It’s been said that a wedding is the perfect place to meet somebody. With love already in the air, romantic encounters seem ripe for the picking. Whether they transcend the moment, however, is another story. Andrea Salzman and Lee Hutter experienced this kind of connection while attending a mutual friend’s wedding in Florida. Sadly, they did not hold out much hope of getting to know each other better because they lived on opposite sides of the country. A few weeks later, they both mentioned their common attraction toward one another to this same friend, but they assumed their feelings would never become more than flattering gossip.
That is until they ran into each other while skiing in Aspen. They spent much of their separate vacations together, and even though they traveled the next eleven months to maintain their long distance relationship, they considered Aspen to be the city where their love was born. Therefore, it was the perfect place for Andrea and Lee to get engaged several months later.
Even though there are many gorgeous hotels at which to hold a wedding in Los Angeles, Andrea and Lee were looking for a slightly different type of location for their affair. Through a recommendation, the couple discovered the Rosenthal Estate Vineyard in Malibu, a hidden gem not far from the city that had everything the couple envisioned for their wedding. It was completely private, with grounds that transported them to Tuscany, and it provided a perfect canvas for painting their own unique celebration.
With the Mediterranean architecture as their foundation, Andrea and Lee designed a wedding that combined a traditional Jewish ceremony with a celebration influenced by Andrea’s Puerto Rican heritage. As the couple explains, “It isn’t everyday that you’re invited to a Puerto Rican Jewish wedding, so we wanted our wedding to reflect the vibrancy of each culture.” Andrea and Lee embraced many Jewish rituals during their ceremony, including participating in a Bedeken and standing beneath a chuppah made from her grandfather’s talis. The bride also carried her great grandmother’s handkerchief and wore her great aunt’s earrings with a wedding dress that was custom-made and embroidered with bunches of grapes on tulle.
As a striking contrast to the quiet colors of their ceremony, the color palette of the reception was bright and fiery. To create a Caribbean paradise while still remaining loyal to the estate’s own flavor, Tuscan planter centerpieces were filled with fuchsia, lime green and bright purple flowers mixed with bunches of cascading grapes and artichokes. The atmosphere was completed by a menu replete with Latin touches. The couple served manchego grilled cheese sandwiches before the ceremony, plantain chips with caviar during the cocktail hour and red and white wine sangria to accompany the gourmet dinner and decadent dessert table.
To spice up the party, Andrea and Lee took the idea of the traditional wedding band one step further by hiring additional salsa singers to vary the play list. “We love Latin music and we know nothing gets people out of their chairs faster than a great salsa song.” Andrea’s cousins in Puerto Rico also shipped traditional instruments to the couple, like maracas and guiros, which were handed out to guests during the party so they could partake in the musical entertainment.
Digital photos were taken of the couple’s guests when they arrived at the vineyard for the ceremony. These photos were then developed and framed as favors for each person to take with them when they left. They were special mementos from a beautiful celebration that Andrea and Lee planned with the utmost care and respect for their unique personalities. And who knows, maybe they will discover that their wedding’s romance and spirit also sparked a promising encounter for another deserving couple.