Malibu Lesbian Wedding
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Malibu Lesbian Wedding: V and Monika, Calamigos Ranch

The art behind two sleeveless gowns.

So many beautiful things stand out about the August 2016 wedding at Calamigos Ranch between V and Monika. There’s the venue’s charmed setting in Malibu’s verdant Santa Monica Mountains, the brides’ radiant smiles, and—perhaps most strikingly—the timeless yet modern elegance of their dresses.

Malibu Lesbian Wedding
The wedding ceremony at stunning Calamigos Ranch in Malibu; photo by Derek Chad Photography

For both women, the dress-shopping experience proved enlightening. “I don’t know if it’s a stereotype, but when two women get married, many people just assume that one of them is going to wear a tux,” says V. “At one point a friend asked, ‘Which one of you is wearing is the dress?’ For us, it was never even a question—we both wanted to wear dresses. It was just a matter of finding ones that fit our individual personalities but also complemented each other.”

One question that did arise, at least for Monika, was whether to wear a dress that showed her gorgeous body art. “It was absolutely something I considered,” she says. “It was a hard decision whether to show my tattoos—my family is very traditional Spanish-Catholic.” Ultimately, she decided to do so. “I ended up choosing a sleeveless Maggie Sottero dress, which I bought at Pebbles Bridal. It was actually the first time my mom ever saw all my tattoos. She wasn’t so excited about it, but they’ve grown on her.”

“I was proud of Monika for sort of ripping off the Band-Aid and showing her tattoos,” says V. “I’ve had a lot of tattoos for a while, and to be honest, I didn’t even really think about it.” In fact, V bought her gown during Monika’s visit to Pebbles Bridal in Woodland Hills. “She totally hijacked my bridal appointment,” laughs Monika. “It was just the second one she tried on—and she looked unbelievable. I started bawling like a baby.”

“It was a Vera Wang dress,” adds V. “And when I saw Monika’s reaction to it, I just knew this was the dress!”

Malibu Lesbian Wedding
Monika and V during their wedding ceremony at Calamigos Ranch; photo by Derek Chad Photography

For more beautiful LGBT ceremonies and stories, visit our Real Weddings section at Love Wins California.

Feature image by Derek Chad Photography