After meeting at a friend of a friend’s birthday party, Alexandra Wise and Issa Azat were instantly smitten with each other, but they went their separate ways following the festivities. “Over the course of the next 10 years, we always seemed to find our way back to one another,” smiles Issa. “We had our own lives, but never lost our connection.” Once they were together at last, Issa didn’t wait long before asking his beloved to marry him. “I knew I loved her and I didn’t want a life without her… What else was there to know?” he shares. After asking for her father’s blessing, Issa took Alexandra to her favorite Palm Springs hot spot and asked a nearby couple to take their photo by the fire pit. As she was fixing her hair, he was getting down on one knee, preparing to propose. “It was a complete surprise!” exclaims Alexandra.
As a luxury floral and event designer, planning the celebration with the rest of her talented wedding team was a breeze for the bride. Striving to create a unique look that still felt timeless was of the utmost importance. Since she grew up competitive horseback riding at English riding stables, the bride-to-be chose to pair that component of her past with Issa’s masculine aesthetic as her design muse. “It was very much a perfect blending of ‘us’ and our style,” she notes.
Prior to the ceremony, the pair had a “first look,” which the groom cites as one of his favorite parts of the day. “I don’t think I will ever forget that moment, nor would I want to,” he muses of the time he turned around to see his beautiful bride in her strapless lace gown featuring an A-line tulle skirt. The couple also took part in an uncommon ritual that they would recommend to other couples. “Issa and I decided to do our personalized vows privately prior to our ceremony instead of reciting them in front of guests. I love that we did this; it was so personal and special to have that moment to ourselves,” says the bride.
The couple’s 130 guests gathered for the nondenominational ceremony that allowed the duo to have freedom with their décor. “I wanted our ceremony space to be very ethereal,” affirms Alexandra of the textured, layered look. Since her groom made her promise to not have too many chandeliers, they settled on a custom ceiling installation featuring a crystal chandelier surrounded by a halo of florals. The structure featured cascading strands of vanilla orchids and Swarovski crystals.
Following the heartfelt service officiated by the bride's maid of honor, guests enjoyed an alfresco cocktail hour before making their way back into the original space, which had been transformed for the reception. Luxe taupe drapery enveloped the room, and the pièce de résistance of the celebration was now suspended over the dance floor. In keeping with the “masculine meets English countryside” motif, rich brown leathers and dark-stained wood, bronze, and textured finishes were paired with a palette of white, cream, and fresh green florals. “Being a florist, the flowers were obviously one of the most important elements of our day,” says Alexandra. She chose fragrant lilac blossoms, gardenias, and garden roses to be the focal blooms accented by ranunculus, clematis, and tulips. Blossoms spilled out of petite bronze vases, clustered along a mirror-and-stained-wood runner showcasing hand-placed bronze studs, and set atop towering glass vessels. “I’ve been to a fair number of weddings, and I’ve never seen anything like ours before in my life,” reveals the groom of the décor.
Since guests sat at long king’s tables amidst glowing candlelight, the reception was a time to celebrate the couple, mingle, and join together as a family. “This wedding was a blending of two cultures that are at war. I am half-Israeli and Issa is half-Palestinian,” explains the bride. “The coming together of our families and cultures was such a beautiful thing.” Following the sit-down dinner service, loved ones enjoyed slices of two cakes – one featuring a spackled look and another partially naked cake accented with jasmine and clematis foliage. Dancing ensued into the night to tunes performed by a live band. “The music is the heartbeat of any celebration. If you’re going to spend money, spend it on the band,” suggests the groom.
The couple also notes the importance of setting aside time to celebrate together as a pair. “Take a moment after the ceremony to be alone with one another to take in the magnitude of the day,” expresses the bride. Her groom adds, “Plan to take 15 minutes to be alone with your bride. Have a room set up with food, drinks, and just space away from the chaos that is going on outside. I promise it’s worth it.”