When Aliana Jimenez and Matthew Segal first met in Las Vegas, they knew that their connection was something special. “It was obviously one of the best weekends of my life!” shares Aliana. Following their two-year courtship back home in California, Matthew knew it was time to propose “after seeing that she could put up with my work and travel schedule, my golf schedule, and excessive phone usage – and still say she loved me regularly,” he smiles. Before boarding a plane at LAX – to the city where their romance began – for their annual family vacation, Matthew proposed on the tarmac, and Aliana joyously accepted.
When selecting a locale for their nuptials, the couple had a difficult time finding the perfect Los Angeles site. “Nothing felt that special,” notes the bride. So, Aliana and Matthew took the advice of a family friend and went down south to visit the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. “We fell in love with the venue and the hotel. It is such a beautiful location – and not by the beach, which everyone [assumes] when they think of San Diego,” she adds.
After they secured their dream venue, Aliana and Matthew enjoyed their engagement and resumed planning in the spring with the help of Alex Alexander of Alex Events. Their families participated in the process as well, helping during dress fittings, hotel viewings, and floral previews. “It was so much fun planning with both my mom and Matt’s mom,” says Aliana. “And our dads loved it as well!”
Since the bride had converted to Judaism prior to the nuptials, the couple desired a celebration filled with Jewish customs. “Since so many of our guests had never experienced a traditional Jewish wedding, we wanted to show everyone what it was like,” she shares. So, the duo participated in a ketubah signing before the evening service, exchanged vows beneath a chuppah, and danced the horah at the reception. “Aliana knew how important it was for me to be married by my childhood rabbi and never argued with me through the process,” reveals Matt. “That meant the world to me.”
On the evening of the alfresco winter ceremony, 360 guests gathered on the lawn of the Mediterranean-inspired property. Lush florals in white, pink, and apricot enveloped the entire space, from wrought-iron gates at the entrance to a dramatic floral-encrusted chuppah, as well as hydrangea-embellished flower wall panels on either side that bore the couple’s initials formed with roses. Dramatic crystal chandeliers were suspended above the aisle, which was decorated with small ivory rose bushes along the sides and covered with a blanket of petals in peach and champagne hues.
Bridesmaids preceded Aliana down the aisle in floor-length grey dresses to “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake. The bride followed in a blush gown featuring a voluminous ruffled skirt and matching bolero to a rendition of “All of Me” by John Legend. “Music is very important to Matt and me, so it was a lot of fun picking the ceremony music,” she shares of the selections. Following the service, Aliana surprised her groom with a performance by the USC Trojan Marching Band, in honor of his alma mater. “It was so special,” says Matt, who wore a grey suit accessorized with playful Converse sneakers to match his groomsmen.
Guests found their place cards for the reception at a long table covered with a textured rosette linen in cream and adorned with a tall tree-like arrangement embellished with white hydrangeas, roses in shades of peach and pink, and strands of glimmering crystals. Entering the magical ballroom, friends and family discovered a spectacle of lush blooms, glittering touches, and an impressive wedding cake. “We wanted something fun and exciting that looked like a beautiful party,” declares the bride of their vision for the design. “Our wedding planner really understood that and executed it perfectly!” Adds the groom, “The décor was off the charts!”
Silver chairs featuring charcoal fabric woven through the back surrounded round and square tables, which were decorated with either shimmery grey or gold sequined linens. Towering arrangements composed of vanilla hydrangeas, roses in pearl, apricot, and blush, and accents of greenery stood atop vases dripping from top to base with crystals. Flickering golden candle votives and low vessels filled with pink garden roses, alabaster ranunculus blossoms, and peach roses completed the centerpiece design. “Because grey and ivory were two of our main colors, the flowers had to provide all the color,” explains Aliana.
Following the dinner service, guests enjoyed slices from the couple’s impeccable wedding cake, which was suspended from the ceiling by crystal chains to create a striking chandelier. The pièce de résistance of the celebration featured seven light pink tiers adorned with sparkling details. The top of the cake and base of the “swing” that held the confection were bedecked with fresh florals. “It really was one of the most beautiful wedding cakes I had every seen,” confirms the bride.
The newlyweds’ first dance was Aliana’s most memorable moment of the day. “It was the first time we were really alone together, even though we were in a room full of people,” she shares. Loved ones were later surprised by a special performance. The legendary Paul Anka entertained the crowd with “a mini concert.” “To see all of our guests, young and old, enjoy such a classic was really great,” agrees the pair. Taking the advice given to her by many, the bride wishes the same for other couples planning their nuptials: “Really enjoy your whole day, from getting ready to dancing all night long.” Her groom concurs, “Don’t stress yourself out… Make sure you and your wife have fun!”