When you think of your dream marriage proposal, what comes to mind? The south of France? A special bottle of Champagne? A balcony with a view of the setting sun? It sounds too perfect to be true, but it was a picturesque reality for Megan Arthur. “It was a beautiful setting,” says the bride-to-be. “He gave me a photo book that he had made of all of our travels together. I can’t imagine the anticipation he must have been feeling as I slowly looked through [it] – the last page of the book asked me to marry him!” With the surprise entrance of a violinist, Christophe Schilling got on bended knee and popped that all-important question. “It was the most magical and happy moment of my life,” shares the bride.

As residents of San Diego, California, the couple began researching wedding venues in the state. Desiring a destination wedding – but nothing too far from home – they selected an estate in a specific European style nestled in the charming town of Carmel Valley, as a nod to their engagement as well as Christophe’s French and German heritage. “We loved the villas we visited in Provence and Burgundy; we hoped to incorporate those memories into our wedding,” Megan tells. Another pertinent feature that the duo had set their hearts on was the idea of a full weekend excursion. “We spent many months planning every detail with our coordinators, Thomas and Bonnie [of Thomas Bui Lifestyle],” the bride explains. “We wanted the wedding events to last several days and for it be a vacation for all of our guests to celebrate love and romance.” 

“We wanted the wedding events to last several days and for it be a vacation for all of our guests to celebrate love and romance.”

After a summer weekend filled with delightful activities such as an alfresco family-style dinner, a full day of wine tasting, active horseback riding and hiking, and finally a western-themed rehearsal dinner – complete with cowboy boots, hay bales, and a rustic barn – it was time to tie the knot. The alfresco ceremony space was made personal with the addition of a custom white aisle runner, which sported the couple’s names, the date, and a gold emblem, lined with pink and white rose petals. Both bride and groom read heartfelt letters they’d written to one another just before Megan floated down the aisle in a stunning ivory trumpet gown featuring a scalloped neckline. The pair pledged their commitment to one another, and shared in their first kiss as a married couple.

Each guest entered the outdoor reception area under a whimsical, sheer curtain lined with lush foliage. The entire space rested under long strings displaying countless miniature bulbs as lighting – a simple, yet romantic touch. Revelers took their seats at extensive tables bedecked with clean, white table linens by Luxe Linen connected to one another, uniting friends and family. Each place setting featured crisp, alabaster plateware detailed in gold, accompanied by utensils of the same gilt hue. Small votives were placed along the grand herbaceous runner, which extended across the entire length of the table structure, and featured an array of white blooms and verdant greenery.

This sweet floral concept continued in the lining of the stage, where a live band played crowd favorites for the newlyweds and their nearest and dearest to groove to on the custom dance floor, complete with their gold logo. Alluring sweets, including a pyramid of colorful macarons and a four-tier cake displaying fresh flowers matching the perennial concept of the celebration, sat regally on a dessert table strewn with a white linen. As a final gift to his new wife, the groom included an unexpected wedding professional in the festivities. “Christophe surprised me by having a live artist at our reception to capture the event,” Megan beams. “We now have a painting of the evening hanging in our home.”