The rapid emergence of love that sparked a wonderful life together, exciting travels and an small yet elegant wedding surrounded by their closest loved ones — JP and Elle's love story is inspiring and captivating. The couple knew exactly beforehand what their dream wedding was meant to be like: an anti-wedding wedding, a limited circle of the closest people, a simple nature venue and refined décor. Read more about organising a gorgeous "micro" wedding, captured by our talented member, wedding photographer Monique Bianca.
Tell us a little about yourselves. How did you meet? What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies?
We met on Hinge and were exchanging messages sporadically back and forth. JP was taking a decent amount of time to respond between messages and Elle took matters into her own hands and called him out of the blue without ever talking over the phone before. We went on our first date that night, three weeks later we moved in together and a year later (almost to the date) we got engaged. We live in Newport Beach, CA and we own Russell Surfboards, a local surfboard company that has been around since 1967. We love traveling to tropical locations, spending time with family and hanging at the beach with our dog, Frankie.
Can you share your engagement story?
We were visiting JP’s dad on his boat in the Bahamas and it was our first day there. When we had anchored, we jumped off the boat and swam to shore and walked the sands of a completely uninhabited island. We swam back to the boat and JP told me we were going to go back and have a picnic on the beach for dinner and an hour later we were engaged! It was so fun to enjoy the next few days of our trip in our little bubble of being newly engaged.
Did you have any pre-wedding events, like a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower?
My bridal shower was one of my favorite moments leading up to the wedding. It was so special to have my mom and her best friend host while having all of my girlfriends there to celebrate. JP and my brother, Max, even made a special appearance with flowers in hand which made the day even sweeter.
Where was your wedding? Why did you choose this venue?
Our wedding was at Roblar Winery in Santa Ynez, CA. When picking a venue, it was very important for us to get married somewhere we had some sort of sentimental attachment to. Elle went to high school in Los Olivos and had always imagined herself getting married in the area. Roblar was actually the only wedding venue we looked at (we had basically decided we were going to get married there before we even saw it), but once we stood in the ceremony space with the vineyards in the background we were sold. The space was so beautiful that we didn’t need to bring in/add much which was exactly what we were looking for. It was also the first winery Elle took JP to the first time they visited Santa Ynez together.
What was the concept behind your wedding and how did you find your inspiration?
Our wedding was what we like to call an “anti-wedding wedding.” We didn’t want to have a huge wedding where we barely got to speak to anyone so having a small wedding allowed us to have only our immediate family and several friends. It really felt more of a party than a traditional wedding. Elle had a very clear vision of exactly what she wanted from the beginning but definitely got inspiration along the way on social media — especially when looking for different vendors.
How long did it take to plan your wedding? Did you encounter any challenges during the planning process?
It took us about a year to plan our wedding. We put in a lot of work initially to secure our venue, date and photographer then took a few months off and enjoyed being engaged before booking the rest of our vendors. We definitely underestimated how much work it would be to plan a wedding, even of our size, and encountered challenges with budgeting and unexpected expenses.
How many guests did you have? And what was the seating arrangement at the wedding like?
We had our own version of a “micro wedding” and only had 25 guests. It was very important to us to keep it intimate and only have our closest family and friends there so we could really spend time with everyone and make it a more personal experience. It was my dream to have everyone sit together so we had one long table which made it feel very special and more of a dinner party vibe than a formal wedding.
Tell us about your outfits. How many different styles have you tried?
I chose to have 2 looks for the day. My ceremony dress was by Ines Di Santo which I purchased from The White Dress in Corona del Mar, CA. It was the complete opposite of what I had envisioned myself wearing on my wedding day so everybody was shocked when I said I wanted to try it on let alone when I knew it was the one! It had gorgeous detached sleeves/gloves and the lace and beading with pearls was so intricate and beautifully done it really felt like I was wearing a piece of art. My second dress was a slip dress from The Bar. I wanted something that was easy to dance in and I paired it with my favorite pair of Golden Goose tennis shoes (which if you know me is so on brand). JP wore a tux, which took lots of convincing but I’m so glad he did.
What was your first dance song? Did you choreograph or improvise?
There were a lot of elements of our big day that were very important to us and the first dance wasn’t one that we spent any time thinking about. We didn’t practice a dance and chose our song in the car driving up to our wedding. Our first dance was to 'Until I Found You' by Stephen Sanchez. We love thinking back on our special day every time we hear the song come on the radio.
Did you have any special performances or entertainment?
Our wedding day was no frills, just love!
What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day?
Our ceremony was our favorite part of our wedding day. Our officiant wrote the most beautiful ceremony that encompassed our love perfectly. It was so special to stand there looking at each other and all of our nearest and dearest family and friends while we became one.
Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?
When booking vendors, our photographer was the most important one for us. We had calls with countless photographers and none of them really felt like they were a super natural fit. We found Monique on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her work. We will forever be indebted to her for capturing our wedding day so beautifully. Everyone says the day goes by so fast and when you are in the moment there are so many moments you want to relive again and Monique’s photography style continues to allow us to do that through her photos. We also couldn’t have done it without our wedding planner, Sophie, who allowed us to completely relax and rely on her expertise to ensure the day ran smoothly.
What advice would you give to couples who are currently planning their wedding?
I know this is hard advice to take but — don’t do anything to please other people! We made every decision based on the two of us and although there were tough choices to make along the way, looking back, there is absolutely nothing we would have changed. Also, don’t be afraid to do something different! Don’t feel like you have to have a traditional wedding, do dance lessons, etc. if you don’t want to!
What helped you cope with the anxiety before the wedding?
Honestly, JP! He was so supportive and patient throughout the entire planning process and let me run with every idea I had. He was on every call and would calm me down when I would worry about things out of my control. It made me feel even more sure than ever in my decision to marry him.
Couple: @theelleroberts , @jp__roberts
Dress: @inesdisanto , @thewhitedresscouture
Officiant: Patrice Handley