Seven years of friendship transformed into true love for Sarah Sabour and Jay Posner. While the two vacationed in the Bahamas with some friends, Jay surprised Sarah by popping the question. “I jumped on Jay’s back for a photo and he pretended to pull his lower back and dropped to the ground, then he kneeled and proposed,” Sarah remembers. “I was in total shock.”

The lovebirds, who reside in Chicago, chose to tie the knot at an elite vineyard estate in a distant location. “We wanted a destination that was unique, beautiful, and with enough to do and see that people would make a weekend vacation out of it. Not too far away, but somewhere that many people had not been,” says the bride as she describes Malibu, California. Consulting with Tessa Lyn Events, they executed a simple, yet elegant, ambience for their soirée. Centerpieces showcased white and blush blooms in vases and wooden boxes, which complemented the greenery that zigzagged alongside the chandeliers. A light, sheer linen was placed in the center of the reception tables and gorgeously draped down the sides.

Overlooking the Malibu canyons, attendees enjoyed a menu of Californian cuisine consisting of locally raised ingredients. In lieu of traditional place cards, each guest received their very own caricatures, which doubled as favors. “The caricature place cards we had were a huge hit. We also made our guest book a compilation of all of the caricatures for guests to see one another’s and also leave us a note under their own. It’s a lot of fun to look back on,” Sarah muses. After dessert, everyone gathered inside the estate for an energetic dance party where the DJ played the couple’s favorite music. “Dancing all night to our favorite songs surrounded by all of our family and best friends [was most memorable],” the bride recalls. “It’s truly an indescribable feeling knowing everyone is there to celebrate you and having such a great time.”

Considering her own experience, Sarah confides that couples should minimize outside opinions and focus on each other’s wants throughout the entire process. “The less people involved in the planning and decision-making, the better. Wedding planning can be chaotic. Keep it as simple as possible.”