Every day our Bella Figura clients are inspirations to us. They have good tastes in invitations, of course, but they also have amazing talents at planning fabulous weddings. So with our new web site, we wanted to start profiling some of the best weddings of our clients. We’re just thrilled that our first Bella Figura real wedding is this lovely couple, Allan & Brian, with a really spectacular wedding. When we saw photographs from their celebration at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, all of us here were just floored by the creativity of everything about the wedding. Allan & Brian choose the Circolo 2 design in cardinal and pewter, and their invitation really captured the spirit of their wedding. And then Allan sent us some amazing writing about the wedding too, the importance of the ceremony, and his thoughts about love that described, for us, what weddings are really about.
What was your inspiration for the wedding?
The arts are very important to us, which is one important reason why we chose Disney Concert Hall as the venue. We also both have an affinity for the music and styles of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. We wanted an event that was stylish and elegant but also fun. We opted for a black tie-optional champagne cocktail event. We love art deco style, so we wanted something inspired by that sensibility. But because the concert hall is so modern, we didn’t want a slavish re-creation of art deco. Instead, we wanted a fusion which was a challenge to pull off, but ended up working really well.
Tell us about the proposal.
It would be great if there were a story with lightning bolts or roses or bended knee in the moonlight. However, after 18 years together there was no such moment. Actually, we were quite surprised when the California Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing same-sex marriage in the state. Beginning that evening, friends and family started calling to ask, “So, are you going to do it?” We were both surprised to discover that we had repressed how much we wanted to get married — how important it was to have an event that included the people who mattered most to us. And so after a few days of weighing the options (such as a small ceremony at the county clerk office) we decided we wanted a real wedding. And, with Proposition 8 on the November ballot, we felt we had a brief window in which we could confidently plan something.
How did your invitation capture the mood of your wedding?
From the outset, the decision to have a wedding was driven by our wish to include the people that are important to us. We didn’t see ourselves as a couple in isolation, but as people who are part of a much larger and therefore stronger circle. Because of that, we didn’t want to stand alone in front of and separate from people during the ceremony. We wanted to be surrounded by people, to be part of a literal circle of love. And the Circolo 2 design
captured that idea perfectly. We also thought although it was contemporary, the invitation had a sensibility (especially with the font we chose) that echoed earlier times. And we thought the circles reminded us of champagne bubbles. (Yes, we did also consider the Champagne design, but the circle concept ultimately was more important.)
What was your favorite moment?
Exchanging vows. In advance, we were both nervous about speaking vows in front of everyone — it seemed so intimate. But when the moment came it was transcendent and powerful. It was as if time stopped, and for a few moments all our love and that of everyone around us and rooting for us came together as one. The actual moment
of committing your heart and future to another is incredibly powerful and emotional.
Three adjectives that describe your big day are:
Profound. Beautiful. Fun.
What was your favorite wedding detail?
We didn’t have a traditional wedding party, but we did want to include the people most important to us in the ceremony. We also wanted the ceremony itself to say something about the nature of love and commitment, and to draw on works of art — novels and poems — that meant something to us. We met both goals by having about a dozen people read brief passages about love during the ceremony. Identifying the passages to read took a lot of time, but it was worth it. The ceremony is what people talked to us most about that day and since. It meant so much to us to have people take part in it and we were very moved by the readings themselves, with the interpretations people gave to the material.
Favorite design element of your wedding:
All the design elements were beautiful, but the cake would have to be our favorite. We hired Christopher Garrens to design it, and it was stunning. It incorporated the elements of music (even the lyrics to our song, “My Romance,”) and also the art deco style. It even included the circles from the invitation design! The cake was such an important element that our wedding planner, Kevin Covey, put it on the platform where we had the ceremony as the central design element. It was stunning.
What did you love about working with Bella Figura?
What didn’t we love? The designs are stunning and the actual invitations were beautiful. We got compliments on them up to, during and even after the wedding. People are still talking about them. And the service was perfect — Andrea was warm, friendly, responsive. Everything was done exactly as promised and when. We loved the idea that we were working with a company that respected tradition and gives back to the community. And we really appreciated that our non-traditional wedding was treated with respect.
What advice would you have to someone planning their wedding?
1. Remember, it’s YOUR wedding. Plan the day that you want, and don’t allow yourself to be overly influenced about what everyone else wants. It’s so easy to get all caught up in making everyone else happy. During the planning, I told a good friend about all the stress we were feeling and she said something that really helped: “Everyone else’s job is to show up and to love you.” It sounds so simple, but it was so helpful. We went back to that over and over. She was right.
2. Invest your emotional and mental energy in the ceremony. So much energy goes into the aesthetics of the event — the flowers, the cake, etc. But in the end, the whole day is really about making a commitment. Think about what you really want that moment to be, and make it your own. In the end, that’s what you — and the guests — will really remember.
3. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t “feel” right to you, it probably isn’t. Hire someone to think logically for you and then let your emotions guide you. This is a day about emotions, so don’t discount what you are feeling.
What’s next for you as a couple?
Other than coming down from the high of the wedding? Continuing to build a life together and to keep learning and growing. And to work to see to it that we are allowed to stay married and that all gay and lesbian couples who love each other and want to commit their lives to one another get the chance to have the kind of joyous, unforgettable day that we had and to experience the transformative power of marriage.
Invitations: Bella Figura Letterpress
Photographer: Barnet Photography
Cake: Christopher Garrens, Let Them Eat Cake
Wedding planner: Kevin Covey