"We can't pinpoint when we met exactly, because we knew each other off and on since high school," says Heather Zand of herself and husband Bart Rachmil. "We became friends and stayed in touch over the years." When Heather moved back to Los Angeles after living in New York, Bart got in touch -- and suddenly, something clicked. "We always tell everyone our story is much like When Harry Met Sally," says the bride of her screen-worthy romance. "It suits us so well."
Selecting a location for the couple's nuptials was one of the easiest decisions to make. Heather had grown up playing tennis at the Riviera Country Club, and the location held special meaning for her late mother, Carol. "She had always told me she wanted me to get married at the Riviera," says the bride. "It was like my family's second home. There was simply no other choice." Bart was also raised in a house on the same street as the club, and the idea that his parents could walk to the wedding became a running source of amusement for both families.
The couple's extraordinary day began near the 18th green of the Riviera, where Heather and Bart posed for photos before the ceremony. "I'll never forget how beautiful she looked, or the smile glowing on her face," remembers Bart of his first glimpse of his bride. "I think she started laughing when my jaw hit the ground." Heather had customized her gorgeous Monique Lhuillier gown with a delicate lace belt and halter for a personalized look that paired timeless beauty with a modern touch -- a concept she and Bart incorporated into the event's overall design. "I wanted a wedding that was classic yet contemporary," Heather says. "Our tastes tend to reflect this combination a lot," adds the groom. The ceremony decor in the club's Grand Ballroom featured ivory and lavender roses in standing arrangements linked along the aisle by garlands of greenery. "Traditional flowers, but with a modern look," Heather explains. An opulent chuppah was lavished with creamy roses, and featured a fashionable chandelier covered in lavender blossoms. The guest seating also had an extremely personal touch -- the wedding programs that were placed on each chair included a heartfelt note from the bride about her mother. "I knew our guests were reading it before the ceremony and thinking of her, and it made me feel like she was there," Heather says.
The ceremony itself -- conducted by a member of the bride's family -- adhered to Jewish custom, save for original vows that the couple wrote themselves. "It made the wedding ceremony a lot more personal to us and our guests," Bart confides. Once the service was concluded and the requisite glass broken, guests made their way to the country club's lobby for cocktails. Lavender lighting accented massive floral arrangements of purple roses and green hydrangea, while crisp white furniture gave the space some modern edge. "The look was hip and dramatic," asserts the groom. "I think it set a great tone for our family and friends to start celebrating the night."
At the reception that followed, the soft glow of candlelight accented a mixture of ivory and white roses arranged in towering glass vases cascading with orchids. Exquisite table linens of tufted ivory silk added a dimension of timelessness to the decor, while a single expanse of lavender taffeta contrasted beautifully with the wedding cake piped in buttercream icing to match the lace on Heather's gown. Live music by Rick Cowling and his band followed a formal sit-down dinner, and drew both the father of the bride and the groom onto the stage. "My dad went up first and played the drums with the band, doing a knock-out version of 'Jump, Jive and Wail!'" Heather laughs. "Later, Bart got on stage and played guitar to 'Good Lovin" by The Rascals. He serenaded me and I melted."
After hours of dancing, the appreciative crowd enjoyed fresh pick-me-ups from both an elaborate cappuccino bar and doughnut cart before carrying away favors of chocolate-covered apples drizzled with caramel. "We placed the most emphasis on flowers, food, and music," says the bride. "We wanted [the wedding] to be beautiful but also a good party." The groom felt the formula that he and Heather followed couldn't have worked out better. "There were both classic and modern elements that blended nicely together," he says. "The wedding had a great mix of being formal and also extremely fun at the same time." The couple's timeless celebration with a modern twist was everything they'd hoped it would be.