Though Sophia Elias and Nojan Namakian first met in high school and stayed in touch throughout college, it wasn’t until they graduated that they started becoming closer friends. “I remember noticing how everything felt safe, comfortable, and easy with him… Months later, we ruined our friendship and began dating,” smiles Sophia. After eight years together, Nojan asked Sophia’s father for his blessing and surprised his beloved with a laid-back proposal while watching television at their home in Los Angeles.
As planning commenced during the pandemic, the couple embraced the opportunity to have an intimate wedding with only their immediate family in attendance, organizing the details in just over one month. “I thought because this was a smaller wedding, it would be less stressful and easier to put together in a month’s time,” shares Sophia. “Not true. You’re essentially doing the same amount of work for 12 guests as you are for 200 guests.” Thankfully, the couple hired Hovik Harutyunyan of Harutyunyan Events to eliminate as much stress as possible and bring everything together smoothly.
While searching online for venues in separate rooms of their home, Nojan showed Sophia photos of the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, just as she had excitedly pulled up the venue on her phone. “At that point, we felt like this was a ‘sign’ and went for it,” remembers the bride. “We didn’t want the location to feel too traditional or expected.” Fitting with their vision, the iconic property built in the 1960s in the Beverly Crest neighborhood of Los Angeles served as the perfect architectural space for the celebration that would embrace the natural and organic elements of the setting and offer exceptional views of the city.
“The Sheats-Goldstein Residence was designed by architect John Lautner, so I definitely didn’t want to mess with the beauty and genius of this property,” explains the bride. “I decided to let the design of the house dictate most of my decisions.” Thus, the home’s terracotta leather seating, deep green foliage, and concrete roof inspired the color palette of the fête, with complementary tones of gold, beige, and dark blue added as accent hues.
To create the ambience the pair desired, an instrumental jazz quartet performed tunes by John Coltrane and Miles Davis throughout the ceremony. In lieu of a traditional wedding arch, they chose to incorporate warm-toned ground florals and fresh greenery so as not to obstruct the gorgeous views. The personalized service was officiated by the groom’s cousin, who is one of the bride’s best friends and an integral part of their relationship. “Our ceremony was comfortable, honest, and memorable,” adds Sophia.
While the ceremony space was transformed for the reception, loved ones were served cocktails and the new Mr. and Mrs. explored the grounds of the magnificent residence – which includes skyspace installation “Above Horizon” by artist James Turrell – while taking portraits. “We were away from all the action, and it felt nice to be in a beautifully maintained jungle. There is nowhere else like it,” divulges Sophia of the famous property. The groom confirms: “[It] was a very unique and unforgettable experience.”
Continuing to be inspired by the venue itself, the couple incorporated the same palette used in the ceremony décor for the evening festivities, with the addition of deeper reds and smokey greys. “Since our reception was going to be mostly at the table, I wanted the centerpiece to look wild like it was growing out of the tablecloth,” reveals Sophia of the abundant, playful florals interspersed with fruits, mushrooms, and moss. “I wanted the space to feel like a warm little enclave above the city with great food, and it was.”
To start off the dinner service in the meaningful way they hoped for, Sophia and Nojan took a moment to express their appreciation for each guest seated at the table overlooking Los Angeles. “Because we were such a small group, we wanted it to feel very warm, intimate, and special – like the best family dinner we could imagine,” says the bride. A delicious five-course meal was served, and loved ones enjoyed slices of a unique shag-style cake incorporating the colors, textures, and architectural elements of the home.
The newlyweds loved every experience throughout their special day, which honored their love story as well as their desired aesthetics and ambience. To help other couples in the midst of planning a wedding big or small, the bride suggests: “If you can, work with people you deeply admire and trust. I was able to give a lot of creative freedom to my vendors for this reason. I had full confidence in everyone, which put me at ease.”