Plenty of couples meet through mutual friends, but rarely does this occur at a snorkel cruise in Aruba. Claire Brenner and Robin Mahan were both at a destination wedding and hit it off throughout the weekend-long celebration. They had their first date back home in Dallas the next weekend, but Robin was leaving for a three-month trip to Europe shortly after. Knowing he didn’t want to miss his chance with Claire, he asked her to join him for a second date in Barcelona. “I decided to take a chance and flew out a month later – the rest is history!” reveals Claire. 

Robin proposed shortly before Christmas. After a dinner together, they went to her house and he asked her to join him in the backyard. Little did she know, he had been there stringing up remote-controlled lights while she was at work. He hit the remote as he dropped to one knee, with an illuminated proposal message and swirl of lights on the grass behind him. She, of course, said yes!

The couple decided to host their nuptials in Santa Monica. “We love Southern California and wanted a destination wedding that was close to the beach without a risk of the Zika virus, as some of our guests are planning on starting families,” explains the bride. They brought on Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events to make their dream come true. “We knew that she was going to be our wedding planner after our first conversation,” gushes Claire. 

Though the white-and-gold color palette of the day was classic, there were non-traditional elements as well. The sweethearts elected to forgo a bridal party; however, as Claire’s father had unfortunately passed away, she had her best friend escort her down the aisle. “We wanted a modern, elegant wedding with an emphasis on the party and celebration, rather than the traditional elements like a garter or bouquet toss,” the bride shares. Instead of hiring a wedding DJ, Claire and Robin found an entertainer who spins at clubs and lounges in LA and Las Vegas in order to fully cultivate the desired party atmosphere. 

Although they had a great time dancing all night long, it was the ceremony that brought forth their favorite memory of the day. “Our officiant asked us to turn out and face our guests for a few minutes and soak up all their love and best wishes before we recited our vows together,” Claire reminisces.