This Bride's Floral Wedding Dress Foreshadowed the Flower- and Butterfly-Filled Reception to Come
Raina Silberstein and Salih ("Sal") Ukra first met in 2008 at Tea Garden in Los Angeles, a quaint café and garden where Raina, a fashion student at the time, would indulge in her love for tea and florals. Little did she know, she'd find her next great love there, too. "We had an unusual meet-cute: We collided into each other while Sal walked into the café and I walked out," Raina says. She and a friend began to make a point to visit the café once a week to work on school projects—and to see Sal, too. When their friends started dating, the couple connected at a mutual friend's party. They then shared a kiss while slipping out to move Sal's car. Eight years later on a vacation to Paris, Sal proposed after the two explored the Louvre and sipped—what else?—high tea.
More than ten years after their first meeting, on April 27, 2019, the pair gathered with 70 guests to celebrate their love in a flower-filled celebration at an Ojai, California, private estate, which belongs to Sal's aunt and uncle. The muted color palette of pink, purple, white, green, and gold matched the romantic surroundings—and Raina's epic floral wedding dress. Of course, there was tea: The pair collected vintage tea cups and saucers from antique stores while traveling and added one to each place setting on the long dinner tables. At the end of the night, guests were encouraged to take theirs home so that they could always share in the couple's love story.
This Bud's For You
Sal and Raina always envisioned tying the knot in a garden, and they knew the groom's aunt and uncle's ivy-covered Spanish style estate, which has lavender and rose gardens, in Ojai, California, would be just the place.
Sal wanted his big-day look to be "David Beckham approved," he says. Just 16 days before the wedding, he found his timeless ensemble: an Isaia black velvet tuxedo jacket, a Hugo Boss white tuxedo shirt, and Suit Supply tuxedo pants. He finished the look with a Rolex his great-aunt gave him for his 21st birthday. "She always believed in me and knew I would marry Raina," Sal says. "Wearing the watch was a sentimental way to include her with me on this special day."
Raina, a stylist, knew her Monique Lhullier wedding dress was the one when she saw it float down the runway at the Spring 2018 Haute Couture Show in Paris, so she contacted the designer to see it up close. "To finally view it in person was like a fairy tale," Raina says. "I never asked any questions, I never tried it on, and I never requested a second opinion from family or friends. I could not picture myself wearing anything else and I purchased my wedding gown right then and there."
The bride clutched a collection of blooms by The Loved Co. that contained lilacs, roses, ranuculus, sweet pea, frittilaria, silene, hellebores, and jasmine vine in light shades of pinks and purples.
Tears of Joy
The pair shared their first look under an ivy-covered arch on the estate. "I walked toward him from across the property; I embraced him from behind. As he turned around, tears of joy rolled down his face," Raina recalls.
"I was overwhelmed with joy to see Raina. When I turned to face her for the first time, she looked so beautiful—I could no longer hold back the tears," Sal says.
A Blooming Guest Book
In lieu of a traditional guest book, attendees wrote notes on cards and tied them to a vintage iron gate with ribbon.
One Door Opens
The ceremony took place on a lawn accentuated by a rustic wooden door backed by oak trees that framed valley views. Tiffany Meriwether of The Love Co. surrounded the door with lilacs, dogwood, delphinium, campanula, nerine, sweet peas, and greenery.
Raina walked through another vintage door as she entered the ceremony space while a jazz quartet played "Old Friends" by Juliana. The group was a homage to Raina's late father, who loved that style of music.
During the non-religious ceremony, officiated by Sal's uncle, the pair exchanged self-penned vows and shouted out to their parents and grandparents for providing examples of successful relationships. Before they shared their first kissed, they watered a tree sapling together, a symbol of the life they were about to build together.
We Did It!
After saying "I do," the newlyweds walked back up the aisle to "Soulful Strut" by Young Holt Unlimited.
During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed their choice of a "Perfect Match Margarita," a "Madly In Love Mojito," lavender lemonade, wine, beer, Champagne, and soda.
Take Your Seats
Sarah Stimpson Matazzoni and Gold Image Printing worked together to create the duo's seating chart, which featured florals reminiscent of those on the bride's gown.
Table for Two
During dinner, the newlyweds sat at a sweetheart table beneath an oak tree. Velvet tufted chairs and flowers repurposed from the ceremony set a romantic vibe.
Long farm tables held centerpieces brimming with lilacs, roses, ranuculus, sweet pea, frittilaria, silene, hellebores, and jasmine vine, all in the event's signature shades: pink and purple.
Hungry Bear Catering created what Raina calls a "California meets French Mediterranean" menu based on the couple's favorite dinner dates. The plated meal began with a market green salad; then guests chose between sea bass with olives, New York steak with chimichurri, or mushroom ragu.
Dance with Me
When the couple made their grand entrance into the reception, they grooved to "Quando, Quando, Quando" by Michael Bublé and Nelly Furtado, a song they heard while they were on vacation in Florence, Italy, just 10 days after getting engaged.
Enjoy Cupcakes made a trio of cakes topped with buttercream and fresh flowers. Each was a different flavor: lavender lemon honey, baklava, and chocolate vanilla doughnut.
As a nod to their first meeting, Raina and Sal collected vintage tea cups to decorate tables. They also doubled as party favors—guests were encouraged to take them home following the Moroccan mint tea service post-dinner.
Photography, Luna De Mare Photography
Event planning, Green Ribbon Parties
Catering, Hungry Bear Catering Co.
Cake, Enjoy Cupcakes
Ice Cream, McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
Flowers, The Loved Co.
Officiant, Mark Ukra
Vintage stamps, Edelweiss Post
Music, Jason Sulkin
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Hair, Capella Salon
Rentals, Archive Rentals
Linens, La Tavola
Lighting, Premiere Party Rents
Transportation, Classy Chassis Rentals
Security, Sandman Security
Restrooms, Meraz Luxury Rentals
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