Finding her future husband was probably far from fifteen-year-old Taylor Van’s thoughts when she began dating fellow classmate Evan Meyer, but that is exactly what she found. The two continued dating all through high school and then for ten years beyond that, always knowing that they would get married someday. So, when they finally placed rings on each other’s fingers in front of their family and friends, the bride and groom admit that it felt quite surreal.

After talking about marriage for so many years, Taylor and Evan were clear on exactly what their day would be like. Fortunately, the two share similar taste, and agreed to avoid the traditional “frilly” wedding look. It was clear that a classic yet contemporary styled wedding with a warm, cozy feel would reflect each of their personalities. They chose a date in October to complement their choice of an afternoon outdoor wedding at The Beach Club in Santa Monica. True to their dreams, the wedding landed on the perfect “Indian Summer” weekend, with an eighty-degree day at the beach and a beautiful balmy night.

The high school sweethearts exchanged vows in a moving ceremony performed by their long-time friend Judge Robert M. Letteau, who had also performed the marriage ceremony of Taylor’s mother and stepfather. As they had hoped, Judge Letteau created a ceremony that touched their past, present and future in a very charming, unique and personalized way. Additionally, Taylor’s stepfather, playwright Neil Simon, prepared a ceremony reading which was a brilliantly funny yet very accurate description of the couple and of their relationship.

The color scheme was essentially black and white, done in a chic yet whimsical way. Roses and orchids cascaded off of black and white Chinese umbrellas, marking the ceremony area in a completely original and avant garde way. The five bridesmaids were outfitted in simple black strapless organza dresses trimmed in white. Taylor’s gown, like the bride herself, was classic with a twist. The white custom designed Monique Lhuillier gown featured a classic bodice while the skirt flaunted attitude with the addition of “pick-ups,” or small bustles of fabric, which is one of Monique’s signature details.

The formal dinner reception featured the white palette with the flair of unique black accents. The area was dotted with glass hurricane candles covered in sheer black and white patterned fabrics, from polka dots to plaids and stripes. White fabric billowed over the dining room, white lanterns hung above the white dance floor, and guests were seated on black Chiaviari chairs with white cushions. The table centerpieces were central arrangements of white roses surrounded by four smaller satellite arrangements of tulips, orchids or hydrangea, and each vase was neatly tied with a black and white patterned ribbon. Plates of dark chocolate and white chocolate covered Oreo displayed the couple’s initials and made playful table accents. Even the dinner itself veered from the conventional: Taylor and Evan made the experience memorable by serving comfort food. The steakhouse style menu included spinach salad with candied walnuts, New York steak with French fries and broccoli, and a warm apple-pear crisp served a la mode.

The bride and groom’s vision of comfort was carried out beautifully with the creation of lounge areas complete with cozy white couches and “opium den” style beds accented with dark ebony trays and side tables that held even more black and white hurricane candles.

Even the wedding cake displayed the perfect balance of tailoring and whimsy. The five-layer creation was covered in smooth white buttercream icing with simple black trim that resembled very thin ropes of licorice tied around the cake in a neat little bow in front. A very subtle polka dot pattern completed the look, and inside was the best of both worlds: lemon cake with whipped cream and fresh berries, and chocolate cake with chocolate fudge and chocolate chips.

In addition to the distinctive look and the unbelievable food, exceptional music added to the success of the party. Taylor and Evan chose to have three different musical groups for the day, each marking a different spirit of the event. A Latin guitar quartet played upon the guests’ arrival, a string quartet played for the ceremony, and then the Latin guitarists resumed playing for the cocktail hour with an upbeat, celebratory flair. The reception featured the “Side Effect Band” with the addition of extra brass instruments and five additional vocalists. The band kept the dance floor packed with a swing/big band style that later progressed into funk. At the height of the excitement, the bride and groom somehow managed to steal away for a private moment back at the ceremony area, which was aglow with candles and lit for the night. They watched their guests enjoying the party inside and beamed with pride at the wonderfully fun and loving event they had created.

As a clever and interactive alternative to traditional wedding favors, Evan and Taylor provided bags imprinted with “It’s A Sweet Life” and their names and wedding date. Guests visited a table with large jars of candy including licorice, bubblegum, mini candy bars and gummy candies, and filled their bags with their choice of treats for a charming memento to enjoy later.

As Taylor’s friends can attest, she makes sure that every event she hosts includes a very memorable surprise. So, when it came to her wedding day, the bride knew she had to really make a strong statement to outdo herself. She managed to find a way to make it feel like the whole world belonged to her and Evan, by arranging for skywriting to occur during the cocktail hour just after the ceremony. The effect was definitely memorable; Love was literally in the air as their guests looked up to see five planes spelling out “Taylor Loves Evan.”