"I don't think anyone thought it would last a lifetime," Julie Benz said of her casual introduction to now-husband Rich Orosco. But the actress—of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and Dexter fame—was seriously smitten with the spontaneous marketing executive.
Orosco proposed at the couple's Hollywood home. "Rich not only surprised me with a proposal, but he also threw a surprise pop-up engagement party in our backyard," Benz said. The party—complete with a taco truck and mariachi band—would set the tone for the couple's wedding nearly one year later. "Sixty people walked up our driveway and surprised us after I said yes," she said. "I was blown away that my friends were able to keep such a big secret. Everyone knew he was going to propose—including everyone at our local grocery store—except me."
Drawing inspiration from Orosco's Latin-themed pop-up party, the couple wed on Cinco de Mayo. Their wedding mixed "old Hollywood glamour with Latin flavor," Benz said. The Mayan-influenced architecture and charming courtyard of Lloyd Wright's Sowden House in Los Feliz, California, was the perfect place to entertain 120 of the couple's family members and friends. "Sowden House possessed all the old Hollywood glamour we were looking for, but also kept the feeling intimate," Benz said. "It is truly one of a kind."
The bride wore a strapless organza gown by Theia. "As soon as I put it on, I knew it was the one," Benz said, noting that its raw edges and cascading layers "perfectly complemented our wedding venue." Personal stylist Joey Tierney-Schubert designed the bride's veil, which was made of soft silk tulle.
Best friend Clare Kramer—the woman responsible for the couple's casual introduction four years ago—served as their maid-of-honor. She and seven other bridesmaids wore custom-designed cap-sleeved gowns covered in more than 1 million silver sequins. Their dresses were also by Theia.
Bridesmaids carried plush bouquets of peonies and roses in varying shades of pink. The bride's bouquet was "classic and romantic with a touch of color," she said, and included a mix of peonies, gardenias and garden roses.
At 6 p.m., the couple wed in the courtyard of Sowden House. The stone-enclosed courtyard was awash in awe-inspiring blooms, from beautiful pink bouganvilla that cascaded down the walls to urns that overflowed "with flowers in bleeding shades of coral, pink, white and soft grey and green tones," Benz said.
The bride's manager of 27 years, Vincent Cirrincione, walked her down an aisle covered in seagrass. "We didn't write our own vows, but we worked with our Officiant to create something special," Benz said of the couple's ceremony. "Our favorite line was, 'Today I give myself to you and ask for your tomorrows.'"
Benz said, "I worked really hard on picking the music for the ceremony. We wanted to set a celebratory tone." From Kayne West to Ingrid Michaleson, Benz's choices were eclectic. But the couple stuck with a classic for their recession: "You're my first, my last, my everything," by Barry White.
"I'm a big wine fan, so I insisted on having my favorite wine from Brancott Estate at our wedding," Benz said. The groom also offered guests his choice drink—spicy cocktails made of tequila.
Guests were treated to a smorgasbord of hors d'oeuvres that included taco sliders, lamb loin lollies and pupusas filled with wild mushrooms and grasshopper salsa. "But my personal favorite was the seared tuna with watermelon, avocado and jalapeno on tostadito," Benz said.
The self-proclaimed foodies also kept their wedding's Latin flare alive in their reception food, serving flat iron steak tacos, watermelon mint salad with queso fresco, and Yucatan pork with pasilla peppers and pepper jack cheese at several food stations. The couple had "no assigned seating," Benz said. "We wanted our guests to mingle."
DJ Pesce played old school hip hop and top 40 dance music at the couple's request. "DJ Pesce is the best DJ in Los Angeles," Benz said. "We've been to many parties where she was DJing and we knew we wanted her." In between sets, several people offered up toasts to the couple, including Orosco's father and two brothers, and maid-of-honor Clare Kramer.
For favors, the couple gave guests small bottles of Don Julio Blanco tequila adorned with custom wedding-day labels.
Guests who traveled the world to attend the couple's Cinco de Mayo celebration were rewarded with a special treat: sombreros.
A gluten-free cake was layered with lemon and strawberries and topped with fresh flowers. The couple also served churittos, cafe de olla, mini tres leches and chocolate pots de creme for dessert.
Though the couple couldn't immediately head on their honeymoon— "I had to fly back to Toronto to continue working on Defiance for SyFy Channel," the bride explained—they didn't stop celebrating when the reception ended. "We all headed back to the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood and continued to celebrate," Benz said. "We had an amazing penthouse suite that has a spectacular view of the Sunset Strip."
Venue: Sowden House || Planner: Event Eleven || Stationery: Paperless Post || Floral Designer: Floral Art La || Gown: Theia || Bridesmaids: Theia || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Caterer: The Food Matters || Cake Designer: Angella's Sweet Spot || Music: DJ Pesce || Photographer: Christine Chang || Videographer: Gros Venture Pictures