Emily Kouri and Wasif Warwar first met at church when they were only eight years-old. “Wasif had a big crush on me, but I was a very shy child and wouldn’t even dare look his way during Sunday school,” Emily recalls. “We eventually ‘re-met’ 20 years later at Wasif’s graduation party, and he decided that he wasn’t going to let me get away this time. We ended up getting married in the church where we met over 20 years ago!”
The proposal took place on a whim, when Wasif planned a trip with Emily to San Francisco – the city where Emily went to college and experienced some of her favorite memories. During the ferry ride to Sausalito, Wasif popped the question and the couple celebrated their engagement over drinks at a beautiful hotel.
“WE ENDED UP GETTING MARRIED IN THE CHURCH WHERE WE MET OVER 20 YEARS AGO!” EMILY KOURI
As a wedding planner and stylist, Emily was more than prepared when it came time to plan her own wedding. “During the planning process, you must trust your professionals,” she emphasizes. “I give this advice to my own clients, and I was sure to take my own advice. You have hired them for a reason – let them work their magic!”
Ironically, the couple had scheduled their California wedding in February, as the region is known for its perfect year-round weather, and they wanted to take advantage of the “slower month.” The weekend of their wedding, however, was met with an epic storm. While the guys were golfing at Pelican Hill and the ladies met them for a private lunch, everyone was sitting and watching the storm roll in, laughing at the sudden change in weather. Fortunately, the massive storm failed to put a damper on their spirits.
“We went back to Montage, where we lost all electricity and had to order pizza for dinner, since the kitchens at the hotel were only serving cold food because of the blackout,” says Emily. “We took over the lobby and had pizza and wine by candlelight, and it was so fun! Something we will all never forget.”
When the big day arrived, guests were surrounded by a romantic, classic, and slightly edgy event space. “Wasif looked at me during the ceremony and reminded me to take it all in,” the bride describes. “We kept reminding each other of that throughout the day and night.”
For their first dance, the bride’s youngest sister sang “At Last” by Etta James, accompanied by a live band – a magical and personal touch to kick off the evening. Aside from the wedding décor, the bride and groom’s guests were of the utmost priority. Wanting everyone to fully enjoy themselves, entertainment was a particularly important aspect of the celebration.
“At the end of the day, we were exhausted but couldn’t sleep,” Emily says. “We just wanted to run through the whole day together over room service French fries. It was overwhelmingly fun and absolutely the best day of our lives!”
Ceremony Location: St. Luke’s Orthodox Church, Garden Grove, CA; Reception Location: Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, CA; Cake: Beverly’s Bakery Yorba, Linda, CA; Planner: Chic Celebrations, Newport Beach, CA; Event Design: Styled By TC, Tustin, CA; Floral Design: Elegant by Design, Fountain Valley, CA
Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier; Veil: Jennifer Leigh; Groom’s Attire: Custom; Linen: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Newport Beach, CA; Rentals: Signature Party Rentals, Classic Party Rentals, Chiavari Chair Collection and Happily Ever Etched; Lighting: Amber Event Productions, Anaheim, CA
Entertainment: Perizad Belly Dance; Stationery: Darla Marie Designs, Tustin, CA; Calligraphy: Calligraphy Katrina, Pasadena, CA; Cinematography: Love & You Studios, Irvine, CA