Unique Library Wedding in Los Angeles
April 21, 2015
Classic WeddingsAcademic Venue SettingsFall Weddings
I love this quote from the bride of today's stunning wedding..."I wanted it to be memorable and special the way every bride does, so it had to be unique without being themed or weird." Isn't that what we all strive for? To have a wedding that reflects our own personalities without feeling too fussed upon or odd? Well, I would say that this couple pulled just that off...and so much more. With photos by Docuvitae this wedding is everything stunning in the world. More here!
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From The Bride...When Brook proposed, I felt so lucky to be marrying the man of my dreams that it almost seemed like an embarrassment of riches to be able to plan my dream wedding on top of it all.  But it was better than I could have even hoped for and I had been hoping for this kind of wedding since I could make a veil out of my mother’s dishtowels.

Classic and Unique.  This was where I started when I started thinking about what I wanted for my wedding.  Classic, meaning something elegant and timeless and avoiding trends that would date our affair, but at the same time, I didn’t want our wedding to be boring.  I wanted it to be memorable and special the way every bride does, so it had to be unique without being themed or weird.  The paradox of being traditional and unique at the same time also seemed to represent Brook and me.  He works in finance now, but grew up in a transcendental meditation community and still meditates; I am a lawyer who now writes full-time, but used to dance with a ballet company so if we could achieve this feeling of being both special but timeless, we’d have the perfect wedding for us.

I looked at a lot of venues in LA, and I mean a lot.  At one point, I had a spreadsheet (thanks to a fiancé in finance) with over 50 venues on it and I don’t think I realized how difficult venue hunting was going to be if I wanted to avoid a hotel.  We had to rule out a lot of places that didn’t allow for at least 175 guests, or that had a noise curfew (everything in Malibu has to shut down at 10pm), or was too far removed from where our guests would stay.  But when I walked into the Historic Rotunda of the Downtown Los Angeles Public Library, and saw the majesty of the beautiful little-known room that almost none of our guests had ever seen, I knew it was the right choice for us.  Plus, we could have the reception outside in the garden, catered by the on-site restaurant Café Pinot which I must say exceeded our expectations with their delicious food, and which would give Brook the outdoor aspect he was hoping for.  Another thing that really mattered to Brook and me was the experience for our guests.  Planning a destination wedding where our guests would have to drop $450 a night to stay at a hotel was unrealistic for our friends and family and we didn’t want to have fragmented groups, so luckily the Biltmore Hotel just across the street from the LA Library gave us a great rate which allowed over 120 of our 175 guests to stay in the same hotel as us, including many locals, so we got to make a whole weekend out of it all!  However, soon after signing the contract for our venue, I realized why so few people choose the LA Public Library to get married at even though their rates are quite reasonable – when dealing with the City, it can be a logistical nightmare between insurance and approvals and the fire marshal and laws about candles, but, of course, it was so worth it in the end. 

Luckily, right after the venue choice, I found my wedding coordinator, Samantha Scott, who I really have to give all the credit for on every design aspect of my wedding.  Even though I interviewed a number of coordinators, as soon as I saw Samantha’s pictures, I knew I wanted her.  Her taste and aesthetic are what you see in our wedding photos and she took my adjectives and delivered exactly what I wanted but would never have been able to put into action without her.  And while the inside of the library required very little décor, aside from our magical chuppah, made possible by Samantha’s florist, Brad Austin, the area outside in the gardens was ripe for ideas, so I needed someone with a strong artistic sensibility to add the kinds of details and touches that I’m not good at on my own.  And additionally, even though we were getting married at the library, I didn’t want a library-themed wedding, and luckily Samantha’s vision for that outdoor space came to life in a way I wouldn’t have known to ask for, while ensuring that the space demanded the formality of a black tie affair.

