Lisa Marie Hart 2015-09-01 02:55:39
Lush greenery, vintage accents and hand-spun details combined for timeless style at this intimate Montage Laguna Beach celebration. Love may not make the world go ’round, but it sure makes the trip worth taking.” Those words formed the message at the emotional nuptials of Cassie Silverman and Brandon Leopoldus on Nov. 8, 2014. Though the day flew by, the couple agrees their video captures it all. Magically preserving the straight-from-the-heart vows they wrote for each other—as well as the stunning, cliff-top seaside setting for which Montage Laguna Beach is renowned—the beauty held in each moment of the film reflects the sentiments of these two romantics. The chronology of their love story greeted guests upon arrival: Handwritten on a chalkboard, their tale from first date to first kiss set the stage for their walk down the petal-strewn aisle of the Ocean Lawn at Montage—a sentimental venue for couples the world over. Journey to the Altar The pair met in February 2013, in 21st-century fashion: by email. Brandon visited a Starbucks where he loaned a computer charger to one of Cassie’s friends, who instantly envisioned the two would get along; they finally met in person on March 5. “Our first date went well, but on the second, I was so nervous I wouldn’t shut up,” Brandon laughs. Cassie was quick to give him another chance. “He was so sweet and nice, and I knew he was nervous,” she recalls. “I could tell there was something special about him.” A whirlwind year of dating—a traditional tenet that Brandon felt he should uphold—led to an old-fashioned proposal. Then, it was time to make the big announcement—but not in the way one might expect. “We didn’t call our family, and we didn’t call friends,” Brandon shares. “We called Montage Laguna Beach.” Dubbing their “happy place” during the their courtship, Cassie reached out to the resort to check on wedding date availability. Eight months later, Cassie and Brandon were each walking one of their two “dogs of honor” down a California coast wedding aisle, carpeted in pink and white rose petals. Cassie’s father took her other arm. No one knew that Brandon had forgotten his black socks (thank goodness his well-prepared father had packed several extra new pairs) or that he had no experience with bow ties and didn’t have it properly in place until 20 minutes before the ceremony. (Jeannie Savage, their savvy planner from Details Details, came to his rescue.) All their guests could see was the love in their eyes—along with a few tears. “I stand up each day for you,” Brandon told his bride. “I want you to feel proud; I want you to feel loved; I want you to feel protected. You should be happy. I strive every day to give you reasons to feel that way.” “I had no idea how much life would change that night we first met … 613 days ago,” Cassie responded, beginning her own vows. “You’re the kindest and most loyal man I know.” Then came the comic relief with what she said next: “I cannot wait to watch our family grow, perhaps starting with getting a third dog.” Then, Cassie sweetly finished her vows. “I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together, knowing that we will walk side by side, hand in hand, and heart to heart.” Romantic Elegance Beginning with the ceremony, the couple’s custom decor set the tone for a garden-inspired affair with a modern handling—an eclectic variety of chairs, vintage bookshelf and antiqued Champagne cart lent a custom and familiar feel, Savage explains. “Sophisticated and chic, it looked very pulled together,” she says. Meanwhile, the lush greenery carried throughout the day created a soft, romantic style paired with neutral accents and flowers. “The asymmetrical draping on the chuppah [the canopy over the bride and groom] had … just enough fabric to flow lightly and catch the breeze,” Savage adds. And, in line with their down-to-earth philosophy, the couple requested that guests choose “festive attire” rather than black-tie ensembles, making for a comfortable atmosphere with just enough formality to suit their venues and the milestone occasion. Post-ceremony, the couple retreated to their third-floor suite for a few private moments, which Brandon says he holds dear. Not only was the couple touched by the anonymous kindness of someone who had prepared a beautiful tasting tray of their cocktail party appetizers, but they were also moved by the view. “We had just gotten married a few minutes ago. Even the ring still felt funny,” Brandon explains. “And here we were, looking down on all of our guests who had made an effort to set aside their plans and come celebrate with us.” Below their room, 65 friends and family members had joined together for mingling during a full hour of cocktails and appetizers on the Pacific Lawn before drifting upstairs to the Gallery Ballroom for an intimate reception, which started with a personalized glass of Champagne. In a warm gesture that Savage says speaks to the couple’s giving personalities, the flutes arranged on trays held laser-cut stir sticks displaying each guest’s name and table number. “Cassie and Brandon are very into spoiling their guests and treating their loved ones,” Savage says. “They have a ‘more is more’ approach and were always coming from the mindset of, ‘What else can we do for them?’ The stir sticks were another thoughtful touch that took their guests by surprise.” The couple even managed to surprise themselves. Though they had been hands-on with Savage throughout the process, the ballroom’s final incarnation took their breath away. “It was an incredible setting,” Brandon shares. “I had seen the room beforehand, but had no idea what it was ultimately going to look like. It had been entirely transformed, and it just blew me away.” Cassie forwent customary centerpieces in favor of Savage’s artful blend of colored glass, etched goblets, candlesticks and vintage books, creating table decor that felt whimsical yet classic, with a touch of antique enchantment. Fayaz Chamadia from Bloom Box enhanced the space with floral elegance, while rustic touches included a custom wood dance floor from Found Vintage Rentals, which also dreamed up the dramatic “doughnut wall.” Nearly 700 doughnuts filled narrow shelves in an impressive, colorful display. The couple chose the flavors together: Campfire, The Oinker, Berry Best and Cherry Hibiscus, just to name a few. “The photogenic wall also created the perfect backdrop for Cassie and Brandon’s sweetheart table,” Savage recalls. On the cake table, a four-tiered confection beckoned with a light strawberry cream between alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate cake. Adding an extra dollop of personalized sweetness, a topper perfectly resembled their two furry friends, Shih Tzus Morty and Gizmo—who had retired to the couple’s suite during the reception—but remained at the celebration in spirit. Two signature libations named after the pooches had already charmed guests during the cocktail hour: a chic French martini mixed Chambord with pineapple juice, while a bubbly Champagne drink showcased a splash of lavender syrup. During the reception, imbibing took a fancier spin as two skillfully carved ice sculptures invited guests to pour vodka drinks down their icy slopes. One was carved like the Rocky Mountains for Brandon’s hometown in Colorado Springs; the other replicated Cassie’s beloved New York City skyline. Once guests took their seats at family-style tables, they settled in for a feast. The chef’s spectacular, multicourse dinner began with crisp Dungeness crabcakes preceding a salad of baby greens and entree choices including herb-grilled chicken breast, filet mignon and roasted halibut, or baby vegetable risotto. Following the meal, everyone enjoyed a festive evening of dancing, which Cassie says kept her laughing, thanks to spontaneous conga lines and plenty of tambourine shaking. Personal Service, Resort Experience Years ago, before she had ever met Brandon or stepped foot in the seaside wonder of the Montage Laguna Beach, Cassie first saw the resort perched on its oceanfront bluff splashed across the pages of a magazine. “I thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen,” she remembers. “I thought to myself, ‘If I get married, I want it to be there.’ And it was so much better than we imagined.” “I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together, knowing that we will walk side by side, hand in hand, and heart to heart.” —Cassie Silverman Their first visit had been for Brandon’s birthday. Ever since, the unforgettable ambience, warm service and Pacific Ocean backdrop has kept them returning as frequent guests. The couple even checked in a handful of days before the big event to relax together and fine-tune details before Friday night’s welcome party. The fun, Mexicanthemed event greeted the couple’s family and friends with both a margarita and taco bar. Brandon says one of his cherished memories actually transpired before that welcome dinner. “I went down to say hi to everyone as they arrived, and just the looks on their faces as they were checking in and looking around was so great,” he says. “They kept saying, ‘Why didn’t I know about this place?’ That reaction added to the whole experience.” From a professional planner’s perspective, Savage can’t help but fall in love with couples who choose Montage Laguna Beach. Not only do they share her vision for modern style with an infusion of timeless grace, but they also make her job easier. “Montage has a rule of only one wedding per day, which allows us all the time we could ever need to carpet or drape the ballroom with a custom look,” she says. “I never have to wait for another event to finish before I can start working. It’s all ours.” The event staff wants every wedding to feel like the only one in the world—and brides and grooms certainly do. The couple says they can’t overemphasize the seamlessness of their experience, which included such conveniences as delivering the welcome bags to guests’ rooms prior to their arrival. Cassie says she would have changed only one aspect: She shouldn’t have worried about a thing. “Whenever we turned around, someone was there to help us,” she says. Brandon adds that service stretched back to before the wedding, when he was driving between Los Angeles and the resort with a carful of related items. “Even the valets knew me by name and were on top of everything,” he says. “Everyone was bending over backward.” The couple has already returned several times as newlyweds. “Every time, it’s like a family waiting there for you,” Cassie explains. “It’s like coming home.”
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