UFC Octagon Girl Brittney Palmer's Sparkling Oceanfront Wedding

Brittney and Aaron

Photographed by: Daniel Kincaid PhotographyLocation: Santa Monica, California, United States

Although Aaron Zalewski arrived at a trendy Hollywood club one night surrounded by female friends, he couldn’t take his eyes off the woman at the next table: Brittney Palmer. After confirming that she was in fact one of the famed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon Girls, he jokingly asked her if she could “put in a good word” for him as an Octagon Girl. “Now add an Australian accent and a mighty dose of self-confidence, and I was laughing my butt off!” Brittney remembers. Though she was with another man, Aaron boldly asked Brittney to program her number into his phone – “which she did, in clear sight of her date!” Aaron marvels. “And we haven’t left each other’s side for four years since.”

Due to the couple’s difficulty in keeping secrets from each other, Brittney suspected that Aaron was busy designing “the mother of all engagement rings” for six months, and that a proposal would come during their upcoming trip to his native Australia. At each romantic interlude during the vacation, Brittney felt certain the ring would be presented to her. It finally was when they arrived at a swanky penthouse hotel room in Melbourne, where red roses and Champagne were waiting. “It was unexpected and perfect,” Brittney gushes. “It was 3:30 a.m. in the U.S., but I woke up everyone I knew with a phone call!”

Brittney approached the wedding-planning process with a clear vision of “elegant with a vintage touch… set at a beach location that didn’t put sand in your shoes.” She and Aaron easily settled on a cliffside estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean that was once owned by actor Charles Laughton. With its sweeping views and stylish manicured grounds, Brittney says she simply wanted to complement and accessorize the natural beauty of the property.  

Guests entered through a wrought-iron gate intertwined with vines, branches, and white and blush roses to a verdant bluff, and took their seats on chairs covered in lace slipcovers. Stone urns overflowing with shrubbery and ivory flowers lined the wooden aisle, as did a romantic scattering of rose petals. A soloist performed “Here Comes the Sun” on a grand piano as bridesmaids, dressed in floor-length taupe gowns with delicate lace overlays, walked down the aisle. Brittney looked every bit the fashion model in a figure-hugging mermaid dress with a sheer back. A diamond necklace and a creamy bouquet dotted with sparkling brooches completed her bridal style. 

Brittney and Aaron held hands under an arbor engulfed in greenery, cascading foliage, bunches of roses, and twigs. “The arbor was covered with so many flowers it was out of a fairy tale,” Brittney proclaims. The couple scripted the entire ceremony themselves – from the officiant’s speech to the vows – to reflect their nonreligious, but spiritual, beliefs. “I cried so much I had a streak of makeup running down my cheek,” the bride admits.

The festivities shifted to an adjacent stone patio for the reception. Attendees were welcomed to the party by a huge ornate mirror that stood at the entrance, upon which quotes from the couple’s vow exchange were painted. Tiny wooden hearts engraved with each guest’s name and table number hung from a nearby willow tree.

Three unique table designs featured a mix of wood, mirror, and glass elements, exemplifying Brittney and Aaron’s “Hollywood Glamour” reception theme. Selections of round tables were covered with mirrored tabletops that rested on ivory tablecloths, while another group of round tables was constructed out of wood. A third design utilized dazzling rectangular glass tables bordered by dangling crystals. Rose petals peeked out from underneath the glass tabletop. All tables were adorned with low arrangements of a variety of eggshell- and blush-hued flowers, displayed in a mixture of silver and glass vases. Crystal candelabra that housed white pillar candles were interspersed among the blooms. 

A DJ spun tunes late into the night, and a stunning five-tier cake topped with a glamelia rose and embellished with lace detail brought the wedding to a sweet end. After her whirlwind of a wedding day, Brittney cautions other brides against trying to accommodate everyone’s opinions, and remember that at the end of the day, it’s about you and your spouse. Indeed, Aaron reveals that his favorite part of the entire event was seeing Brittney shine. “I always say that I would give anything to have that day again and experience that for the first time again with her,” he attests. “It was magical.”