A Weeklong Wedding Celebration Filled with Timeless Elegance and Modern Romance
Larissa Insogna had moved back home with her parents during the pandemic, and didn’t see any of her friends during that time. When stay-at-home restrictions began lifting enough to attend a friend’s birthday dinner in Newport Beach, she ended up sitting across from Aamir Shah. Though they’d never met before, the two chatted the entire night and continued getting to know each other after the party. As it turned out, they had several commonalities such as a mutual love of sports and working out. They even attended USC at the same time for their masters, even though they never crossed paths during school.
“I think we chatted almost every day,” Larissa recalls. “The following week, he challenged me to a tennis match where the loser would buy dinner. I don’t remember who really lost, but he bought dinner. Aamir likes to joke that he was the first guy that I saw since lockdown.”
“Everything ran smoothly on the big day, allowing us to relax and savor every moment.”
A Destination Proposal in Europe
Larissa and Aamir were engaged during a destination proposal in Europe. The planning of the engagement happened rather serendipidously, with Aamir being a diehard Real Madrid fan who hasn’t missed watching a game in more than 20 years.
“When they made it to the finals of the Champion’s League, I’ve never seen him so happy,” Larissa shares. “He called me the moment they won the semi-finals: ‘Real Madrid made it to the finals! We’re going to Paris in two weeks!.’ I was ecstatic, naturally. Little did I know, he also called his parents and said: ‘Real Madrid made it to the finals in Paris. We’re going. I’m also going to propose to Larissa.’”
While Larissa was under the guise that they’d be going to Europe for a football match, Aamir’s parents were “coincidentally” planning a trip to London while his brother, Furhan, suggested they meet up in Italy.
“You don’t have to ask me twice to go to Italy,” Larissa adds. “It’s my favorite place in the world. My father is Italian and I had lived there in my early 20’s. It feels like home. His parents said they wanted to go too. I suspected nothing. I just figured the family liked to travel together.”
The big destination proposal took place on May 25th, when the couple were in Capri and Aamir’s parents had joined them a few days prior. His brother chartered a private boat to sail from the Amalfi Coast to meet them; and since he had the boat, everyone decided to spend the afternoon sailing around the island – a dramatic landscape surrounded by electric blue water.
“It was the perfect day,” says Larissa. “As we neared the end of our boat day, the captains pull in front of the Fragalioni rocks – one of the most iconic and incredible landscapes on the island. Aamir says that we should take a picture at the bow of the boat. As we’re both up there, my favorite song comes on – ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Andrea Bocelli. All I remember is turning to Aamir and saying, ‘This is my favorite song.’ Then he gets down on one knee. I was so overcome by emotion, I burst into tears. I’m in shock. I had no idea this was coming. The day and the setting was absolutely perfect. It takes me a full 2 minutes to get out my answer, which was a resounding ‘Yes!’”
Wedding Planning with Nikki and Madiha Khan
The couple’s wedding planning process was an enjoyable and seamless experience, thanks to Nikki and Madiha Khan of Exquisite Events. Aamir’s family is very close to the Khans, so they knew Nikki and Madi would be the best pick when planning a luxury wedding celebration for 500 people at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach.
“From the beginning, Nikki and her daughter Madiha were attentive, understanding, and genuinely invested in making our wedding day uniquely ours,” Larissa explains. “They were not just planners; they were partners in creating a day that reflected our love story. Their creativity shone through in every aspect of the planning process. From curating breathtaking floral arrangements to suggesting unique decor elements, they added a touch of elegance and sophistication that elevated the entire celebration.”
Communication was seamless, and they were always responsive to our ideas and concerns. Their meticulous organization ensured that everything ran smoothly on the big day, allowing us to relax and savor every moment.”
Creating an Atmosphere of Timeless Elegance and Modern Romance
Since the couple had the utmost trust in Nikki and Madi, they let the Exquisite Events team “run with it” in terms of the wedding design and décor. Rather than having a specific theme or vision in place, their focus was creating an atmosphere of timeless elegance and modern romance.
For the color palette, Larissa knew she wanted a mix of lavenders and purples. Exquisite Events filled in the rest of the details flawlessly, with wedding décor that included cascading floral arrangements from the ceiling and over the tables. Complete with chandeliers and candles, the ambiance was absolutely dreamy.
A Week of Wedding Celebrations
Rather than one big day, Larissa and Aamir enjoyed an entire week of wedding celebrations. The itinerary kicked off on Monday, May 1st at the groom’s parents’ home. Wednesday was Henna Day, during which the women of the family gathered together to have their hands and feet painted. There was also lots of food and dancing – a welcome respite, as Larissa’s intricate and ornate bridal henna took 6 hours to complete.
The next day was the couple’s Mehndi at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. Approximately 300 guests attended the party, which featured bright and colorful décor to match the energy and spirit of the event. The bride and groom’s families performed choreographed dances, and everyone enjoyed the catered Pakistani cuisine.
“One of the most cherished moments from the celebration was my grand entrance during the Mehndi ceremony,” says Larissa. “It was a spectacle of joy and camaraderie as I was gracefully carried in on a regal Dhole, accompanied by five of the most significant men in my life – my brother, cousin, and closest (and strongest) friends. The procession, adorned with lively dancers and musicians, set the vibrant tone for the evening.
As I reached the entrance, the atmosphere was electric with anticipation. Aamir stood there ready to take my hand. That moment felt surreal. He then escorted me into the venue, marking the beginning of a night filled with love, laughter, and the promise of a beautiful journey ahead.”
On May 5th, Larissa and Aamir held their Nikkah, or Islamic marriage contract – a formal and legal marrying process. The intimate celebration took place at Aamir’s parents’ home in Shady Canyon with 50 close friends and family present.
Lastly, on May 6th, the “traditional American” wedding ceremony and reception took place at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach with roughly 450 guests in attendance.
Honeymooning in Greece and Turkey
After a weeklong wedding celebration, the newlyweds needed about a month to decompress before honeymooning in Greece and Turkey. A blissful 3 weeks were spent in Greece exploring the Greek Isles, and concluded with a week in Turkey to visit Bodrum, Cappadocia, and end their honeymoon in Istanbul.
“We enjoyed relaxing on the pristine beaches,” shares Larissa, “staying in the most amazing hotels, exploring the local culture, and creating more cherished memories as we embark on this new chapter of our lives.”
Location: Waldorf Astoria Dana Point; Event Planner: Exquisite Events; Floral Design: Bloombox Designs; Cake: Joanie & Leighs Cakes; Lighting: Special Occasions; Cinematography: Avec Lumiere; Invitations: Jen Simpson; Officiant: Reverand Clint; Late Night Snacks: Shahnawaz Catering; Photography: Braja Mandala Photography