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A Summer Wedding in Ojai Inspired by The 18th-Century Book Cabinet of Natural Curiosities

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Ryan Ray Photography

|Planning by 

Sinclair & Moore

Jenna Scilacci Killian’s best friend, Bitty, and Thomas Killian, Jr. were in a summer share house in Montauk one season. The minute Bitty met Tom, she knew he was perfect for Jenna and invited her to UNC-UVA’s Church Party in New York City, so the two could finally meet. “We kind of kept eyes on each other throughout the party,” Jenna remembers. “I finally summoned the courage and asked him to dance—and that was it!”

Fun fact: After a few months together, Tom set his childhood friend, Alexandra, up with Jenna’s brother, James. They got engaged a year later, and Alexandra was one of Over The Moon’s first wedding styling clients.

Four years after meeting at the black-tie soirée in Manhattan, Tom proposed to Jenna in Nantucket. He invited her parents and brothers to spend the Fourth of July holiday at his family’s home on the island. On July 2 in the middle of a family beach outing, Tom casually asked Jenna to walk with him along the sand to “find some surf.” He veered off course and up on a dune. When she caught up with him, he was down on one knee—Jenna, of course, said, “Yes!” “When we finally decided to head back to where our families were, we noticed all these people sunbathing…in the nude,” Jenna reveals. “It turns out, we had walked so long and far, Tom unknowingly proposed to me on Nantucket’s nude beach and didn’t even realize it!”

“Choosing the wedding venue was easy,” Jenna shares. “We’ve always loved the Ojai Valley Innit’s such a magical and romantic resort and an easy 90-minute drive from where I grew up in Pacific Palisades, California.” While working on the design of the wedding, Steve Moore of Sinclair & Moore asked Jenna to find an inspiration image not from a wedding or event. The bride-to-be chose the cover of Albertus Seba’s book Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. Filled with pages of drawings of exotic plants, animals, and more peculiarities, the book sat on Jenna’s parents’ coffee table for a decade and influenced her mother’s design decisions.

Jenna also wanted to incorporate different earthly elements: “gardens, snakes, butterflies, tropical foliages, artifacts, Greek gods, coral, sea shells, still lifes, vintage botanical drawings, and dark versus light.” The bride adds, “Steve will be the first to tell you that this was a rather challenging design aesthetic.” There was a risk that the “cabinet of curiosities” would look cluttered, but Steve nailed the final product.

The rehearsal dinner, hosted by Tom’s parents, was inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. “Leaning into Tom’s Greek heritage on his maternal side, we served Mediterranean food,” Jenna explains. “We decorated the table with Greek bust sculptures and seashells.” The bride wore a beige tulle dress with coral embellishments by French designer Elisa Ness. And for the welcome party, Jenna slipped into a floral silk dress by Markarian.

At Jenna’s very first bridal appointment, she fell in love with a white lace Vera Wang gown but didn’t leave with the dress. It stayed in the back of her mind for months, until she decided to take the plunge and say yes to her wedding dress. “I worked with their team to add delicate lace straps to the original design to create a balcony neckline, which I’ve always felt was really flattering on me,” the bride shares. To complete her ceremony ensemble, Jenna wore Badgley Mischka’s Rebekah block heels.

Before heading down the aisle on September 18, 2021, the bride got ready with Mar of Team Hair & Makeup, who gave Jenna a glam hairstyle with soft, subtle makeup. 

Jenna walked down the aisle with her father to the altar under “The Wishing Tree,” a 200-year-old oak tree on the inn’s property. When the priest asked the father of the bride, “Who gives this woman in marriage?” he accidentally answered, “Me and Linda’s mother, Jenna,” instead of “Jenna’s mother, Linda.” Jenna recalls, “When he realized he mixed up our names, he said ‘Whoops! I think I had one too many tequilas before this!’ and everyone erupted in laughter. His slip-up broke the ice ,and the rest of the ceremony was all smiles and laughs from then on.”

Keeping to their Catholic faith, the couple had a private religious ceremony at Jenna’s neighborhood church a few days prior to heading to Ojai, so the two were not new to exchanging vows. Once pronounced as married for the second time, the newlyweds walked back down the path to the String Poets Quartet’s live rendition of “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.

On the lawn at The Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn, Steve and his team created what Jenna refers to as “Gatsby’s Botanical Garden” for the reception. Bella Vista Designs constructed a custom black wood frame-structure, and the space was filled with big palms and bird of paradise trees. Nancy from Oak & The Owl created the most beautiful deconstructed orchid arrangements with exposed roots. She also filled glass cloches with butterflies on white coral. On the tables, Laboratorio Paravicini’s Serpentine dinner plates from The Ark anchored the tablescape. And upon arrival, guests were first greeted by their dessert, the three-tier chocolate fondant cake baked by Frost It Cakery.

The newlyweds hit the dance floor for a choreographed routine to “Boogie Nights” by Heat Wave, which was the bride’s favorite part of the evening. “The song had zero significance in our relationship…we just love it, and it’s so fun to dance to!” she exclaims. “The dance was the most anxiety-inducing element of the wedding day because, of course, we had never practiced in my massive wedding dress.” 

After tearing it up on the dance floor for hours, the saxophonists from JB Project from West Coast Music led everyone inside The Farmhouse for the after-party with dj100proof. To properly bust a move, Jenna changed into an Alexia Maria mini, and guests were treated to play with wigs, rhinestone top hats, rainbow cowboy hats, and candy-colored heart-shaped sunglasses and (most importantly) cushion their feet in hotel slippers. The night was fueled into the early hours by espresso martinis, mini cheeseburgers and tacos, happy wedded bliss!