Summer At-Home Wedding with Tropical Flowers in California

Kimberley and Derek

Photographed by: Jack Caputo PhotographyLocation: Agoura Hills, California, United States

When asked just how and when Kimberly Gari and Derek Luff met each other, the answer isn’t as simple as one would expect. The two “met” while waiting in the registration line at a television convention in Las Vegas, two years ago. However, it wasn’t an official meeting, since Kimberly admits that technically, the two never actually spoke – rather, “I noticed this tall, dark, handsome man standing behind me. My heart fell to my big toe, and I had definitely fallen in love!”

Back home in California just four months later, Kimberly encountered the handsome stranger once again, this time being sat next to him at a supper club. Sure enough, Kimberly’s heart fell to her big toe once again the moment she saw him. This time she found out not only his name, Derek Luff, but that he lived in California and was also from the East Coast and worked in the entertainment industry, just like her. They exchanged business cards, struck up a friendship over e-mails and eventually went out on a date about two months later.

Kimberly and Derek were married two years and one day after their first date, after a romantic Christmas Eve proposal and a seven-month engagement. Kimberly recalls that planning her wedding in just half a year was definitely a challenge, but she drew on her own experience as a caterer as well as from her many stints as a bridesmaid and maid of honor. The couple decided they would marry at a private family residence, and then became inspired by the many Birds of Paradise surrounding the property. The theme was set in motion, and was carried throughout every aspect of the wedding, from bridesmaids dresses in vibrant orange chiffon to lush flower arrangements adorned with Birds of Paradise, tangerine orchids and citrus fruits to the invitations which featured Birds of Paradise in burnt orange. The dinner napkins were bright orange and folded into the shape of Birds of Paradise, and even the CDs given as wedding favors were embellished with Birds of Paradise on the cover.

The event was filled with many special, memorable moments, and among them was the lighting of the family unity candle during the ceremony. Derek’s five-year-old son, Hayden, played a key role by lighting his unity candle along with Derek and Kimberly. Once each of their individual candles were lit, the three then lit the family unity candle together as a symbol of their commitment as a family. Additionally, two family friends, one a harpist and one a vocalist, contributed their formidable talents to the ceremony itself by performing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” as Kimberly approached the end of the aisle with her father. Though the details of the day the couple “met” may be a bit fuzzy, the future is clearly bright for Kimberly, Derek and their new family.

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