Timeless Ceremony + Ballroom Reception at The Beverly Hills Hotel

Sara and Grant
Photographed by: John Solano PhotographyLocation: Beverly Hills, California, United States

Sara Rothstein and Grant Ross met through a casual introduction by a mutual friend, the way many college students often do. They are still amazed to this day that such a casual encounter at the University of Arizona led to their life-changing commitment. "We were recently back in Tuscon for a football game, and driving through campus, I thought about how I never would have believed back then that he was the person I was going to marry," says Sara. But several years and many miles later, Grant proposed to Sara on a rainy December evening in Santa Monica, California.

The two wanted to get married in an outdoor ceremony followed by a black tie celebration in time-honored, albeit chic, style. "Fashion is a huge part of my life, and I wanted the wedding to have a finished couture appeal. Everything from the hair and makeup to the lighting to the flowers was fashionable and modern," explains the bride. Sara and Grant knew right away that the Beverly Hills Hotel was the perfect location to realize their dream; they could exchange vows in the garden and celebrate luxuriously in the adjacent Crystal Ballroom. Sara and Grant chose July 8 to avoid any conflicts their guests might have with the 4th of July holiday, and because they saw it as a fortuitous date: "The number 8 has good symbolism because it resembles an infinity sign."

The central color in the decor palette was a golden champagne hue, which Sara describes as "the tone of candlelight." Paired with ivory and peach, the warm colors created a romantic aura for the ceremony through an abundance of flowers and soft lighting. Paper globe lanterns suspended from the trees framed the start of the aisle, which was completely carpeted in multi-colored rose petals. The bridesmaids wore champagne gowns as they lead the way for the flower girls and the bride herself, who was escorted toward the extravagant chuppah by her mother and father. Although it was certainly a dramatic moment for her, Sara points to another memory from the wedding day as her most poignant: "I was alone in the dressing room, waiting for my turn to walk down the aisle, and I was looking in the mirror. It was the first time I saw the whole finished look of my dress, my hair, makeup, shoes, and all. I finally stopped thinking about all the planning and was so excited to see my fiance and to walk down the aisle."

After Sara and Grant said, "I do," the gathering moved indoors for the reception. Tables were draped with golden linens and graced by low flickering candles and tall centerpieces. An orchid branch was suspended inside each glass vase, and several more emerged from the tops of centerpiece arrangements of twelve dozen roses mixed with hydrangea. Potted flowers lined the stage in front of the dance floor, and trees blooming with tiny white flowers sprouted up around the room.

Fresh roses also decorated the five-tier wedding cake filled with mixed berries, cream, and Bavarian chocolate. For those sweet tooths who were not satisfied, a long bar stocked with a variety of white candies beckoned guests to fill small shopping bags with goodies for the ride home. With the reception still in full swing at midnight, waiters passed trays of warm chocolate chip cookies and shots of milk around the dance floor. A DJ took over for the band, cutting the lights for a few seconds and turning them back on again as he reignited the party with high-energy dance music. Sara and her bridesmaids changed into their pink and white robes, dancing and laughing for several more hours. It was the connection to their guests that Sara and Grant credit with making the party the success it was - and helping it last into the night. "All 225 people that were at the wedding are close to me and my husband, and neither of us felt like we were looking at unfamiliar faces," says the bride. "The vibe in the room was fun and relaxed. Everyone was partying and having a great time."

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