Though Karif Roper caught the eye of Kristina Altman as soon as she saw him at a college party, he did not have the same first impression of her. “She tried to tell me a terrible ice-breaking joke and I walked away,” he admits. Kristina was undeterred. “He clearly remembered me though, as we actually got to talking at other events, and we became best friends for years before we started dating,” she reveals.
When Karif realized he was ready to propose, he began the search for the perfect ring. “My process was to find something that made me think of her instantly,” he explains. “Her personality, her laugh, and the purity of her heart.” One afternoon, while the sweethearts were cuddling on the couch watching TV, Karif made a simple request to Kristina. “He asked me to get him a glass of water,” she confirms. “When I returned, he was on one knee with these bright eyes.” She happily accepted the proposal.
Though the lovebirds were both students at the University of Miami in Florida at the time, they elected to host their nuptials in Los Angeles, as they plan to move to the West Coast in the next couple of years and wanted to make a special connection with the city. After touring Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the bride knew it was the spot for their big day. “I’d heard they had connections to swans and I couldn’t get that out of my head.” she shares. Planning a wedding in nine months from across the country is no small feat; so Natalie Sofer of Natalie Sofer Weddings and Events was brought on to make everything go smoothly. “There were really quick turnaround times, but Natalie made it feel so easy!” raves Kristina.
“Your wedding is a celebration of both of you, and it should reflect that.”
Beautiful drapery enveloped the ceremony space as the bride walked down the aisle lined with pink floral arrangements while “Princess Leia’s Theme” from Star Wars played, a nod to the couple’s shared love for the franchise. Kristina carried a cascading bouquet of ivory blooms, including carnations to represent her sorority. A lush arch of blush and white roses and hydrangeas marked the altar. The décor was stunning, but it was the sentiment of the occasion that made an impact. “The most important part to me was the vows,” affirms Karif. “It was when we could make our lifetime promises in front of each other and to God.”
Now husband and wife, it was time for the newlyweds to celebrate with their family and friends. Ceremony flowers were repurposed for the reception, but with the addition of marsala blossoms to deepen the color palette. “They looked almost as if they were floating, with florals cascading down,” the bride describes of the centerpieces. A gold-and-white loveseat provided a regal look for the sweetheart table, which was adorned with a textured flower-patterned linen from Luxe Linen and a jaw-dropping waterfall of fresh blooms. “I wanted to take the romance and adventure of Star Wars while still keeping the wedding elegant,” explains Kristina. Ties to the science-fiction films were seen in the three-tier monochromatic cake, which featured classic characters and ships made of pearl dust. Additionally, a fun Star Wars-themed photo wall was available for the guests. “It was a complete surprise,” the groom reveals. “I had never seen anything like it, and it was a huge hit.”
With both a band and a late-night DJ, revelers were entertained all night long. “It really allowed us to have the best time with each other and all our friends and family,” muses Karif. Though he notes that most grooms are unlikely to be super involved in the planning, he advises those preparing for their own celebration to not be completely silent during the process. “Your wedding is a celebration of both of you, and it should reflect that.” Following the big day, the happy newlyweds set off on a romantic honeymoon in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan – the first of many adventures to come.