‘Weddings’ Category

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.

Wedding Bells Magazine,

“Ines and Jason”
June 26, 2004

from The Wedding Channel’s Wedding Bells Magazine, Fall 2005

Every couple wants to entertain their guests at their wedding, but Ines Logarta and Jason Domantay made sure theirs would be a hard act to follow. Their save-the-date cards featured photos of the couple, a message – “He popped the question!” – and small bags of kettle corn. At the wedding, instead of a guest book, the couple installed a retro photo booth so the 315 guests could capture their presence. The 25 invited children enjoyed a “kid’s room” with activities like cookie decorating. A 10-piece band played everything from Frank Sinatra to Prince and, for dessert, a flowing chocolate fountain ensured everyone would leave with the sweetest memories of the night.

Where to find it

Flowers: FloralArt, Venice, Calif.
Gown and veil: Cantu & Castillo Couture, Los Angeles
Photo booth: Photobooth Scrapbooks, Phoenix, Ariz.
Photography: Joe Buissink Photography
Planning: Details Event Planning by Lisa Gorjestani, Santa Monica, Calif.
Wedding Site: Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles


Angeleno Magazine Oct/Nov 2003



Island touches and attitudes make for a wedding paradise right here in town

by Audrey Davidow
photography by Miki and Sonja

Long before she ever walked down the aisle, Kari Isaaksen knew what most brides only learn in hindsight. As the manager of Embrey Papers, the Brentwood stationery store that caters to posh local brides, Kari had seen firsthand how overly ambitious plans and micro-managed minutiae could quickly strip the fun from the festivities. So when she got engaged last fall to Arthur Rasmussen, a real estate vice president she had met five years earlier on a blind date, she knew exactly how she wanted things to proceed. “I wanted to keep things simple and in perspective. It was always important for me to enjoy the planning process.”

Enter wedding coordinator Lisa Gorjestani, owner of Details Event Planning. “I had worked with Lisa through the store and I just knew she’d be perfect. She’s very creative, but doesn’t try to dominate the whole picture — she just gets it.” Together they set about designing the look of Kari’s dream wedding, which in this case meant skipping formal in favor of fun.

First things first: location: Kari and Art, who are both third generation Angelenos, toyed with the idea of tying the knot in Santa Barbara, but ultimately they decided to say close to home. They wanted a casual atmosphere and that meant picking a place with easy access for their friends and family. It didn’t take long for the couple to settle on having their reception at Trader Vic’s, a place that holds more than a few special memories from their courtship. Art had taken Kari there on several dates, and even chose it as the site for her surprise 25th birthday party.

The decision to hold the ceremony at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills was also a natural. Not only was it close to the reception site, its small size provided just the intimate backdrop the couple was looking for. The couple asked one of Art’s old teachers from Loyola High School, a Jesuit priest, to preside over the ceremony and had the St. Paul’s Choristers, a local childrens’ choir, provide the music.

Kari walked down the aisle, which was adorned with an ivory runner and ivory rose petals, in a stunning Vera Wang duchess satin gown. Topping off the ensemble was a flowing cathedral length veil, which she later replaced with a white orchid for the reception.

A lime green accent was carried throughout the ceremony, even extending to the clothing. Art and his groomsmen wore tuxedos with chartreuse ties while the bridesmaid’s bouquets, designed by Jennifer McGarigle of Floral Art, were fashioned with white roses and green parrot tulips.

After the ceremony, the 130 guests headed down the street for cocktails at Trader Vic’s. Instead of champagne, Kari and Art offered a menu of colorful Polynesian concoctions, including Mai Tais and the couple’s favorite, Fog Cutters, which Kari describes as “fruity, frothy and slightly dangerous rum drinks.” In lieu of fussy, pixie-sized hors d’oeuvres, Trader Vic’s tray-passed a never-ending procession of pupu platters. “The less predictable environment just made it that much more comfortable for the guests to enjoy themselves,” says Kari.

