#GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso and Joel Jarek DeGraff's Los Angeles Wedding
"Ask for what you want" is just one piece of seemingly simple but decidedly genius advice that Sophia Amoruso offers in her best-selling memoir #GIRLBOSS
. And it's exactly the philosophy that helped her woo her husband, musician Joel Jarek DeGraff, on Facebook, of all places. But first, let's flash back to 2002, when Sophia was a self-described "stinky little girl" in Olympia, Washington. On a blurry, fun night out, she made a bunch of new friends, and they all ended up at some guy's house. (We'll let you guess who "some guy" was.) "I thought he was cute, but he was married," she recalls. And so life rolled on. Sophia moved to San Francisco, where she founded Nasty Gal, the online clothing retailer, while Joel pursued music. When his first marriage ended, the two became pen pals for nearly a decade—Sophia has the mixtapes to prove it. Then in 2011, Sophia, who'd relocated to Los Angeles, saw Joel post on Facebook about living there, too. Taking a page from her own book, she asked him to meet up; he accepted immediately. Three years later, holding a ring they'd selected together, Joel got down on one knee and asked for exactly what he wanted, proposing while Sophia was packing for a work trip.
Precisely 363 days after that, the two wed at the Paramour Estate, an opulent 1923 mansion in L.A. "There are so few places in L.A. with that character," she says of the retro setting. Inspired by the colors of their home, Sophia and Joel went for a scheme of oxblood and black, with touches of teal, dusty rose, lilac, and brass. And because "I don't like anything brand new," says the girl who built an empire selling vintage clothes, she envisioned a scene of faded glamour straight out of Great Expectations: Blossoms were falling off their stems, candles dripped, and an unruly floral installation grew "like a nest" at the altar. Says Sophia, "It was dark without being gothy."
On June 13, 2015, 200 guests settled into church pews on the lawn for the ceremony. "As I walked down the aisle, I was like, 'Whoa, I'm tripping on my dress, there's Joel, don't fall, there's Joel!'" Sophia says, laughing. She stayed upright for their self-penned vows, then the party moved poolside for cocktails as synchronized swimmers made a splash. Dinner was back on the lawn, while dancing and late-night food, like chicken and waffles and Kobe sliders, were on offer in the ballroom. "The night felt really abundant, like we were under a private moon," says Sophia. "We couldn't have asked for anything more."
While both the save-the-date poster and the invitation suite featured gold foil stamping, "the invitations were a little bit more formal," says Sophia. "But they were still colorful. We chose these saturated hues so that it looked almost like a fall wedding in June."
When your business is fashion, you’d think sourcing your dream gown would be easy. For Sophia, that was almost true. "I found a proper bridal gown and ordered it well in advance, but it just wasn't right," she says. "I was in a pinch, so I went to one of my favorite vintage stores, Lily et Cie, in Beverly Hills. The owner showed me this 2007 Alexander McQueen dress that had never been worn, and that was it. We didn't even have to alter it. It was just hanging there, waiting for me." She made it her own with Sermoneta gloves. Here, she and her groom (in a Saint Laurent tuxedo), pose for a family photo with their three toy poodles, each wearing a collar of baby's breath. "By caring for the dogs together, we learned to appreciate new things about one another. I saw he was patient and attentive," says Sophia.
The Blushing Bride
In addition to her Alexander McQueen gown, Sermoneta gloves, and black-velvet-wrapped bouquet of long-stemmed calla lilies, the bride crossed off all of the boxes for her special "somethings"—carrying her grandmother's old bible under her flowers during the ceremony as her "something old," borrowing 21-carat diamond-and-platinum earrings dating back to the 1920s from Lily et Cie, and going blue and new together thanks to an Agent Provocateur garter with the bride and groom's initials and wedding date embroidered in blue thread.
The bride wore sparkly sling backs by Rene Caovilla, whom she describes as "a Venetian shoemaker guy."
La Vie en Rose
Sophia's four bridesmaids, in custom Nasty Gal dresses, clutched matching bouquets.
The Bridesmaids' Bouquets
The bridesmaids' bouquets included wild jasmine, ferns, scabiosa, foxglove, clematis and peonies and garden roses that matched the bordeaux color of their dresses.
Put a Ring on It
The two flower girls, Joel's nieces, wore Oscar de la Renta. Each held a basket of wild jasmine vines and delphinium, nigella, and scabiosa blossoms.
"I don't have siblings, so the best part was when Joel's niece came up and asked if she could refer to me as Aunt Sophia," the bride recalls. "My family got bigger."
The Littlest Attendant
Along with her big sister, Joel's four-year-old niece acted as a flower girl.
The teal programs were flat-printed with the pair's monogram and need-to-know information about the ceremony, including the names of the members of the wedding party and the titles of the songs played. Sophia's father walked her down the aisle to "The Circle is Unbroken" by The Incredible String Band, and, after exchanging vows they'd written themselves, the pair recessed to David Bowie's "Be My Wife."
The flower heads that lined the steps on the grounds of the Paramour Estate added to the vintage feel of the celebration. "We really wanted the evening to feel like everything that was there had been waiting for us forever," says Sophia.
A Portrait Pause
The groom took a moment to pose with his father and his attendants, four close friends of his. (And yes, friendship trumps gender: who says a groomsman can't be a lady?)
Cocktail Hour Cool
Bistro lights, velvet-draped high-top tables, twinkling votives, and white wildflowers transformed the poolside patio of the Los Angeles estate.
Setting the Scene
Each of the property's three marble statues wore a floral wreath of jasmine vines and garden roses.
The In Crowd
Guests, many of whom work in the fashion and music industries, came in fine form—and feathers.
A Feast For All
During the cocktail hour, guests dug into four different cheese varieties, including five-year aged Gouda, garnished with dried and fresh fruit, Picholine olives, Marcona almonds, baguettes, lahvosh, and raisin-thyme crostini.
The Guest Book
Mixologist Talmadge Lowe of Pharmacie, in L.A., crafted the specialty cocktails, which the couple named after locales, calling a sweet vodka-blueberry creation (far right) the Candy Shop.
Black napkins were foil-stamped with the duo's monogram.
"Joel loved the idea of synchronized swimmers, so I decided to throw them into the mix without telling him," says Sophia.
The Aqualillies synchronized swimming company wear retro styled bathing suits and are reviving a sport that had its heyday in the middle of the last century—but they're also having quite a moment right now, having performed for Justin Timberlake and the Kardashians (and at TED Conferences!) as well as at Sophia and Joel's wedding.
Cocktail Hour Fun
"Cocktail hour was around this marble pool," says Sophia, which made having synchronized swimmers as fitting as it was surprising for guests—and the groom, who had no idea what was coming. "Everyone loved it," Sophia recalls. "People were talking about it all night."
Tile Escort Cards
Gold paint was used to write guests' table assignments on hexagonal marble tiles, which were placed, honeycomb-like, on an ebony table for an elegant contrast.
The dramatic black-cloth-draped tables were topped with both real flowers and black-plaster-dipped silk blooms set in brass vessels.
In an homage to the bride's heritage, Greek cookies, including nutty melomakarona and braided koulourakia, were nestled, Dutch-painting style, among tapers, vines, and fruit.
Taking the Cake
Bosc pears, mission figs, and black grapes dusted with edible gold adorned a rose-water-scented cake layered with whipped cream and strawberries, and iced in Swiss meringue buttercream.