Inside Weddings - - Contents - Oc­to­ber 13, 2018 Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia | Pho­tographed by Rene Zadori Photograph­y

Oc­to­ber 13, 2018 Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia Pho­tographed by Rene Zadori Photograph­y

“We re­ally en­cour­aged our guests to avoid tak­ing pho­tos and videos and just join us in be­ing in the mo­ment for the day.”

While dat­ing, Sevan Markari once told Ani Esmaili that he would never get down on one knee to propose, to which Ani re­sponded that she would not say yes un­less he did so. “Given that we’re now mar­ried, we know which one of us folded,” Ani says smil­ing. The bride loves ev­ery­thing about lights – Sevan even gave her a vin­tage Edi­son light bulb for their first Valen­tine’s Day to­gether – so she sched­uled a trip with friends to go to RiSE – a fes­ti­val out­side of Las Ve­gas that ends with the light­ing of pa­per lanterns. Be­fore leav­ing to sur­prise her, Sevan met with his sweet­heart’s par­ents to get their bless­ing for her hand in mar­riage. Un­der thou­sands of lanterns, he got down on one knee and asked Ani to marry him.

One year and one week later, the big day ar­rived and guests gath­ered at a his­toric ho­tel in down­town Los An­ge­les. “The elab­o­rate de­tails in each ball­room com­bined with the well-pre­served his­tory of the space gave us ev­ery­thing we both ap­pre­ci­ated,” the bride de­scribes of their venue choice. For the cer­e­mony, they in­ten­tion­ally let the room speak for it­self, only adding can­dles as dé­cor. “This was, af­ter all, the same room that wed­ded Charlie Chap­lin and had Ru­dolph Valentino danc­ing the night away,” re­veals Ani. The 175-per­son guest list felt like an in­ti­mate gath­er­ing in con­trast to Ar­me­nian tra­di­tion, where wed­dings of­ten have sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple in at­ten­dance. Since sib­lings of both the bride and groom had fol­lowed those cus­toms, the sweet­hearts felt they could get away with do­ing things dif­fer­ently – though the cel­e­bra­tion was still far from the elope­ment Ani ini­tially hoped for. In ad­di­tion to the smaller guest list, a dear friend of­fi­ci­ated the cer­e­mony in­stead of the cou­ple get­ting mar­ried in a church.

Walk­ing arm in arm with her father, the bride was a show­stop­per in a sparkling gown paired with a tulle over­skirt. Her jet-black hair was styled in soft waves and parted on one side, be­fit­ting the Old Hol­ly­wood vibe show­cased by the venue. “As soon as she was by my side, ev­ery­thing else seemed to evap­o­rate,” Sevan muses. Af­ter recit­ing their per­sonal vows and be­ing pro­nounced hus­band and wife, the new­ly­weds made their way out of the cer­e­mony hall to the tune of “Signed, Sealed, De­liv­ered” by Ste­vie Won­der. “In Ar­me­nian cul­ture, you don’t get to have vows, but I’m so glad we de­cided to write our own and break that rule,” shares Ani.

The or­nate ball­room that hosted the re­cep­tion was filled with el­e­gant gold de­tails. Soft ar­range­ments of white blos­soms and green­ery were dis­played in ves­sels fea­tur­ing a sur­pris­ing pop of blue. “We de­cided on a time­less theme and incorporat­ed chi­nois­erie to com­ple­ment the Paris-Ver­sailles feel of the ball­room,” the bride ex­plains. Flo­ral de­signer Ed­die Zarat­sian cre­ated lush cen­ter­pieces for each ta­ble, but the stand­out de­sign was the cake wall. Be­hind the el­e­vated sweet­heart ta­ble were shelves of vanilla-hued flow­ers sur­round­ing the min­i­mal­ist al­abaster con­fec­tion, which was framed by a pair of chi­nois­erie can­dle­sticks on each side.

Though the love­birds es­chewed cul­tural cus­toms for their cer­e­mony, they fully em­braced their Ar­me­nian her­itage for the re­cep­tion mu­sic. A tra­di­tional num­ber was used for their grand en­trance, and even more Ar­me­nian songs were played while ev­ery­one danced, in ad­di­tion to Per­sian and Ara­bic tunes. “We also bonded over a lot of al­ter­na­tive and hip-hop, so we made sure to have a lot of that dur­ing the re­cep­tion [as well],” adds the groom. “With the cel­e­bra­tion go­ing un­til 2AM, it was im­por­tant to have plenty of mu­sic to en­joy.”

By fol­low­ing old tra­di­tions and cre­at­ing new ones, Ani and Sevan were able to have the wed­ding of their dreams be­fore em­bark­ing on a Euro­pean hon­ey­moon. The only as­pect of the day the bride would change also serves as a re­minder for cou­ples plan­ning their own cel­e­bra­tions. “We re­ally en­cour­aged our guests to avoid tak­ing pho­tos and videos and just join us in be­ing in the mo­ment for the day, but I wish I did a bit bet­ter of a job at that as well,” she re­flects.

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