Beachside Affair in Santa Monica, California

Sabina and Joubin
Photographed by: Jay Lawrence Goldman PhotographyLocation: Santa Monica, California, United States

"Since Sabina Chechelnitsky and Joubin Bral knew exactly what they wanted out of their big day, the couple opted to plan the wedding entirely by themselves. “We wanted to work as a team and make all the decisions collectively,” explains Sabina. “It was almost like an unexpected test to see how well we could work together.” Intent on an affair that would reflect sophistication and chic elegance, the couple selected a color scheme of black and white mixed with silver accents. “I wanted art-deco charm fused with modern-day Hollywood glamour,” describes the bride.

One of the most important aspects of the couple’s wedding planning was combining each of their respective cultures within the celebration. Although they share the same Jewish beliefs, Sabina’s family hails from Russia while Joubin’s relatives are from Iran. “We didn’t want one tradition to dominate the other... we wanted to keep it neutral and ensure that all guests felt included at every moment,” confides the bride. To achieve this goal, guests were given booklets that guided them through the traditions of the ceremony, while the reception featured a band that specialized in international music. “They sang songs in five different languages,” Sabina says, “plus, the song choices reflected our love for culture and travel.”

The couple chose the main driveway of a gorgeous beachside hotel as the site for their evening nuptials. “The outdoor ceremony was by far the most unique aspect of our wedding,” Sabina recalls. “It was very grand and modern, yet so organic and charming.” Gem-colored lights were strategically placed among the branches of the hotel’s historic fig tree, as well as around the surrounding area to create a unique ambiance. A spotlight that followed her down the aisle emphasized the bride’s dramatic entrance from behind two towering palm trees. Stunning in a tiered, strapless gown paired with a delicate netted veil, Sabina held a beautiful bouquet of dazzling, long-stemmed calla lilies arranged to reflect the silhouette of her dress. The heartfelt service took place beneath the couple’s glamorous chuppah made of white satin detailed with large black satin accents and glimmering ebony crystals. Masses of white hydrangea and orchids crowned the canopy, while arrangements of calla lilies sat on mirrored metallic bases on either side. “Our rabbi performed the ceremony beautifully and our cantor’s voice was phenomenal... there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd,” recalls the couple of their emotional I dos.

At the reception that followed, two types of whimsical centerpieces decorated tables draped in creamy white linens edged with black satin ribbon. One design featured tall, mirrored bases supporting candelabras festooned with delicate white roses and black dangling jewels. The alternative was comprised of a single candelabrum adorned with bunches of orchids and hydrangea blossoms accented with candles and more crystal gems. Both types of table settings featured additional mini floral arrangements in covered glass bowls, along with pillar candles to help frame the lofty center arrangements.

Guests feasted on a variety of dinner choices set up at stations throughout the ballroom, including seared halibut, mini grilled angus beef tenderloin, and roasted turkey. For dessert, guests had a choice between miniature pastries, chocolate-dipped strawberries, or slices of the seven-tiered wedding cake decorated with lifelike sugar flowers. “Our cake was grand and delicate!” says the bride. A traditional Persian tea and dessert bar was also on display for attendees to enjoy throughout the night.

When asked if they’d make any changes to their special day, Sabina and Joubin firmly state, “No – it was everything we wanted and more.” One thing they encourage other couples to keep in mind is to be reasonable with their expectations and to be decisive about what they want to achieve. “Remember that it’s okay if some things don’t go according to plan,” urges the groom. “Let it go and focus on your family, friends, and – most of all – your new spouse.”