As they got settled during their Uber ride to wander the city of Washington, DC, where Teaba Sedghi had grown up, she patted her beloved’s leg and jokingly asked, “Is today the day?” Unbeknownst to her, her boyfriend Tom Shane really did have a thoughtfully planned proposal laid out. As they walked around, popping in and out of retailers, they eventually made their way to the Jefferson Memorial where Tom had a photographer waiting in hiding. “When he opened the ring box, I screamed,” remembers Teaba of the moment she found Tom on bended knee. “I couldn’t believe it was actually happening! I was so shocked, without realizing, I grabbed the ring before even saying yes and gave him a big hug and started crying as everyone around us cheered.”
The newly engaged couple began to search for sites across the country that fit into their narrow criteria of allowing for an all-outdoor wedding, a late-night option, a non-temperamental climate, and all-around beauty that loved ones would enjoy. Their wedding planner and designer, Hovik Harutyunyan of Harutyunyan Events, introduced the pair to a gorgeous venue about 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles.
Teaba fell in love: “The natural beauty of the venue space was overwhelming.” So much so that “the bougainvillea vines crawling all over the villa, the cactus and desert plants surrounding the estate, and the Spanish and red tiles all over the property” served as inspiration for Teaba’s ideal color palette for the celebration. “My goal was to build on what was already there and showcase it,” illustrates the bride, who also added a touch of her personality by incorporating sophisticated, glam details.
On the big day, the betrothed performed a sentimental gesture. They exchanged notes in the same notebook they used when they lived long-distance for a year. “During that time, we’d write a note to each other about a memory we loved and what we were looking forward to in the future,” Teaba explains. “That morning, I had it to begin with, and then dropped it at the door of his hotel room, knocked, and ran away before he could see me!”
Preceding the American nuptials, a traditional Iranian ceremony showcased a sofreh aghd, which focuses on a table that displays a spread of symbolic and culturally significant elements. For example, women will rub together sugar cones (kaleh ghand) over the cloth held above the couple, showering them with sweetness. “Many guests had never been to an Iranian wedding before, so it was unique,” says Teaba. The officiant spoke in Farsi then translated into English so all guests could understand and appreciate the meaningful rituals.
When the American portion began, it became especially heartwarming as the bride and groom had written their own vows. “It’s really hard to put that much emotion out there in front of everyone!” describes the bride. “I remember feeling so, so special listening to Tom.” For the groom, he remembers feeling especially moved as his bride walked down the aisle. She looked radiant in a timeless strapless silk gown, carrying a luscious bouquet of all-white orchids. “My lip was quivering; I was trying to hold it together,” confides Tom. “She looked stunning.”
"Find moments during the planning process to slow down and have fun with your partner. For us, it was dancing in our tiny apartment trying to figure out what entrance song we wanted, or stopping somewhere fun on the way to see the venue. These are things we really cherish now, in addition to the best day of our lives!"
The design of the reception area was executed perfectly and truly highlighted the already beautiful backdrop of the venue – just as Teaba envisioned. Guests found their seats at either round tables covered in lush white linens accented with alternating tall or short floral arrangements in tones of garnet and pink, while long wooden tables were decorated with garlands of the same flowers and greenery, as well as collections of candles.
After a delightful dinner service, guests enjoyed a choice of three wedding-cake flavors. “It was really important to Tom that we had flavors that people wanted to eat,” Teaba notes. The couple settled on vanilla with chocolate marble cake, banana-flavored cake with mascarpone cream, and chocolate cake with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, as peanut butter is the couple’s favorite snack. “We currently go through three jars a week!” she laughs.
Teaba and Tom wanted the reception to build up to a late-night dance party. At about 8:30 p.m., the DJ started to play popular favorites and “perfectly blended hip-hop, Latin, and Iranian music,” tells the groom. A live drummer joined the DJ, so that the beat felt alive the entire time. “The energy was just indescribable!” reflects the bride. “The music blasted, guests ran to the dance floor, and tequila shots were tray passed every half hour until 2AM. Guests looked so happy. Our dream!”
Both the bride and groom voiced how fortunate they felt for the support from their family and friends to ensure their big day was a fabulous success. Teaba was particularly grateful to her mother: “We’ve been hosting large dinner parties at our family home almost weekly since I was a little girl, and my mom has impeccable taste. She was involved in basically every decision!”
When asked what advice she’d offer other couples planning their nuptials, the bride highly suggests that they hire a planner. “Hovik was such an incredible part in helping us bring our vision to life, and there’s no way we could have done it without him,” she emphasizes. Another important reminder, Teaba shares: “Find moments during the planning process to slow down and have fun with your partner. For us, it was dancing in our tiny apartment trying to figure out what entrance song we wanted, or stopping somewhere fun on the way to see the venue. These are things we really cherish now, in addition to the best day of our lives!”