“Funny enough, neither of us remembers the first time we met each other!” Tania ElBayar reveals about crossing paths with Carl Katerndahl in college. “Over time, we got to know each other better and became good friends [and] it wasn’t until our junior year that we started dating.” As their relationship grew, Carl planned a proposal at the same Malibu restaurant where the pair shared their first date. “Our families were waiting on the other side of the restaurant to celebrate with us, and we all had such an amazing dinner together,” smiles Tania.

While organizing their wedding day with the help of Tessa Lyn Events, the couple was serious about hosting a Los Angeles wedding. “We both live in LA, and the majority of our family and friends are in LA as well,” the bride says. “We didn’t want to make too many people travel because it was important to us that we have as many people we love there as could make it.”

“The florals were bright and colorful [and] we made sure to incorporate the bougainvillea found around the venue.”

Their lovely alfresco fête began with a non-denominational ceremony officiated by the groom’s uncle. The bride and groom recited personalized vows beneath a colorful arch that beautifully embellished the natural backdrop of the ranch and mountains.

This aesthetic carried over into the wedding reception. “The florals were bright and colorful [and] we made sure to incorporate the bougainvillea found around the venue into our florals,” Tania explains. “We wanted the florals to look like they belonged at our venue.” The same blooms and greenery adorned the newlyweds’ half-naked wedding cake, which perfectly complemented the natural ambience.

In addition to mini margaritas and other fun surprises throughout the wedding, attendees were surprised with a heartfelt performance by Carl’s sister. “She wanted to surprise Carl by singing ‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ by Phil Collins, a special song for us and our families,” the bride muses. “She brought up her guitar, sang, and played acoustic for us and all 275 of our guests.”

When it comes to planning a successful soirée, Tania shares her opinion on how engaged couples should handle criticism. “You will get comments, thoughts, suggestions, and maybe even pressure from family and friends,” she confides. “But always remember that it’s ultimately about you, so you should make decisions that you will be happy with!”