Angela Salazar and Laith Agha's relationship is a true Tinder success story. Both new to online dating, the pair met in San Francisco in 2014, when they were both working for local newspapers. Fast forward to August 2016, when Laith proposed after the two celebrated their second anniversary in Ojai, California. “It was an unassuming Wednesday night, after work, while we were sitting on our sofa at home,” recalls Angela.
When it came time to choose their venue, the pair zeroed in on Carmel, where Laith is from and where they’d decided to move permanently after saying “I do.” When they looked at the Spanish-style beachfront Monterey Peninsula Country Club, says Angela, “everything clicked.” Coastal California elegance was the goal, which they accomplished by blending a timeless palette with personal details, lots of calligraphy, and countless roses. The latter were an ode to Laith’s late mother, an avid gardener with prized rose bushes.
Leslie Kaplan—“the most amazing, professional, kind, detail-oriented planner,” says the bride—helped reduce Angela’s stress during the planning process, which was key because she and Laith became new parents, to their daughter Livia, during the process. “I think that, in a weird way, having a baby made us stress less about the planning process, because we had to keep our priorities straight and not get too focused on the small stuff,” she says of their September 30, 2017 wedding. “Our daughter was also a daily reminder of our love and commitment to each other, and we felt really grateful to be able to celebrate our family with this beautiful wedding.”
Keep reading to see more of Angela and Laith's coastal California nuptials, as photographed by Valorie Darling. It's a beauty!
Angela’s eternity wedding band was custom-made (by Jewel Boutique in Carmel) using diamonds from a ring her grandmother had given her.
The couple opted for a neutral palette of mostly white, gold, grey and shades of blue for their wedding. They commissioned a custom rose-branch illustration to adorn their invitations and all printed goods.
Roses became a unifying element for the occasion and were featured prominently throughout the day. The white and taupe-y pink buds paid homage to Laith’s late mother, who kept prized rose bushes, and Angela’s maternal grandmother who loved those hues.
Angela wanted a somewhat conservative and classic long-sleeve, high-neck gown but she added a fitted bodice to keep it current. She looked to dressmaker Lynne Carter to create a custom design, which was also a necessity due to her pregnancy. “It was really one of the best decisions," she says. "I brought in photos of dresses I loved, and we were able to pinpoint the elements I wanted most and combine them in a way that best suited my body and my taste.”
She was even able to customize the material, importing in a Chantilly lace that featured a rose pattern, another nod to their family-oriented theme. (She kept the extra lace to give her daughters one day for their own weddings.) Carter also sewed her grandmother’s antique Art Deco diamond and sapphire brooch on the back of the gown to give it the ultimate personal touch, which served as her something new, borrowed, old and blue—since it technically belongs to her aunt now, and they had to replace two missing diamonds.
The bride carried a hand-tied, garden-style bouquet that included lush blooms, organic greenery, and roses (of course!), all tied together with gray silk streaming ribbons.
The groom added a simple rose boutonniere to his charcoal grey Armani suit, which he paired with a crisp white shirt and navy blue tie. His groomsmen wore the same classic boutonnieres.
Angela wore bright blue Aquazzurra heels to tie into the-and-white color palette.
Angela’s three bridesmaids wore dusty blue Jenny Yoo dresses that they all tied into different necklines.
The couple’s six-month-old daughter, Livia, was their flower girl, and she “held” a pomander of dried flowers while Angela’s mom walked her down the aisle. Her wedding ensemble was a Tartine Et Chocolat dress with beaded lovebirds, and Sam Edelman Mary Jane shoes, one of which she lost before going down the aisle!
Liath’s nephew and niece led their seven-year-old lab-whippet mix down the aisle as their ring bearer. She wore a custom grey velvet ring pillow and olive-branch wreath around her neck—and as if on cue, she barked when Angela and Laith were presented as husband and wife.
The couple said "I do" under an arch adorned with organic greenery and lush cream and taupe blooms. The chairs along the aisle were tied with simple olive branches, so as not to compete with the gorgeous Pebble Beach setting.
The couple was married by Charlene Dyer, Laith’s mother’s best friend, who recounted things his mom had told her about their relationship, and made them feel as if his mom was present for their special day. They wrote their own vows, on deadline (true to their journalistic roots!) the day before the wedding. "We incorporated our daughter, and our admiration for each other as parents, with our love and respect for each other as individuals," says the bride.
The couple's venue, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, was particularly special for the groom, who grew up going there with his family. The couple decided to enhance the club's already beautiful decor by adding floating candles and flowers to a fountain in the courtyard. During cocktail hour in the courtyard, the newlyweds served an elderberry sparkler, with syrup from Carmel Berry Co., which started out harvesting berries at Laith’s family’s ranch in Carmel Valley.
Angela and Laith’s custom rose-branch illustration was also featured on the escort display, which featured rose branches interwoven with table assignments.
In lieu of a traditional guest book, the couple asked their guests to sign the backs of oversized Scrabble tiles. They felt this represented their careers as writers and editors, as well as their love of Words With Friends.
The couple's planner enlisted the help of numerous vendors to put together stunning reception tablescapes, which were set in a tent in the club's Spanish courtyard. The space's ceiling was draped with fabric, twinkle lights, and iron chandeliers to add warmth and depth. The king tables were dressed in flowing natural-colored tablecloths with mahogany Chiavari chairs.
Place settings included silvery-grey napkins on gold-rimmed chargers, topped with menus and floral accents hand-tied with silk ribbon. But each place setting was different—one of the bride’s favorite parts of the decor! Centerpieces varied as well, from larger garden-style arrangements of white roses in stone pedestal vases alongside smaller bundles in brass compotes. Table numbers featured their custom rose-branch illustration and were displayed on brass floral frogs.
Fresh figs were also added alongside brass candlesticks to add another layer of texture to the table settings. The menu was California-inspired and included chicken confit with carrot-stained risotto, or grilled salmon with citrus polenta cake.
The couple's seven-piece band Wildfire set a lively tone for the reception. They danced to “I Found You” by the Alabama Shakes for their first dance.
Angela and Laith had a main two-tier cake—one tier painted gold, the other white—topped with a sprig of Viburnum berries. They also served three single-tier cakes, surrounded by the same figs, greenery and flowers as their reception decor.
When the couple entered the reception, Laith’s friend, singer Mara Hruby, performed “Is This Love” with the wedding band. Adds Angela, “Mara was the first friend of Laith’s I met, so it felt like a full-circle moment and an honor to have her want to be part of our wedding.”
Venue & Catering: Monterey Peninsula Country Club
Planner: Leslie Kaplan, Encore Event Design
Bride’s Dress: Lynne Carter
Bride’s Shoes: Aquazzura
Groom’s Attire: Armani
Floral Design: Gavita Flora
Invitations & Paper Products: Emily Devitt Designs
Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Jewel Boutique
Photography: Valorie Darling