Engaged? Start Here
Find a Couple Get Started

Free suit or tux for the wedding couple.

Paradise Found Wedding in L.A.

kiss kiss lift

Isn't love grand?! Don't you wish you could escape into your own personal paradise when you are with your special someone? That's just what the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens did for Chad and Sami's paradise found wedding. A lush green hide away in the middle of the concrete chaos of L.A. that made it incredibly easy to forget you were at an inner city venue. With a fresh color scheme of peach and turquoise and lighthearted elements, like a paper airplane toss and a milk and donut bar, we are sure you will not want this wedding to end!
Need more ideas for your own perfect paradise wedding? Be sure to check out the full gallery here. There you can see even more of the gorgeous images captured by Danielle Capito Photography. Plus, keep reading to hear how Chad proposed to Sami and to find out just how much this paradise found wedding in L.A. cost.

hatchet groomsmen gift

orange bridesmaid dresses

From the Bride:Chad and I met at work when I was leading a week-long workshop where he was a participant. He was never my favorite student. He asked too many questions during my presentations. He emailed me before and after class with a lot of useless feedback. I thought he was giving me a hard time. By the time he asked me out a few weeks later, I was so shocked that I didn’t give him an answer. I finally realized that he was simply nervous all those times and not mean-spirited. After plenty of scheduling difficulties, we had our first date. It was a BAD date. So bad, that he promised me the following week that our “2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on” would be better. He kept his end of the bargain and we’ve been happily together ever since.

Chad and I were scheduled to move to South Africa two days after the wedding and we wanted the wedding to be a fun going away party, influenced by the people who matter the most to us: family and friends. Hence, our wedding tag line was "You mean the world to us".

The Los Angeles River Center and Gardens (LARC) was the only place I wanted to get married. There's a "je ne sais quoi" about the venue. LARC is a little, hidden oasis tucked in the middle of busy, concrete LA. Drive quickly and it's easy to miss. The central fountain, breathtaking tower, and celestial-like tree lights makes the place magical for me. The outdoor garden setting provided a lot of natural beauty. I wanted to compliment the venue rather than overwhelm it. This included a color scheme that would highlight the natural hues of the venue: peach and turquoise.

elegant framed chalkboard wedding sign

los angeles river center and gardens wedding ceremony

saying i do

paper airplains in lieu of confetti or rice

My best friend, Kevin, served as my Man of Honor and our officiant. The smaller wedding details were personal reflections of Chad and I. Instead of rice or rose petals, guests tossed paper airplanes (folded from maps we've collected) as we walked down the aisle. 


reception dress by monique lhuillier

The wedding preparation was a family affair. The vintage suitcases were gifts from Chad's grandparents. My mother purchased the Cambodian pashminas during a visit to Siem Reap. She knew guests might get cold once the night wore on. My cousin, Emmy, arranged all the florals.

vintage postcard table names

clean with table cloth table setting in outdoor reception

complimentary sunglasses for guests

mr right and mrs always right seat signs

Because of our diplomatic work, we've both spend most of our lives living overseas. Naturally, we've collected an array of postcards. The domestic postcards invited guests to "send" their love by way of a non-traditional guestbook. Instead of table numbers, we had international table destinations of places that were meaningful to us: Istanbul where we fell in love, Dubai where Chad proposed. Luggage tags served a dual purpose as place cards and wedding favors.

where it the world are you sitting escort card station

vintage postcard guestbook idea and luggage tag escort cards

signiture drink chalkboard menu

Coffee, donuts, and cake pops were made by my family's donut shop while the milk was provided by Chad's family dairy farm. The donuts and milk were a delicious symbol of our union. Complete with trays, we even served guests the donuts shortly after the cake cutting. S'mores were available by the fireplace as a nod to our first date when my s'more fell and Chad gallantly gave me his.


donuts and milk

outdoor reception lighting

Read on to hear just how Chad proposed and see how much this paradise found wedding in L.A. cost. Please note that costs change as the years go by, and prices are subject to change. This is just one couple’s breakdown to give you a rough estimate on how much a wedding like this may cost you.

From the Bride:
Chad and I were doing long distance before he proposed. I was working in DC while he was working in Djibouti, Africa. In trying to keep some semblance of a normal relationship, we often played Scrabble together online. I typically won. After 6 months of doing long distance , we decided to meet in Dubai to ring in 2012. Knowing that the desert is one of my favorite places in the world, Chad scheduled a group desert excursion for us. I was confused when the car showed up empty with only the driver inside. Chad said that the other people canceled. I said “Awesome” and high-fived him. As the sun was about to set, Chad asked if I was hungry because he brought us some snacks. He asked the driver to park so we could snack on some fruits, cheese and crackers. While my mouth was full of crackers, Chad asked that we play one last Scrabble game in 2011. I thought he was joking until he pulled out a Scrabble board game. When I opened the Scrabble board, there were letter tiles spelling out: Sami, will you marry me? As I screamed YES, the driver brought out a bottle of champagne letting me know that the excursion was meant for just the two of us all along. It was the best scrabble game ever.
Our budget was $40,000 and we stayed under it! High fives all around!!
Catering: $19,600 Food is very important to us. Eating is my favorite part of the day. Venue: $5,500
Rentals: $1,800
Invitations and Stationary: $200 Besides our Save the Date and Thx You cards, everything else was electronic. Go Green!
Photographer, Photobooth and DJ: $3,650
Guest Favors, Sunglasses, Pashimas, Bus Rental, and Post Wedding Brunch: $2,750 We LOVE our guests. They mean the world to us. It was a very guest-centric wedding. Attire: $3,400
Flowers and Decorations: $1,000
Jewelry: $2,000
Total: $39,900

View All Images
Continue to next story