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It Started as a Summer Fling and Ended With a Destination Wedding in Malibu

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Billye Donya Photography

It was only until the very last semester of college when Sabina and Daniel finally crossed paths during a shared class. “An innocent first drink quickly unraveled into what we initially believed was simply a summer fling with an inevitable expiry date: Daniel’s move to New York to start school,” Sabina says. “After an amazing summer, neither of us felt quite ready to put a close to it all so we decided to give long distance a go. We are obviously so thrilled that we did!”

Six years later, Daniel was busy trying to pull off a surprise engagement. “He told me we were going to a work related dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal, only for him to propose in a secluded area of the outdoor terrace surrounded by peonies, where champagne and madeleines awaited,” she says.

Once they were engaged, the couple knew they wanted to have a destination wedding and started looking for the perfect spot in California. “We initially contemplated a vineyard wedding in Napa, but our venue search brought us to explore Malibu Rocky Oaks in the heart of the Santa Monica mountains!” she says. They enlisted Brooke Avishay of Orange Blossom Special Events to help with the planning, and came up with a weekend full of activities for the guests traveling from near and far. “The weekend kicked off with a girls lunch at The Ivy, a rehearsal dinner at Malibu Farm, and welcome cocktails at the Shutters.”

After trying on countless wedding dresses and feeling completely unconvinced with any specific design, Sabina was about to call it quits and order something online. But thankfully the owner of White, a boutique bridal shop in Montreal, went above and beyond and helped Sabina find an Oscar de la Renta dress she immediately fell in love with. She accessorized her look with satin Manolo Blahnik heels, her engagement ring, and a pair of rose gold pavé hug hoops, which were a gift from her mother-in-law.

Daniel, meanwhile, wore a custom double-breasted tuxedo from S. Cohen, an Eton tuxedo shirt, a Tom Ford bow tie, and Ferragamo velvet slippers.

The day of the ceremony, Daniel and Sabina were married by a close family friend in front of their friends and loved ones. “He did such an incredible job incorporating many of the Jewish traditions without making it an overly religious wedding,” the bride recalls. “The most special part of our ceremony was that each of our parents, siblings, groomsmen, and bridesmaids were asked to deliver a blessing holding our hands under the chuppah. We were reminded of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by so much love and so many incredible people.”

Once they were declared husband and wife, it was time for the festivities and Daniel and Sabina were all about having a great party. During cocktail hour, their parents gave heartfelt toasts and later invited everyone to the dinner reception, where the newlyweds thanked their guests for traveling so far in order to celebrate their big day with them. A seasonal, farmers market menu was then served family style, and when it was time for a cake, a big Italian-style mille-feuille confection from Pitchoun bakery in Los Angeles had everyone going for second servings.

The couple kicked off the dance party portion with Calvin Harris’s “Feel So Close.” “While our song choice seems rather atypical, it was the song that was on repeat during the summer when Daniel and I were doing long distance,” Sabina explains. They then proceeded with the horah and their guests never left the dance floor until midnight, when the party sadly had to end because of California noise regulations. “The property manager wouldn’t budge!” Sabina laments. After a mini-moon in Napa, the couple have yet to finalize the location of their official honeymoon, but the jet setters already have some ideas. “We are leaning towards a safari trip in South Africa,” she adds.