Inside Weddings - - Weddings - May 28, 2016 San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia | Pho­tographed by John & Joseph Pho­tog­ra­phy

May 28, 2016 San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia Pho­tographed by John & Joseph Pho­tog­ra­phy


Hon­or­ing an an­nual week­end jaunt or­ga­nized with his group of friends, Jose Letayf jet­ted off to New Or­leans look­ing for­ward to a lively va­ca­tion. How­ever, he got more than he bar­gained for when his close crowd ran into Ross Markowitz’s as­sem­blage. “One of my friends met one of his and they in­tro­duced us,” Jose re­mem­bers. Ross quickly adds, “It was not love at first sight; I had to pur­sue Jose for a week af­ter the trip ended.” Eleven years later, the duo was stronger than ever – how­ever, “not once did we ever talk about mar­riage,” Ross re­veals. “We just did not think it would ever be pos­si­ble.” That be­ing said, Ross had no ex­pec­ta­tions of a pro­posal when the two voy­aged to Hong Kong in late 2014. “Af­ter a few post-din­ner drinks, I asked him, ‘Will you marry me?’” re­counts Jose. Aware of the fact that they had been drink­ing, Ross was sure that his beau was kid­ding, an­swer­ing that they would dis­cuss it the fol­low­ing day. When the sub­ject was broached the next morn­ing, Jose was ad­mit­tedly a lit­tle up­set and in­quired, “Why would I ask such a ques­tion if I were not se­ri­ous?” Know­ing that he wanted noth­ing more than to spend the rest of his life with Jose, Ross promptly ac­cepted.

Upon in­tel­li­gently select­ing Thomas Bui of Thomas Bui Life­style to de­sign their wed­ding, Jose and Ross went about the co­or­di­na­tion process the only way they knew how. “We’re both busi­ness­men and we’re ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing a solid plan,” Ross ex­plains. “So, we had a stand­ing ap­point­ment with Thomas ev­ery Tues­day night for the length of our en­gage­ment. He didn’t tell us un­til af­ter the wed­ding that no other cou­ple ever met with him so reg­u­larly! He ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions.” From the be­gin­ning, the pair em­pha­sized to their plan­ner that, un­like other cou­ples, they wanted to shift the fo­cus of the day onto their guests. “We con­cen­trated on mak­ing the day about our friends and fam­ily – all of the peo­ple that had sup­ported us and our re­la­tion­ship over the years,” Jose muses. In or­der to ac­com­plish this, they com­mis­sioned clas­sic ivory bou­ton­nieres for ev­ery man in at­ten­dance to make them a part of their wed­ding party, per­son­al­ized bal­let flats for ev­ery woman to al­low them to dance the night away, and cus­tom Cham­pagne flutes with the name of each rev­eler etched in cal­lig­ra­phy.

Seven­teen months af­ter Jose popped the ques­tion on the other side of the world, 250 guests gath­ered to wit­ness the grooms tie the knot at their sea­side venue in San Diego. Sil­ver chairs adorned with the cou­ple’s first ini­tials rested un­der­neath tents com­prised of sheer white linen. The crisp ivory aisle popped with two col­umns of green­ery, grass and ferns alike, hous­ing full-sized cherry blos­som trees flank­ing it on ei­ther side. The al­tar fea­tured the same saplings ac­cented with count­less blos­soms in vary­ing shades of blush and pearl con­structed into a chup­pah cov­ered with a lovely pon­tif­i­cal cloth fea­tur­ing He­brew let­ter­ing. Both dressed in stylish black tuxe­dos, Jose was es­corted down the aisle by his par­ents fol­lowed closely by Ross, ac­com­pa­nied by his brother and sis­ter. “We wanted to show re­spect for my par­ents, who at­tended in spirit, so we in­cluded a read­ing in their honor and laid flow­ers in two empty chairs dur­ing the cer­e­mony,” ex­plains Ross.

One of the most ex­cep­tional as­pects of the ser­vice was the way in which the grooms blended their re­spec­tive back­grounds. “I am a New York Jew and Jose is Mex­i­can Catholic,” Ross di­vulges. “As such, we had a rabbi, a priest, and one of our best friends marry us. We in­cluded most of the tra­di­tions of both faiths, and it was mag­i­cal, as the two fam­i­lies got to ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent cul­tures.” De­sir­ing to keep with cus­tom­ary wed­ding rit­u­als, Jose and Ross de­cided not to write their own sen­ti­ments: in­stead choos­ing to re­cite tra­di­tional mat­ri­mo­nial vows. “We didn’t think we’d ever have the right to get mar­ried, so we wanted to go about it the con­ven­tional way,” Jose notes.

Af­ter spend­ing some time mix­ing and min­gling in the open-air lounge area for cock­tail hour, at­ten­dees made their way in­side to find an op­u­lent fairy tale come true. Al­abaster cur­tains en­cir­cled the vast space, which dis­played a clas­sic color con­cept of creams and pinks. Cas­cad­ing flo­ral fix­tures of wis­te­ria and vines as well as dreamy crys­tal chan­de­liers seemed to float over­head – as did mem­bers of an ac­ro­batic group poised above the en­trance, pour­ing Cham­pagne into guests’ glasses as they walked into the space. Round ta­blescapes ac­com­mo­dat­ing light pink linens, clear vo­tives in dif­fer­ing heights, and three-foot cen­ter­pieces brim­ming with blush pe­onies and cherry blos­soms sur­rounded the cus­tom dance floor and stage, upon which rev­el­ers were treated to a va­ri­ety of ex­cit­ing per­for­mances. “When we first walked into the re­cep­tion as hus­band and hus­band, it was so sur­real,” Ross shares. “We never thought we would be in this place with every­one who loves us so much.”

Be­sides the heart­felt illustration of com­mit­ment and the play­ful at­mos­phere, the fo­cal point of the even­ing was surely Jose and Ross’ seven-tier cake. The con­fec­tion in­cluded Swarovski crys­tals, pink pearls, and sugar roses. Ad­di­tion­ally, the new­ly­weds pro­vided take-out boxes so that friends and rel­a­tives could take a lit­tle piece of the sweet treat home with them. To the grooms, their nup­tials were the per­fect ex­pres­sion of time-hon­ored cus­toms, mod­ern flair, and guest con­sid­er­a­tion. “As we got fur­ther into the plan­ning process, we de­cided to add more spe­cial en­ter­tain­ment that was not part of the orig­i­nal plan,” affirms Jose. “We do not re­gret a sin­gle dol­lar spent – ev­ery­thing was spec­tac­u­lar!”



Ann DeNi­colo




Coast Ca­ter­ing


Thomas Bui Life­style En­ter­tain­ment

Caprice Strings

De Leon Pro­duc­tions

Siren’s Crush Dance Band Fa­vors


The Tipsy Grape

Flo­ral De­sign

Nisie’s En­chanted Florist For­mal­wear


Tom Ford


East Six


Charles Koll

Light­ing De­sign

Am­ber Event Pro­duc­tion


Wild­flower Linen

Mother’s Gown

St. John


John & Joseph Pho­tog­ra­phy Registry

Neiman Mar­cus

Re­hearsal Din­ner

Manch­ester Grand Hy­att San Diego

Rentals/Aisle Run­ner

Hire El­e­gance




Gold­field Stage

San Diego Pres­tige


Port Pavil­ion on Broad­way Pier Videog­ra­phy

Epic Af­fair

“When we first

walked into the re­cep­tion as

hus­band and hus­band, it was

so sur­real.”

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