We’re ending our first week of 2016, with such a gorgeous real wedding!

Emily & Sven’s laid back bash in Malibu.

Their day is one of those weddings that looks like it was effortless to plan, fun to be a part of, and made memories that will last forever. (Yep, the dream big day!).

And every stylish detail was captured by the talented Marianne Wilson Photography.

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Planning the wedding from their home in Germany, the couple recruited the help of family, friends, (AKA the Love Crew) and the talented team at Orange Blossom Special Events to plan and design their dream day in Emily’s native Southern California.

The result was a beautiful oceanside venue, super stylish mix and match attire, chic modern decor, casual style drinks and dining, and a day, that was in Sven and Emily’s words, ‘Easygoing, joyful, and… Svemily” 

If you haven’t guessed it already, this international pair sure know how to throw a special party…

Wedding Day Snapshot

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Our Love Story

To start, Emily is from Southern California; Sven from Germany.  

In 2010, both Sven and Emily found themselves at the French business school, EDHEC, on an exchange semester.

Having been sold on a semester in the city of Lille, we were each heartily disappointed to find out that the campus had been moved in the meantime to the suburbs in Croix/Roubaix – 45 minutes away from the city center by public transportation.  With not much to do around the campus (and a relaxing academic schedule), we spent a lot of time getting to know the other students, and eventually each other! 

We went our separate ways from Lille in December 2010, not knowing what the future would hold.  

Daily Skype sessions and back and forth visits convinced us both that we wanted to give this a real shot.  Sven finished his bachelors in Bayreuth, Germany and started his job at Adidas while Emily finished her masters in LA and jumped into Middlebury College’s German School.  

In September 2011, Emily moved to Germany to start working at Puma and life as we now know it began! 

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The Proposal Story

The weekend of June 28th 2014, Sven had planned an elaborate hoax to get Emily to the Alps without suspecting a thing.

The plan was a weekend hiking trip in the Alps to the summit of the Nebelhorn in Oberstdorf with Adidas colleagues.  Emily was getting slightly suspicious, as there had been no “official” information about the weekend, but Sven threw her off the trail with a very well faked email from their company sports office, detailing the packing list in cheesy, outdoorsy language.  

When we arrived (after a 5am wakeup and three hour drive), Sven surprised Emily with the fact that we would be alone, gondola tickets, and the “true plan”: a spa weekend together.  We rode the gondola 2/3 of the way up the peak and decided to hike the last third.  A few steps on the trail, we were already winded (thank you, elevation), and Sven started looking for a bench “so we could even-out the weight in our backpacks.” 

Luckily, there was a bench in sight, just off the main trail.  When we got there, Emily promptly plopped down, and Sven started digging through his backpack.  Emily was confused because the food that he had planned to swap into her entirely empty backpack was clearly visible on top, but he was digging to the bottom.  

Out popped a romantic card, and before Emily knew it, Sven had a ring box in his hands and was proposing with the most perfect backdrop you could imagine! Of course, she said yes…

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The Flowers

We just wanted the flowers to not be crazy red roses… so the air plants and succulents were perfect!

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Wedding Inspiration

We wanted to have a wedding that really fit into the venue and was a comfortable and fun atmosphere for our guests—not too formal, not too informal.  We wanted our guests to look at the wedding and see us in it!

We kept decorations to a minimum, letting the beauty of the venue speak for itself and used market lights to light up the dance floor after dark!

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The Attire

Emily: I wore a dress that I picked out on a girls trip to NYC with my mom and sisters.  I tried on a few, but this one my sisters had pulled off the wall and asked me to try on for them. It was perfect!

Different from other styles, and totally me!

Sven: I wore a suit!

Our bridal party (we called them our Love Crew): The girls got to pick what they wore, which I thought was going to be easier, but in the end caused just as much anxiety as decreeing what each should wear.  

My witness wore J.crew, which we picked out together.

