After casually meeting through a mutual friend one evening, Brooke and Mike's instant chemistry carried over into a yearlong romance. In July of 2006, as the couple walked towards Manhattan Beach for a romantic after-dinner stroll, Mike couldn't contain his excitement and dropped to bended knee before they even hit the shoreline.
Brooke and Mike savored California's laid-back vibe and natural beauty, so they decided to plan a festivity that featured a combination of whites, browns, and hints of green to create the perfect, California-chic celebration that they had envisioned. The native Southern California couple knew they wanted an intimate affair, but finding the perfect location proved to be a problem. "After a month of searching for the ideal site," says Brooke, "we nearly gave up and started to discuss Napa and Cabo San Lucas as alternatives." Fortunately, they came upon the location of their dreams, a private residence in Santa Monica that literally sat on the sand. It featured Italian-inspired architecture and was spacious enough to fit the Tuscan-style tables where guests would be dining al fresco.
Radiant in a Junko Yoshioka for Bonaparte NY gown, Brooke headed down the aisle on the arm of her father. She was preceded by three flower girls, two ring bearers, and her sister Brittany, who stood as her maid of honor. The simple ceremony was officiated -- and lovingly filled with personal meaning -- by Mike's Uncle Grant, who led the couple through their vows with a perfect blend of heartfelt sentiments and warm humor. "He had our guests roaring in laughter... they wanted to know where we found him so they could hire him!" laughs Brooke. The lighthearted ceremony set the mood for the evening celebration to come, and as the couple headed off to capture their first photos as husband and wife, they took in a memorable moment that Brooke will never forget: "The beach was empty, the weather was perfect, and we were both so happy to finally be married. We couldn't stop smiling."
Since Brooke and Mike hoped to delight their guests with a uniquely styled soiree, they opted to serve a delicious four-course Italian dinner; the menu consisted of wine-and-food pairings such as roasted halibut with artichokes, oven-roasted tomatoes, and balsamic reduction served with Flora Springs Chardonnay. The wine lovers also wanted a creative "guestbook," and so had all 150 guests sign the label of a 6L bottle of cabernet which they will open at their 10th anniversary party and share with family and friends. Guests made their way to tables adorned with arrangements of lush zebra leaves, manzanita sticks, white phalenopsis orchid stems, and green cymbidium orchid blossoms, along with quads of chocolate-hued, satin-wrapped votives that offset the summer evening sky perfectly. In lieu of traditional favors, the couple indulged in Mike's passion for donuts, enlisting a professional to make fresh treats on site for their guests. "Everyone enjoyed the sweet toppings, and the sugar rush helped keep everyone dancing, too!" adds Brooke.
When the clock struck midnight, guests sent off the newlyweds with a beautiful display of sparklers along the sandy beach. As the couple looked at each other, they were glad they had heeded the advice of Brooke's parents: to simply enjoy the experience of their big day. "My parent's positive energy is infectious, it made planning an absolute dream," recalls Brooke. Enveloped in the love of family and friends, the new Mr. and Mrs. embarked on a South Pacific honeymoon complete with white-sand stops in Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Le Taha'a Private Island and Spa.