matt-tinis and Lovemopolitans. The cocktail hour’s all-American menu of miniature hamburgers, French fries, hot dogs, onion rings and grilled cheese sandwiches complimented the drinks and seating cards were displayed atop a six-foot long table blanketed with hundreds of flowers. The ceiling of the ballroom was adorned with 12,000 glimmering crystals for a magical effect. Guests were seated for the reception at tables named for famous historical couples with the title of each (e.g. “Ricky and Lucy”) framed by seventy-two roses. Centerpieces alternated between red rose topiaries and pyramids of green apples and pink roses, creating a floral masterpiece rivaled only by the Tournament of Roses Parade. Finer details finished off the magical event with menus at each place setting adorned by a rose, heart shaped butter pats, a heart shaped ice sculpture embedded with a photo of the bride and groom and chocolate favors that bore their photo as well, sugar cubes that were hand painted with hearts and an astonishing wedding cake that would have fit in perfectly at The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Her parents’ next revelation came when Love and Matt took to their custom made red dance floor for their first spin together. They had choreographed their dance to their favorite Elvis tune, but were beside themselves when an actual Elvis impersonator came out to sing it live! It was Love’s absolute favorite part of the night because a wedding without Elvis wouldn’t have been a wedding for her and Matt.

Perhaps the most exceptional memory for Matt was when one of his groomsmen, who had to back out at the last moment, called from Baghdad where he was serving in the military to wish the couple well. Matt’s dance with his mother was also an incredibly compelling moment for him, as was the appearance of a classic 1935 Rolls Royce he personally arranged to chauffeur him and his new wife to their wedding night hotel.

For Love, Matt and the guests who witnessed their spectacular affair, the day was almost indescribable in both its extraordinary personality and its overwhelming warmth. As Love jokes, this wedding was twenty-seven years in the making and she was overjoyed with how perfectly their fantasy was realized. After such a daring and romantic wedding, how did the couple ever return to reality? By putting it off until after their equally adventurous New Zealand honeymoon where losing themselves in another tale, the Lord of the Rings, was the perfect consolation.

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