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A “Luxury Ranch” Micro-Wedding with 360-Degree Views of Newport Beach

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Jenavieve Belair

|Planning by 

Hello Gem

Like so many couples in 2020, Alexandra Dell Primrose had to downsize and change venues for her October 2nd wedding due to the spread of COVID-19. Here, she’s sharing how she and her husband, Drew Davis Primrose, shifted their plans and had a micro-wedding in Newport Beach.

The two, who met in high school, got engaged on her birthday in 2019. After dinner at Driftwood Kitchen in Laguna Beach, they took a walk to their favorite cove to watch the sunset, and once the sun went down, he got on one knee.

Shortly thereafter, they started wedding planning, and in May 2020, the couple had to come to a decision about what to do as COVID was becoming more and more widespread. “After much deliberation, the final and most lasting conclusion for us was…love conquers all,” Ali says. “Not only does getting married in a pandemic put things into perspective, but it gets us back to the root of it all—celebrating our promise to one another.”

Their original venue had closed, so for their micro-wedding, they decided to host their ceremony in the backyard of a private home in Newport Coast. “I was infatuated with planning,” Ali says. She curated her team of vendors and artisans, who were all-female and local, to bring her vision to life. “My inspiration was a European garden meets Surf ranch.”

To help on the day-of, the couple hired Hello Gem. Since a number of guests wouldn’t be able to attend, the couple also turned to virtual solutions. “We looked for ways to connect people via live video for the ceremony and took an extremely thoughtful approach on documenting our wedding with our amazing filmmakers [Arika Jean and Films by Madeleine],” Ali remarks. “The video was sent to everyone to virtually celebrate in spirit and see our special day take place!”

One of Drew’s requests for the wedding was that Ali wear a lace dress, and the bride-to-be knew a Grace Loves Lace design would be perfect. Ali actually fell in love with two gowns and decided to wear both on the day. She paired the ceremony dress with her grandmother’s antique diamond watch, Nicholas Kirkwood cream pumps, and a bouquet by Lauren Drake Designs. The second gown was accessorized with Amber Sceats earrings, AllSaints tennis shoes, and a Grace Loves Lace silk scarf tied into the bride’s low bun. “My favorite piece of the day would have to be my veil,” Ali reveals. “It was traditional and modern in all the right ways and juxtaposed casual and timeless.”

On the day of the wedding, Ali got ready with makeup artist Gabriela Gutierrez and hair stylist Alexis. “To be honest, I have no idea what the guys wore,” the bride jokes. For the record, Drew wore a black linen tuxedo by Bonobos, while bridesmaids were in a mix of dresses from Shona Joy, Frame & Partners, Reformation, Revolve, and Aritzia. “We all had a Pinterest board we kept our bridesmaid ideas in called ‘Help me keep my shit together.'”

On October 2nd, guests walked out to a 360-degree view of all of Newport Beach, pier to pier. “To achieve the luxury ‘ranch’ aesthetic we wanted, I incorporated a lot of olive trees, grasses, sage, thyme, and white florals into the design,” Ali explains. “All of the greenery was adjacent with mixed wood tones and wovens. I sourced a TON of vintage baskets, trays, vases, etc. to add in some bespoke character. Overall, it felt simple and classic with modern touches, and we loved it.”

Then the bride walked down the aisle with her father and stepfather. “Once Drew and I locked eyes, we knew today and forever was ours,” she says. After saying, “I do,” since they didn’t have a first look, the newlyweds took an hour-and-a-half to take portraits, drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in a vintage Porsche, and enjoy their first married moments together.

Once they returned, they had their first dance and then sat down to dinner by 24 Carrots Catering and Events. After dessert, they danced the night away. “People always say it was the best night of their lives,” Ali says. “It truly felt that way for us!”