“Actually, I came here to ask you something,” Anthony Milano interjected rather nervously. Leila Eftekari’s father hadn’t allowed him to get a word in over lunch, and now, as Anthony continued sweating, he heard: “The two most important things in my life are my daughters.” Finally, after what “felt like days,” Anthony interrupted: “Is that a yes?”
Relishing his son-in-law-to-be’s discomfort, the General Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills laughingly relinquished: “It’s a yes.”
ANTHONY “WAS SMILING FROM EAR TO EAR. HE LOOKED GENUINELY SO HAPPY.”
Permission secured, Anthony quelled Leila’s suspicions that he had non-business motivations for their August 2010 Cabo rendezvous.
When he escorted her to a candle and petal-filled room and lowered to his knee, Leila, astonished, demanded: “Did you ask my dad?” Once reassured, she was much quicker than her father to say, yes. Anthony’s best friend, Mike, had arranged everything despite a harrowing boat accident earlier that day and had champagne waiting. Afterwards, Leila’s family joined the surprise celebration.
It was their first return to Cabo since 2007, when they almost didn’t connect. Anthony, who had resided there and “knew the flight schedules inside and out,” still can’t fathom how he missed his departure. He reluctantly agreed to join a buddy for “just one drink; Leila had a different plan for me,” he says. Following their memorable days in Mexico, they attempted a bicoastal relationship, but “the distance was a little tough,” Leila admits. When Anthony timed a May 2009 business trip to L.A., to coincide with Leila’s birthday, it “reignited our relationship and reminded us of what we had,” says Leila. Anthony was intent: “I knew she was the one.”
There was no question they’d wed at the hotel where Leila witnessed “so many weddings” and where staffers she’s known since childhood are “family.” So, they welcomed 170 far-flung guests to the Four Seasons. After halting her father’s pre-ceremony musings to preserve her makeup, Leila turned her attention to her groom—Anthony “was smiling from ear to ear. He looked genuinely so happy,” Leila remembers.
Speeches were given at the rehearsal dinner, making the reception more of “a dance party with a wedding on the side,” Anthony describes. The newlyweds found a coincidence meaningful: The chardonnay Leila’s father selected was from a winery that Anthony’s late father’s corporation owned. At midnight, a DJ took over from the band. “We were the last ones there,” Anthony says.
After their two-week Thai honeymoon, Leila relocated to New York, where she is the Tennis Channel’s in-house counsel. Anthony, who owns architecture and infrastructure firms, says he’s “excited to come home” now. When a mishap marred Leila’s first day, Anthony thought about “how to make it better,” she says. “It meant so much to him to pick up the pieces for me. That’s what makes two people one.”
Location, Cake and Caterer: Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA
Floral: Eric Buterbaugh Designs, Los Angeles, CA; Rentals: Revelry Event Designers, Los Angeles, CA
Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier; Groom's Attire: Armani Collezioni; Photography: John Solano Photography