This Duo Combined Old-World Charm with Impressionism at Their Nuptials in California
Michael Fieldman and Christina Le's wedding was designed by someone with a great personal interest in the matter: the bride herself. "Since I didn't have a full-service planner, I was in charge of both the design, financial, and communication aspects of the planning process," she shares—no small feat in the best of times, but one that was particularly challenging during a pandemic. Approaching the task from a practical standpoint, the bride began by prioritizing what was most important to the pair: photography. "I learned that what I was looking for was film photography, and specifically fine art photography," she says. "I felt that our photographer, Jessica Mangia, really understood my vision, so she was the first vendor we booked. From there, we started planning an engagement shoot that exuded Old-World charm, and I was able to build upon that throughout the planning process."
Christina's vision was threefold: In addition to the charm and elegance of Old-World Europe, she wanted to incorporate the soft tones and textures of the Impressionism art movement, as well as the organic beauty of nature. A lovely garden was the perfect place to tie those aesthetics together, which is ultimately why the pair chose a Malibu, California, venue that could beautifully support it. "After touring some of the spaces available at Calamigos Ranch, the Redwood Room seemed like the perfect fit with its tall oak, redwood, and weeping willow trees," asserts Christina. Soft, muted neutrals including shades of ivory, rose, champagne, and white composed the color palette and were reflected in everything from the invitation suite to the florals that swept the event. "Once I refined the look, feel, vibe, and atmosphere, I found it very easy to make my decisions," says the bride. A written strategy that gave an overview of the design elements she was looking for proved extremely helpful to Christina and kept her on track when the reception had to be redesigned for an outdoor space to accommodate COVID restrictions. Hand-sanitizing stations and custom face masks offered additional safety for guests.
In the end, the wedding was a gorgeous affair and a beautiful representation of the couple's style. "At the end of the day, follow your heart," Christina advises, "and everything will have its way of working out."
Christina found her corseted A-line wedding dress with a dramatic chapel-length train after a custom design fell short of her expectations. Los Angeles-based bridal salon En Blanc had the earliest appointment available for shopping, and Christina's sister-in-law pointed out a Marchesa gown with exquisite 3-D floral appliqués. "Ultimately, I chose the wedding dress that best suited my theme, and I'm so glad I did," says the bride.
The bride's medium-sized, hand-tied bouquet from Mulberry & Moss included peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and sweet peas in white, ivory, and rosy taupe hues. "I wanted something that looked refined and fine-art inspired, but also embodied natural beauty," says Christina. Soft greenery added organic shape and movement.
The bride slipped on a custom leather jacket later on in the evening; its custom illustration matched her arrangement.
Father and Son
The pair's two-year-old son Noah, who served as ring bearer, donned a five-piece black tuxedo to match his dad. "I looked forward to him walking down the aisle more than myself," says Christina. "We will be telling the story of him walking with his shoes squeaking and a toy dump truck in his hand for the rest of our lives."
The flower girls' ivory leotards were paired with made-to-order tulle tutus, a nod to the bride's passion for ballet and desire to make the kids' experience memorable. "Growing up, I would spend most of my free time pretending that I was a princess and would twirl in front of a mirror for what seemed like hours," she explains. "As a bride, I felt that I had the opportunity to give that experience to my flower girls and wanted it to be an equally special day for them."
Cupcakes styled with sugar roses and lisianthus blossoms kept Noah occupied ahead of the ceremony.
At First Glance
The look on Michael's face when he first saw Christina as a bride is a cherished memory. "I feel like it was on par with the moment our son was born," explains Christina. "It was priceless."
After setting the parameters for color (champagne), length (floor), and fabric (satin), Christina gave her bridesmaids the freedom to choose the dress they felt most comfortable in. Groomsmen wore custom, single-breasted black suits that were similar enough to the groom's attire to look cohesive, while allowing Michael to stand out slightly in his tux.
In Full Flower
The ceremony décor featured a beautiful chuppah, lush with greenery and flowers in delicate, neutral hues. Ground floral arrangements climbed gracefully up and around the back beams.
The Edge of Your Seat
Tall, timeless floral arrangements were placed behind the last row of ceremony chairs on both sides of the aisle.
State of the Art
An artist whose style fit perfectly with the wedding's Impressionism theme was present to paint a scene from the wedding. "Guests were free to peek over her shoulder and ask questions throughout the night," adds Christina.
A Loving Tradition
The Jewish ceremony included the wrapping of a tallit—a fringed prayer shawl—around the shoulders of the couple as a symbol of unity and being surrounded by love.
A Smash Hit
Michael smashed a glass at the conclusion of the ceremony to congratulating cheers of "Mazel Tov!" from the crowd.
The escort-card display was based on garden entrance gates one would typically find in Europe and loosely inspired by Paris' Love Lock Bridge.
Find Your Seat
Each card was tied to an ornate vintage skeleton key and suspended from iron gate panels with raw silk ribbons.
Out on the Table
Round reception tables featured low floral centerpieces in natural stone compotes, while oblong stations displayed taupe taper candles with greenery accents and etched glass votives. Lime-washed chairs with white cushions completed the elegant outdoor scene.
Quite a Number
Table numbers featured calligraphy in taupe ink as well as gold watercolor details inspired by the bride's bouquet. Whitewashed rattan chargers at each place setting complemented the dreamy arrangements of flowers in shades of taupe, blush, and white.
Table for Two
The creamy linens on the couple's sweetheart table were embroidered with a vine pattern. Brushed gold flatware accompanied vanilla chargers that were rimmed in gold and topped with scalloped dinnerware. Lit votives added a romantic glow.
Each seam of the delicately torn, thinly rolled panels of fondant that covered the couple's wedding cake by Lila Cake Shop was accented with dreamy buttercream flowers in muted, neutral shades. Touches of gold leaf added subtle flourishes to the tiers, and a mini garden of fresh florals added romance to the tableau.
A Romantic Moment
Christina and Michael indulged in a moonlit first dance.
The final product of the artist's live work was a beautiful rendering of the couple exiting their ceremony with Noah at his father's side.
Photography, Jessica Mangia
Venue, Calamigos Ranch
Event Design, Christina Le
Month-of Event Coordinator, Details, Details Weddings and Events
Videography, Yours Truly Media
Flowers, Mulberry & Moss
Invitations, Ink & Press Co.
Stationery, Jen Simpson Design; Meilifluous
Officiant, Rabbi Alex Kress
Bride's Gown, Marchesa
Veil, Grey Pearl Bridal
Bridal Salon, En Blanc
Alterations, Untamed Petals
Jewelry, J.R. Dunn Jewelers (earrings); Ferko's Fine Jewelry (rose gold rings)
Shoes, Bella Belle Shoes
Hair, Stef Cuesta for Page Beauty
Makeup, Tanya Bures for Page Beauty
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Alice & Olivia; Show Me Your Mumu
Groom's Attire, Rocky's Custom Clothes
Groomsmen's Attire, Hockerty
Flower Girl Attire, Six Stories
Ring Bearer Attire, Ashbury Coco
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands, Brilliant Earth
Music, DJ Seth Vital
Catering, Calamigos Ranch
Cake, Lila Cake Shop
Rentals, Above the Top Party Rentals; Luxe Linen; MTB Event Rentals; Papillon Rentals; Signature Party Rentals; Theoni Collection
Lighting, Above the Top Party Rentals
Live Artist, Laura Swytak of Laura Jane Fine Art
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