When people ask Michelle Steinberg and Eric Waraftig how they met, they both laugh at the memory of their first meeting. While taking a walk with her beloved dog on the grounds of the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Michelle’s furry friend ran up to the bench at which Eric was seated and boldly jumped onto his lap. “I was so embarrassed!” remembers Michelle. “But I was immediately charmed when Eric didn’t back away, and instead let Nikkolas lick his face… it was so endearing.”
After a romantic two-year courtship, Michelle and Eric decided to marry. The first thing they did? Checked the availability at the Four Seasons, of course. “We really wanted our wedding there,” says Michelle. “I wanted to be able to tell my children and grandchildren we were married on the spot where we met.” The couple wanted to keep the celebration small and intimate, but didn’t want to exclude the many children in Michelle’s large family. So, they opted for a wedding party exclusively made up of the bride’s little cousins… and Nikkolas, naturally. Michelle envisioned an event that was sophisticated and elegant, with elements that everyone would enjoy and feel a part of. Another important factor for the bride was that the wedding center on an eco-friendly concept that incorporated “green” details she and Eric both loved. Beginning with the invitations, the couple chose a classic-looking invite made from tree-free paper and soy based ink – even the calligraphy was inscribed with soy ink made from cooking oil-based machines.
A timeless color scheme of cream shades was chosen to offset the natural beauty of the hotel’s flourishing Wetherly Garden where the ceremony was held. Mounds of snowy florals decorated the large chuppah that strikingly contrasted with the abundant greenery of the area. “Bridal party” members sauntered down the aisle, holding small satin boxes filled with gardenias and fresh rose petals meant to be drizzled along the pathway. Michelle glowed as she took her turn down the middle row, exquisitely dressed in a rich satin strapless gown and holding a bouquet of frothy white flowers bejeweled at the handle. Only one element of the traditional Jewish ceremony was altered – the couple opted to write their own vows and read them to each other. “The funny thing is, I read mine first while Eric stood there mortified because he realized they were a lot alike – so now the joke is that we both went on the same websites searching for things to say,” reveals the bride.
The hotel’s ballroom glowed with dreamy lighting that highlighted the gilded details of the luxurious room. Crisp white linens dressed round tables enhanced with lovely centerpieces of creamy florals set in beautiful crystal compotes. The eco-friendly arrangements were created to later be buried in friends’ gardens, naturally enhancing the soil by adding additional nutrients for existing plants and flowers. Michelle and Eric also gifted their guests with unique favors of OmniPeace reusable tote bags containing a variety of goodies with organic ingredients.
A choice of either delicious roasted Angus beef tenderloin or tasty Chilean sea bass was served, followed by slices of the couple’s four-tiered cake decorated with an elaborate filigree design. The pair and what seemed to be all 145 of their attendees danced all evening to music performed by a 16-piece band. “It was the highlight of the night,” notes Michelle. “Having such a large band for an intimate wedding was unique… our guests loved it.” Although Eric was very involved in the planning of the musical selection, he does admit when the song started for the traditional hora dance he was afraid to sit in the chair. “It was a very quick hora dance!” he laughs. “However,” he adds, “don’t get caught up in any one thing too long because the night flies by. Enjoy being in the moment... it will be the time of your life.”