Dinner was a sit-down affair consisting of Trader Vic’s classic salad, Thai whipped potatos, Chinese-style asparagus, grilled sea bass and New York strip. But the real scene-stealers were the centerpieces. Intent on creating a Polynesian feel without going “too Fantasy Island“, Kari and Art created an arrangement of cylindrical vases filled with white roses, gardenias and chartreuse cymbidium orchids, which sat on silver trays scattered with rose petals and coral. The seating cards, which were tied to small starfish, were also displayed on silver trays filled with sand. And at each place setting, napkins were wrapped with a thick band of chocolate brown satin ribbon and garnished with a single orchid. For a bejeweled fairyland effect, hundreds of glass votives were hung from the ceiling over the dance floor.

The one design dilemma? The invitations, of course. “It was the hardest thing for me to pick,” says Kari. “The pressure of finding something timeless and beautiful but at the same time special and less predictable than what I see every day was really tough.” She finally settled on a classic Crane invitation, beveled with chocolate brown ink and engraved with hand-calligraphied text to match.

Design details aside, fun remained the first priority for Art and Kari, who wasted no time hitting the dance floor for their first song, “Moonglow,” a Benny Goodman tune the couple discovered, and claimed as “theirs” on their second date. The final dance, however, was left for the ride home: guests drove away with a bobbing hula doll on their dashboards. The attached card read, “We saved the last hula for you.”

A weekend fiesta in Mexico

Sheila Rosenbaum to Brett Bouttier
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

from the summer 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine

It was no surprise that Sheila Rosenbaum and Brett Bouttier chose to have a destination wedding, since most of the major milestones of their relationship happened on vacation. Within months of meeting on a blind date in December 2000, the two television executives went on a romantic jaunt to Ojai, a small city about ninety minutes from Los Angeles, where they live. “It was one of those trips where everything is so perfect that music should be playing in the background,” says Sheila.

During a two-week trip to France and England, the couple realized their relationship was something special. “We spent every minute together and didn’t have one bad moment,” says Sheila. Three and a half years after their first date, Brett proposed at one of their favorite resorts in Santa Barbara.

The two exchanged vows before thirty-six friends and family members on the beach at the Esperanza resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Afterward, guests dined and danced on terraces overlooking the water. The reception was part of a weekend of festivities, including a cocktail party and a beach barbeque and bonfire. “This time Brett and I wanted to have a getaway with the people we love the most in the world,” says Sheila. “The wedding was the pinnacle of our ideal vacation.”

photographs by John Dolan text by Dina Roth Port

The letterpress invitation and itinerary for the June 4, 2005, wedding weekend arrive in a a custom folder; invitations introduce the brown-and-green color palette as well as the mint-left motif, which is a nod to the mojito, the resort’s signature cocktail.
The bride, in Monique Lhuillier, and groom, in Vestimenta, embrace under bamboo poles marking the ceremony site.

Top row: Guests pose for a group photograph on the beach. Mint and kaffir-lime lollipops are handed out at dessert time. Bottom row: Filigreed sandalwood fans and paper parasols, decorated with monograms and mint leaves, help guests stay cool at the outdoor event.


Guests dine at one long table on a terrace at the resort.

Top row: Limes, Casablance lillies, and lisianthus make up the centerpieces. Inside favor boxes are mojito-scented candles. Bottom: Jars of candy were set at each table during dessert. The couple by the pool. Cupcakes topped with candied mint sit on silk-covered boxes.

Show big creativity in the smallest details

Show big creativity in the smallest details

from the Fall 2006 issue of Weddings in Style magazine

At his recent wedding, musician Justyn Wilson honored his late father, Beach Boy Carl Wilson, by asking Lisa Gorjestani of Details Event Planning in L.A. to order guest towels printed with the lyrics of a song his dad co-wrote. While most couples display their names or monogram on paper goods, Gorjestani suggests following Wilson and bride Britta Nicholaysen’s lead by picking a song or poem. To keep the words from overwhelming, limit them to 25 or less, she says. – A.G.

