Inside Weddings - - Contents - Pho­tographed by Sa­muel Lippke Stu­dios

Septem­ber 22, 2018 Los Angeles, Cal­i­for­nia

Early in her law ca­reer, Ash­ley Berk was as­signed to work in first-year as­so­ciate Hardy Eh­lers’ of­fice for her summer in­tern­ship. “He spoke to me all of two times the en­tire week I sat right be­side him,” she ad­mits. “I thought Hardy was re­ally cute, but sparks didn’t be­gin to truly fly un­til I started work­ing at the law firm full time.” De­spite many at­tempts by friends to make a love con­nec­tion be­tween the two, it didn’t hap­pen quickly. “Hardy was ner­vous to date some­one in the work­place, although we never worked to­gether, so we stayed friends un­til he couldn’t set his feel­ings aside any longer,” she smiles. On an of­fice re­treat at a pic­turesque re­sort in New­port Coast, their love story com­menced. “We sat to­gether on the bus ride to the re­sort and flirted the whole evening,” con­firms Ash­ley. “He fi­nally kissed me that night, and we have been at­tached at the hip ever since.”

Hardy knew early on that he wanted to pro­pose; how­ever, he be­gan to make real plans af­ter two years. With a sparkling cush­ion-cut di­a­mond en­gage­ment ring in hand, he in­vited Ash­ley’s par­ents to the restau­rant where he first met them, se­cur­ing their en­thu­si­as­tic bless­ing. Hardy says, “It was such a joy­ful and emo­tional lunch, and one I’ll never for­get.” He then waited un­til Ash­ley had fin­ished a weeks-long trial to make his in­ten­tions clear. On her first week­end at home, Hardy woke up Ash­ley and started danc­ing to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys. “I started to laugh, not re­ally know­ing what was go­ing on but know­ing it was all adorable,” muses Ash­ley. “Within 30 sec­onds, Hardy was in bed propos­ing. It was sur­real and a mo­ment I will never for­get.” Sur­pris­ing his bride-to-be once again, the groom whisked her away for a cel­e­bra­tory week­end at the same re­sort where their re­la­tion­ship be­gan.

With just nine months to or­ga­nize a stylish out­door soirée, the cou­ple hired the ex­perts at Geller Events to make their dreams a re­al­ity. “We had amaz­ing plan­ners who we col­lab­o­rated closely with through ev­ery step of the process,” con­firms the bride. A lux­u­ri­ous ho­tel hid­den in the hills was se­lected for the al­fresco cel­e­bra­tion, and on the first day of fall, nearly 160 loved ones gathered to wit­ness the nup­tials. “We wanted a ‘Tus­cany meets rus­tic Cal­i­for­nia’ wedding vibe,” shares Ash­ley of the el­e­gant set­ting fea­tur­ing beau­ti­ful flo­rals by The Hid­den Gar­den.

“Our dads wrote and of­fi­ci­ated an orig­i­nal cer­e­mony, and we wrote our own vows. It all came to­gether in the most per­sonal way – a per­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion of us.”

Friends and fam­ily found their seats next to the prop­erty’s dreamy Swan Lake on ei­ther side of a wood-plank aisle lined with ver­dure and vanilla blos­soms. The bride was ex­quis­ite in a strap­less gown fea­tur­ing a sweet­heart neck­line and flo­ral lace em­bel­lish­ments as she made her way to­wards Hardy to “Your Song” by El­ton John, per­formed by a live pi­anist. At last, she met her groom be­neath a gor­geous chup­pah be­decked with lush green­ery and flow­ers in shades of blush and ivory.

Though they de­sired a mostly sec­u­lar ser­vice, the pair did in­cor­po­rate some Jewish cus­toms, in­clud­ing the ke­tubah sign­ing, a chup­pah, and the break­ing of the glass, to honor the bride’s cul­ture. “The cer­e­mony was my fa­vorite mo­ment of the night,” re­mem­bers Ash­ley. Hardy agrees: “Our dads wrote and of­fi­ci­ated an orig­i­nal cer­e­mony, and we wrote our own vows. It all came to­gether in the most per­sonal way – a per­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion of us.”

Loved ones con­vened for the open-air re­cep­tion at long wooden ta­bles dec­o­rated with high and low cen­ter­pieces, as well as ro­man­tic can­dle­light. The de­sign scheme from the cer­e­mony was car­ried over, with the ad­di­tion of deep shades of bur­gundy to pro­vide a warm, au­tum­nal am­bi­ence. Flo­ral ar­range­ments com­prised of roses, hy­drangeas, dahlias, and pro­tea blooms in tones of blush, ivory, and wine were in­ter­spersed with tall ta­per can­dles on an­tique-style stands as well as bowls filled with fresh peaches, black­ber­ries, plums, and dates. Bistro lights gave the space an Ital­ian feel as friends and fam­ily shared spir­ited con­ver­sa­tions and spe­cial toasts.

Fol­low­ing the sit-down din­ner, the new­ly­weds and their at­ten­dees made their way into the ho­tel ball­room for an af­ter­party dec­o­rated with bold black-and-white lounge fur­ni­ture, me­tal­lic ac­cents, and vi­brant light­ing. “We wanted that to feel like a real dance party,” notes Ash­ley. Though the day went by much too fast, the cou­ple agrees their cel­e­bra­tion was ab­so­lutely per­fect. De­lighted that she took her own ad­vice, Ash­ley en­cour­ages other brides to do the same in or­der to have noth­ing but positive mem­o­ries from the wedding ex­pe­ri­ence. “Don’t take your­self or the night too se­ri­ously,” she urges. “En­joy it and add el­e­ments of both of you to make it spe­cial and per­sonal.”

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