Marisa, 27, and Patrick, 32, both studied at Duke University, North Carolina, but didn't meet until 2003, when their financial careers took them to New York. 'The moment we connected, all of our mutual friends were asking themselves why they hadn't match-made us sooner,' says Marisa. 'We're like two peas in a pod.'

Two years later, Patrick surprised Marisa by whisking her to the Turks & Caicos islands for a week of scuba diving and, more importantly, to propose on a moonlit beach. As for choosing a wedding destination, Marisa spent much of her childhood in Santa Barbara, California, and she and Patrick often visited its pristine beaches. 'We realised it combined our love of outdoor activities, vintage charm and relaxed elegance,' recalls Marisa.

The ceremony was conducted by a long-time family friend and, after the procession of four bridesmaids to the sound of a trumpet player, the chapel doors swung open and the bride was escorted down the aisle, past the 200 guests, by her parents.

At the reception, the bride and groom's personal touches were evident in every detail, from the antique blackboards displaying the antipasti selections and hand-calligraphed menus, to the carousel of vintage postcards used as a guestbook. The Tuscan feel of the estate set the ideal atmosphere for an Italian-inspired menu, which Marisa and her father spent months tweaking and personalising to include some favourite family recipes.

After the speeches, the newlyweds surprised the crowd with a rehearsed dance to David Bowie's classic Let's Dance. As the sun set, guests poured onto the dance floor. 'People loved the band so much, we had to negotiate behind the scenes to keep them playing for another hour,' recalls Patrick. When the band eventually said goodnight, the party moved to a bar in the upper garden, offering grappa, cigars and espresso, where a capella singing and dancing kept guests laughing into the next day.

Wedding planned by Amy Nichols Special Events;