Despite their alma mater’s football team losing in a major upset earlier in the day, Gabby Zimbler and Alex Magged’s eight-year dating anniversary was absolutely perfect. After a day of watching University of Michigan football, Gabby and Alex went to a new winery to celebrate. The sky transformed into a beautiful cotton-candy sunset, and Alex asked Gabby to follow him to the terrace to get a better view. Overlooking the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan, he surprised her by asking her to spend the rest of their lives together. 

Since both the bride and groom love the outdoors, they knew they wanted to select a venue that allowed for both the ceremony and reception to be hosted outside. A luxurious hotel in Laguna Beach provided the perfect setting for the celebration planned by Rikki Ladenheim of Rikki & Mal

With clear blue skies overhead, loved ones were seated on the well-manicured grass lawn facing the ocean for an alfresco ceremony. The bride walked down the petal-strewn aisle lined with rattan lanterns to “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, joining her groom for their Jewish ceremony beneath a chuppah of lush greenery embellished with hundreds of ivory blooms. 

As hors d’oeuvres were served before the ceremony, the reception immediately followed the traditional breaking of the glass. “This allowed the excitement of the ceremony to carry straight over into the reception,” confirms Gabby of their choice to omit the standard cocktail-hour format. 

“We loved the raffia votive accents, wood tables, and beachy flowers, but wanted to make sure it was still elegant and special.”

Guests found their seating assignments on a long, wood table with a fluted base topped with oversized rattan lanterns, greenery, and white florals, before finding their seats at similarly designed tablescapes facing the sparkling sea. 

To fit naturally with the beautiful scenery, Gabby and Alex desired a white-and-green design scheme with woven and wooden details. “We loved the raffia votive accents, wood tables, and beachy flowers, but wanted to make sure it was still elegant and special,” confirms the bride of their vision. 

Elegant, organic flowers in vanilla tones were displayed in various planters and vases – with all of the centerpieces sharing floral types and design elements, but never replicated. “The variety added a level of intrigue,” describes Gabby of the unique arrangements. 

After dinner and dancing, an after-party in a different location created an intimate, club-like atmosphere. The wood design elements from the reception were brought into the ballroom, and a DJ took over for the live band. “We wanted to make sure everyone was on the dance floor and that the vibe carried over the whole night,” affirms Gabby. 

The celebration continued the next morning with loved ones joining the newlyweds on the hotel lawn overlooking the ocean. “We did brunch boxes, which were a huge hit! People could come, sit on blankets, and have a casual brunch to recover,” she says. “[It was] a relaxed, nice way to regroup the next day.”

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