The wedding of Socheat Lor and Craig Jones is sure to stand out in the memories of their friends and family forever. To say that their wedding was “one-of-a-kind” does not begin to do it justice, as evidenced in their spectacular photographs. With two separate ceremonies honoring the wedding traditions of both American and Cambodian cultures, the all-day event encompassed a full range of styles and moods, from the most formal to the most vibrant and festive.
During their fourteen-month engagement, Socheat and Craig realized that between their large guest list, two marriage ceremonies and a formal reception, there would be a head-spinning amount of details involved in making their dream a reality. So, the couple wisely enlisted wedding planner Lisa Gorjestani to keep track of all the unique details, provide advice and ideas and ease the stress of their grand scale celebration.
The Beverly Hills Hotel was chosen as the venue, for it’s elegant style as well as for its capacity to accommodate the 350 guests that would be attending the American ceremony. The Hotel’s famous garden gazebo would host the ceremony and the formal dinner reception would be held in the lavish Crystal Ballroom.
The wedding day began at nine o’clock in the morning and did not end until midnight! The four-hour long Cambodian ceremony was attended by 120 guests, who thoroughly enjoyed participating in the rituals and customs. The festive mood was much more upbeat and casual than a typical American wedding ceremony, and incorporated various rustic Asian elements, such as lanterns, bamboo and tropical leaves.
In contrast, the late-afternoon American ceremony was very formal, and had a serious and spiritual tone. The all-white color scheme was enhanced by the lush green hues of the garden creating a timeless look. The bountiful white floral arrangements were created in a traditional, symmetrical style, and the bridal bouquet was a large bunch of lilies of the valley trimmed with a gorgeous, fragrant collar of gardenias. Socheat walked down the aisle in a traditional off-white satin strapless gown embellished with gold embroidery. Craig’s bespoke tuxedo included a sentimental twist by crafting the necktie out of fabric from the bridal gown.
A formal dinner reception followed the ceremony, but featured a non-traditional surprise. When the guests entered the ballroom, they were greeted with a performance by Cambodian dancers in traditional costume. Just as outstanding as the dancers was the visual delight of the ballroom itself, which was adorned in luxe fabrics and bountiful flowers. The bright palette mirrored the colors of the Cambodian ceremony, using primarily reds and golds. The room was draped with pale gold fabric, which created a magical glow. The stage was draped in layers of gold and burgundy organza, and was framed with silk covered boxes filled with a very dense hedge of fresh roses. Two huge, dramatic urns of roses were placed on each side of the ballroom, and the sweetheart table was embellished with a hand-sewn border of regal red roses. No detail was overlooked, down to the gold custom-made dance floor. The entire room pulsed with rich color, and even the bride herself reflected the colorful hues by changing into a multi-layered, chiffon evening gown in varied shades of pink with very intricate shimmery beading on the bodice.
Flowers were very important to Socheat, and she desired a very vibrant look. This was achieved with rich merlot and ruby red shades of blooms including roses, orchids and tulips. The centerpiece florals were displayed in large gold-leafed trumpet shaped vases, surrounded by smaller arrangements and many candles. The mixing of traditional flowers like roses with exotic varieties such as orchids further enhanced the event’s bicultural theme.
The day was filled with so much of Craig and Socheat’s own personalities that it’s hard to pinpoint the aspect that was most distinctive. However, the wedding cake was a powerful illustration of the theme of the event. The seven-tiered cake was veiled by a special cabana made with layers of gold and burgundy organza, displayed like a work of art almost too valuable to eat. Ivory elephants made the base of the cake, and traditional pearl buttercream icing and red roses provided an elegant canvas for ornate patterns painted with gold and white icing. Each tier featured a different design, such as silhouettes of Thai dancers and other Asian-themed flourishes.
Proving that the whole is more than just the sum of its parts, Socheat and Craig’s exceptionally unique wedding encompassed a lifetime’s supply of beauty, love and culture in just one long day.