2008 was a life-changing year for Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. It was the year that the couple decided they wanted to get married, and it was also the year that California voters passed Proposition 8, banning marriage for same-sex couples. But rather than spend a year or two picking centerpieces and creating a registry, Jeff and Paul spent the next five years making their way from Federal District Court in California to the U.S. Supreme Court, as lawyers Theodore B. Olson and David Boies argued for marriage equality for all couples. And on June 28th, 2013, Proposition 8 was declared unconstitutional. Mere hours later, Paul and Jeff were married in a legal ceremony by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "The only thing missing that day was our family," Jeff exclusively tells Brides. So a few months later, he and Paul decided that they needed to celebrate the momentous decision — and their love for one another — in the most deserving of ways: with a wedding!
On Saturday June 28th, 2014, exactly a year after Proposition 8 was overturned and they were legally wed, Paul and Jeff tied the knot at the Beverly Hilton, hosting a private dinner for 150 friends and family members in the hotel's Stardust Penthouse, decorated by Stacey Ruiz and Jason Harder of Shiraz Events and Luna Gardens Events. "We told them what we like, and they ran with it," say the grooms. "It was more than we could possibly have dreamed."
After dinner, the couple and their guests headed downstairs to meet 80 additional revelers, and Paul and Jeff exchanged personal vows on a platform over the pool in a ceremony officiated by Olson and Boies. They spun straight into a dance with their moms, sliced their five-tiered cake by Joanie & Leigh's Cakes, then partied the night away with their guests, sipping Moët & Chandon and squeezing in some time in the photo booth. Our Labor of Love captured every detail, and SharkPig had cameras rolling.
The day went off without a hitch, thanks to the incredible team that made it happen. "It's a memory we'll never forget," says Paul, "because we never ever dreamed it would be possible." Adds Jeff, "Being in the LGBT community, you cope with the idea that you may never have access to certain things. And when you get them, it's overwhelming. And the support we got from everyone on such a personal level made the celebration even more memorable." And their guests felt it, too. "One of our friends came up to us and said that the love was reverberating so strongly that they'd be feeling it for days," says Jeff. "We soaked it in, and I know we'll be feeling it for a long time to come."
Click through the slideshow to see exclusive photos from the couple's absolutely stunning celebration!