Intimate Moroccan-Themed Chateau Wedding in California

Savannah and Nicole

Photographed by: James Johnson PhotographyLocation: Rancho Palos Verdes, California, United States

Love at first sight was the last thing Savannah Boone and Nicole Chorney expected to find at a law school convention in Michigan. “It was instant chemistry – we saw each other and knew,” confides Nicole of their first encounter. After a few years as a couple, the pair began planning an intimate ceremony near Nicole’s hometown of Los Angeles, and chose a fabulous château for the site of their nuptials. “We wanted to find a venue near the beach, but didn’t want to deal with all the sand,” confides Savannah. The estate offered lush greenery, sophisticated architecture, and an amazing view of the sea from its romantic terrace.

The couple was intent on incorporating Nicole’s Moroccan culture into the theme, along with hints of Savannah’s southern roots. “It was truly ‘Southern Belle meets Moroccan Diva,’” describes Savannah. Rich burgundy and gold hues were chosen for décor elements that included hundreds of vibrant flowers and opulent Moroccan furniture for lounging. The pair was surprised at the endless choices and options that needed to be considered during the planning process. “We were encouraged to hire an event planner, and although some people may think the cost is a splurge, it’s money well spent,” explains Nicole. “Our coordinator was the best, and without him none of it could have happened.”

The ceremony took place on a grassy area of the estate where a mix of ivory blossoms and strands of glass crystals embellished a stunning canopy created for the vow exchange. Nicole’s mother and Savannah’s grandmother placed roses on honorary reserved seating as a tribute to departed loved ones at the beginning of the service. A unique bridal party that consisted of two maids of honor, two best men, and two bridesmaids (one each for Nicole and Savannah respectively) stood up for the couple, wearing perfectly coordinating ensembles in crisp black and white. Each bride wore a strapless, full-length wedding gown and held an arresting bouquet of calla lilies embellished with sparkling crystals. Nicole walked down the aisle to Savannah’s side as a harpist played the theme song from Romeo + Juliet by Des’ree. Following the ceremony, guests tossed fragrant lavender in lieu of rice on the radiant newlyweds.

Before guests took their seats for the reception, they were encouraged to utilize the hand-washing basin filled with Moroccan rose water that was set up in a beautiful tent draped in luxurious fabric. Guests “signed in” at a tree surrounded by rose petals where they were instructed to write their wishes for the couple on note cards, then string those messages from the dangling crystals suspended from the branches. To incorporate Savannah’s love of painting and art, a silhouette artist was present to personalize pieces for guests to take home as favors. A basket filled with Moroccan slippers was labeled with a sign encouraging guests to select a pair when their feet grew tired from dancing.

A 50-foot-long table draped in burgundy linens was embellished with artful centerpieces complemented by glass votives. Tall glass vases held James Story orchids, antique hydrangeas, and roses, while collections of smaller arrangements in bronze containers mimicked the same composition. Guests enjoyed creatively named appetizers and signature drinks before sitting down to feast on a five-course dinner service, concluded with sweet slices of wedding cake. The couple’s three-layer confection was made to look like a stack of Moroccan pillows, each with its own intricate detailing. Finally, traditional Moroccan mint tea was served by waiters dressed in customary Moroccan style, while authentic belly dancers entertained the crowd.

Nicole and Savannah were able to keep their celebration meaningful, memorable, and most of all, magical. “I would say every aspect of our event reflected our personalities; we are both over-the-top and outrageous in most everything that we do,” reflects Savannah. “We never stopped for a moment in making it our day – it was spectacular.”