Marissa Devins was already employed at a Los Angeles talent agency when fellow literary agent, Matt Rice, joined the team. Because they met on Matt’s first day, he’s the first to admit it was less than memorable: “I was so overwhelmed that it was all a blur!” But the two began a special friendship, and after a year it finally occurred to them that they might make a really great couple. “I think we both said to ourselves, ‘How did we not see this sooner?’” says Marissa.

Matt’s decision to propose to Marissa at the same local nightspot where they shared their first date was natural––a perfect way to commemorate a romance that had blossomed in L.A. But choosing the wedding location was a little trickier. As Marissa explains, “I had always pictured getting married on the beach in Mexico with about 30 friends and family members. That was before I met my husband.” Matt was set on a large celebration (about 300 people) on the party night of the year: New Years Eve. It took a little convincing, but Marissa came around to the notion that a date filled with such inherent energy would be as unforgettable for their guests as it would be for the couple.

Since they did not want to marry in the City of Angels, Marissa and Matt agreed on Kansas City, Marissa’s hometown. Forgoing the often-used holiday color scheme of red and green, the couple chose an elegant palette of black, cream, and white to create a clean and classic look for their winter wedding. A simple chuppah fashioned from white silk fabric stood at the front of the ceremony space while an amazing ceiling of leafy branches dotted with votive candles flickered overhead. Marissa, dressed in a gown with a delicately gathered back, and Matt were married in a touching but lighthearted ceremony that blended spiritual aspects from their respective Catholic and Jewish backgrounds.

Two tents were added to the country club to accommodate the large reception. A contemporary martini lounge was arranged in one tent with low white seating, white floral balls decorating the cocktail tables, and subdued lighting. The second tent housed the dancing, but dinner was hosted separately in the main dining room of the club. Guests were seated at tables set with creamygold silk linens and white-on-white place settings offset by dark wood chairs. Tall square vases filled with white hydrangea crowned each table and were accented by lower arrangements of white and cream roses. Various sizes of square glass votive candles softened the edges.

With a bevy of buffet stations that blended the best of L.A. (sushi) and K.C. (barbecue), and with the couple’s favorite brand of tequila as the beverage of choice, the guests were well fueled for the revelry ahead. Once Marissa and Matt cut their pearlstudded wedding cake, an 80’s cover band imported from California kept the dance floor buzzing until long after midnight. Everyone seized the opportunity to celebrate the dawning of a new year for themselves as well as for the bride and groom, which was exactly how Marissa and Matt wanted it. In anticipation of some very late risers, the newlyweds nixed the idea of a fancy farewell brunch and instead prepared half-dozen boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts to give to their guests as they left the reception. After a night of pure celebration, some serious sleep was the perfect party favor.

However, guests also left with a CD of the music-loving couple’s favorite tunes (covered with a photo of the couple’s French bulldog Frank the Tank), and learned that donations to medical research were made on their behalf in memory of the couple’s grandparents. But of all the many personal touches Marissa worked so hard to include, the two details that still stand out in her mind the most were the ones she did not plan: Matt’s heartfelt toast and her parents’ overwhelming happiness. She will never forget how her groom became noticeably choked up as he spoke about their tremendous good fortune, and how her parents were all smiles all evening long. “After the planning and the stress, I knew from watching them that it was all worth it. It made me incredibly happy to see them so happy.”