Lauren Scherr & David Stempel

September 2, 2007 /// Malibu, CA /// Photographed by Jay Lawrence Goldman

Beyond The Sea

Maybe it was written in the sand. Long before they met, Lauren Scherr and David Stempel grew up spending time on the same Malibu beach overlooked by Lauren's home -- David learning to surf, and Lauren spending time with friends. When their first date lasted for more than five hours, the couple knew they were onto something; and when David proposed less than one year later, they knew exactly where the wedding would transpire. "My parents had been remodeling their Malibu house when we got engaged," Lauren says, "and there was no other place where we'd want to be married."

Lauren began the planning process by creating a box she filled with special elements she wanted reflected in the wedding. Seashells, starfish, crystals, and feathers all eventually made their way into her "wedding box," as well as orchids and a sparkling tiara. With details like those as inspiration, the couple's color scheme was obvious. "Dave and I both love everything that has to do with the ocean and the beach, so we chose colors to represent that," Lauren explains. "Aqua, blue, green, white, and sand."

When the big day dawned, everything the couple had dreamed of was a reality. The bridal party was dressed in vivid aqua dresses, with coordinating handbags designed by the bride herself. The chuppah overlooking the ocean was completely covered with white orchids, roses, bunches of lush hydrangea, and greenery, while sparkling strands of crystals fell from the frame in varying lengths. Delicate garlands of tiny seashells were strung along an aisle lined with bunches of snowy orchids, hydrangea, and roses. Just as beautiful as the decor were the meaningful traditions the couple incorporated into the ceremony. "My mother had a tallit in our wedding colors made in Israel for us to be wrapped in during the service," says Lauren, "and we used the kiddush cups from my brother's as well as David's Bar Mitzvah to drink wine from during the ceremony." Finally, David placed an heirloom ring on Lauren's finger during the vow exchange that generations of Scherr women have used on their wedding day. "Hearing the waves in the background while we gave our own vows to each other was breathtaking," remembers Lauren. "It was the most perfect day."

Although the ceremony decor reflected the tastes of both the bride and the groom, the setting for the cocktail hour was all about Lauren. "Everything was pink!" Fuchsia, magenta, and pale pink flowers were gathered en masse, and crystal chandeliers in the bride's signature color hung from the trees. In addition to cocktails, guests were offered -- what else? -- pink champagne before being ushered back to a fantasy of blue, green, and white for the reception.

The beautiful grounds of the Scherr's Malibu estate were dotted with white couches and divans brightened with pillows in shades of blue and green, while low tables were set with vases filled with pale-green orchids and a variety of white flowers. Flickering candles inside clear hurricane lamps set the mood as guests made their way from the outdoor lounge into a stark white tent. Beneath the snowy fabric guests were seated at tables and chairs draped in pristine linens trimmed in aqua satin. Seashells and glittery starfish that Lauren created herself were scattered across the tables and at the base of floral centerpieces composed of orchids, feathers, and more beautiful shells. Lauren also had a hand in designing the wedding cake, a vision of pale blue buttercream decorated with shells, gleaming crystals, pearls, and even a dazzling tiara. "I always wanted a cake with seashells and crystals, and I got it!" Lauren laughs.

The evening ended with guests selecting from both a candy and cookie bar, as well as collecting their framed black-and-white photos taken during their arrival at the wedding. Not only did David and Lauren realize the style of the wedding they envisioned, they achieved an accomplishment that meant even more. "I think people felt the warmth between Dave and me, as well as the love we have for our family and friends," Lauren contends. "Everyone felt a part of us and got to share this incredible moment... and that is what we wanted more than anything else."

Marilyn Oliveira