Home » An Untraditional Dinner Party Wedding with Italian Influences in California

An Untraditional Dinner Party Wedding with Italian Influences in California

by Staff

When Jason Blumberg first offered to buy Hayley Goldman a drink at a University of Maryland bar in September 2012, she politely refused. But, a friendship was forged. Two months later, they started dating. 

Jason proposed on July 18, 2020 at Hayley’s parents’ desert home in Rancho Mirage, California. “We live in a condo in Los Angeles, and we saw that our neighbor down the hall had an insane balloon display outside of her door one evening,” Hayley remembers. “I didn’t think much about it, but I guess Jason was really inspired.” He found out that it had been decorated by Laura Hine and Brittany Giello of Partners in Crafting, and contacted them right away. “He asked them to work their magic and transform the living room at my parents’ house into a little love den for his proposal.” 

“I thought we were driving to the desert just to get away; we were going a little stir crazy,” Hayley continues. “When we got to the house, I walked in and was overcome with the smell of flowers. It still didn’t register; but, when I took a couple more steps into the house, I looked to my right and all the furniture was replaced by an aisle of hundreds of peony petals, votive candles, and a ginormous balloon arch with florals dripping down. By the time it all registered, I looked back at Jason, and he was already on one knee.”

The couple reached out to Laura and Brittany again, this time to plan their wedding. Their vision was specific: “For it to feel as un-wedding-y as possible,” Hayley says. “We wanted a really short and lighthearted ceremony, followed by a dinner party with our nearest and dearest—and no dancing! I remember one of the first things we said to Laura and Brittany was that we wanted good vibes, but without a neon sign that literally says ‘good vibes only.’”

Aesthetically, they leaned into a palette of terracotta and cream, and incorporated subtle Italian influences. “Even though I love a good theme—some may call me obsessed—it didn’t feel right to go so over-the-top in one direction. We really wanted the night to be representative of us, rather than to drive one particular theme home,” Hayley says. As for the venue, they chose Hayley’s parents home in the desert, the same place they’d gotten engaged. “We know this home will remain in the family for many generations to come,” Hayley says. “What better story to tell future children and grandchildren?” 

There was one more important element. “We had made it ‘official’ on November 11, 2012. So, after Jason proposed, there was never a doubt in my mind: No matter what day of the week November 11 fell on, that’s when we were getting married.” In 2021, it was a Thursday, so that’s when they said “I do” in front of 41 loved ones. 

Keep scrolling to see all the chicly out-of-the-box details, as planned by Partners in Crafting and photographed by Joe + Kathrina. 

Ever the untraditional bride, Hayley was “dead set on not wearing all white, which eliminated most bridal designers,” she says. She found a gold Markarian dress that fit her vision. Still, “I was stressed about supply chain issues,” she says. “I ordered it so late in the game that it didn’t even arrive until two weeks before the wedding. So after I purchased it, I continued to online shop.” During her just-in-case search, she stumbled upon Erdem’s Clarigold dress, a white cotton frock with red embroidered florals. “It was flowy with puffy sleeves, shorter in the front—so my shoes could have a moment—and had a black bow under the bust. It felt very romantic and garden-like, which was exactly what I was going for since the ceremony took place in my parent’s citrus garden. It was love at first sight.”

For her accessories, Hayley was inspired by the gown’s black bow. “I wore Dolce & Gabbana crystal embellished bow heels and topped it all off with these whimsical, oversized ribbon earrings from Irene Neuwirth,” she says. “I also wore an antique pearl and diamond bracelet that once belonged to my late grandmother, Sylvia. We shared a passion for jewelry, so it was really special to be able to wear something of hers.” There was no veil, of course. She adds, “Too bridal for me!”

Groom Jason wore Saint Laurent from head to toe, opting for a thin shawl collar tuxedo, black patent shoes, a cotton bib tux shirt, and a black velvet bow tie. He accessorized with a Royal Oak Watch by Audemars Piguet and a spritz of Aventus by Creed.

“Ethereal, with a candlelight glow,” was Hayley’s vision for wedding-day beauty. “I couldn’t stress enough that I wanted to look dewy and natural and not too glam. I wanted to feel like myself; that was important to me.” For her fragrance, she picked Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella’s Vaniglia. “Santa Maria Novella started in Florence and is one of the world’s oldest apothecaries, dating back to the 1200s,” she explains. “When I bought the scent, they were celebrating their 800th anniversary. I love that there is history there. The theme-lover in me also liked the brand’s Italian roots.”

