Zoe Ravich didn’t have any choice but to meet Bobby McNitt at a college party one night. A mutual friend was so intent on introducing the two that he picked Zoe up and physically carried her over to Bobby, who was on the dance floor. The couple hardly noticed the loud music and dancing that surrounded them as they stood and talked, eventually migrating to a nearby picnic table and continuing to chat into the early morning. “Within the first few hours of meeting Bobby, I already felt as if I knew him better than I had ever known anyone else,” she remembers.

Three years later, while living in separate cities, Bobby collaborated with Zoe’s father to organize a proposal he knew would shock his beloved. Zoe’s father told her there would be a memorial at a Los Angeles-area park in honor of Zoe’s mother, who had passed away. But when Zoe arrived, she found signs that read, “Will you marry me?” She didn’t realize they were meant for her until Bobby (who she had believed was in Chicago) ran up behind her, scooped her up, and offered her a ring set with a diamond that had belonged to her mother. “We were fortunate enough to have the entire proposal recorded,” Zoe says, “so now I can replay Bobby bending down on one knee and asking me to be his wife, friend, and partner for the rest of his life.”

With the goal of selecting a venue that had a connection to her mother in mind, Zoe initially planned to wed at her family’s summer home in upstate New York. However, weather concerns prompted them to choose a beachside locale in Southern California instead. The change proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it allowed the couple to exchange their vows where Zoe and her mother had watched countless sunrises and sunsets together. 

The ethereal, garden-themed ceremony was largely inspired by supermodel Kate Moss’ nuptials in the English countryside. Chairs swathed in white slipcovers stood on wooden risers that overlooked a stunning ocean view. Full arrangements of greenery and several varieties of snowy wildflowers lined the aisle, which culminated in an arch constructed of branches and additional ivory florals. To complete the airy scene, guests were invited to dress in light colors and don sun hats. 

Bridesmaids wearing mismatched frocks and flowers in their hair carried bouquets of fragrant lavender. The bride was clad in a draped gown featuring a lovely V-shaped neckline, and a lace-edged veil affixed to her low bun. For his part, Bobby looked dapper in a grey suit and matching tie. The ceremony, led by Zoe’s uncle, included vows written by the couple and was timed to end at 11:11AM – so guests could make a wish as the newlyweds kissed. 

Immediately following, loved ones gathered for brunch at long rustic tables adorned with white hydrangeas and miniature glass vases filled with blooms. Arches of greenery stretched overhead and verdant manicured hedges surrounded the entire scene. After a “cake” made from stacks of pancakes was served, festivities adjourned until 7PM, when a reception in the courtyard of a nearby oceanfront hotel began. 

Bucking convention, Zoe changed into a red lace dress for the party. In keeping with the venue’s beachy vibe, pale blues and natural hues were incorporated into the color scheme. Wooden tables were bedecked with candles, bundles of roses, and low boxes that contained bunches of all-white flowers. Aged leather couches matched other vintage elements, including antler chandeliers and a worn wooden dance floor.

Instead of a formal dinner, flights of hearty appetizers were served throughout the night. A mix of country and pop music performed by American Idol finalist Casey James provided a laid-back atmosphere for the early portion of the evening. A DJ later enlivened guests and “the dancing really took hold,” Bobby confirms. “The most impressive dancer was the best man!” 

Still college kids at heart, the newlyweds wanted to relive their “glory days” with a beer pong competition; for a sophisticated twist on the game, they held a Champagne pong tournament on mirrored tables. In addition to serving individual-sized cakes in delicious flavors like Oreo and Funfetti, the bride and groom cut a three-tiered triple berry confection embellished with sugar crystals and fresh flowers. An after-party in the restaurant of the property kept the merriment going until 1AM. But the wedding weekend wasn’t over quite yet. The following night, the hotel courtyard was transformed into an outdoor movie theater featuring couches and a lace teepee. Guests snacked on In-N-Out Burger and handspun sugar treats, while watching a wedding highlight video and two of the newlyweds’ favorite films: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Happy Gilmore

Zoe acknowledges that both she and Bobby are “people pleasers,” but she advises other couples to take input from loved ones with a grain of salt. “Pleasing over 200 [guests] is nearly impossible,” she admits. “If you [try] to incorporate every single suggestion, you might end up losing yourself in the process.” Nevertheless, Bobby and Zoe conclude that being surrounded by the love of their family and friends mattered more than any other detail. “Ultimately,” Bobby says, “it is the people that make the celebration special.”