Brewed Romance

“Brewed Romance”

from the 2005 issue of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine

Written by Debbi Karpowicz Kickham
Photography by Elizabeth Messina

Everything about the relationship between Andrea Coppola and Michael Guerin of Venice, California has been full of wonderful surprises. The couple met by chance, when Michael arrived before opening hours to buy his morning coffee at the bakery/café owned by Andrea. The two flirted and laughed through a comic pantomime as Michael tried to figure out when the doors would open.

Faster than you can say “frappuccino,” a romance was born. “It was love at first sight,” said Michael, and Andrea agreed, admitting that Cupid struck in an instant. Their first date was four days later; their engagement, a year after that.

Andrea and Michael’s August 2004 wedding was a flawless feast for 175 guests, held in the backyard of her parents’ English manor home in Montecito. The elegant reception, described as “vintage eclectic” by event planner Lisa Gorjestani, included unexpected treats that enhanced the outdoor location: seating cards dangled from tree branches and a gazebo near a Koi pond featured a Moroccan lantern and throw pillows for relaxation. The pool deck was transformed into a seating area decorated with sofas and ottomans. Topiaries, candles, chandeliers – even a seagrass aisle runner – added to the ambience.

Unexpectedly, a retro photo booth was the reception’s biggest hit. Andrea and Michael invited guests to sit in the booth, close the curtains, and take a series of small black-and-white photos. Afterwards, guests were directed to a decorating table to cut out their favorite images and paste them into a scrapbook. Michael said the custom-made keepsake “became the most amazing memory piece,” a marvelous alternative the signatures in a standard guest book.

Burgundy was the color of the day, starring in the bridesmaid gowns, tablecloths, chandelier crystals, and table arrangements. The flame-red dahlias in Andrea’s bridal bouquet complemented her antique ivory gown; fresh rosemary, tied with French ribbon, stood in for boutonnieres.

The cuisine was equally inspired. The showstopper at the cocktail hour was a stunning vodka bar and three-tiered ice shelf that held melon and grape sorbets. Following a Santa Barbara seafood station, dinner featured a trio of mini salads, three types of ravioli, and entrées of hardwood-grilled steak medallions and cedar-roasted salmon. Favors? Small galvanized buckets filled with chocolate-covered fruits, purchased for a song at Trader Joe’s.

The bride and groom honeymooned in Maui and Mexico, where they spontaneously indulged in a Mayan vow-renewal ceremony. “We’ll definitely renew our vows again,” said Andrea. That’s not surprising, considering the couple’s choice of music for their first dance: “The Best is Yet to Come.”

Wedding Planner: Lisa Gorjestani, Details Event Planning, Santa Monica, CA.
Event Design: Bryan Wark Designs, Culver City, CA.
Caterer: Market Catering, Redondo Beach, CA.
Gown: Les Habitudes.
Tuxedo: Zegna.

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