Though they saw each other before the ceremony, there was no official first look. “We actually went shopping and tried on our outfits for each other from the very beginning,” Hayley says. “We’ve been together for nine years, so no surprises here!”

The ceremony took place on the greenery-covered terrace, with white orchids dripping down and twinkly lights overheard. “There was no wedding party, but Jason’s sister provided the rings—probably the oldest ring bearer of all time at age 34,” Hayley laughs. The couple were each walked down the aisle by both of their parents.

“We wanted the ceremony to feel unconventional, playful, and less formal than a traditional wedding,” Hayley says. Her brother officiated. “He delivered a lighthearted, 20-minute ceremony that included vows he wrote on our behalf! Neither Jason nor I read anything in advance, which made the ceremony that much more interesting.” Hearing the vows her brother wrote was a favorite moment for Hayley. “He’s a brilliant writer. There were plenty of jokes or lines written for us that were obviously not written by us. We had some good laughs.”

“While we didn’t want religion to play a major role in our wedding, we both come from Jewish backgrounds,” she continues. “Jason’s sister also spoke during the ceremony as she wrapped the two of us together in Jason’s late grandfathers’ tallis, a fringed garment worn as a prayer shawl by Jewish people. It’s the same tallis his grandfather, Murray, wore at his own bar mitzvah in 1947.”

After exchanging vows and rings, the newlyweds recessed out to a live acoustic version of “Adore You” by Miley Cyrus.

We wanted to be able to have our wedding table setting for the rest of our lives.

Just as the couple envisioned, the reception was set for an intimate dinner party with no dance floor. A pair of long tables were adorned with neutral florals by Stephanie Howard of Floraltique, and set with imported tablewares from The Ark Rentals. “We specifically chose this rental company because they also do retail and sell these floral plates,” Hayley says. “We wanted to be able to have our wedding table setting for the rest of our lives.” Wicker chairs completed the soft, romantic look.

“Fiona’s Pasta collaboration with Workshop Kitchen + Bar was the highlight of the evening,” Hayley recalls. “We had a fresh pasta station where guests could watch and interact with Fiona, a pasta-making superstar who actually collaborated with the chef on a pasta dish for one of the courses. [It] was one of the best pasta dishes we’ve ever had!”

The cake was designed to match the tan floral dinner plates and featured tiers of dark chocolate raspberry and strawberry Champagne cake.

After the ceremony, the greenery-covered pergola was transformed into a space where guests could relax and mingle. It even housed an upscale cigar bar.

Food and beverage is huge for the couple, so they made sure both were unique experiences on their wedding day. “The bar was more than just your average cocktail bar; it was a mixology station and there were so many craft cocktails to choose from,” Hayley says. “We wanted guests to be able to say, ‘I’m in the mood for something tart but refreshing’ and let the bartenders work their magic.” There were six signature cocktails adorned with custom swizzle sticks, and flights of high-end Japanese whisky, the groom’s favorite.

“The food was the most memorable of any wedding we have ever been to,” Hayley says. “It was an incredible, seven-course meal that incorporated Fiona’s fresh, gorgeous, handmade pasta. Each dish was beautifully plated and expertly executed by the head chef of Workshop, Michael Beckman, and his amazing team. I love that we can celebrate future anniversaries there.” A handful of courses were subtle nods to the Italian theme, and each paid homage to the couple’s unique tastes. 

“Since the main event of the evening was a seven-course meal, we were a little worried about people getting bored,” Hayley says, “So, we included Mad Libs on the back of the menus and provided pens to keep people engaged. The best part is that we got to keep all of the menus and read what everyone wrote!”

“We wanted to make sure that even without a dance floor, our guests would be entertained,” Hayley shares. “We had an incredible jazz band playing mostly instrumental, but the singer had the voice of an angel and sang classics from Frank, Ella, and B.B. King.”

Finally, Hayley changed into the gold Markarian Forget Me Not dress she’d originally bought for the wedding. “It was whimsical with gold fringe accents, a big ruffle at the bottom, and puffy sleeves,” she describes. “I’ll probably look back on the puffy sleeve trend decades from now, questioning my choices, but for now, I’m in love.” Jason swapped his tuxedo jacket for a navy floral-patterned one by Zegna. 

At the end of the night, guests indulged in a gelato station with tasting spoons to try each flavor, and left with artisanal pasta boxes from Fiona’s Pasta. Looking back on the day, it was everything the unconventional couple dreamed of and more. “Be true to yourselves as a couple,” they advise other to-be-weds. “Plan your wedding the exact way you envision it, and don’t let wedding norms influence any of your decisions.”

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