When Darab Zarrabi decided to get on bended knee and propose to his beloved, Persia Sharifat, he elected to go about it in a playful, unexpected way. During an early December trip to the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California, the pair stepped into a photo booth to take a few pictures. Once they’d completed their snapshots, “he showed me a photo strip that said, ‘Will you marry me?’” Persia divulges. A question to which the excited bride-to-be already had an answer: “yes!” 

During their year-and-a-half engagement, Persia reveals that she relied heavily on the opinions of both her and her fiancé’s mother, as Darab was busy attending medical school in Ohio, though it was Persia and her soon-to-be groom that made all of the final decisions themselves. According to the bride, both were looking to create a “romantic white wedding,” mixing classic and contemporary to match their own chic style as a couple. While every engaged duo faces the typical stresses of the planning process, Persia advises that future brides and grooms “enjoy every moment,” as before you know it, every instance during that time will be but a distant memory. 

On a beautiful, clear day in Newport Beach, Persia began readying herself with the help of her 11 bridesmaids. “I overwhelmed myself,” the bride laughs, noting that the number of women preparing at the same time made the room slightly crowded. Nevertheless, her favorite ladies helped her into her stunning dress – which she purchased at the famous Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City on an episode of the TLC show, Say Yes to the Dress – and she jetted off to meet her handsome groom for their first look. During this intimate time, the two got to gaze at one another in full wedding regalia: her in a ball gown fit for a princess with a sweetheart neckline, illusion details in the bodice, and a voluminous tulle skirt, and him in a classic and stylish black tuxedo, complete with a bow tie. 

Their alfresco ceremony space was simply decorated to do the sweeping views of the ocean justice. Ghost chiavari chairs with ivory cushions ran along a petal-strewn aisle, flanked by tall, clear pedestals on which grand glass vases with full arrangements of snowy blossoms were placed. At the end of the aisle, a large dome marked the altar. Guests found their seats and looked on as Darab and his groomsmen awaited the rest of the wedding party. Bridesmaids glided through the space in form-fitting, champagne-hued trumpet gowns, followed closely by Persia and her father. “We incorporated some Persian and American traditions [into the wedding,] including the sugar ceremony so we could involve our mothers in our ceremony,” Persia explains. “It is when people hold a cloth over the bride and groom and married women rub sugar cones to shower the couple with sweetness.”

Following a short-and-sweet vow exchange, friends and family were lead indoors to the opulent reception room and found their seating assignments from miniature mirror escort cards. Round tables featured reflective tops, floating candles, and the same grand floral centerpieces that had been part of the ceremony décor. Long tables displayed a similar look, with the addition of tall candelabra made of glass as well as low arrangements of flowers featuring roses, hydrangeas, and peonies in white. Place settings included alabaster charger plates, metallic utensils, and a small collection of delicate, sweet blooms in ivory or blush resting atop a sophisticated dinner menu. A gorgeous, six-tier wedding cake with a cascading line of pearl-toned roses surrounded by votives was displayed on a table featuring letters spelling out the word “LOVE” as its legs.

After enjoying their fare – which included a dessert trio of crème brûlée, espresso de crème, and baby pear cake – revelers had the chance to get up and groove to the live entertainment – a Persian boy band handpicked by the groom. “The music selection reflected my husband’s personality and the décor reflected my personality,” says Persia. In reflection, the bride stresses the importance of taking the time to enjoy the entire process as a whole, “because your wedding comes and goes in the blink of an eye.”