A Sophisticated Tented Estate Wedding in California

Samantha and Jason

Photographed by: Jay Lawrence Goldman PhotographyLocation: Agoura Hills, California, United States

Jason Scherr and Samantha Heller’s first encounter was… sweet: They met in high school over a bag of Skittles candies. He asked if she would like to share it with him, never expecting that it would lead to an even more important proposal twelve years later. But when Samantha held Jason’s hand for the first time at her fourteenth birthday party, she knew she never wanted to let it go. Samantha and Jason had so many ideas for their wedding celebration that a three-day holiday weekend was needed to fit it all in. Festivities began the Friday before Memorial Day with a bridesmaid’s luncheon and cooking demonstration. Not to be outdone, the groom’s father, a car collector, hosted a vintage car rally for Jason and his groomsmen so they could each experience driving a classic car. Following the rehearsal on Saturday, the wedding party, family, and out-of-town guests were treated to a country and westernthemed dinner with professional line dancers and an authentic blue-grass band. To impress the crowd and to the delight of their children, both Samantha’s and Jason’s parents secretly took line dancing lessons before the party and gave the professionals a run for their money.

After two days of pre-wedding celebrations, guests were primed for the main event. The ceremony and reception took place at Jason’s parents’ home because its unique beauty and size provided the perfect backdrop for their dream affair. When wedding consultants Diane Levine and Alyson Fox asked the bride and groom about the type of atmosphere they wanted to create for their wedding, Jason pointed to Samantha’s engagement ring as the best example of the simple elegance they adored. “This is how we want our wedding,” he explained.

The house was then transformed into a sophisticated paradise of love and romance with a rich blend of brown, red, purple, green, and ivory, which set a warm and inviting mood. To create the aisle, a bridge was built over the swimming pool dividing it into two parts, which framed the proceedings. A magnificent tent was erected to house dinner and dancing for 240 guests, and a tranquil fountain – part of the existing property – created a unique focal point in the tent’s foyer. Reflecting Jason’s love of music (and his career as a marketing executive in the music industry), Spanish guitarists played while the wedding party walked down the aisle. And when it was his turn, Jason entered to the rock-n-roll classic “Stairway to Heaven.” Samantha’s grand entrance was set to an instrumental version of Sting’s “Shape of My Heart” because, as she explains, “This has been our favorite song since we met and hearing the Spanish guitars play it reminded me of all the time we have spent together – all 12 years. It was truly the perfect song for us to use!”

To celebrate the importance of family in both their lives, Samantha’s father created a wall of family wedding photos in vintage frames, displayed in the style of a family tree. He labeled each of them with the names of the people pictured and how they were related to the bride and groom. To thank guests for the valuable roles they, too, had played in Samantha and Jason’s lives, a photographer snapped pictures of everyone as they arrived. During the ceremony, the photos were developed and placed in beautiful frames for guests to take with them when they left. Another highlight of the evening was the premier of a short film in which the bride and groom reenacted the story of how they met, their first kiss, and how Jason proposed to Samantha. In keeping with the couple’s preferred style, the floral arrangements and votives at each table were romantic and loosely tailored. Surrounding the taller topiary centerpieces of flowers in a rainbow of colors were smaller flower-filled vases. Some tables boasted shorter centerpieces consisting of several small vases placed together in a group and filled with a similar combination of colorful flora.

The menu for the evening included everything from sushi to ice cream sandwiches. Just in case all of that was not enough to satiate their guests, Samantha and Jason treated everyone to fresh, hot doughnut holes as they waited for their cars. The treats were presented in bags that read: “Something sweet to make your night complete!” The celebration ended as the newlyweds rode off in his father’s 1931 Chrysler Duel Cowl Phaeton, with Mr. Scherr proudly at the wheel. It was an especially sentimental drive for Samantha. “When we got to the hotel, I said ‘Goodnight, Dad.’ It was the first time I had called him ‘Dad’ and I think he knew it was a touching moment, too.”

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