Kristina Thomas and Michael Munoz casually met during a group trip to Las Vegas – so casually, in fact, that they both went home without asking the other for his or her phone number. But sensing a mutual attraction, Kristina became impatient as the weeks passed without Michael tracking her down. Rather than sit idly by, she enlisted the help of a mutual friend who gave Michael Kristina’s number and encouraged him to call her. It didn’t take Michael long to take the bait; he called that very night. Six years later while standing at the “end of the world” in Ushuaia, Argentina, Michael got down on one knee and proposed. Thirteen months later, the happy couple was pronounced husband and wife.
The traditional Catholic ceremony took place at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Los Angeles, California. A beautiful arch made of white roses, under which the wedding party passed as they made their way to the altar, marked the beginning of the long aisle. To celebrate Michael’s Hispanic culture, the couple performed traditional bonding rituals during the ceremony, such as the presentation of the coins and tying of the lazo. The venue for the reception was a sentimental choice for the bride. To honor her grandparents, the late actor Danny Thomas and his wife Rose Marie, Kristina suggested the beautiful grounds of the Hillcrest Country Club where her grandparents had been members. The ballroom was transformed into an elegant, shabby chic environment with hues of dusty rose and other soft, antique colors. Huge silver candelabra elegantly draped with hydrangeas, roses, and crystals sat atop each table, and were encircled by smaller bouquets in vases, votive candles, and silver candy dishes. A string of pearls clasped with large crystals was used to tie each pink napkin, and lush pink satin was intricately tied around each chair and finished with a bow. With a wedding party that included nine bridesmaids and nine groomsmen, seating arrangements could have become overwhelming. To make it easy and surround themselves with their closest friends, Kristina and Michael opted for one long head table for the entire group.
The 171 guests dined on a first course of mixed petit greens with candied walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, julienne apples, and fig balsamic vinaigrette; an intermezzo of lemon sorbet; and a choice of either pistachio-crusted salmon chinois or filet of beef with cabernet sauce for an entrée. Given the importance of sweets to the bride and groom, dessert was offered outside the ballroom in a draped tent. Once inside, guests were treated to a barrage of confections, including candy (pink and white jelly beans, pink licorice, white chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolates, and pink and white M&M’s), tiered trays with mini tarts, mousse in shot glasses, delicately decorated cookies, three different flavors of wedding cake, and a chocolate fountain with strawberries, bananas, graham crackers, marshmallows, and pretzels for dipping.
A couple of surprises planned by the father of the bride brought the crowd to their feet. The first was the performance of Lebanese dancers, which honored the Thomas family’s part- Lebanese heritage. Not only did the troupe perform, they also taught a traditional dance to those brave enough to give it a try. The second surprise, and one that guests are still talking about, involved the University of Southern California’s marching band. Kristina and her father are staunch USC football fans, but Michael is a loyal fan of their competitor, the University of Texas. In honor of this playful rivalry, Kristina’s father arranged for the USC marching band to perform the school’s fight song during the reception. Kristina exclaims, “It was unreal! Everyone was up and cheering – either flashing the victory sign for USC or the ‘Hook ‘em’ horns for UT. For a moment there it felt like we were at a game.”
An additional photographer was hired to take pictures of all the guests as they arrived. When everyone was leaving the wedding later that night, they found their photos waiting for them in beautiful silver frames to keep as special mementos. Kristina still reminisces about the last dance of the evening, “By that point, a ton of the hundreds of roses that lined the stage were scattered all over the dance floor. We danced as everyone made a huge circle around us and was throwing rose petals on us. It was not planned and was so beautiful and special. It was very intimate between us yet everyone was there and a part of it.”