Ariella and Jay were living on opposite coasts (she in New York, he in California) before they both decided to enroll in Duke's Cross Continent MBA program, which allows students to live and work anywhere in the world as they complete their degrees. The timing was perfect, as Jay had gotten an exciting promotion that required him to move to The Netherlands. So he and Ariella crossed paths internationally, falling in love as they travelled the world. Two years later, when a drive through New England revealed a park decked out in the finest fall leaves, Ariella convinced Jay to stop the car and take pictures. Little did she know, he had an engagement ring in his sweater pocket. When she turned around to see what he thought of the fall view, she found him down on one knee.
The couple decided to head west to Orange County for the wedding, hoping to avoid typical ballrooms in favor of something more naturally beautiful. The Resort at Pelican Hill and Montage Laguna Beach both caught Ariella and Jay's eyes, but they didn't have to choose between the two: They decided to make a weekend of it and have two weddings, instead! So in 2013, they hosted a Jewish wedding on July 4th and a Hindu wedding on July 6th, celebrating their love and their multicultural heritages. They hired Yifat Oren and her team to produce both events, taking the stress out of planning not one, but two weddings from across the country, and brought on Amy and Stuart Photography to capture double the details.
For the Jewish wedding, lush white blooms were mixed with succulents and greenery for a classic feel. Ariella chose a lace Oscar de la Renta gown with an A-line silhouette. "I found a dress I loved at every appointment, but my mother kept telling me to wait until I'd been to all the salons. She was so right - I ended up choosing this gown at our last appointment, and knew it was the one the second I put it on." She ordered extra lace to make a three-quarter sleeve bolero to cover the strapless silhouette for the ceremony. Her all-white bouquet included English garden roses, hydrangeas, tulips, lily of the valley, and dinner plate dahlias.
The bride and groom exchanged vows beneath a chuppah decked out in ivory, cream, and white blooms. They wrote their own vows, with Ariella quoting Dr. Seuss and Jay reminiscing about how they stayed together, even when they were an ocean apart.
The wedding party consisted of Ariella's sisters and stepsisters, in cream dresses of their choosing, carrying white bouquets of peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, and succulents.
Inside, white blooms popped against neutral linens and lounge furniture.
Parrot tulips and green hydrangeas added a fresh feel.
Two days later, Jay and Ariella and their guests gathered again, this time for a Hindu celebration. Ariella wore a cream and red wedding outfit that her stepmom purchased in India. "With my Jewish upbringing, the traditions and attire for the Hindu wedding were all totally new to me. I felt like a princess!" The wedding party dressed in vibrantly-hued traditional Saris.
This time, the wedding took place at Montage Laguna Beach, where a red aisle led to a mandap draped in carnations, dahlias, and mums in red and burgundy. "Jay's entire family and their guests walked him to the ceremony cite, with his mother and my stepmother by his side. His brother, cousins, and uncles carried him down the aisle on a raised chair!" says Ariella.
Both bride and groom's attire were complemented by traditional floral garlands of red, burgundy, and cream dahlias and carnations.
Shades of red and gold popped against a neutral background. Tables were topped with vibrant centerpieces of garden roses, dahlias, calla lilies, and other blooms in bowls, bud vases, and brass compotes surrounded by candlesticks.
"Indian weddings are so vibrant and full of color, so we wanted to pay tribute to Jay's heritage with lots of deep reds and gold," says the bride.
The groom's cousins surprised the newlyweds with an amazing choreographed dance during the reception. Says Ariella, "I'm so grateful we have it on video!"
Inspired by the movie Rachel Getting Married, Jay and Ariella chose a marble cake with chocolate ganache that was carved to look like a bejeweled elephant.
When Ariella put on her reception gown, she realized that the fit was too tight for the choreographed first dance that she and Jay had planned. But when the DJ played "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz, the couple felt compelled to take to the floor, and enjoyed an impromptu first dance to a song that will always be meaningful to them.
After two weddings and all the surrounding events, the bride and groom decided to delay their honeymoon until their first anniversary, when they traveled to the Dominican Republic.
Says Ariella, "Don't let the planning consume you. It's easy to get wrapped up in the details, so remember to step back and take it all in. And hire a videographer! It allows you to see all the moments you missed, and relive all the emotions in a way that pictures can't."
Wedding Planner: Yifat Oren & Associates || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Robsol Fancies Corporation || Florist: The Velvet Garden || Invitations & Paper Goods: Tiny Pine Press || Videography: Living Cinema || Photography: Amy & Stuart Photography Jewish Wedding: Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Resort at Pelican Hill || Bride's Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta || Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin || Groom's Attire: Burberry || Catering: The Resort at Pelican Hill Hindu Wedding: Ceremony & Reception Venue: Montage Laguna Beach || Bride's Reception Dress: Shehnaai Couture || Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Jewelry: Highglow Jewelers || Groom's Reception Attire: John Varvatos || Music: West Coast Music || Catering: Montage Laguna Beach || Cake: Charm City Cakes West
Want to see more West Coast weddings? Then check out another couple's California celebration in the video below!