An Elegant Two-Day Celebration on the California Coast

Real Weddings

A few years back, a canceled trip to Mexico caused Sara and Shant to trade the beach for a stay-cation at their favorite spot in downtown New York, the Greenwich Hotel. "It was one of the most amazingly memorable weekends," says Sara, the owner of Deux Lux handbags. So in December of 2013, when Sara came back from a 10-day work trip in Asia, Shant decided to surprise her with another weekend at their favorite spot. "We had dinner at Locanda Verde, and were reminiscing about our stay at the Greenwich Hotel," says Sara. "I said we should do it again soon, and Shant pulled a room key out of his pocket and said 'Why not tonight?'!" She still hadn't caught on to his plan, but it all came together when she walked into their suite and found their chocolate lab, Dylan, sitting on the couch. "He ran over to me, and I saw something dangling on his collar. It was a beautiful ring and a silver dog tag that read 'Will You Marry Me?'" she remembers.

Inspired by yet another favorite vacation, Sara and Shant only looked at one venue for their wedding: The Resort at Pelican Hill, on the Newport coast in California. "There was no question about getting married anywhere else," says Sara. The pair planned a two-day celebration on December 19 and 20, 2014, with a Persian ceremony on Friday and a Christian ceremony on Saturday, and invited 170 guests to join them. Scout Designs and So Happi Together helped them create a decidedly chic weekend (with two totally different color schemes!). Prepare to be inspired by this stunning coastal wedding weekend, photographed by Birds of a Feather!

The timeless invitation suite combined rose and yellow gold accents, tying together the weekend's events into one crisp package.

Sara chose a trendy multi-colored ring set, with pink diamonds on her engagement ring and yellow diamonds on her wedding band.

Embellished blush Manolo Blahnik pumps were the perfect base for Sara's Friday evening attire, especially because her cocktail-length Lanvin gown showed them off perfectly! "I was lucky to get to wear two wedding dresses, so I decided to have fun and choose something more playful," says Sara. A pair of dramatic statement earrings and a sleek topknot finished off the look.

Shant also went slightly more casual on Friday, in a Phineas Cole suit and a Lanvin pocket square.

The Persian ceremony took place on the Bungalow Lawn, with the focus set on the stunning Sofreh display, flanked by two arrangements of burgundy and berry-hued blooms.

All of the traditional Sofreh items were on display, including antique Persian silver platters and an ornate mirror.

Sara and Shant walked down the aisle together and were seated on an antique bench. "We had a program printed to explain all of the traditions to our guests," says Sara. Her favorite moment was when the officiant read a Rumi poem in both Farsi and English, a portion of which was also printed on their invitations.

A garland-laden getaway car awaited the newlyweds after their first kiss.

Inside the resort's Pacific Ballroom, oatmeal-colored linens topped round tables, all surrounded by rustic cross-back chairs. Each table featured a lush centerpiece of peonies, roses, ranunculus, anemones, and greenery. Guests sipped pomegranate and prosecco sparklers and ate crostini topped with ricotta and honey before settling in for a meal of crispy rice and beef stew. For dessert, the bride and groom served Shant's favorite, the Mille Crêpe cake from Lady M, alongside an indulgent display of Persian sweets and a traditional tea service.

"We had a traditional Persian folk band play during dinner," says Sara. "We were so surprised to see all of our guests dancing throughout the meal — so much so that some of them didn't even end up eating!"

On Saturday, Sara wore a more traditional long-sleeved lace gown by Monique Lhuillier. "I knew I wanted sleeves, but finding the right dress was harder than I'd expected! I tried on dozens of gowns at several different salons before finding this one at Saks." She wore another pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes, this time in white snakeskin, and carried a pearl clutch from Deux Lux. The lace-edged veil was a stunning and dramatic finishing touch.

Shant's classic tuxedo was from Tom Ford.

To soften her traditional bridal look, Sara wore a floral headpiece down the aisle.

Saturday's ceremony was held on the resort's iconic Rotunda Lawn and was complete with near-panoramic ocean views.

Wild arrangements of greenery and lush white blooms flanked the aisle and the altar. "We didn't want any other décor, since the surroundings are so stunning," says Sara.

After the ceremony, guests sipped a second signature cocktail, this one made with tea-infused vodka, lemon, thyme, and honey.

Escort cards, finished with a gold wax seal, were attached to strands of ribbon and hung on the hedges. Inside the Mar Vista Ballroom, an organic and elegant scheme fit in perfectly with the room's exposed wooden beams. Long tables were topped with hurricane lanterns and low arrangements of white and blush roses, tulips, and lilies in gold vessels.

Each place setting featured a Florentine charger, either white lace or pink glass plates, and pink glassware. "We wanted to keep the flowers the main focus of the space, and warm it up with candles," says Sara. "I gave our florist our inspiration, and she ran with it!"

Even with tasty options like herb-crusted sea bass and braised short ribs on the menu, the highlight of the evening was the wild mushroom bisque, topped with truffled crème fraiche and brioche croutons. "Our guests are still talking about it!" Sara laughs.

The sculpted cake featured feather-like embellishments around layers of lemon sponge with lemon curd and lemon zest mousseline. Outside, a beautiful bar and lounge area featured cigars and bourbon. "It was an absolute dream," says the bride.

"The Resort at Pelican Hill was so accommodating, which was incredible because our dance party went until 3 a.m.!" says Sara. She and Shant broke a lot of "rules" to create a celebration that represented who they are, and they wouldn't have had it any other way. "It's what made our wedding so special," she says.

Her advice is to pick a few moments where you'll let your parents have their way. "The happiness you'll see on their faces is worth a few extra guests or an entrée choice you don't love. The night is for them as much as it is for you!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Resort at Pelican Hill || Wedding Planner: So Happi Together || Wedding Designer: Scout Designs || Bride's Wedding Dress - Friday: Lanvin || Bride's Wedding Dress - Saturday: Monique Lhuillier || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair & Makeup: Kenia R. Daniel || Groom's Attire - Friday: Phineas Cole || Groom's Attire - Saturday: Tom Ford || Wedding Bands: Graff Diamonds, Cartier || Floral Design: Honey of a Thousand Flowers || Invitations & Paper Goods: Scriptura || Music - Friday: Sina Bayat, (818) 429-7676 || Music - Saturday: The N8+ Jazz Band || Catering: The Resort at Pelican Hill || Cake - Friday: Lady M Confections || Cake - Saturday: The Resort at Pelican Hill || Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen; Casa de Perrin; Town & Country Event Rentals; borrowed BLU || Videographer: Iris and Light || Photographer: Birds of a Feather

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Looking for more California wedding inspiration? Then watch another couple exchange vows in San Diego in the video below.

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