Norah Gottfried and Brian Weinstein met while they were summer associates at the law firm where they each still work. Their romance blossomed over the months, and eventually culminated in a marriage proposal in November of 2002 at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. Setting a wedding date of just ten months later, the couple enlisted the expertise of a wedding consultant to create the wedding of their dreams. They were certainly off to a great start when they secured The Four Seasons Beverly Hills at Los Angeles as the event site, and then planned a formal wedding based on a sleek, sophisticated look and a lively mood.
Because a great number of the wedding guests came in from New York, the wedding was made into a long party weekend. The festivities included the huge rehearsal dinner at the iconic Trader Vic’s in the heart of Beverly Hills, a group trip to The Getty Museum, and an outdoor brunch graciously hosted by close friend Barbara Bauer at her home.
After spending the weekend mingling together, the couple’s guests were truly like one big family by the time the wedding itself took place on Saturday evening. Brian and Norah exchanged vows in a deeply moving ceremony, witnessed by two hundred guests, including seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen. Norah’s momentous and emotional walk down the aisle with her father is one of her most sentimental memories, and that was just the beginning. The Rabbi, Steven Z. Leder, has known the bride and her family since she was twelve and was the Rabbi who performed her Bat Mitzvah. His friendship with the Gottfried family made the service very personal, and his words were a great expression of the couple’s relationship. The Hebrew and English versions of the Ketubah were read by two of the couple’s very close friends, Shai Ingber and Alison Sonsini, also adding to the ceremony’s unique sensibility.
An evening of dinner and dancing followed the ceremony, with entertainment by the popular Chuck Wansley Band keeping the crowd going past midnight. The dinner menu included delectable fare such as goat cheese ravioli, an entrée choice of filet mignon or fresh John Dory, peach tart tartin and the five-tiered chocolate and coconut wedding cake. The guest tables were adorned with a mirrored centerpiece containing gardenias and greenery mixed with flickering candles, while the head table boasted a large centerpiece made of mixed varieties of white florals.
After the main reception, an “after party” continued in a room adjacent to the ballroom, and over half of the guests stayed for that. The gathering included a DJ, a bar, cigars, and burgers and fries from In-n-Out Burger. The room was filled with couches and colored lights for a late-night-lounge atmosphere.
Norah’s sister and maid-of-honor, Elizabeth, is a sous-chef at Spago’s pastry department and arranged for one of the evening’s highlights. As a gift to the couple, Elizabeth commissioned the head pastry chef, Sherry Yard, to make fresh doughnuts in the Four Season’s kitchen for the late night partiers. The hot doughnuts were placed in small bags and handed out to the guests as they left, making a most welcome party favor!
On top of all the wonderful elements of her dream wedding, Norah experienced another dream-come-true by borrowing jewelry from famed jeweler Neil Lane, who is a friend of Brian’s father. As every girl understands, there’s just nothing like walking into a fine jewelry boutique and getting to pick out whatever you like!
Norah and Brian’s never-ending party weekend was the experience of a lifetime for them as well as for the lucky guests who partook in the fun. The newlyweds embarked on a honeymoon in Bora Bora soon after the wedding, for an extended after party of their own.