Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, 31, and former model Jaime Edmondson, 38, have friends and family spread out across the country, so when they got engaged in November of 2013, they knew they wanted to have a wedding that would bring everyone they love together for the holidays. When Vibiana, a converted cathedral in Los Angeles, was available on New Year’s Eve—Jaime’s dream wedding date—the couple jumped at the chance to kick off their marriage and 2016 surrounded by their loved ones.
“New Year’s is all about having high hopes for the future, and I thought there was no more perfect way to start off marriage life than on a day when everyone is excited about what’s to come,” says the bride. With the date set, Evan and Jamie focused on the fun. “We wanted to make sure it felt like a party for everyone, not just another reception. People are excited to get dressed up and feel sexy on New Year’s.” With a moody and romantic vibe in mind, the future Mr. and Mrs. tapped pro-planner Mindy Weiss to bring their vision to life, and trusted the uber-talented Elizabeth Messina to document every epic detail.
“I had heard of Mindy Weiss before we ever got engaged. Everyone’s heard of Mindy!” says Jaime. “I just assumed she was untouchable, it never crossed my mind that I could have someone of her caliber planning my wedding. I thought she was a whole other level, but once I spoke to her and loved her, I knew I needed her on our team. She was the first person we booked.” With the famed planner on board to make the Jaime and Evan’s ideas a reality, the couple spent the next year-and-a-half planning the ultimate New Year’s Eve wedding.
To set the right tone, the bride and groom knew they needed to invite friends and family with the perfect invitation suite. “The invitations set the tone for the wedding right away,” Jaime says. “That’s where it all starts, and we knew Cindy at Bliss & Bone was perfect right away.” Drawn to her unique designs and rich color palettes, Jaime knew Cindy would understand her vision perfectly. In less than a month, the couple’s stationer had perfectly the floral look the couple was going for, wrapping the gold calligraphed invite in ultra-cool black lace for a special finishing touch.
As a former model, it’s no surprise Jaime has an eye for fashion. Her Mark Zunino ball gown was the perfect look for a dramatic ceremony. She paired the full skirt with a flowing veil and some seriously cool shoes: Her Sergio Rossi sandals added just the right amount of edge to her wedding day look.
Evan was every bit the dapper groom in his custom tuxedo from Evan DeLaney Bespoke.
Two of the most important members of the couple’s wedding party were their adorable kids, Elle, 3, and Nash, 2, who served as flower girl and ring bearer. Elle looked like a mini version of her mother in a full skirt and finished her look with a crown of fresh flowers. “My daughter was so thrilled our dresses looked alike,” Jaime says. Nash wore his own mini tux.
The candlelit ceremony was held in the venue’s main hall, where Elle and Nash started the festivities with their sweet walk down the aisle. “Watching our kids was our favorite part of the day,” the bride says. “It made us so happy to see them having a great time.”
Jaime first saw Vibiana on Instagram and fell in love with a photo where the altar had been covered with glowing candles, so she knew that was a must-have requirement for her own ceremony. For Evan, the biggest décor priority was bringing live trees into the space. “Evan loves trees, so we met with the florist and they collaborated on the kinds of trees we’d use,” says Jaime. “He nailed it with that idea.”
Since the space is already so ornate, the couple felt they didn’t need much in the way of additional décor. They opted to add clusters of bold red flowers at the beginning and the end of the aisles arranged to appear as if they were growing out of the trees themselves.
The bride walked down the aisle with both her father and step-father, and then met Evan at the head of the aisle to exchange vows they had worked on with their reverend. “On of my favorite quotes we chose was, ‘For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul,’” she says.
While the ceremony space was flipped for the reception, the couple invited their guests to join them in a twinkle light-lit tent just outside for cocktail hour. “Twinkle lights are in my top five favorite things in the world,” the bride says. “I love them. The trees in our yard have them year round, so when we knew we had to put up a tent for cocktail hour, I said, ‘Okay, but if I’m putting up a tent, it needs to be covered with twinkle lights.’” It’s safe to say Mindy and her team totally delivered on that request.
Guests moved back inside and found their seating assignments written on an elegant, oversized mirror. By the looks of it, Elle was just as wowed with the design elements as the couple’s guests!
Back inside the venue’s main hall, friends and family were treated to a reception complete with dark-hued floral arrangements and gothic-inspired place settings. “I wanted the wedding to feel sexy and moody,” the bride says. “An adult feel. Maybe if I’d gotten married in my early 20s I would have wanted a totally different look and feel for the reception, but as an adult woman, I wanted a more elevated ambiance. Especially since it was New Year’s Eve.”
Playing off Vibiana’s architecture and the bride’s love of gothic style, tables were decorated with textured black linens, bold centerpieces, and a healthy dose of gold accents. Each table featured a mix of different high and low floral arrangements, sticking to a mainly burgundy and white color palette. Pops of deep purple and blush made an appearance, too, ensuring there was something new to see throughout the space.
“Evan and I had seen the ceremony space before everyone else, but we were the last ones to see the reception,” Jaime remembers. “It was so special to see it for the first time filled with our family and friends. It looked exactly the way I had envisioned in my mind.”
Each place setting included a gold-rimmed charger and gilded flatware, but to ensure the space didn’t look too structured or stuffy, Mindy’s team mixed and matched different goblets and accent pieces across tables. Another key element? Candlelight. “We wanted as many candles as we were permitted to have.”
Some place settings were finished with a geometric vessel of flowers while others were topped with a single-stemmed bloom.
For this couple, a family-style dinner was the only way to go. “I don’t like buffets because no one eats together, and I knew I didn’t want to do a plated meal because I’m a picky eater and don’t like to order ahead of time,” the bride says. “With family-style, you have your choices but everything is served tableside.”
Jaime snuck away to change into a fitted Ines Di Santo gown before she and Evan shared their first dance to “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray.
The newlyweds cut into their five-tiered wedding cake, which featured layers of almond and chocolate and vanilla marble cake.
For guests that needed a break from dancing, the couple offered a fun and inventive favor: Butt sketches! Yes, you read that right! “It’s essentially just a sketch from behind,” the bride says. “Everyone was obsessed with it and had theirs framed after. We added him at the last minute and we’re so glad we did. In fact, the line was so long that we ended up asking him to stay longer.”
Just before the clock struck 12, everyone received flutes of champagne, noisemakers, masks, and hats for the confetti-filled countdown, a surprise for the couple's friends and family. “Being with our guests at midnight was really special,” says Jaime. “We felt like we were celebrating the future.”
Like any good New Year’s Eve bash, the reveling went on well past midnight. “It was a full party until the very end. By law, we had to stop at 2 a.m., but if it had been up to us, it would have gone on until sunrise!”
Venue & Catering: Vibiana || Wedding Planner: Mindy Weiss || Bride's Wedding Dress: Mark Zunino; Ines Di Santo || Groom's Attire: Evan DeLaney Bespoke || Invitations: Bliss & Bone || Floral Design: Mark's Garden || Rentals: Classic Event Rentals; Casa De Perrin; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental || Cake: Joanie and Leigh's Cakes || Music: West Coast Music || Videographer: Lola Video || Photographer: Elizabeth Messina