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Stylist Dani Michelle Wore Four Dresses to Her Wedding at Casa del Mar
The way celebrity fashion stylist Dani Michelle—who counts Kourtney Kardashian as one of her clients—and fashion photographer Ian Morrison met sounds like it could have been straight out of Sex and the City. Except instead of Berger on the bike, it was Dani, and instead of NYC, it was L.A. “I pulled up to an industry dinner party on the back of a motorcycle and caught his eye,” she remembers.
The two had been dating for seven years when Ian proposed on a trip to Tulum. “I thought we were just celebrating our anniversary,” Dani explains. “He had given me a fancy camera you could control from your phone and set it up to take photos. We were having a romantic dinner and taking some pictures, and suddenly, he changed position and got down on one knee, while recording the whole thing.”
Dani and Ian love to travel, and from the beginning, wanted to get married somewhere that felt elegant, stylish, and warm—but after researching several venues, they decided to host their June wedding somewhere close to home. “We loved the Murano glass chandeliers, crown moulding, two-story ceilings, and overall European feel at Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica,” Dani says.
The search for a wedding dress was even more extensive. “I tried on dresses in designer houses from California, New York, London, Paris, and Israel,” Dani admits. “I had sketches done by designers and created my own. I had a clear image of how I wanted to feel, and it was when I saw these one-of-a-kind hand-draped macrame puff sleeves from Vera Wang, with Old World–style lace, that I knew I had found my dress. But it didn’t exactly exist yet, so I worked with the amazing team in New York and Los Angeles to recut the sleeves and incorporate them into one of their crepe mermaid gowns that we then customized.” They used the same kind of lace to create an extended cathedral veil and did fittings in L.A., New York, and then back in L.A. again to make sure everything felt perfect. “But it didn’t end there, because in the process I fell in love with another amazing dress by Galia Lahav, who also worked to customize a look with me,” Dani explains. “It had this incredible diamond bow from my collarbone to the floor, and I wanted to wear it for the party. With a high slit up my whole leg, built off a tight, gathered hourglass corset, it was the perfect party dress!”
A third dress entered the picture when Dani did a Sex and the City–inspired wedding dress try-on session for @vogueweddings’s Instagram Story. “I tried on the most unique, asymmetrical Viktor & Rolf gown, and Ian fell in love with it,” she says. “I asked the team if I could hold on to it to wear it at my wedding—and it subsequently became my third dress. It was the classic dream of a large, full tulle ballgown. It was uniquely graphic and fashion.”
For those who are having trouble keeping up, a recap: the bride wore Vera Wang for her wedding ceremony, a Viktor & Rolf ballgown for her first dance, and the Galia Lahav look for her party. “But it didn’t totally end there,” the fashion fanatic admits. “I designed a final dress with my tailor that I wore for the after-party. Yes, I wore four wedding dresses that night!”
To keep the spotlight on this epic array of fashion, jewelry was kept minimal. The bride wore vintage diamond drop earrings from her late grandmother and her new emerald-cut wedding band by Tacori that she and Ian custom designed. Stuart Weitzman made two pairs of shoes for her: a three-inch pump for the ceremony and then a four-inch satin lattice-woven one-of-a-kind stiletto. For dancing, Dani changed into clear crystal pumps by Amina Muaddi. “I kept my glam simple, I wanted to feel sophisticated and like a ‘cool’ bride,” she says. “My makeup artist Tonya Brewer and hairstylist Beau Dieda knew exactly what I meant and made me feel just that.”
The wedding was a black-tie affair: the room was filled with Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Dior, and Givenchy, with men in sharp tuxedos. “We wanted our guests’ first experience upon arrival to reflect a lush, romantic French garden vibe,” Dani explains. “So our florist designed a floral installation and candles down the double staircase to welcome them.” The aisle was lined with wild delphinium, wild grasses, caspia, and candles at every height, and the couple was married under a chuppah covered in those same florals, anchored on a raw wooden frame enhanced by curly willow branches.
Dani’s veil was 11 feet long, and it trailed all the way from the stage down to the aisle. “One of our dear friends sang Etta James’s ‘At Last’ and then segued into Elvis’s ‘Fools Rush In’ with our family and six bridal-party couples coming down the aisle before us,” Dani remembers. “The ceremony was full of laughter and love. I will never forget how hard we locked eyes, our sweaty hands, and everyone surrounding us. We made our crowd cry, so we’ve heard! We left to The Ronettes’s ‘Be My Baby.’ It was everything we’d dreamed of and more!”
Cocktail hour followed the ceremony, and after finding their names on vintage French mirrors, guests were ushered through a foliage-and-floral arch into the ballroom, where the band broke out into music, signaling the start of the party. Flowers from the aisle lined the stage so abundantly that it looked like the band was floating above a wild garden, and the dance floor was full from the first dance to the last song.
Dani’s client Sierra Deaton performed the newlywed’s first-dance song, “Beautiful Thing.” “She took everyone’s breath away with her vocals,” Dani says. At midnight, the fashion DJs known as Posso took over in plunging Helmut Newton–esque black tuxedos. “People were just as excited to watch them as to dance to their music,” Dani adds.
“My favorite moments were when Ian and I would find each other on the dance floor,” she recalls. “He would grab me so tight and whip me around, holding me close, and suddenly everyone else disappeared.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue