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An Elevated Armani Casa–Inspired Wedding at The Santa Lucia Preserve

By Sara Dial | Photography by 

Joel Serrato

|Planning by 

Laurie Arons

Nearly five years after Julia and Kyle Beilman first crossed paths while working together in investment banking, he proposed on a weekend away at the Ojai Valley Inn. “I suspected he might have something in the works, but in true Kyle fashion, he kept throwing me off the scent!” Julia laughs. After having pre-dinner drinks by the Orchard Lawn, they walked toward the restaurant and found themselves surrounded by rose petals. “I immediately started crying, and as we reached the top of the path, he got down on one knee and proposed.” When they finally made it to dinner, Julia was again surprised, this time by the couples’ parents, and they celebrated the milestone moment all together.

The bride-to-be grew up spending time in Carmel with her family, so when it came time to choose a wedding venue, the Santa Lucia Preserve instantly came to mind. “It’s such a stunning area—with the beautiful coastline of Carmel by the Sea and the rolling vistas of Carmel Valley,” she notes. 

The weekend aesthetic was clean and contemporary while also honoring a warm, magical, and intimate feeling. Laurie Arons guided Julia through all of the planning. “We decided on a neutral and organic palette, featuring shades of gray, which tied through the festivities,” Julia explains. “Everything culminated in the iconic barn at the Santa Lucia Preserve, which we turned into an elevated, Armani Casa-inspired space.” A Day In May created a custom invitation suite using the neutral color palette. 

The couple worked with stylist Cynthia Cook Smith to find all of their wedding weekend looks. Each night evoked a different feeling, so the wardrobe followed suit. “Thursday was more intimate and at our family home, so my look was a little more sleek and sexy,” Julia says. “Friday we wanted to be romantic and soft—for the first look—and then Saturday was classic.”

For Thursday’s rehearsal dinner at Julia’s family’s home in Pebble Beach,  she donned a satin Galvan London dress and Aquazurra heels. Kyle looked handsome in a gray Suitsupply ensemble. Slate menus by Yonder Design and bright pops of floral color accented each table. 

The next day, Julia dressed in Markarian, and Kyle chose Zegna for the “elevated coastal” welcome party at Seventh & Dolores in Downtown Carmel. Cynthia suggested adding flowers to her hair for a romantic touch. Lili of Artists by Sherrie Long styled the look beautifully, as well as all the following beauty looks for the weekend. The bride couldn’t resist her first mid-event outfit change of the weekend and switched into a Kiki de Montparnasse tuxedo dress. “I loved the contrast with the super romantic Markarian I wore for the first half of the evening,” Julia reveals.

“The Maeve dress at Monique was one of the first dresses I tried on,” Julia notes of her Monique Lhuillier wedding dress. “I probably tried on another 100 afterward, but I kept coming back to the Maeve. I felt like a bride in it, but I also felt comfortable and so deeply like myself.” She finalized the look with Amina Muaddi shoes and her mother’s diamond earrings–“something borrowed.”

On September 18, 2021, the bride-to-be got ready in a coordinated Olivia von Halle robe and slip, while the bridesmaids had on Sleeper sets. Before settling in her Monique Lhuillier, The Wedding DeTailor hemmed Julia’s entire dress in-between the first look and the ceremony. “We were worried I was going to trip while walking up the aisle!” she laughs.   

“I really wanted the bridesmaids to match the contemporary chic vibe of the wedding—Cynthia and I looked for the right dress for months before landing on a beautiful Fame and Partners gown in dark gray satin,” she recalls. Kyle wore Tom Ford, and groomsmen sported The Black Tux peak lapel tuxedos. 

Surrounded by gigantic redwoods, the bride walked arm-in-arm with her father down the aisle, as a pianist and violinist played Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Julia walked underneath two stunning Mindy Rice Design floral arches before joining Kyle at the top of the aisle. The trees towered over the ceremony, creating a natural cathedral space. Following an animated reading by the couple’s former boss that had everyone smiling, the couple exchanged heartfelt vows and shared their first kiss as newlyweds. 

“I wished I could slow down time, so I tried to remember to takedeep breaths, look around, absorb my surroundings and just take it all in,” she recalls. Guests cheered as Kyle and Julia exited the ceremony and Rolling Stones’s “Start Me Up” rang through the redwoods. 

The celebrations began with a cocktail hour on the Hacienda Lawn, featuring the bride and groom’s favorite margaritas and snacks. Then, a marching band surprised guests and led everyone to dinner. Once settled in the softly lit barn, the toasts began. Throughout the evening, guests posed for portraits by The Collective You—another fun surprise that had everyone out of their seats. Julia and Kyle danced to Jason Aldean’s “You Make it Easy” before The Social of Élan Artists filled the dance floor with a little bit of everything—pop, country, hip-hop, you name it. “We had so much fun dancing all night,” Julia remembers. “We never wanted it to end!”

The newlyweds cut into their Jasmine Rae cake, and Julia changed into Markarian‘s Diana fringe mini dress, fit for the dance floor. “My favorite part has to be the dancing though, particularly once I changed into my after-party dress,” Julia reflects of the reception. “My face hurt from smiling so much!” 

Kyle and Julia ended the night on stage, dancing to the silent disco and laughing with their loved ones. “Someone gave us the advice to experience as much of the night together as we could,” Julia shares. “It’s so easy to get pulled in separate directions at the reception, but we made a conscious effort to come back to each other so we could create shared memories. It was a night we’ll never forget.”