Classically Elegant Alfresco Ceremony + Ballroom Reception in Ojai

Eva and Alexander

Photographed by: Jana Williams PhotographyLocation: Ventura, California, United States

Though they reside in San Francisco, Eva Harvard and Alexander Vaz met across the country while visiting the Hamptons over Memorial Day Weekend. “The first moment I saw him, I had a crush!” remembers Eva. Almost one year later, Alexander planned a romantic proposal, and Eva accepted. “I was completely shocked!” she adds.

With just over a year to plan their nuptials, the pair hired an event planner and began to organize the details with the help of their team of professionals. “We wanted [our wedding] to be a weekend away for our guests,” shares the bride of their decision to host the celebration in Ojai so friends and family could be together all weekend. 

Since Alexander is Catholic but Eva is not, the pair wanted to honor their individual beliefs in a special way. Thus, they had a priest marry them in a non-Catholic ceremony. “We also wrote our own vows, which was something I really wanted to do,” shares Eva. “It was the most special part to me!” The ceremony featured a backdrop of the stunning landscape; friends and family sat atop white chairs on both sides of a wooden aisle lined with romantic greenery and ivory flower petals. 

Since the bride is a fan of monochromatic design styles, the reception décor honored her preferences with a romantic and chic look. Centerpieces featured white florals and earthy tones brought out with fresh greenery. Flower arrangements primarily incorporating Eva’s favorite blooms: roses and peonies, surrounded by glistening candlelight. 

Guests enjoyed a photo booth in front of a custom neon sign displaying the couple’s names, as well as slices from the couple’s wedding confection – each tier featuring a different flavor. “It was five layers of heaven,” remembers the bride. Since the pair got married on the groom’s father’s birthday, they surprised him with a separate birthday cake that was brought out as everyone sang Happy Birthday. Loved ones spent the entire night dancing to the sounds of a live band for the first half of the evening and a DJ and saxophone player for the second half. “We both love live music and wanted it to feel like a party in Europe all night long,” explains Eva. 

The bride shares that the entire weekend – complete with a family dinner on Wednesday, a spa day for the girls and golf for the guys on Thursday, a rehearsal dinner and welcome party on Friday, the wedding on Saturday, and a farewell pool party on Sunday – made the whole celebration unique. “We still have friends and family telling us how much fun they had and how special it was,” she says. “It was great!”

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