A verse from “Heaven” in brown ink on disposable paper guest towels, $152 for 400; foryourparty.com. Gorjestani recommends ordering approximately four towels per guest.



from the winter 2006 issue of Los Angeles Weddings magazine
photography by Elizabeth Messina

Brooke Friedman and Sean Ponist’s match was made in virtual heaven. After the two L.A. natives (both were living the the Bay area at the time) found themselves single following long-term relationships, they met via JDate, an online Jewish singles community. “When I saw his profile,” says Brooke, “I thought, ‘There has to be a catch. This guy is too good to be true.'” She was a medical student at UCSF; Sean was an attorney practicing in the ‘burbs. “It’s hard to imagine how we ever would have met otherwise,’ Brooke says.

Both knew their relationship was different from the start. They talked about marriage on their fifth date and moved in together after just a month. On their one-year dating anniversary, Brooke received a professionally engraved dinner invitation and several dozen long-stemmed roses at the clinic where she was seeing patients. As she suspected, Sean popped the question that night after dinner on a stroll through Golden Gate Park, the scene of their first kiss (he’d flown to L.A. beforehand to ask for her father’s blessing).

After a fruitless search for a private site in which to have the wedding, Brooke’s mom suggested she contact family friend Karen Rosenthal for ideas. “We weren’t expecting her to open her home to us,” says Brooke. But the owner/resident of the Malibu Estate and Vineyard generously offered, and the couple graciously accepted.

Brooke chose and elegant, strapless Kirstie Kelly gown and had the designer add hand-appliquéd French lace and bits of lace borrowed from her mother’s wedding gown.

The couple was married under a huppah (canopy) made with their grandfathers’ prayer shawls. Brooke describes the traditional Jewish ceremony, which was officiated by the rabbi who’d performed her naming ceremony when she was a week old, as “very mushy and romantic,” and admits it was a struggle to make it through the vows they’d written without crying. For parents and grandparents, the couple had handkerchiefs embroidered with personal inscriptions: “To dry your tears as you have always dried mine” read Brooke’s mom’s; “For being the first man I ever loved” went to her dad.

For the festivities, the vineyard grounds were transformed into a Moroccan plaza, decked with cozy couches and ornate linens. The newlyweds dazzled the group with their newfound dance moves (they’d taken lessons on the sly) to Etta James’ “At Last.” “We did some spins and dips, and everyone was cheering,” recalls Brooke. Then, the Durell Coleman Band kept the crowd on their toes with hours of soul music. “If there was a roof, they’d have blown it off,” Brooke insists. Between tunes, guests sampled sweets in the dessert pavilion, where boxes labeled “sweet dreams” were on hand to fill and take home, along with a bottle of Rosenthal chardonnay.

Before leaving for their honeymoon in Greece, the couple spent the night at the vineyard. “My mom snuck in and covered the place with rose petals and candles,” says Brooke. It was magical.

The Details
Venue: Rosenthal the Malibu Estate (not available to the public for events)
Wedding Gown: Kirstie Kelly
Coordinator: Lisa Gorjestani
Photography: Elizabeth Messina
Videography: Bliss Video
Flowers: Bryan Wark Designs
Catering: The Kitchen for Exploring Food
Cake: Fantasy Frostings
Invitations: Dauphine Press
Music: West Coast Music/Durell Coleman Band


Your Own Hollywood Affair


from the Premiere issue of Long Island Bride & Groom magazine
written by Caroline Kinneberg

Maybe you don’t have a wedding budget like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ or a guest list crowded with VIPs, and you’re probably more worried about remembering to pick up your invitations than the press getting ahold of them — but that doesn’t mean your wedding can’t be a sensation.

