Wedding Planning

Alissa and Rich’s Rustic Elegant Affair in Los Olivos, CA

We are both performers and that led to our initial meeting. Rich and I met May 6, 2000 after Rich performed in a mutual friend’s recital at NYU. I walked up to him in Washington Square Park and started blathering on about how he was such a talented musician.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story:
We are both performers and that led to our initial meeting. Rich and I met May 6, 2000 after Rich performed in a mutual friend’s recital at NYU. I walked up to him in Washington Square Park and started blathering on about how he was such a talented musician. We walked together from Washington Square Park to Union Square Park, where I lived at the time, exchanged numbers and the rest, as they say, was history! It was only fitting that Rich proposed at the exact spot in Washington Square Park where I had first approached him. This time, I said little more than ‘YES!!’ and started crying!

What was the theme | design inspiration for your wedding?
My location and my relationship with my fiance were definitely pieces of inspiration for my wedding. I knew I wanted rustic elegance with classic movie star fashion.

Tell us about the attire for both bride, groom and the bridal party:
Rich fell in love with a dark navy suit from Armani. He paired this with dark brown shoes from Banana Republic, shirt and tie from Theory. His groomsmen wore dark navy suits of their choosing paired with pale pink ties.

My bridesmaids were in what I like to call ‘lipstick colors,’ magenta’s, berries and blush. My sister (and maid of honor) wore a deep eggplant dress. The dresses were by Jim Hjelm and purchased at the amazing Renee Strauss, for the bride here in Los Angeles!

My dress story – On a whim, I walked into Selia Yang’s storefront on East 9th St. in NYC and walked out with a sample, a very simple white A-line dress with absolutely no frills. I flew back to L.A. with the mission to make this my dream wedding dress. Luckily, I didn’t have to look very far. I am blessed to have two miraculously talented designers living within feet of my front door, Clay Sadler, a recent graduate of FIDM, and Susan Joy Brownstein, a graphic designer and jewelry designer. With a little sweat and a lot of love, we created my vintage-inspired headpiece, intricate bustle, and multi-colored petticoats which matched each of my bridesmaid’s dresses. We paired my ethereal shrug with a handcrafted velvet flower accented with Clay’s grandmother’s antique brooch. In addition we used vintage beads and fabric to craft a bouquet fastener that coordinated perfectly with my overall look. Once it all came together, I felt as though I was an old time film star come to life.

Favorite design element of your big day:
When it came to all the little paper details, I looked, once again, to Susan Joy Brownstein. She runs her own graphic design company and paper company and is a pro at capturing a person’s style in her designs. She created the ceremony programs, all signage, and CD favors which utilized our fantastic engagement shoot pix which were featured on Rock N Roll Bride’s blog this past May.

As far as music went I knew that we wanted a DJ. And as luck would have it, one of my best friends is a well known event MC here in Los Angeles, Rory Pollinger. As his gift to me, he MC’d our wedding and provided us with a very talented DJ as well. Everything was so seamless and done with such love. I could not have asked for more from him.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding?
Trying to make sure everyone got up the winding mountain road in one piece! Thankfully, we hired a shuttle service for our guests.

What advice would you give to a couple planning their wedding?
Start soon! Know that there will be disagreements going in and be prepared to compromise! Make sure you take mental pictures throughout the day so you can remember each special moment.

Any specific reasons behind certain choices you made for your wedding? Maybe flowers that were your mom’s favorite, or your first dance song was the first song you ever heard together, that kind of thing?
I am Jewish and my husband is Christian. So we used elements from both faiths during our ceremony. My sister, Rachel Dean is a fabulous fine artist and handmade our ketubah (Jewish wedding contract). She totally captured my exact taste and it was so special when everyone signed it together.

I had my cousin sing a very special song as my mom, dad and sister walked me down the aisle. And yes, my whole family walked me down. I figured it was only fair that they all got me to this point, so symbolically ushering me to Rich made sense to me. As for the song, it was ‘Near You Always’ by Jewel.

Our first song was actually a song we heard on the radio one day, and by the time it was over, we both looked at each other and said ‘that’s our song.’ It was ‘Then’ by Brad Paisley. As it was a country song, we took country dance lessons with Trish Connery here in L.A. She choreographed a beautiful dance that we were happy to perform. And speaking of performances, one element that remained a surprise to everyone was our surprise performance of ‘Saw her Standing There’ by the Beatles. We thought the lyrics were pretty accurate to when we met and everyone was very surprised by us breaking out into song when we were introduced into the reception. That was probably my favorite moment!

Tell me something about your photographer.
After an extensive search for a photographer, we found Laura Grier at Beautiful Day Photography. We fell in love with her laid back photo-journalistic style and her infectious positive energy. Through Laura, we actually ended up finding our wedding location, The Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse in Los Olivos, California, based on the photos from one of the gorgeous weddings she shot there. As you will see in the attached photos, we accomplished our vision of a ‘vintage rustic chic’ themed wedding. Being the daughter of a NY event planner, Daveen Dean of Glittering Moments, really came in handy when choosing my vendors. Laura’s energy is amazing and she is totally stealthy. I had no idea she was even there, yet she made her presence known at the important moments. I am in love with every single shot, to the point that I have no idea how I will ever choose pix for our album!

Wedding Vendors:
Location: Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse, a 2 century old farmhouse on an ostrich farm, 9 miles up a winding hill in Los Olivos, CA
Ostrich cake topper: Skunkboy creations
Hand painted wooden table numbers: Funkifolkart
Cake: Solvang Bakery, Solvang, CA
Florist: Brent Wang of
Caterer: Santa Barbara BBQ
Lighting design: Ambient Lighting, Santa Barbara
MC/DJ: Rory Pollinger and Dave Kehs of You Should Be Dancing
Headpiece, veil, bustle, petticoats, shrug:
CD wedding favors: and

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