When David Stone sought permission from Natalie Kolawa’s mother for her daughter’s hand in marriage, she laughed and replied in the affirmative, noting that he’d been a part of the family for years already. The couple were friends growing up and had been dating for just under a decade when David felt it was finally time to surprise Natalie with a ring. “I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted to propose,” he said. “I was waiting until I knew she would say ‘yes!’”

Happily, she did. And though it took a bit of time for her to conceive what type of wedding she desired, an image of her perfect day formed easily in her mind once she assembled the proper team of professionals to help. “I became way more opinionated and involved in the details than I had ever imagined I would,” she admits. For his part, David was content to step back and let his fiancée helm the ship. “The only thing that mattered to me was that Natalie was happy,” he said. “My recipe for achieving that was to stay out of her way.”

The event was held at David’s family oceanfront home in the town of St. Malo, where the couple had enjoyed many holidays and getaways over the years. “We wanted the weekend to feel like a vacation for our guests,” explains the bride. To help accomplish this, customized welcome tote bags filled with snacks, sunscreen, and other seaside necessities were presented to attendees upon arrival.

The Pacific Ocean served as the backdrop to the ceremony. Parasols were provided to shield onlookers from the blazing California sun, as the weather could not have been more ideal. The décor was kept to a minimal to maintain an organic ambience that was both sophisticated and understated. A wood-plank walkway served as a center aisle that led to a simple but stylish trellis fashioned out of driftwood and entwined with white orchids.

The bride was the picture of seaside elegance in a sheath gown that featured delicate straps, floral embellishment, and a sweep train that flowed gracefully in the ocean breeze. Her long locks were styled in a loose curl then gently fastened away from her face. The groom wore a baby blue whipcord suit with a white button-down shirt, plaid maroon tie, and embroidered handkerchief peeking out of his jacket pocket. Groomsmen were dressed to match the man of the hour save a navy tie, while bridesmaids donned floor-length gowns in a rich taupe hue. All bouquets consisted of white orchids and roses in a variety of neutral shades.

After vows were exchanged, it was time for the celebration to commence. To house the reception, an open-air tent was fashioned out of frosty white fabric, transforming a pair of ordinary tennis courts into an enchanting venue. Creamy drapery and rows of cascading icicle lights were suspended overhead as gold paper stars dropped from invisible threads, all while leaving plenty of natural sky visible to those below. A blend of round and long wooden tables added a rustic touch, while tablescapes were reserved to ivory linens or runners, candles housed in thin glass vessels, and low floral arrangements in natural tones. “I definitely took a few moments to enjoy and take in all the décor and lighting,” says the bride. “I’ll never forget it.”

The bride and groom credit unique personal touches and one-of-a-kind details for turning their wedding into an event that was a flawless reflection of them as a couple. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, they elected to have a mini-pie bar with treats that featured various summer fruits and berries. Another winning touch was the Polish vodka bar included to honor the bride’s heritage. “The Rhubarb Mule was quite a hit,” she boasts. Finally, their first dance, set to a playful song, “Wagon Wheel,” served as a happy memory neither of them will ever forget. “It was spontaneous and unbridled joy,” says the groom. “It was the two of us just making each other smile and having a ball.”

While friends, family, delicious food, and a wonderful band all played a role in making the night memorable, it was the couple’s "first look" prior to the ceremony that will forever stand out in their hearts. After all, it was a moment that was more than a decade in the making. “We were ready and absolutely thrilled it was finally happening!” affirms the bride. “From the second I saw her on our wedding day every ounce of me knew she was the woman who was destined to be my wife,” says the groom, confirming once and for all that good things do come to those who wait.