Increase its “wow” factor with these tips and tricks from Porfirio Figueroa, event director of Great Peformance (whose orchestrations include former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2003 wedding at the Gracie Mansion, Vogue Magazine’s Fashion Rocks event at the Time Warner Center last fall, and other New York society galas), and Lisa Gorjestani of Details Event Planning in California (who has worked with Halle Berry, Dustin Hoffman’s daughter, and other big name celebrities).

surprise them

First, try wowing guests the old-fashioned way. Figueroa suggests going simple at the beginning of the event when guests are sipping cocktails, leading them to expect more of the same. Then go all out in the last place people see, typically the rooms where they’ll be dancing and dining., which leaves them elated and energized. He recalls one Scottish wedding where he hid the bride behind a group of bagpipe players, and tshe emerged to lead the astonished wedding guests to the area where the ceremony was going to take place. “You can achieve the same reaction in less extravagant ways: with florals, lighting, color, music, beautiful food, or delicious drinks,” says Figueroa.


The main focus remains, of course, on your wedding dress, but use your ceremony as an excuse to extend your wardrobe. Celebrities often do a change – or two – of dress: Katie Holmes is just one recent example. According to Gorjestani’s recommendations, wear your wedding dress until the cake cutting, and then switch into an evening gown for the post-party. Simply changing your outfits’ colors can transform the night’s vibe. For a more ostentatious alteration, slip on rented glamorous jewelry that will dazzle your guests. Some jewelers who sell engagement rings and wedding bands will also loan rings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. Don’t let a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like that pass you by.


For a post-party, relocate your guests to another venue to add depth to your event. It could be a nightclub or restaurant with a sectioned-off bar area or private room. For something convenient and private, reserve the penthouse suite of a hotel where many of your guests are staying. To create a truly unforgettable event, move the entire party to a new place from start to finish – in other words, plan a destination wedding. Nicole Kidman brought husband Keith Urban back home to Australia. Hollywood heavyweights Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts did the same. A dual citizenship isn’t required to recreate this; you can host your storybook wedding at a locale that’s abroad or in the tropics. Whether you visit Italy or the U.S. Virgin Islands, your walk down the aisle will leave an impression on guests. Consider a location that will make everyone comfortable, and take advantage of airline and hotel package deals to ease costs. Your guests will surely appreciate the excuse for a vacation.

gifts for your guests

According to Gorjestani, couples with a lot of money don’t necessarily give wedding favors. Often, they make a donation to a charity or the arts in their guests names instead. Present the donation – you can omit the amount – with a scroll wrapped in a bow at eah place setting. This way, your contribution will double as a gift. Or, try treating dessert as a gift. Figueroa once created a dessert spread filled with tall floral sprays, clear glass plates, and votives. The desserts were all miniatures that guests could carry home in cellophane bags with ties.

As for bridal party gifts, Gorjestani suggests planning a relaxing spa day and giving your attendants super-soft, monogrammed bathrobes. Bridesmaids’ kits filled with useful items like personalized water bottles, sewing kits, and luxurious mini lotions are another popular giveaway. Jewelry might make their eyes sparkle, but other gifts can be more thoughtful.


Although stars have access to some of the world’s most creative minds to help them set their ceremonies apart from the masses’, you too can produce an unforgettable event. For one source of inspiration, Figueroa suggests keeping pictures of ideas that you like from magazines and the internet – categorizing them by table decor, flowers, wedding dresses, etc. – and keeping them in a spiral notebook. Then, as you move toward the big day, removing items that won’t with with your budget or theme. Another way to spark your imagination is changing your environment to something out of the ordinary: go to a new museum, visit the botanical gardens, or spontaneously take a weekend vacation. This can help you come up with unique ideas that mean something to you. Finally, finding unusual ways to incorporate a theme can add creative energy to your wedding. A single color, for example, can be woven into linens, napkins, invitations, place cards, and other accents. The ways to wow your guests are endless.

You’re planning the biggest party of your life, so feel free to pull out all the stops.

On your wedding day, you and your groom are the celebrities.

Real Wedding

Wedding Consultant
Lisa Gorjestani, Details Event PlanningCeremony & Reception Site
The St. Regis Los AngelesOfficiant
Rabbi Dennis EisnerGown Designer
Monique Lhuillier

Stuart Weitzman

Hair Stylist

Makeup Artist
Cathryn Van Breene

Mother’s Gown
Badgley Mischka

Wedding Cake
Cake Collection


Flowers by Michele

Glow Linens
Unique Tabletop

EDS, ceremony
Martin East, DJ, reception

Miki & Sonja Photography

Bliss Video

Rehearsal Dinner
Director’s Guild of America


JULY 12, 2003

Photographed by Miki & Sonja

The bride, who had formerly worked at Patina Catering, had a specific vision for the wedding and knew exactly what she wanted for her and Dan’s special day.

