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This Couple Had a Vegas Bottle Service-Style Moment at Their Ojai Reception

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Jana Williams

Samantha Levis, a bridal stylist, and Jack Levis met on Bumble—“after oddly never meeting while we were both attending USC and living only four blocks away from each other in Santa Monica,” Samantha says. After dating for three years, he proposed in Pebble Beach.

“This was right after Big Little Lies season one had ended, so I was bursting with excitement to be anywhere near that vibe,” she says. After a quick cocktail at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, he led her to the beach. “When we turned into a cove, the only thing there was a rose petal and lantern-adorned pathway with a bucket of champagne at the end. My heart immediately stopped, I turned toward Jack (my leather jacket now in the sand), and he was on one knee.”

The day after saying, “Yes,” Samantha began her dress search on Instagram. “I think I may have even ignored my future-husband at brunch the day after because I was so enthralled with scrolling to find something!” she says. The first look that pulled her in was an Inbal Dror blazer paired with a sheer skirt; however, it was only available by custom order. A little scared off by that, the bride-to-be went on to try more than 200 dresses (she went to Oscar de la Renta five times), before her mother and STYLELAB helped to nudge her back to the Inbal Dror option. “We contacted Inbal, heard back immediately, and next thing I knew, I was on a FaceTime call at the crack of dawn L.A. time with Inbal herself in Israel, and she was live-sketching my dress in front of my face!”

Inbal added a top to the skirt and created a dress that would be a surprise once the jacket was removed. She also lined the mostly-sheer skirt to look like a mini-dress. “I was nervous about this I’ll admit, but I put my faith in her, and I would do it all over again,” Samantha says.

On the day of, Jack wore a Bonobos tuxedo with Stubbs & Wootten velvet slippers. His groomsmen chose tuxedos from The Black Tux, and the bridesmaids chose their own style of dress from Fame and Partners.

When thinking about a wedding venue, Samantha thought back to a girls trip she had taken a few years back to the Ojai Valley Inn with her mom and best friend. Her mom had bet her daughter that she’d get married at the inn, and it stuck with Samantha. “My dream was to get married at Soho Farmhouse right outside of London, but that quickly got shot down. Once I saw the aesthetic and grounds of The Farmhouse at the inn, it was game over. It literally looked like Soho Farmhouse—it was a modern farmhouse with black wood and sleek, clean lines,” she says. To help bring her vision to life, Samantha hired Sterling Social, where she used to work a few years ago.

On the inn’s golf course, the bride walked down the black aisle with her father to the chuppah, detailed with florals and greenery by JL Designs. Samantha’s god-brother, EJ, officiated the ceremony with “the coolest rock-n-roll rabbi.” As a surprise to the St. Louis-raised groom, when the couple finally kissed, the lyrics “Hot damn!” from Nelly’s “Country Grammar” blasted. “This definitely set the vibe for the party we were about to have that night!” the bride says.

As guests walked to the reception tent, the band for the night, Impulse, was already playing hits and getting people on the marble dance floor, which was inspired by the floor at Cecconi’s. If attendees didn’t want to be at their table or on the dance floor the whole night, they could also scatter around the lounge vignettes, styled with fashion-inspired coffee table books.

After the delicious, seated, California-meets-Mid-West meal, the newlyweds had their first dance to “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac, and then Jack took the mic and started the party. “My planners and I jokingly thought it would be fun to have a Vegas bottle service-style moment, where servers surprised our guests with hand held sparklers, giant face cut-outs, and shooters of tequila right on the dance floor. The band played ‘Tequila’ by The Champs, and my MOHs danced with our big face cut outs. Truly iconic,” Samantha says.

Once the reception came to a close, the couple exited through a walkway lined with cold firework fountains to the after-party at the indoor barn. Guests were greeted by espresso martinis, grilled cheeses, sliders, fries, and Haute Mobile Disco. “The party went on and on until Jack and I were literally the last ones left!”