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This Couple Returned to The Spot of Their Elopement in Ojai For a Whimsical Wedding Celebration

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Norman & Blake

|Planning by 

Duet Weddings

Novelist Meredith Westgate first met Teddy Mathias, when she went with a mutual friend to his band Filligar’s party at their recording studio in Venice, California. Five years later, he proposed at home with flowers and homemade Little Doms’s blueberry ricotta pancakes. “He was playing music on his guitar under the bedroom loft, apparently for a long time before I finally got up,” Meredith recalls. “When I came downstairs and saw our dog, Olive, wearing a bowtie, I knew something was up! It was perfect; we had coffee and pancakes outside, danced with Olive, and then jetted to Palm Springs for a weekend getaway he had planned.”

Once engaged, the pair decided to celebrate their marriage in Ojai and wanted to work in elements that made them first fall in love with the California town “and to celebrate live music at every turn,” the bride-to-be explains. They especially wanted to work with artists that the couple admired. Happy Menocal even illustrated bookplates in the welcome bags, so everyone could pick out a title to take home with them after the welcome dinner at the outdoor bookshop Bart’s Books. 

After pivoting from their original, larger May 2020 wedding, they eloped in the summer of 2020 at Thacher House. Returning to that locale for their June 2022 nuptials only made sense, and Rebecca Stone of Duet Weddings helped the couple plan everything. 

“I had the benefit of a few extra years, so by the time the wedding came, I had so many pieces I loved,” Meredith says of her wedding wardrobe. For the welcome dinner, the bride wore a Danielle Frankel drop-waist mini dress with a sheer layer underneath. “I felt like a Degas ballerina.”

To get ready on the morning-of, Meredith wore a vintage lace robe from Happy Isles that she’d purchased in 2019—the same look she prepped for her elopement in. Makeup artist Sara Robey and hairstylist Ashley Lynn Hall made the bride look like the best version of herself. 

For the ceremony, she wore the Mira Zwillinger gown that she first tried on with her mother in 2019. “I’m so happy I chose something timeless, especially since it spent a few extra years in storage. The embroidered petals even look like olive leaves, which felt very at home in Ojai.”

Later on, the bride changed into a Markarian sequin suit for dancing. “The sequins cover the softest silk underneath, so wearing it felt like a dream,” she gushes.

Teddy wore the same look he’d donned for their elopement—a light linen suit. His bride adds, “The color and texture felt perfect for Ojai.” 

On June 11, 2022, guests gathered along a babbling stream—which they had swam in earlier—that runs through a canyon. Teddy’s twin brother, Pete, officiated the beautiful ceremony. “It was so meaningful to have our ceremony in the same spot where we had eloped two years prior, still surrounded by nature but now looking out at our parents, siblings, and friends, together in this favorite place,” the bride recalls.

After being announced as a married couple (again), the al-fresco reception began in Thacher House’s stone courtyard. The newlyweds’ loved ones wandered around, greeting each other and the goats, chickens, and vegetable garden on the property. Django Foxtrot played live jazz, seamlessly transitioning from Lou Reed to The Cure, The Smiths, and LCD Soundsystem, before dinner began.

Tables were set up in a U shape, so everyone had a view of the landscape while seated. “The configuration also made extra space for the incredible flowers by Kristen at Moon Canyon Design, which might have been my favorite part,” Meredith applauds.

Meredith and Teddy fittingly had their first dance to “California Stars” by Wilco. “Later on, during dinner, when they played ‘And It Stoned Me’ by Van Morrison, we snuck off to dance again just the two of us,” the bride remembers. “That was one of my favorite moments of the whole night, dancing in a stolen moment with Teddy, the glow of the lights under the stars, and the happy murmur of our loved ones in the distance.”

The delicious meal was prepared by Thacher House’s owner, Cal, who described each dish before the farm-to-table courses were served. For dessert, the couple cut their olive oil wedding cake with raspberry rose jam and vanilla Swiss meringue, crafted by chef Loria Stern. 

The rest of the night was spent dreamily dancing under the stars and a towering mulberry tree, and by the end of the day, even the bartenders hit the dance floor. “When I looked at my dress the next morning, it looked like I’d gone paint-balling—fallen, crushed mulberries splattered across the inner layers,” Meredith laughs. “It was so perfectly Ojai and Thacher House that I almost didn’t want to clean it!”