Gabriel Mass was full of surprises when he decided to propose to his beloved, Alyssa Levine. After six months of courtship and his move from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Gabriel asked her to marry him on the romantically lit patio of Il Cielo – Alyssa’s favorite restaurant in Beverly Hills. Her ecstatic “Yes!” was followed by “lots of toasting and ordering a delicious meal we were too excited to eat,” the bride recalls.
Following dinner, a limo whisked the couple to a chic hotel in Santa Monica. “I figured we were going to toast at their beautiful rooftop bar, also the site of our first kiss,” says Alyssa. However, Gabriel had arranged for all of their friends to be there and celebrate their engagement late into the night. The festivities weren’t over yet, as Gabriel woke Alyssa up early the next morning so they could drive to her parents' house, where her brother’s family and Gabriel’s parents joined them for an amazing brunch.
The wedding site was something Alyssa had her heart set on for some time – her family’s home. “I’d dreamed of getting married there since I was four,” shares the bride. “It has incredible views of La Jolla and always felt like a fairy-tale location to me.” With such a scenic setting as a backdrop, the couple selected complementary hues and elements for the wedding décor.
Ghost chairs were arranged around an aquamarine pool sprinkled with white blossoms for the ceremony, and a simple, ivory draped chuppah was accented with neutral-toned roses. The day was full of magical moments, but for the bride, one stood out above the rest: “Walking around the corner and watching Gabriel’s face as he saw me for the first time, and [then] joining him under the chuppah. We were both so nervous and filled with emotion, our hands were shaking. During that time, it felt like the whole world disappeared and it was just the two of us.”
Raised in reformed Jewish families, the couple decided to include the traditions that resonated with them most in the service. It was important to honor Alyssa’s father, who had passed away, and have his presence felt. During the prayer portion of the ceremony, they incorporated the father of the bride’s tallit “as a symbol of him enveloping us with his love,” explains Alyssa.
For the reception, floral arrangements and centerpieces composed of roses in a palette of cream, beige, taupe, blush, and peach adorned tables surrounding a dance-floor area embellished with modern black chandeliers and a disco ball. Soft candlelight lent another romantic element to the evening’s outdoor reception.
“Bonnie Foster and her team were incredible and set the tone for the night,” notes the bride of the celebration full of dancing and revelry. “Our guests are still raving about them.” Likewise, Alyssa and Gabriel’s attendants incited plenty of laughter. “Our bridal party’s speeches were the greatest gifts they could have given us,” she says. “Each one incorporated different aspects of our lives and relationships and really brought our guests together.” For dessert, loved ones received a slice of each of the wedding cake’s three flavors: red velvet, almond apricot, and Gateau Aileen – white cake with fresh berries. The confection was delicately decorated with golden touches and the whimsically paired silhouettes of the couple’s cherished cats.
The entire wedding weekend was an amazing whirlwind for the bride and groom. They only wish all of its components would have been adequately captured. In retrospect, Alyssa and Gabriel would have hired a photographer for the rehearsal dinner and brunch, as well as a videographer for the speeches at the former event. “It never even crossed our minds!” Alyssa admits. “Even though the memories will forever be [recorded] in my brain, it breaks my heart that we have so few photos of the actual events since they were such an important part of the whole wedding experience.”
When the couple first met their wedding planner, she asked what they wanted their guests to say and feel after the big day. Alyssa and Gabriel told her they wanted their friends and family to know how important they were to them, a poignant principle that guided the planning process. In the end, the way everything came harmoniously together exceeded the newlyweds' expectations.