Our invitations and other paper goods were designed by Ceci New York and they created the most beautiful leather book invitation for us that included a laser cut image of the library and a bookmark, but avoided being gimmicky.  In addition to Samantha’s incredible florist, who transformed a public plaza into an enchanted garden, she brought in the rental company Town & Country and I don’t think I had any idea what a difference they could make till I saw the space for the first time on my wedding day and there were so many beautiful things to look at that I had no idea would be there!  The other major contributor to our aesthetic was Amber Lighting; I knew I wanted to bring in a lot of lighting since after joining Pinterest a few days after I got engaged, I realized I was really drawn to bringing in chandeliers and other types of lights to outdoor spaces.  Initially, I was concerned because Amber was the only company I could use since they were contracted with the city, but whoah was I lucky about that!  They navigated through all the regulations and still were able to bring in lots of chandeliers and LEDs and it really brought the space up a notch.

 My dress and veil were Carolina Herrera and which were also found only at the end of an exhaustive search.  I looked everywhere because I really wanted to avoid fashion trends, things like feathers or tulle, which can be very in for a season, but can quickly seem dated like the big puffy sleeves and shoulder pads of 80’s wedding dresses.  But at the same time, I didn’t want my dress to be boring and I started to feel like everything classic and traditional was just more of the same.  I had seen the CH dress early in my search, but it had a blue sash and since blue wasn’t one of my colors, it just didn’t seem quite right.  But I kept thinking about it and coming back to it and it was the only dress I could picture in my mind without needing to see a photo of it.  So I went back to CH and luckily, Maradee Wahl was there, who is now a bridal stylist, and she helped arrange the custom lavender sash just for me!

 Our photographer, Laura Kleinhenz from Docuvitae was also a really important selection.  She doesn’t do a lot of weddings, which results in her photos looking more natural, less posed, and avoids the cheesy wedding photos that don’t capture the day well.  It was her idea to sign our Ketubah in the children’s library and that made for a really fun backdrop as we sat together amongst all the colorful books.  She also did our engagement photos which helped us practice having our picture taken by her and put us more at ease on the day of.  The family photo part of wedding day is often the most fraught and most tense time of the day and I really wanted to avoid a repeat of taking my Bat Mitzvah photos.  And of course, her finished product basically speaks for itself.

 We were also so lucky to have Rabbi Naomi Levy marry us, even though we got married on a very popular day for Jewish weddings, Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  She has really inspired Brook and me and really reconnected me with my faith over the last year, and having her there on our wedding day really helped center us and remind me of what was most important.  She lead just the two of us in a brief meditation before we signed our Ketubah and one of the most spiritual parts of the day was walking down the (very long) aisle inside the library, and seeing Brook and her underneath the resplendent Chuppah in a temple of books, as she held out her arms to me the entire way.  That moment made me so overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people there, but also so connected to the generations and generations of my ancestors who had gotten married under a Chuppah before me (if only this hadn’t made me cry so much!).  She also did a great job of engaging our guests in what was a pretty traditional and religious ceremony.

 Lastly, I have to mention our band, Encore, from West Coast Music, which everyone kept telling us put on one of the best dance parties they had been to in a while.  The whole evening felt like an epic dance party and people were busting out serious moves all night, which was something we wanted and also was a reason Brook and I worked very hard on our first dance.  As I used to be a dancer, I really wanted to do something special, but Brook had never taken a dance class in his life, so he indulged me in taking Tango classes for over eight months before the wedding, but predicated it on the fact that we keep it a big secret from everyone, so there wouldn’t be any pressure on us.  This actually got a little complicated because my mom kept suggesting different ideas for our first dance up till the week before the wedding and I had to tell her that Brook and I just wanted to improvise.  Thank god for our creative and patient yet diligent Tango Instructor, Makela Brizuela, because I have to say she turned Brook into an amazing dancer and we nailed all of our lifts!  Our guests were shouting and on their feet through our whole first dance!  And hours later, we closed out the party with our friend, DJ Sol Rising who played Britney Spears’s “[Keep on Dancing] Till the World Ends” for a last dance and Brook and I performed a very unplanned (and slightly risqué?) dance that our friends said closed out the evening perfectly.  My only regret was that I couldn’t make it all last longer.