The passion that competitive tennis athletes Elizabeth Marsico and Cory Ross shared for their sport is what united them when they first met, and becoming mixed-doubles partners only served to strengthen their friendship. But it wasn’t until Elizabeth left home to play for the University of Southern California that the couple decided to advance their relationship off the courts. After four years of dating long distance, Cory asked for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, and she happily accepted his proposal.
To remark that the bride enjoyed every moment of her wedding-planning experience would be an understatement. “I never thought that the countless emails and phone calls, the traveling to Beverly Hills for appointments and tastings, or flying all the way to New York City for gown fittings would be so much fun,” she reflects. The couple elected to host their three-day affair at a luxury hotel in the renowned 90210 zip code, both because of the property’s refined elegance as well as the special meaning the venue held for them. “It’s the place where we can say we first fell in love,” admits the bride. The wedding weekend also included a decadent rehearsal dinner that took place on the roof of the establishment, as well as a farewell brunch in the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant.
Influenced by a recent family trip to the south of France, the couple, along with the bride’s mother and a celebrated wedding consultant, set out to recreate a sophisticated garden setting with touches of European charm. To achieve their vision for the ceremony, arches decorated with white tea roses and lush greenery ran the length of the center aisle, leading finally to a grand gazebo that was bursting with an abundance of flowers in a classic color palette of ivory, blush, and light pink. Wrought-iron gates intertwined with even more spectacular blossoms flanked either side of the altarpiece, evoking the look and feel of the beautiful French countryside.
The groom affectionately remembers the moment when the doors opened and he first laid eyes upon his ravishing bride, outfitted in a glorious ball gown and dramatic cathedral veil. “My heart felt as if it was pounding through my chest,” he recalls. “But as she walked closer, her smile reassured me, and with every step she took I was calmed and smiled back.” The wedding party consisted of nine bridesmaids wearing floor-length gowns in baby pink; seven dapper groomsmen clad in sharp tuxedos; a host of angelic flower girls; and a trio of handsome ring bearers.
The décor of the cocktail hour incorporated elements designed to capture the look and feel of an outdoor courtyard on a summer’s day, from a lattice wall that stood behind the bar to plush seating surrounded by glass tables and low shrubbery. As a bonus feature, an artist recreated the look of de Gournay wallpaper by handpainting the mirrored columns scattered throughout the room.
After locating their seating assignments on a card table lush with snowy roses, guests next proceeded into the reception through an entranceway lined with magnificent magnolia trees. Frosty drapery framed the parameters of the ballroom, while crystal chandeliers hung from above. Centerpieces consisted of ornate candelabra topped with bountiful bouquets of roses and hydrangeas in hues that complemented those used in the ceremony, with delicate orchids cascading from the arrangements to lovely effect. Linens in fawn and champagne featured an intricate winding pattern that was then replicated on the dance floor through accent lighting. Tablescapes were enhanced with hints of metallic gold found on charger plates and wine goblets, while glowing candles completed the romantic ambiance. “We wanted to carry the intimacy and elegance of our ceremony into our reception,” says the bride.
The couple’s wedding cake was designed by a renowned New York confectionary expert who flew to the West Coast to personally hand deliver the edible work of art, which glistened from top to bottom with hundreds of ivory and gold sugar roses. The night was not without its share of famous cameos either. Wolfgang Puck, who catered the dinner, happily intermingled with guests after their meals. In addition, the band OneRepublic, which originates from the couple’s home state of Colorado, performed during the after-party, inspiring the celebration to last well into the early-morning hours. “Of course we hoped that our guests would enjoy themselves,” states the groom. “But I think we were both surprised that every attendee was up on their feet dancing and celebrating the whole night.”
Both bride and groom affirm that their wedding day surpassed their expectations, and attribute much of that to the fact that they worked closely as a couple when selecting each element of the event. “Cory and I loved being able to plan our nuptials and make decisions jointly,” explains the bride. “We saw our wedding as the first day of the rest of our lives together, so we wanted to enjoy every detail.” Indeed, the affair was a magnificent culmination for a relationship that began on the tennis courts and quickly turned into a perfect match.