“Armen and I met in 1998 when he transferred into my fourth-grade classroom from a different track,” remembers Arpa of their elementary-school days. Their friendship blossomed into love as they grew older, and 20 years later, Armen proposed to Arpa overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. They newly betrothed spent the next two weeks savoring engagement bliss as they traveled across the stunning countryside.
While visiting Sorrento, the newly engaged pair met a lovely married couple from Ireland who gave them their most cherished wedding-planning advice: “Don’t try to plan the biggest day of your life all at once. Take it in stride and be sure to celebrate each completed planning task with your life partner. After all, it’s the little things that matter, and after the party is over, it will just be you and your mate. Get used to celebrating the little victories; that’s what life is about.” Once they returned to the states, they took that advice to heart and spent the next two-and-a-half years planning their dream wedding.
Arpa and Armen worked together to plan an event that was true to their love story. “Everyone around me really supported me planning an event that was true to my vision and aesthetic,” affirms the bride, noting her mother, sister, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law – who owns K-Line Design and was the florist for the event – gave her advice along the way. She also cherished the expertise of Hovik Harutyunyan of Harutyunyan Events, who helped fine-tune the couple’s abstract ideas and finalize all of the details of their special day.
Since they were planning during Covid, the typical stresses were kicked up a notch. “The last thing I wanted to do was risk my most dearest loved ones with getting infected,” Arpa shares. “Hovik came to the rescue with adding even further safety measures to ensure that everyone could enjoy a night out, celebrating safely. From temperature screenings, to customized hand sanitizers at seating assignments, to assigned ceremony seating, and more, I look back with pride knowing that we followed all county guidelines and zero people walked away with the virus as a result of attending our happiest day.”
“I wanted to make Arpa a custom bridal gown for the most important day of her life that is beautiful, sophisticated, and timeless – just like our friendship. It was my goal to create something magical for Arpa that can last through time, in case she wants to pass it on to her future kids.” - Michael Costello
As traditional Armenian weddings are held at banquet halls, Arpa and Armen knew they wanted something different for their big day and selected an open-air ranch that reminded them of their time in Italy. A color palette of natural greenery, soft white, and dusty blue accents inspired by blue skies was incorporated throughout the alfresco celebration. “Considering the war that was going on in the homeland of Armenia at the time of the wedding, we also incorporated an Armenian flag throughout the day in honor of the soldiers fighting to keep our land and heritage back home,” adds the bride.
Arpa was gorgeous in a custom gown by Michael Costello designed just for her. “I still pinch myself thinking about it! I met him through work and ultimately, we formed a beautiful friendship and he was kind enough to not only hand-sketch and then custom-build the gown of my dreams, but he also attended my wedding and helped me get into my dress,” she muses. Michael Costello confirms: “Arpa is a dear friend of mine. Throughout our friendship, I’ve come to not only fall in love with her beauty [and] her kind heart, but also her classic style… I wanted to make Arpa a custom bridal gown for the most important day of her life that is beautiful, sophisticated, and timeless – just like our friendship,” he shares. “It was my goal to create something magical for Arpa that can last through time, in case she wants to pass it on to her future kids.”
A heartfelt ceremony on the grass lawn of the property was decorated with chandeliers suspended from trees, rose petals along the aisle, and ivory blooms. After the “I dos,” guests were seated for the reception at light-wood tables situated beneath strands of twinkling string lights. Centerpieces showcased ample greenery, vanilla-toned blossoms with a hint of blush, and fresh foliage. Candelabra and pillar candles displayed in hurricane vases created a sophisticated ambience, while chandeliers added an elegance to the outdoor celebration. In keeping with the color palette, place settings were topped with dusty blue napkins, as well as a special surprise.
Each guest’s place setting presented a special wedding favor handmade by the groom. Since the couple enjoyed bottles of Gérard Bertrand’s Cote des Roses rosé to celebrate the many happy moments throughout their engagement, they collected the bottles – which feature an ornate glass rose at the base – to create a custom gift for loved ones. “It took many months to accumulate the empty rosé bottles, not to mention the weeks it took Armen to hand-cut each bottle and then wrap it with a special note. Each time we use the glass, we look back on our wedding day fondly and hope our guests do the same!”
Keeping with Armenian customs, attendees enjoyed traditional appetizers displayed on tables, followed by dinner courses served family style before dancing began. To infuse the couple’s personality into the fare, loved ones were also treated to In-N-Out Burger for a late-night snack at the alfresco event. “We love being one with nature, and In-N-Out is in our top five go-to meals, so it’s awesome to reflect on our most special day and have it be a true reflection of who we are,” Arpa smiles. “We really pulled off our dream wedding during the most difficult times in modern history, and thankfully, it was really the most wonderful and magical day of our lives. We wouldn’t change a thing!”