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Forever Young

Boutique owner Natalie Taylor and lacrosse coach Isaac Merfalen tied the knot two decades after meeting in church.

Each layer of the three-tier wedding cake was a different flavor: hot milk sponge cake on the bottom, devil’s food cake in the middle and lemon chiffon on top. The custom cake topper read, “Merfalen for you,” a nod to the wedding’s hashtag.


 The newlyweds’ chairs were adorned with sparkly gold “bride” and “groom” signs.

Natalie’s bridal bouquet contained garden roses, dahlias, ranunculuses, tulips, wildflowers, vegetables and herbs.


A platter of blue-and-white macarons was just one of many sweet options available to guests at the reception.


Wood arrows helped steer guests toward confetti and Champagne.

Natalie and Isaac were 11 and 12 years old, respectively, when they met in youth group at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego. “We never dated, but we considered each other best friends,” explains Natalie of their early years. It wasn’t until 2015, after she asked for Isaac’s help with some projects around her new house, that a romance bloomed. “I started inviting him over to help me in exchange for feeding him dinner,” she recalls.

A New Year’s proposal followed soon after, thanks to their 20-year history as friends. The couple’s shared love of gardening inspired their wedding details. “Isaac and I are lovers of the outdoors, nature, flowers and vegetation, and Bandy Canyon perfectly encompassed those things,” explains Natalie, who co-owns Dolcetti Boutique and A Style Concierge in downtown San Diego with her sister, Minet.

The couple’s youth pastor, Charlie Alcock, officiated the traditional ceremony, which took place in front of 425 guests and a stunning floral arch. “It was the most incredible focal point and backdrop for the guests to see when we were saying our vows,” says Natalie. Baskets of vegetables lined the aisles, and the bouquets, in earth tones like champagne and green, incorporated vegetables as well.

The reception was held beneath an open wooden structure that Natalie describes as “elegant and whimsical.” Guests feasted on a five-course meal of mushroom risotto, filet of beef, sea bass and more, before being offered multiple cakes, chocolate tortes, miniature pies, cookies and macarons. Says Natalie, “It was a sweet-treat heaven!”

Ceremony & Reception The Ranch at Bandy Canyon
Wedding Planner Krystel Tien, Couture Events
Bride’s Gown Watters, Mia Bella Couture, Fresno
Groom’s Suit Grooms Grotto, Costa Mesa
Rings Hers: Irelia Fine Jewelry, San Diego; His: Jewelry by Johan
Florals LaVonne Crawford, Adorations, San Diego
Catering Bellamy’s, Escondido
Cake Michele Coulon Dessertier, La Jolla
Invitations Posh Paperie
Entertainment Luxury Entertainment Group
Videographer Aqua Vivus
Something Borrowed Two diamond and gold bracelets that belonged to her maternal grandmother