A tale as old as time, Amy Bettencourt and Eric Wegener were high school sweethearts, despite their differing social circles. “When we first met each other, Eric was playing Gaston in the school’s version of Beauty and the Beast,” Amy shares. “He had temporary black hair and nailed the Gaston eyebrow raise.” She admits she was pretty shy around him at first, especially because Eric was on the football team. After he was persisting in starting conversations while sitting next to Amy at lunch, she became more comfortable and they started a relationship their junior year of high school. They both moved to the Los Angeles area to continue their studies, and eventually found an apartment together. Eight years into their relationship, on New Year’s Eve, the pair went to a salsa dancing class. “My family owned a dance studio growing up and I always wanted to take a couple’s dance class, though this was not Eric’s cup of tea,” explains Amy. After a night of salsa, they were strolling through a Santa Monica park when Eric got on one knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend.
The couple spent the next year and a half planning their summer wedding. Given that no friends or family had been recently married while she was organizing her own nuptials, Amy admits she found the majority of her advice online. The bride used her work experience in procurement to make sure she found the best value for each vendor. “Because we started the planning process so early, we did not run into any difficulties with availability,” she confirms. As native Californians, both Amy and Eric love the water. After they toured a local yacht that serves as a venue for weddings, they quickly fell in love with the idea. “I never thought that I would get married on a boat, but it made for a gorgeous wedding venue with 360 degree scenery,” muses the bride.
As with many couples of today, Amy and Eric both come from blended families who they wanted to incorporate into their big day. The groom’s older brother served as the best man, and his three stepbrothers were among the groomsmen. The bride’s two sisters were the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, and their stepbrother escorted the mother of the bride down the aisle. “Between Eric and myself, we have a total of seven parents and it was very important to us that they all felt included,” Amy notes. Eric walked to the altar with his mother, and in a touching moment, the bride walked with both her father and stepfather. In a lovely moment of togetherness, the groom’s stepfather entered the ceremony with the father and stepmother of the groom.
For a personal touch during the ceremony, Eric, who works as a music editor, arranged a medley of movie themes for the processional and recessional for the string quartet to play. Bridesmaids in long, elegant gowns made with matte gold sequins descended the aisle arm in arm with groomsmen in navy suits and blush pink ties. The couple’s exchanged both traditional and personal vows, with the groom bringing everyone on the yacht to tears. Attendees erupted in applause when he dipped the bride low as they sealed their marriage with a kiss.
After a brief cruise for the cocktail hour, friends and family departed to enter the yacht club for the reception. The stately room was awash with purple uplighting while the tables features alternating low and high floral arrangements with blush roses, ivory hydrangeas, and cascading amaranthus. Before the dancing began, the groom had a surprise for guests and took a moment to serenade his new wife. “Eric has an amazing voice and it was so special for him to sing at the wedding,” Amy gushes. At the end of the night, following hours of dancing, the newlyweds had a grand exit through a tunnel of sparklers held by their loved ones. “It was a great culmination to the perfect day and made for beautiful photos,” the bride adds. Having planned the celebration herself, Amy is well-suited to offer advice for future brides and grooms. “Enjoy the process, because it only happens once!” she exclaims. “Getting married can be very overwhelming and stressful, but when it all comes together it is the best feeling.”