Mediterranean-Inspired Newport Beach Wedding

Leila and Douglas

Photographed by: Tina Carlone PhotographyLocation: Newport Beach, California, United States

During their one and one-half year engagement, Doug Cesario and Leila Becerra planned their wedding with their families’ Mediterranean-region heritage in mind, and this theme inspired all of the many, many details that shaped the event. Their personalities, style and culture were everywhere, which made the whole celebration a very personalized experience for the couple as well as for their guests.

From the Italian motifs on the wedding cake to the Italian names on the dinner tables and the traditional confetti (candy covered almonds) and Italian candies offered as party favors, Leila and Doug’s wedding left no detail overlooked. For example, not only did the bride make each wedding invitation by hand, she first searched for nearly a year for different types and textures of papers. Each invitation was made of a silvery-blue card stock veiled in layers of different cream papers with a silver grape cluster charm that bound everything together. The text was laid out with a mixture of left and right justifications, an interesting treatment that was carried throughout the event in the ceremony programs, menus, seating cards and other printed pieces. The intricate, distinctive invitations most certainly promised an equally remarkable wedding.

One hundred-forty guests witnessed Leila and Doug exchange vows in a very traditional Catholic ceremony, including a full mass, at the St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.

The wedding’s Mediterranean theme was evident in the bride’s elaborate gown and traditional mantilla veil, as well as in the bridemaids’ hand-tied bouquets of vibrant flowers. Leila’s bridal bouquet complemented the bright colors with simple shades of cream and green.

The afternoon ceremony was followed by a dinner reception at The Balboa Bay Club, also in Newport Beach. The bride and groom really wanted the reception to feel like an intimate dinner with close friends and family, and they accomplished just that. They made sure to make their loved ones feel welcomed and acknowledged, particularly since many of their family members had traveled from far distances to attend the wedding. The celebratory meal included crab cakes and phyllo stuffed with cheese and spinach to start, a salad of hearts of Romaine, and an entrée choice of either crab-crusted sea bass in lobster sauce or beef tenderloin. The dessert was the very original wedding cake, a buttercream work-of-art with three different shaped tiers – hexagon, square and round – each decorated with fondant designs to complement the wedding’s theme, such as angels’ wings, fleur de lis, grape vines and grape clusters. Even the cake top matched the motif, with a diamond shaped white chocolate base and a fondant and buttercream design of an angel’s wing and a fleur de lis.

An Italian singer serenaded the guests during the cocktail hour and again throughout dinner, adding an authentic Italian mood to the evening’s ambience. The amazing, extremely unique floral arrangements were truly a feast for the eyes and added to the room’s lush look. The tables displayed bountiful, overflowing centerpieces that contained a mixture of vibrant open roses, hydrangeas and other flowers along with artichokes and grapes. Two credenzas in the room held huge arrangements of roses, calla lilies and other colorful blooms, vivid colored glass votives, and childhood photos of the bride and groom. The flowers played a huge part in the look of the event, and Leila credits her extremely talented florist with giving her wonderful advice in creating the style of the wedding. Along with Leila’s wedding coordinator, he also kept her from losing sight of the overall picture when the details seemed overwhelming.

From start to finish, the couple stayed true to their vision and created a wedding that was theirs alone. Following their wedding, Doug and Leila took a well-deserved three-week honeymoon and traveled throughout Germany, Switzerland, France, and, of course…Italy.

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