Summer Wedding with Garden-Inspired Décor in California

Lisa and Martin

Photographed by: Shannon’s PhotographyLocation: Beverly Hills, California, United States

Like a romantic movie script come to life, Lisa Taylor and Martin Holly crossed paths at the weddings of family and mutual friends. The first wedding, that of Martin’s brother, introduced the two, leaving memorable impressions for both future bride and groom. But as chance would have it, following their initial meeting, the two traveled separate paths, not seeing each other until two years later at another wedding of mutual friends. Days later, blessed with perfect Southern California weather, Lisa and Martin shared their first date; the two have been inseparable ever since.

After a lovely courtship blessed with several signs of “fate”, Martin, a die hard golf fanatic, asked Lisa to be his wife after a grueling day on the golf course on December 28, 2002, which just happens to be Lisa’s mother’s birthday. Lisa accepted his proposal and wedding plans were set into motion with a grand-scale celebration in mind. The bride, who is a perfectionist by nature, planned the entire wedding with the help of close friends and family, and no detail was overlooked. Loved ones were a big part of the eight-month engagement period, with so many people participating helping with wedding plans as well as hosting separate celebrations including an engagement party, showers and the bachelorette party.

With many of the guests traveling in from out of town, wedding festivities were held over Labor Day weekend of 2003 and included a whole weekend of activities.

For the men this included the Taylor-Holly golf tournament and for the women a day of relaxation before the big wedding day. Concluding the three-day weekend on Sunday with a Southern-style barbeque at the groom’s family home above the Hollywood Hills.

Like their first date, Lisa and Martin’s wedding was similarly graced with beautiful California weather, perfect for the outdoor ceremony the couple envisioned for themselves. According to plan, the ceremony began just before the sun was about to set, and vibrant sunlight completed the gorgeous scene. As the guests took their seats, the sun began to set, filling the sky with stunning oranges and reds. Against this visual backdrop, an opera singer, joined by a trio of musicians, provided melodious musical accompaniment.

As the sun went down and twilight slowly turned to nightfall, the two exchanged vows in a touching ceremony that reflected both Lisa’s Buddhist heritage and Martin’s Christian upbringing. Set at the elegant Park Hyatt Hotel in Century City, the celebration was an intimate affair, marked by the presence of relatives and close friends. The couple’s minister, Rev. Dr. Frederick O. Murph officiated the Christian portion of the ceremony, while Lisa’s sister presided over the San-San Kudo part of the ceremony. In a touching San-San Kudo custom, the families shared ceremonial sake, a symbolic uniting of the two families. The unique ceremony, which nicely melded Christian and Buddhist customs, concluded with the bride and groom exchanging roses, a touching tribute to their love and friendship, and then the African-American custom of “jumping the broom.” This act symbolizes the clean start and hard work that forms the foundation of the couple’s relationship. Lisa and Martin used the groom’s mother’s broom from her wedding day who was given it by her mother over 30 years ago.

The reception, also held at the Park Hyatt Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, was a beautiful picture of romance. The bride and groom admit to being quite demanding when it came to the look of the reception, which they envisioned as an evening full of romance. Martin elaborated on this idea by coming up with the theme of bringing an enchanted garden indoors. The two worked closely with their talented florist to transform the hotel’s banquet hall into a resplendent, blooming garden that exceeded even the couple’s high expectations. A royal color palette added to the vision with hues of crimson, eggplant and champagne. Alluring floral scents were accented by the aroma of fresh trees and set against the backdrop of a stunning water fountain, a park bench, dimmed lights, and walls awash in the warm and sensual hues of red and gold.

A unique cultural element was the scattering of 1,001 origami cranes (folded by the bride and her friends) all over the reception area, which is a Japanese symbol of longevity, prosperity, good fortune, fidelity and peace for the marriage.

One of the evening’s highlights was when Lisa and Martin shared their first dance as newlyweds, twirling to the sounds of the bride’s favorite song, Stevie Wonder’s “A Ribbon in the Sky.” It was then that the quiet, intimate evening transformed into a festive party. Not a single seat was occupied as some 200 guests pounded the dance floor to live music provided by Sharky and the Babes for virtually the entire night. Adding further to the jovial mood was a cheeky “turning in the key” joke that Lisa and the Best Man (Martin’s brother) played on the groom. While toasting the newlyweds, the Best Man convincingly and dramatically silenced the crowd with anecdotes of Martin’s “playboy” lifestyle and the significance of Lisa ending his days as a bachelor. On cue, a string of women stood up to officially turn in the key to Martin’s home, amidst roars of laughter from the crowd and nothing short of shock and embarrassment for the blushing groom! The performance definitely gave the wedding guests something to talk about for months after the wedding, and is sure to bring a smile to the couple’s faces whenever they recall their wedding reception.

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