As part of a study abroad program, Emily Graves moved from England to Tucson, Arizona. She quickly met Dylan Kaplan, but they were just friends – at first. “We realized that we had feelings for each other when it was almost time to say goodbye,” confides Emily. Luckily, Dylan was taking a trip to Israel for Birthright that summer, and planned to explore Europe afterward. They traveled throughout the continent together and knew they had something special. 

After four years in a long-distance relationship – with many flights back and forth – Emily and Dylan were driving down from the Bay Area to visit his parents in Los Angeles. Under the guise of breaking up the long drive, Dylan suggested they spend the night in Pismo Beach. During a moonlight walk along the shore, he got on one knee and popped the question. 

Since Emily was still in England during part of the engagement, Dylan’s parents helped out by finding the perfect venue in Malibu. The sweethearts also hired Charley King of Bluebell Events to help plan the big day. “It was very difficult because so many of our guests were coming from overseas, so a large part of our planning involved making their trip to California extra special and ensuring that they had a great time,” reveals the bride. The couple knew the location would be a big hit for those traveling, and the ranch had the perfect rustic and romantic style the pair was looking for. “We wanted lots of greenery to create a really lush, garden vibe,” explains Emily. “Butterfly Floral made our dream come true!”

“We wanted lots of greenery to create a really lush, garden vibe.”

For the ceremony, they incorporated Jewish traditions for the groom along with English traditions for the bride. “We ended up with such a great blend of 'English garden wedding with Jewish customs' and it worked really well,” she affirms. As they exchanged their handwritten vows underneath the lovely chuppah, Emily looked stunning in her ball gown with a beautifully beaded waist and unique cutout back. 

The reception space continued the romantic look of the ceremony, with tall windows keeping the natural views intact. The newlyweds were delighted to dance the night away with their nearest and dearest, many of whom traveled a great distance to celebrate. “We were just so grateful and felt so surrounded by love,” confirms the bride.