While moving into their respective dorm rooms at the University of Southern California, Brenna Bloom and Alex Cascante’s lives were forever changed. “Brenna was literally the first girl I met at USC,” remembers Alex. “Little did I know, I had just met my soul mate, future wife, and the most incredible person I’d ever meet.”
They dated during their freshman year, remained friends throughout college, and sadly lost touch when Brenna moved to New York City to be in an off-Broadway show and Alex finished business school and traveled the world. Serendipitously, their paths crossed once again while attending a USC football game as alumni when they physically ran into each other at halftime. “When it’s right, it’s easy, and that’s how I knew,” shares Alex of their effortless relationship. “Every decision with Brenna – whether it was dating, moving in, or proposing – was easy for me to make.”
Brenna and Alex began planning their September nuptials with the help of Paige Blatt and Debbie Geller of Geller Events. “We truly had the best wedding planners in the business, so they prepared us for everything,” notes the bride. Though they’re both from Los Angeles, the duo chose a brand-new venue at one of their favorite resorts in Ojai, just over an hour drive from the city. “Once you arrive on property, you feel like you’ve been transported to the most tranquil location,” illustrates Brenna.
A gorgeous invitation suite designed by Lehr and Black showcasing an elegant burgundy border and laser-cut tree motif was sent to 365 guests, establishing the vibe of a luxury autumnal celebration from the very start. “We wanted our entire wedding day to feel warm, with love and with color,” the bride describes of their vision. “The ceremony should feel ethereal and fairy tale-like, all while using colors guests wouldn't expect.”
On the evening of the alfresco ceremony, loved ones discovered fans on their seats arranged in an ombré design, each row fading from ivory to oxblood. String renditions of popular songs performed by a quartet provided a classic, yet modern ambience for the day. Alex traversed the wood-plank aisle with his parents to Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the wedding party processed to “Halo” by Beyoncé, and Brenna and her parents walked down the aisle to “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele. She was radiant in a strapless lace gown and carried a bouquet of roses, dahlias, and peonies in blush and burgundy hues. “I had dreamed about that moment my whole life,” confirms Alex of seeing his bride. “I was overcome with such joy and happiness, knowing that all of my decisions had led me to that moment and I was marrying the most amazing woman in the world.”
Since Brenna and Alex were both raised Jewish, they incorporated traditional elements into the ceremony, while making sure their rabbi explained each custom. “The most important aspect of the celebration to me was actually marrying Brenna,” affirms the groom. “I wanted to make sure that love was the overarching theme and that the ceremony was meaningful, rather than just going through the motions.” They wrote personalized vows and included their own special twist on the circling tradition: “I did one circle around Alex, he then did one circle around me, and then we did the final one together,” recalls Brenna. The ceremony concluded with the breaking of the glass and a celebratory eruption of confetti as “Love on Top” by Beyoncé started the party.
“Once we stepped into the reception space, the color scheme flipped,” reveals the bride of the décor, which focused on shades of red and just hints of light pink and vanilla tones. “The goal was for the reception to feel sexy, intimate, and fun!” Long, mirrored tables were adorned with tall glass candlesticks and low arrangements of dahlias, roses, tulips, and additional flowers in the fall-inspired color palette, and round varieties were strewn with bold velvet linens and towering centerpieces comprised of similar blossoms.
The bride’s favorite arrangement, however, was a floral chandelier featuring a halo of greenery and cascading blooms in pink and burgundy. “It became a focal point that brought everyone right to the dance floor,” shares Brenna, who removed her overskirt to create a second look for the reception full of entertainment. A live band performed in front of a stunning draped backdrop until midnight, then DJ Denise Love Hewett took over until the wee hours of the morning, and the USC Marching Band even surprised the couple – a “dream come true” for the groom.
“The entire weekend was filled with so much love,” muses the bride. “From the moment all our guests arrived, the love in Ojai was palpable.” Her groom adds: “It was just pure love the entire weekend. Everyone was happy, everyone was smiling, and everyone was there to celebrate us and have an amazing time.”