A Whimsical, Rustic Chic Wedding at Tiato in Santa Monica, California

Cynthia Brown (32 and a senior marketing manager at Mattel) and Andy Waruszewski (33 and a cinematographer) pulled off a stunning whimsical, rustic affair for their Memorial Day weekend wedding in Santa Monica, Calif. “I’ve always loved design and decor and could not wait to craft all of the little details that would make our wedding feel special,” says Cynthia. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist and knew at some point I would have to hand over the reigns to someone I could trust completely to orchestrate the details with our dream team of vendors so Andy and I could just show up to our wedding and have a blast.” With their incredible talent and creativity, planner Lina Wallace and her team at A Stunning Affair proved to be the perfect sounding board throughout every part of the planning process. Their expertise paired with the florists at Little Branch’s creativity and Cynthia’s own craftiness, ensured every element of the day came together flawlessly.

The festivities kicked off with a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Monica Catholic Church. “I always knew I wanted the traditional experience of walking down the aisle in a church to meet my handsome husband-to-be!” says Cynthia. Finding a reception venue that reflected the couple’s personalities and sense of style — playful, quirky and intimate — was a bit more of a challenge. Santa Monica’s slew of beachfront ballrooms came with a hefty price tag and lacked the character and charm the pair were after. When Cynthia and Andy finally came across Tiato, they instantly knew they’d found the perfect backdrop for their reception. Complete with a gorgeous succulent wall, a garden filled with lush trees dotted with twinkling lanterns and modern minimalist design with a subtle Napa-inspired twist, the unique venue embodied the chic, yet laid-back feel they hoped to achieve.

With the location settled, Cynthia and Andy got to work on the details. “I spent most evenings and weekends designing the handcrafted elements for our reception, like our Mr. & Mrs. chair backers using drapery cords with tassels,” says Cynthia. “Andy is 6’ 5” like a giraffe and I love the good luck that elephants bring so I was excited to see a DIY blog post with gold spray painted toy animals that added a whimsical touch to the beautiful tablescapes.” Chantilly lace table runners, champagne shantung linens and gilded lanterns added a touch of romance to the decor. Little Branch upped the wow-factor by lush arrangements of full white blooms layered over antlers for each table top, styled alongside more unexpected elements like terrariums and ferns and succulents displayed in rose gold tin cans.

Personalization went beyond the decor, with Cynthia and Andy creating a menu jam-packed with their favorite comfort foods and sweet treats and surprising guests with lively choreographed dances after dinner. “It was truly the best day of our lives and my feet ached for days following! We are so grateful to all of our friends and family for their help and support and to our amazing vendors who made our day possible,” says Cynthia.