The two met in March 2000 through mutual friends while in college. Though Dan was attending Brown and Gina was studying at Washington University in St. Louis, the future bride and groom felt an uncanny connection and hoped that their paths would once again cross. (Part of the “uncanny” connection may have been due, in part, to the fact that their fathers had been in the same freshman dorm at The University of Vermont). Fortunately, graduating at the end of that semester, Dan was offered and accepted a job in Los Angeles, where Gina had lived. The two began seeing each other, kindling a romance and friendship that now had no obstacles of distance, and enjoyed an exciting courtship that included extensive travel, which became one of their shared passions.

Dan’s wedding proposal nicely befit their special bond and reflected their mutual appreciation of fine food and love for family. Plotting without Gina’s knowledge, Dan staged and tightly executed a romantic ruse to ask Gina for her hand in marriage. With the help of Gina’s parents, Dan pretended to be going on a golf getaway to Palm Springs with Gina’s father. Meanwhile, with the guys out of town, Gina’s mom offered to treat her to a sumptuous meal at LA’s Matsuhisa, one of Gina’s favorite restaurants.

Upon entering, Gina was escorted to a private dining room, where she found Dan, who proceeded to drop to one knee and ask Gina to spend her life with him. Gina was completely shocked, and more than a bit befuddled by the presence of a sushi chef, who snapped photos of the surprise event, and then prepared a most sumptuous meal for the two.

The luxe St. Regis Hotel in Los Angeles was the site of the ceremony and the reception. The ceremony was deeply moving, and was conducted by the same Rabbi that had converted Dan to Judaism and had counseled the couple for two years before the wedding. Knowing Gina and Dan so well, the Rabbi conveyed an incredibly warm, genuine depth to the nuptials.

Matched with clean, modern lines and a slight Asian influence, the color red provided the basic theme for the event. The centerpieces utilized square silk dupioni linens, placed on rectangular tables, and consisted of dark wood boxes filled with red roses. Flanking the dance floor were unique bamboo arrangements for an exotic touch. The wedding cake was four-tiered, each layer separated by red roses; and a delicious croquembouche was offered as well.

Guests, seated at tables named after Gina and Dan’s favorite restaurants around the world, were treated countless culinary delights. The hors d’oeuvres included beluga caviar and chive crème fraiche; gazpacho with bay shrimp served in a shot glass; and tuna tartare wontons with avocado and wasabi. An Asian sian station offered wild mushroom potstickers with sweet Thai sauce, shrimp and vegetable wonton rolls, and assorted dim sum. A salad course consisted of fennelpoached Maine lobster with mango remoulade and vine ripened tomatoes and watercress with grapefruit chervil dressing. The trio of pastas was a succulent mushroom ravioli with crème based truffle sauce, pesto risotto with spring peas, rediatore with Amantriciana sauce, followed by an entrée offering of ginger soy glazed black bass and grilled New York Strip Steak with Bordelaise sauce. Krispy Kreme doughnuts were on hand at the end of the evening, ensuring a late night sugar rush for the partiers. Even the wedding favors were the perfect complement to the gourmand evening: guests received bottles of olive oil with the couple’s favorite recipes attached.

Adding to the festivities, Gina’s father opened a ’77 (Gina’s birth year) Graham’s Port he had been saving since her childhood precisely for this occasion. In making their first toast, the bride and groom used the same pewter champagne goblets that Dan’s parents had used at their wedding, a moving testament to family. Agreeing a wedding should be about fun and good food, the bride and groom carried their celebration by honeymooning, and dining, at the W Hotel in Hawaii, Princeville in Kauai, and the Four Seasons in Maui.


Teri & Duncan

Thank you to Mark’s Garden for a spectacular job!