“I have to get to know her better,” thought Sean Abramson when he met Danielle Valner at a Rosh Hashanah luncheon. The pair continued chatting long after the other guests left, as their connection was instantly clear. “What I remember most from our first meeting is leaving our conversation thinking, ‘Hmmm, I have a special feeling about this one,’” Danielle reflects.
After an official first date, Sean knew he would propose someday. When the time came, he was sure to get the blessing of her parents. “I’m a big believer in tradition,” he confirms. With the help of a family friend in the jewelry business, he picked out a classic ring that aligned with Danielle’s taste.
As Sean has a friend who is both a helicopter pilot and a photographer, the proposal plan came naturally. “Sean told me since I had never been on a helicopter before that his friend had offered to take us for a ride one Saturday morning to take pictures,” Danielle shares. “You’d think that would be a hint as to what was going to happen, but I was completely clueless!”
Once they landed on a Malibu cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Sean presented a book filled with photos and the story of their relationship. The final page read “Will you marry me?” and he got down on one knee. “After I said yes he whistled loudly, and both of our families came running out of the bushes near the cliff!” the bride reveals. The pilot photographed the whole thing, and at the end of the day Danielle’s parents hosted a celebration complete with a taco stand and mariachi band.
“My father was born and raised in Mexico City, and many of our family and friends, whom we visit frequently, still live there,” the bride notes. Sean grew to love the city as well, as the couple visited throughout their relationship, so the locale was the clear choice for the wedding destination. “We wanted our loved ones to be able to experience the beauty, energy, and life of the city,” Danielle explains.
“My father was born and raised in Mexico City, and many of our family and friends, whom we visit frequently, still live there... We wanted our loved ones to be able to experience the beauty, energy, and life of the city,”
While local planner Jaime Gonzalez of Gonzalez + Helfon created the look of the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception, the couple received special help for stateside details. “Mindy Weiss is one of my mother’s oldest and dearest friends. She consulted on all things based in Los Angeles, including photographers, videographers, save the dates, invitations, the wedding website, and the bridal shower,” the bride reveals.
Prior to the indoor ceremony, Danielle and Sean had a “first look.” “I was completely awe-inspired by her beauty,” the groom gushes. That didn’t lessen the moment of her walking down the aisle, however, as Sean remembers crying tears of joy as Danielle was escorted by her parents to the tune of “Seasons of Love” from Rent.
In order to modernize the Jewish custom of circling the groom seven times, the couple instead each circled each other three times, and then completed the seventh circle under the chuppah by walking together. The columns of the large ceremony structure were adorned with ivory roses and cascading strands of white orchids.
The grand reception space followed the same classic color scheme. Candelabra holding tapered candles were set among floral garland runners at long king’s tables and round tables with arrangements of creamy blossoms atop white vases helped create the sophisticated aesthetic. There were even alabaster roses placed underneath the glass tabletops to create a lush, romantic look.
“Our parents surprised us with mojigangas, which are giant puppets made to look like the bride and groom, and it is a typical custom in the central part of Mexico to celebrate a joyous occasion,” Danielle affirms. Guests enjoyed the late-night celebration into the early-morning hours, as the reception didn’t end until 7AM. In lieu of a cake, a dessert bar kept attendees energized while the DJ kept them on the dance floor. “And of course there was plenty of tequila,” adds the bride. “When in Mexico!”