Ten years after they met as college sophomores at Southern Methodist University (and after working with his bride-to-be to design an engagement ring), Ross knew it was time to surprise Stephanie with a proposal. So he and her parents planned what she thought was a family dinner at Giorgio Baldi, Stephanie's favorite restaurant in Santa Monica, on Friday, December 13th, 2013. But the reservation was just for two, and when the couple arrived, their favorite waiter delivered glasses of chamgapne — and a ring. "We were seated at a table next to Gwyneth Paltrow, and she was the first one to congratulate us," remembers Stephanie. "Turns out Friday the 13th isn't so unlucky, after all!"
After spending a decade together, the couple didn't drag their feet when planning their wedding, hiring Allyson Levine and Katie Pincus of Bob Gail Special Events to help them put together a fabulously modern celebration for 150 guests in just eight months. "It was challenging to find a balance between our careers, wedding planning, and a personal life, so we were so lucky to have our parents and the Bob Gail team to guide us!" Stephanie remembers.
Want to see how it turned out? Keep reading and take a peek at these fabulous photos by Next Exit Photography.
The wedding, at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, combined the couple's modern sensibilities with a touch of Hollywood glamour. Stephanie donned a gold embroidered Monique Lhuillier gown with an illusion neckline. "I almost missed this dress," she says. "It was in the window of the salon, so we didn't see it on the way in. But once we discovered it and I tried it on, I knew it was the one." And she felt the same way about hiring planner Allyson Levine. "It turns out Allyson and I are the only two brides to ever choose this dress! It gave me even more confidence that we'd hired the right person to execute our wedding-day vision."
Not to be outdone by his bride, Ross tried on quite a number of tuxedos before finding this slim-fit Ralph Lauren Black Label design. Stephanie gifted him a dose of sparkle the morning of their wedding, in the form of black glitter Jimmy Choo dress shoes.
Sequins set the scene for the couple's whimsical, modern wedding, starting with invitations printed in gold — a perfect match for Stephanie's dress!
The couple dressed up the hotel's garden with a floral wall of white hydrangeas, orchids, and greenery, flanked by tall columns topped with calla lilies. "Writing our own vows was really important to us," says Stephanie. "We wanted to make our guests smile and really reflect our personalities." She promised to keep the fridge stocked with salsa, he promised to support her love of Italian shoes.
A table topped with white tulips displayed the escort cards.
Stephanie and Ross created a cozy feel in the ballroom by draping the room in white chiffon and using amber lighting to create a candlelight effect. Tiered white tulips and roses were arranged on the tables, as well as hung from above like chandeliers. Gold chargers and flatware warmed up the all-white tables.
Suspended floral elements and gold glitter-dipped marshmallows added a playful touch to the modern décor.
For dinner, the bride and groom's Texas background served as inspiration for the mini tacos and Kobe beef sliders, followed by black bass with baby artichokes and pan-roasted filet mignon. For dessert, Stephanie and Ross cut into a four-tiered white cake filled with triple berry cream, topped with cascading orchids.
The party wouldn't be complete without a glittering Texas groom's cake! The carrot cake was served alongside churros, fruit tarts, cheesecake, and s'mores.
Says Stephanie, "We took dance lessons for months leading up to the wedding, trying to perfect this amazing dance routine. While we definitely got an A+ for effort, I don't think we'll be on Dancing With The Stars anytime soon!"
The couple, who honeymooned in Bora Bora, made sure to take some time for themselves, both during the planning process and at their wedding. "Be sure to enjoy each other!" says Stephanie.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Hotel Bel-Air || Wedding Planner: Allyson Levine & Katie Pincus of Bob Gail Special Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Shoes: Sergio Rossi || Jewelry: Baggins || Hair: Oeanne Salon || Makeup: Make-Up Therapy || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Sung || Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren Black Label || Groom's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Groomsmen's Attire: Black by Vera Wang || Floral Design: Floral Art || Invitations & Paper Goods: Sugar Paper, Kristeen LaBrot Events, Calligraphy Katrina || Music: Bob Gail Special Events || Catering: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air || Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals, chargers - BBJ, flatware - Casa de Perrin, draping - Revelry Event Designers, linens - La Tavola Fine Linen, furniture - FormDecor, dance floor - Designer Event Rentals, lighting - Peterson Event Lighting || Favors: champagne - BevMo!, straws - Paper Source, tags - The Stationery Studio || Videography: Elysium Productions || Photography: Next Exit Photography
Want to see more California weddings? Then see another couple tie the knot in the Golden State in the video below!