The Bride Wore a “Victorian Prairie Girl” Dress for Her ’70s-Inspired Wedding in the California Desert

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In 2017, Sarah Heyward complained to her best friend Natalie Berkus about a bad date. Little did she know Natalie’s mother, Ria, was listening in. She eagerly promised Sarah that she’d find someone better. Turns out, she did: “Two weeks later Ria texted me saying she’d met someone nice and tall who lived in Venice,” Sarah says. His name? Aaron Auch.

Soon after, the two met for blind date drinks at the restaurant Wallflower. Their chemistry between Sarah, a screenwriter for Lena Dunham’s Girls, and Aaron, a TV and film producer, was instantaneous.

Two years later, Aaron proposed to Sarah in Palm Springs. On their way back to Los Angeles, the couple stopped at the famous Cabazon Dinosaurs. In the mouth of the giant Tyrannosaurus rex, they enjoyed a “special, albeit slightly bizarre, moment for just the two of us before calling our friends and family to share the news,” says Sarah.

With planning help from Layne Kula of Penny Layne, the two held their May 2022 wedding in Ojai, California. On Friday night, they held a retro summer-camp-themed dinner at the nearby Ojai Rancho Inn, where table numbers were presented as “bunk assignments” and guests dined on made-to-order tacos. Sarah wore a L’Ezu dress as well as gold-and-diamond constellation earrings—one for her zodiac sign and the other for Aaron’s.

On Saturday, they wed at the sprawling Ojai Ranch. Sarah wore a Costarellos dress that she describes as “a little bit prairie girl, a little bit Victorian” with a matching veil. For jewelry, she chose a moon-shaped stud of her sister’s—also her “something borrowed.”

Aaron, meanwhile, wore a burnt sienna suit from Urban Outfitters. (The groom was determined to match the bride’s distinct aesthetic for the weekend, which Sara describes as “a ’70s desert dreamscape”.)

Sarah walked down the aisle to Arizona’s “Cross My Mind”, with their one-year-old daughter and “baby-of-honor” Jupiter in her arms. Surrounded by cacti and wild foliage, the couple said their vows with the Topatopa Mountains as their backdrop.”We had been warned we might feel overwhelmed or nervous, but we both felt incredibly calm,” Sarah says of their ceremony. “Since we already have a child together, it felt less like a traditional wedding and more like we were celebrating and honoring the little family we had already created.”

After cocktail hour, Aaron and Sarah held a “family-style farm-to-table feast” behind the property’s farmhouse. Sarah’s family performed a song from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with rewritten lyrics that told their love story. The night hit an emotional pinnacle when Aaron’s sister, Abby, wrote a letter their mother had written to him before she passed away. “Over that portion of the evening our guests were laughing and crying in equal measure,” says Sarah.

In lieu of their first dance, Aaron and Sarah led everyone to the dance floor with “May I Have This Dance” by Francis and the Lights featuring Chance the Rapper. (Although not many people stopped to take a break, those who did could get cards read by a tarot reader or an ice cream cone from a Mister Softee truck.)

Afterwards, they held an after-party at one of Ojai Ranch Inn’s guest cottages, which was transformed into a speakeasy complete with a mezcal tasting and fresh slices of pizza. “We wouldn’t change a thing,” Sarah says.

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Jose Reber

Jose Reber is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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