In the summer of 2002, Troy Smildzins proposed to Sara Teitell in a way that truly fits the idea of romance. The couple was drinking champagne and eating strawberries, while resting from a sunset horseback ride in Malibu, when Troy popped the question. It would not be long before they were saying, “I do,” just a stone’s throw away, at the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades, California.

Overlooking the shimmering Santa Monica Bay, Sara and Troy exchanged personalized vows they had not shared with each other prior to the ceremony, leaving an element of surprise for them to enjoy. 125 guests, many from out-of-town, joined them at the ceremony, so it was important to Sara and Troy to choose a theme that would be fun for everyone. Instead of taking everyone on an actual “destination wedding”, they decided on a tropical theme, making everyone feel as though they really were on an exotic vacation.

Tropical flowers flourished everywhere, and bridesmaids wore sea-toned blues and greens. At the seated dinner reception, also held at the Bel-Air Bay Club, each table was named for one of Sara and Troy’s favorite island destinations, making their loved ones feel as if they had arrived at a sultry locale. Gorgeous orchid centerpieces and shell place cards created a unique setting for each table. The casual, comfortable, beach atmosphere made it easy for everyone to enjoy the food, live music, and Hawaiian wedding cake. Continuing the tropical spirit of their nuptials, the newlyweds went on to Maui and Kauai for their honeymoon.