Winter Wedding at The Jonathan Club in Santa Monica, California

Gina and Michael

Photographed by: Dalal PhotographyLocation: Santa Monica, California, United States

Gina DeBernardo’s friend and Michael Gallivan’s sister-in-law saw potential for something sweet, but could they have guessed they would be attending Gina and Michael’s wedding three years later? After a romantic, summertime proposal on the grassy shore of Silver Lake in June Lake, California, Cupid’s efforts were proved successful when the couple exchanged vows at Saint Monica’s Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California. Two-hundred-sixty-five guests were treated to an evening of fine romance (a good friend of Gina’s, voice-trained in opera, sang at the ceremony) and familial spontaneity, as the large Irish and Italian families became one boisterous clan. And in the true spirit of Cupid, the groom’s twenty-two nephews and nieces participated in the wedding, setting the mood for love, mischief and laughter.

Shortly after the light-hearted ceremony, the guests joined the newlyweds at the exquisite Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. In homage to Valentine’s Day, the already impressive reception area flourished with candles and over 3,000 red roses. The dinner menus were printed on antique ivory paper with red ink, letter-pressed with the calligraphy of a talented Russian calligrapher. The featured presentations at the reception were an amply stocked caviar bar, and a martini bar made of ice, adorned with martini-glass decorations and the center engraved with a Cupid.

Although Valentine’s Day was their wedding theme, Gina and Michael wanted to reflect the individual qualities that meshed together so well in their relationship. Gina’s formal style was evident in the black-tie dress code and the martini and caviar bar. Michael’s more free-spirited approach to life “came to life” with the afro-wig wearing disco band, and the playful names for the martinis, including “Luck of the Irish” and “Shot of Love.” The passion and love from both sides of their festive families created an evening energized by lots of dancing and laughter, including a unique rendition of “Da Doo Run Run” performed by the two women who paired Gina and Michael up on that blind date three years ago.

Gina and Michael’s best advice for future brides and grooms planning their celebration is take a few moments during the ceremony and reception “to look around you and absorb what is happening. Realizing how many people there are who love and support you is an overwhelming experience.”

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