Just as Samantha Waller began her career in the culinary field, she also met her future husband Giovanni Merida Hermosilla. “We were friendly towards each other, and I knew he always had a little crush on me,” reflects Samantha of her handsome coworker. One year at the company holiday party, they spent the night talking and ended the evening with a kiss. “I thought, Oh no, this is going to be weird now at work,” explains Samantha. “It wasn’t weird, and five years later, we are still together.” 

After a romantic garden proposal, the pair began planning their nuptials in Santa Monica, California. “I always wanted a beachy wedding that wasn’t actually on the beach,” shares the bride. Thus, the celebration took place at a seaside hotel in a beautiful wedding ballroom featuring a soft color palette inspired by the sand and sea. 

The nuptials included elements important to both Samantha and Giovanni, and they worked hard with their wedding team to design a day that honored both of their cultures. Since Samantha is Jewish, the couple exchanged vows in a traditional Jewish wedding performed by a rabbi under a gorgeous chuppah, “which was my favorite thing about the wedding,” says the bride of the décor. As an ode to Giovanni’s Guatemalan culture, they incorporated Spanish music into their first dance – a bilingual version of “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers – as well as songs that played throughout the evening.

Floral designer Lilla Bello created gorgeous floral arrangements for both the ceremony and reception in shades of pink. The stunning chuppah was repurposed for the dinner service as a display over the pair’s regal sweetheart table. Guests found their seats at tables covered with textured ivory linens by Luxe Linen and topped with elegant blooms in tight arrangements, gilt charger plates, and floral-print menu cards nestled into blush napkins at each place setting.

Since Giovanni is an ice cream lover, friends and family were treated to a number of treats inspired by the dessert, including an ice cream sundae bar, which tied into their engagement photos taken at a popular ice cream shop used as table markers. Slices of a beautiful four-layer confection, featuring gorgeous flowers and a replica of their two dogs eating the cake, were also enjoyed. As favors, friends and family took home Sugarfina ice cream cone gummy candies with custom labels.

Both Samantha and Giovanni were thrilled with their big day and loved every memorable moment that will be cherished for years to come and looked back upon by way of the photographs captured by Maya Myers Photography. The bride offers one piece of advice for couples currently planning their soirées: “Don’t stress over the little things,” she urges. “Enjoy being engaged and ‘busy’ with wedding planning because it comes to a complete halt so very quickly.”