The boys wore their suits! And a tie that Sven bought for them so they would all coordinate…

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The Venue

We had done some research before, and with the help of Emily’s younger sister and our amazing planner Brooke, we narrowed it down to a short list of four. We only had a weekend to visit venues on a trip back to CA, and did a whirlwind tour in one day.  

When we walked around Adamson House, we just could feel it was the place for us. We started talking about what would happen where on the venue grounds and how it would look on the day even during the tour!

Neither of us could stop smiling.

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The Ceremony

We planned the entire ceremony with our friends who were the officiants!

One of our favorite parts was when we read love poems to each other.  Emily read Sven “I Carry Your Heart” by E.E. Cummings.  It’s one of the most romantic poems I’ve ever read.  

Sven read Emily a German love poem by Hans Retep “Du Mein Leben

Of course, we were both in tears…

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The Photography

Emily has known Marianne since she was a coworker of her sister Abigail at Peet’s Coffee.  

No matter how many wedding photos I see, none of them are as consistently good as Marianne’s!

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Advice for Other Couples

Don’t take it TOO crazy—and hire a good planner that you can trust. Remember what the day is really about and make sure you enjoy both the planning and the day itself!

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The Budget

We splurged on venue, invitations (Emily HAD to have the gold foil), chair rentals (Emily also HAD to have the ghost chairs)… but the rest was on budget.  

It’s really the incrementalism that kills you though.  A couple hundred here, there… it adds up really fast.  

One place we didn’t have to splurge was on the food.  We were right in budget, and we loved the caterer we went with, they met all expectations and the guests loved it!

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The Decor & Details

Thank you to Orange Blossom – we left it up to them mostly. Planning a wedding long distance doesn’t leave a lot of room for DIY. They seemed to read our minds.  

Just a few words of direction and they delivered exactly what was in our minds.

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The Refreshments

We did family style dinner because we thought it would get tables to mix together and interact a bit more.  And you don’t have to choose what you eat!

Cocktail hour was a margarita bar!  A handful of delicious marg recipes were mixed by Mother’s Medicine, and all were real crowdpleasers.

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The Music

Processional: ‘Cannonball’ by Damien Rice

Recessional: ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’

First Dance: ‘Hallelujah (I Love Her So)’ by Ray Charles!

We actually took some dance classes so we would know how to dance to this song when the day came (which actually gave us a lot of fun laughs in the days leading up the wedding… but thanks to a too-long-bustled dress, Emily tripped her way through the real first dance!

If you want to see a video of us on a re-do of our first dance during our honeymoon, click here.

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Favourite Moments

The whole thing, honestly.

Sven loves to think back on the moment that Emily walked around the corner to come down the aisle, which brought tears to his eyes…

We both really loved our sweetheart table at dinner where we could look out over the people who had come to celebrate with us.

The party was also a major highlight.  Because we had a limited number of hours there (Sunday wedding in a state park), everyone was on the dance floor the whole time dancing and enjoying the celebration!

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The Honeymoon

We flew home to Germany for a night, then on to the Maldives for 11 days to unplug, decompress, and enjoy our new life.

That was unforgettable…

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Isn’t it gorgeous? I just love all the suits and dresses, and the way they opted for their Love Crew instead of formal bridesmaids and groomsmen, so cool. And a margarita bar sounds like all kinds of awesome to us!

Thanks so much to Marianne Wilson PhotographyOrange Blossom Special Events, and of course, the wonderful Emily & Sven for sharing their fun outdoor wedding with us.

Be Inspired by More Amazing Real Weddings

Photographer: Marianne Wilson Photography / Planning & Design: Orange Blossom Special Events / Venue: Adamson House / Florist: Peony and Plum / Ceremony Musicians: No Vacancy Entertainment / DJ: Ian Gotler at Red Shoe LA / Hair & Make-up: 1011 Hair and Makeup / Catering: Command Performance / Bar: Mama's Medicine / Bride’s Dress: Rivini, Sylena / Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld / Groom’s Attire: Peek & Cloppenburg, Calvin Klein Suit / Invitations & Stationery: Christy Heng @ Orange Blossom