A Classic Wedding with Modern & Mexican Details in California

Michele Munoz and Colin Zarnegar

Photographed by: Emma Hopp PhotographyLocation: Pacific Palisades, California, United States

Not every love story begins with the mother of the future bride encouraging her daughter to attend a party with the future groom, but that was exactly the case for Michele Munoz and Colin Zarnegar. While shopping downtown with her mom, Michele was invited by Colin and his friends to attend the party’s pre-festivities at his place. “I told them I felt a little too old to be going to a college party since we were about to graduate, but as I got into the car, my mother said in Spanish ‘open your eyes, mija’ since she clearly saw he was handsome,” explains Michele. “I laughed, but if my mom who is typically against boys and partying thinks I should go, I should go for my mom, right?” The rest is history! 

Following a wonderful day complete with seeing the Queen at Buckingham Palace while on vacation in England, Colin planned a picture-perfect engagement for his beloved while on the famed “London Eye” overlooking the city. After they returned home, Michele and Colin enjoyed their post-engagement bliss for a few months before starting to plan their special day. While they initially tried to organize the details themselves, “we realized at one point that planning a wedding is a full-time job, so cue Tessa and Kathryn [of Tessa Lyn Events],” shares the bride. “They were nothing short of a godsend.” 

Though the pair originally looked at venues in Mexico, they ultimately decided to host 140 friends and family members locally in Los Angeles, as its where they reside and also where they met. “We knew we wanted something natural, unique, and very California, but somewhere we could see us taking our first photos together as husband and wife,” smiles Michele of their venue choice, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and features elegant décor at nearly every turn. Once they selected their ceremony and reception site, as well as their February wedding date, the elements of the celebration began to come together. “We knew we wanted something classy, classic, and romantic with white, gold, and greenery throughout,” shares the bride of their vision. 

On the day of their unplugged ceremony, loved ones found their seats facing a beautiful vista of the ocean for the alfresco vow exchange. The bride was radiant as she met her groom beneath a floral arch comprised of white roses, lisianthus blooms, baby’s breath, camellia blossoms, and greenery including eucalyptus leaves and Italian ruscus. To honor the bride’s Mexican heritage, the pair made sure to tie familial traditions into the service. “We had our parents put over us ‘los lazos’ they used at their ceremony!” muses the bride. “It was so special to have them unify us as one in front of our friends and family.” 

The couple also honored the Mexican culture by entertaining loved ones with a mariachi band at cocktail hour. “Of course, the mariachi was special to incorporate our Mexican culture and have some of our favorite songs played while our family sang, danced, and drank margaritas,” adds Michele. In addition to the spicy margaritas served, friends and family enjoyed the pair’s individual signature cocktails: a mezcal, orange liqueur, and egg white libation for Colin and a rosemary, berry, and gin drink for Michele. 

Loved ones found their seating assignments for the reception displayed on acrylic drink stirrers in flutes of chilled Champagne before making their way into the ballroom for a joyous reception complete with personalized details and classic décor. Guests were seated at tables decorated with ivory linens and lush arrangements of greenery and crisp white roses and baby’s breath, along with flickering candlelight. The bride and groom’s sweetheart table was placed in front of a towering hedge wall decorated with a neon sign that read, “The Good Life,” which the newlyweds now have displayed in their home. 

While they certainly placed an emphasis on the elegant aesthetics of the day, the couple also made sure to focus their attention on the entertainment throughout the celebration. “We wanted everyone to have fun and enjoy their time, but also have it be memorable,” notes Michele. “We were very meticulous about which photo booth we used, what kind of alcohol was being served, and which signature drinks we created – as well as having great music,” she adds of their mariachi band and DJ. 

The day went by much too quickly, but Michele and Colin are grateful for the memories made with their nearest and dearest that will last a lifetime. “Honestly, just seeing everything come together so perfectly and having all the fun you could have imagined is all you can really ask for,” muses the bride. “I loved getting ready with my girls… I loved looking out to the rows of wonderful people during our ceremony to really take all the love in… and most of all, I loved finally being able to have our first dance, which Colin had surprised me with two weeks of classes before the wedding to truly make it a special one.”