While both in Las Vegas to celebrate their fathers' birthdays, Tina Lally and Eli Carmona hit the love jackpot. "We clicked right away and spent the whole day together," remembers Tina. When it eventually came time for Tina and Eli to start wedding planning, it was their luck in Vegas that inspired them to choose 7/7/07 as the date of their celebration.
The almost 350-person affair at the exclusive Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, California, was full of custom details that centered around Tina's favorites: the color turquoise and some serious sparkle and shine. With this in mind, event coordinator and designer Carrie Zack and the team at Square Root Designs transformed the indoor and outdoor areas of the Montage into hip and modern settings fit for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Out-of-town guests were greeted in their rooms by Zack's take on the welcome basket -- custom-made "beach survival kits" presented in white canvas tote bags. Inside each was a turquoise-striped beach towel, sunscreen, a hand-painted journal from the Montage, a personalized chocolate bar, and other assorted snacks, sundries, and informational guides on Laguna. Guests were also invited to attend a welcome dinner and participate in a golf tournament in anticipation of the big day. "We focused on the tiniest of details because we wanted to be sure that everyone was taken care of," explains Tina. With a dedicated concierge available twenty-four hours a day to assist guests with their travel and sightseeing needs, everyone was adequately pampered indeed.
The couple exchanged vows in an oceanfront ceremony that reflected their Jewish and Japanese backgrounds. The aisle was thickly carpeted with white rose petals and lined with large turquoise flower boxes brimming with phalaeonopsis orchids. The bride and groom stood beneath a Lucite chuppah also covered in orchids and strung with 1,000 Japanese paper cranes. They drank from a traditional Jewish kiddish cup, a Japanese sake cup, and a third "new" cup that represented their unity. Tina and Eli then strolled hand-in-hand to the reception through a hallway draped in white fabric and lined with bouquets of orchids atop turquoise pillars.
The resort's craftsman-style ballroom was given a temporary overhaul to accommodate the couple's distinct vision. It was entirely draped and carpeted in white to provide a stark backdrop for the custom-built square "shadow box" dining tables and sleek matching chairs that were dressed in turquoise suede. Each sunken centerpiece was comprised of a variety of candles and crystals, as well as glass cylinders filled with turquoise water and sprays of orchids, tulips, and hydrangea. Specialty lighting further illuminated each elaborate display. Turquoise stemware, bubbled glass chargers, and turquoise napkins, along with custom-designed favor boxes filled with either truffles for the men or candles for the women, completed each place setting. The tables were mirrored overhead by square turquoise chandeliers.
The seating surrounded a glossy white dance floor that featured a centerpiece of its own -- a Lucite fountain adorned with silver spheres. The area was humming throughout the night with dancing guests, some who took short breaks in the music to enjoy the contemporary Moroccan hookah lounge that was arranged in an adjacent courtyard. Populated with white leather couches, the area featured flavored pipes, a turquoise and white candy bar, an ice luge dispensing signature "Tineli" martinis, and a custom-made slot machine -- a nod to the couple's Vegas encounter -- for everyone's pleasure. Guests also enjoyed posing in a photo booth that allowed them to take home a strip of photos as either a bookmark or a magnet.
It was a night full of memorable moments, and one that Tina and Eli both claim would never have come together so seamlessly without the help of a coordinator/designer -- a resource the bride recommends other couples consider if their wedding visions are as complex as hers. "I don't know what I would have done without Carrie. She made everything so much fun and effortless."
The couple embarked on their honeymoon a few days later, staying at the Cove, a boutique hideaway within the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.