Portia Rosemond and Patrick Ragen were born at the same hospital – albeit a few years apart, had mutual friends, and both went to college at Stanford University; however, they somehow never crossed paths. The year after Portia finished an exchange program at Harvard Law School, Patrick began his first year at the esteemed university. “We unfortunately missed each other yet again,” says Patrick. It wasn’t until Portia came back the next year for a recruiting event that they were finally introduced. “Although it was the first time we had met, something felt strangely familiar,” shares Patrick; however, this brief meeting occurred only for them to go their separate ways. Two years later, they reconnected at events and parties while living in Los Angeles. “Before we knew it, we were dating,” he adds.
The pair, who have the same initials, feel it was fate that brought them together. In fact, their respective mothers, fathers, and even grandmothers also share the same monogram – a happy coincidence that has strengthened their belief that they are meant to be. Patrick knew he was ready to propose when he couldn’t picture his life without Portia. Once engaged, they planned a joyous celebration for 275 close friends and family members. “We originally wanted to get married in a church and have our reception somewhere nearby with a beautiful atmosphere, great food, and a memorable place to party,” affirms the bride. Thankfully, Vibiana – a restored cathedral, which was the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese in Los Angeles for 100 years – provided the best of both worlds for the couple. “Vibiana was perfect! It was actually the only venue that we looked at because it checked all of our boxes!” she notes.
Sterling Engagements brought the couple’s vision – a warm celebration full of love and surprises – to life. In the center of the majestic space, which features stately columns and gorgeous arches, Portia and Patrick exchanged vows on a raised stage as attendees were seated in the round. A 20-person gospel choir impressed loved ones – “Our guests are still talking about the choir!” muses the bride – and the proceedings included family traditions, such as the jumping of the broom. “The ceremony was a perfect combination of a modern wedding with classic elements,” she confirms.
Following the service, attendees adjourned outdoors to the courtyard while the room was transformed for the whimsical reception. They enjoyed cocktails alfresco and gathered around velvet tufted lounge furniture in eggplant hues, before finding their seating assignments on an acrylic chart. “Our wedding was our version of Alice in Wonderland meets Prince’s ‘Purple Rain,’” expresses Portia. “It was like entering into a secret garden filled with vibrant, edgy colors and unique flowers and greenery.”
Awash in vivid lilac lighting, the reception space was a fantastical display of romantic elements. Tables were cloaked in luxurious satin and velvet linens in shades of purple, and guests found their seats atop modern, clear-backed chairs. Centerpieces had three main designs: The first was inspired by an inverted garden and featured elevated “floating” arrangements of branches, greenery, allium bulbs, blush roses, artichokes, and white scabiosa blooms; the second showcased acrylic boxes filled with similar florals and foliage; and the third presented a custom test-tube basin filled with greenery and carefully selected blossoms. “Our brilliantly designed centerpieces were pieces of art on each table,” notes the bride.
Though the pair’s soirée was designed to honor their unique personalities, the occasion also celebrated family. Place settings at the entire head table featured the wedding china from the groom’s grandparents, which was also used at his parents’ nuptials, and the duo made sure to include loved ones in their special dances. Following their choreographed first dance to “If It’s Magic” by Stevie Wonder, the couple expanded the father-daughter and mother-son dances to also include a sister-father dance – since the sister of the bride didn’t have a chance to dance with him at her own wedding – and a grandmother-grandson dance. “Portia and I, along with our siblings, danced with my then 99-year-old grandma to ‘Bad and Boujee’ by Migos. It really felt like we were truly one new family at that moment,” remembers Patrick.
Friends and family danced to a mix of funk and R&B soul with throwbacks to the 80s, 90s, and 2000s spun by a popular DJ from LA radio station Power 106. With a party that lasted until midnight – followed by an after-party that went until 2AM – the couple thought of every convenience for their loved ones. Energy was kept up thanks to a “re-charging station” featuring both coffee and tea, as well as a place for attendees to charge their cell phones. “Many of our guests came up to tell us that it was the ‘wedding of the century,’” divulges Portia. “We just wanted everyone to feel special and have a wonderful time.”