When Vanessa Fields and Ian Jones chose Labor Day Weekend for their wedding date, the holiday’s air of fun and relaxation became infused throughout the entire event. After deciding on a Sunday evening ceremony, the bride and groom felt it was important to choose a three-day weekend to accommodate their many out-of-town guests and so that everyone could fully enjoy the party and not have to worry about working the next day.

Ian and Vanessa both love the summer months, so Labor Day Weekend was the ideal time to mark the end of a whirlwind summer and the beginning of their life together.

Vanessa and Ian were engaged for one year, eight months. During that time, they welcomed lots of advice from their wedding planner and from the bride’s mother. When the couple began planning their wedding, they were surprised at the difficulty in finding the perfect venue. They dreamed of getting married at a location that offered ocean surroundings, a classy and elegant ballroom and impeccable service. After visiting many options, they ultimately chose The Ritz- Carlton Marina del Rey when they realized that it not only met, but exceeded, their high expectations.

The gala weekend was kicked off with a spirited rehearsal dinner at Casa Escobar on Friday night. Ian’s mother, Gwen Jones, hosted the party along with her fiancé, Richard Rhodes. On Sunday, the bride and groom provided their 300 guests with a most festive evening. After a traditional ceremony performed by the bride’s cousin, Rabbi Laurie Coskey, the couple’s loved ones enjoyed a formal dinner reception. Entertainment was provided by a lively band with strolling musicians inspiring lots of dancing all through the night. Ian and Vanessa were thrilled to see their friends and family making the most of the party with lots of smiles and laughter. A surprisingly sentimental moment came when Vanessa’s mother bestowed her loving speech upon her daughter. The bride explains, “My Mother and I have always been extremely close, and she has always been there to offer me help, constant love and support. To hear her praise me for the way I am and have grown as an adult was so special. Her words were amazing, moved me to tears and it made me feel really proud.”

Several family traditions were honored throughout the event, starting with a pre-wedding Bano de Novia luncheon hosted by the bride’s mother on Thursday. This is a Sephardic tradition from the Island of Rhodes, Greece, in honor of Vanessa’s heritage. At the wedding, a rose-petal strewn table displayed delectable marzipan made by Vanessa’s great-aunt. Wedding favors were traditional Jordan almonds nestled in silver heart-shaped baskets wrapped in tulle, representing the bittersweet nature of life and love. The one tradition that did not excite the bride was the wearing of a veil, though she hesitantly agreed to do so. However, the veil flew off into the harbor during the pre-wedding photos, which Vanessa believes was thanks to her grandmother from above! Vanessa’s grandmother could always read her granddaughter’s mind, and it seems that this important day was no exception. The bride is thankful that she didn’t have to wear the veil while walking down the aisle, but was lucky enough to have some photos taken with it on.

Every element of the wedding was planned with the importance of laughter in mind, and the result was a joyful love-fest! Ian was a great help in keeping the mood light during the engagement as well during the wedding itself. Vanessa feels quite lucky to have such a relaxed and calm husband who really helped her keep things in perspective when the planning got hectic. Early on, they had promised each other to have fun throughout the process, and they lived up to their words. That attitude shone through from their playful First Dance to Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be An Everlasting Love” to the creative touches such as a chocolate fountain with cream puffs and fresh berries. Not only did the fountain offer guests an unexpected treat, it filled the entire ballroom with the wonderful smell of chocolate. Not a bad way to start off a sweet marriage!