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Real Wedding | Lilly + Tom

Tell us a little about yourselves!

We are two engineers living in Los Angeles. We spend most of our free time in the beautiful California outdoors, but lately we’ve been working most weekends renovating our 117-year-old project house.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

In an ideal world, Lilly would have gotten married in a remote forest and Tom would have gotten married in the middle of a large city. San Luis Obispo split the difference for us, offering wonderful outdoor scenery combined with small-town walkability and convenience.

It was really important to us that the entire event be in a single location, from accommodations to the ceremony to the reception so that all our guests could enjoy maximum party time, and the Madonna Inn provided all that in one venue. We’ve also both been in love with the Madonna Inn’s aesthetic (and the cake!) since the first time we visited as a couple when we first started dating. We really loved that all our guests could have their own totally unique room and experience.

How many guests did you have?


What was your budget?


Tell us about your outfits.

We encouraged our guests to go nuts with their outfits; “Think Lady Gaga at the Grammys” was the dress code guidance. With that fashion explosion happening around us, we opted for modern takes on classic black-tie wedding wear. Tom has always loved black tie and had dreamed for years about wearing a full tuxedo, while Lilly got to wear three modern takes on a white dress, culminating in a classic Hollywood-inspired dress and hairstyle for the ceremony itself. She opted to have the train removed in order to optimize dance-ability. Her after-party dress had long sleeves that felt like wings and were a blast to dance with. Lilly's engagement ring was handmade from the copper wiring in their 117 year old house that we’re remodelling.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

We wanted the wedding to reflect and celebrate the relationship that we had already built in the last seven years of dating, as well as de-emphasize some of the classic wedding rigmarole. We opted to not have wedding parties (because how could we possibly choose among our friends?) and stood up on stage with only our siblings representing. We asked the officiant, Tom’s sister, to focus on announcing our commitment to each other to all our loved ones, rather than use language about starting a new life together. We also opted not to walk down the aisle one after another, but rather descend together hand-in-hand from a spiral staircase on the stage. The reception was largely structured around many speeches and toasts so we could celebrate our friends and family, whom this event was truly for.

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

The majority of our guests either live in the Los Angeles area or were flying there first so we reserved a private train car on the Coast Starlight train that runs up to San Luis Obispo, so that we could travel there with as many of our friends and family as possible. We also held a contest to see who would travel the furthest distance to the event without using a plane or private car (won by a friend who took the train from Seattle!)

Any tips for couples getting married?

I'd say to pick a few things you really care about and focus on those, and go with the flow with everything else. There are so many decisions to make and if you try to perfect all of them you'll go crazy. In the end we had a great time because we were surrounded by amazing people, not because we had the perfect font for our seating chart.

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

We focused on photography and music the most. We were looking for a photography style that would capture the kinetic energy of the wedding and make the most of the wild interior scenes provided by the Madonna Inn. May Iosotaluno’s flashbulb style was exactly what we were looking for and we love the candid shots that look just like the memories feel.

When it came to music, we were only prescriptive in that we did not want to hear a single one of the top 50 wedding songs, other than that we were looking for a mix of more classic pop music for the older guests gradually shifting to the indie dance party vibe that we and our younger friends love. DJ Shan Lynn knocked this request out of the park and had us dancing so hard that we had to extend our reception another hour to keep the party going!

Photographer : May Iosotaluno Photography @mayiosotaluno | Ceremony + Reception Location : Madonna Inn @madonnainn1958 | Entertainment : DJ Shan Lynn @shanlynnmusic | Coordinator : Distinctively Made Events @distinctivelymadeevents | Flora : Mark Dillon Luna Events @_mdlevents_ | HMUA : Fairytale Hair and Makeup @fairytalehairandmakeup | Catering, Beverages + Cake : Madonna Inn @madonnainn1958 | Stationery : Jackie Chang @jaxcha | Ceremony Dress : Luv Bridal @luv_bridal | Reception Dress : Love and Lemons @loveandlemons | Suit : Mike Scocozza @mikescocozza | Shoes : Naturalizer + Jeffrey Campbell @naturalizer @jeffreycampbell | Necklace : Borrowed from Bride's Mother | Cufflinks : From Bride’s Grandfather


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