An Armenian-American Fusion Wedding at an Idyllic California Vineyard
In August 2010, two amazing things happened to David—he completed his first medical school examination, and he just happened to meet his soulmate. After his test, all of the students went out to a local bar in White Plains, New York, to celebrate. Tim, one of his classmates (though he didn't know that at the time), came, too—and hilariously pretended to be from Versailles all night (a charade he'd exercised regularly at this particular bar). He struck up a conversation with David, regaling him with tales of his family ranch in the Parisian countryside and promising to whisk him away to France and show him around.
After the evening was over—while David was already thinking that Tim could, one day, be his boyfriend—Tim was wondering how on earth he was going to explain to David that he was not actually French. A few days later, Tim texted his future husband a lengthy explanation, which led to their first real date (sans fake accents and wild stories!) in the Westchester Medical Center Cafeteria during a study break. Almost immediately, they moved forward as a couple. David grew to enjoy Tim's Midwestern comfort foods (jello salads, chicken n' biscuits, and all!), while Tim learned to appreciate David's shower renditions of Armenian folk songs and modern philosophy rants—and they never looked back.
Connecting over a mutual affinity for Broadway, cocktails, and New York City nightlife, they moved in together after less than a year of dating; David later proposed to Tim in their living room in December 2016 via PowerPoint. Their outdoor wedding was held on May 25, 2019, at Sogno del Fiore, a romantic, lush vineyard in central California. David and Tim viewed their nuptials as both a culmination of their love for one another and their gratitude towards their 59 guests, who they consider (mostly) chosen family.
Wine Country Wedding
For their wedding, the couple wanted to display the natural beauty of the California coast. While the grooms are Los Angeles residents, many of their guests traveled in from different states; some of them had never visited California. To both highlight the pastoral nature of their home and celebrate their shared love of wine, they decided on Sogno del Fiore, an idyllic family-owned vineyard, for both the ceremony and the reception.
Tim selected a sand-colored chambray suit, also from Bonobos; his brown shoes (in a similar style to David's) were purchased at To Boot New York, too. Button-downs (Tim's was by Hugo Boss) and matching pocket squares gave the grooms a cohesive look, while the rest of their ensembles allowed them an opportunity to maintain their individual styles. They deliberately opted out of wearing ties, since they wanted their big day to be anything but formal.
An Entirely New Processional
Both grooms regarded the tradition of being "given away" as archaic, so they put their own unique twist on the ceremony processional. Since they viewed their guests as an integral part of their love story, and wanted them to take part in their nuptials as much as possible, they asked their attendees to process towards them. Meanwhile, David and Tim took their places in front of the oak tree in Sogno del Fiore's garden and watched as their loved ones approached the space, led by acoustic guitarist Aaron Copenhaguen playing "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day. "The energy of togetherness, of oneness, overwhelmed me with gratitude," says David, who cites this moment as his favorite of the day.
To the Left
While the grooms did not have a wedding party, they did include a family member during the service. Tim's Uncle Chuck, who officiated the ceremony, was a fundamental part of their wedding day and love story; drawing inspiration from Chuck and his husband, Bob, David and Tim wore their Anna Sheffield wedding bands on their right hand for the duration of their engagement, then moved them to their left hand during the ceremony. Before their big day, they both had them resized and polished to perfection.
Crazy (and Unapologetically) in Love
For their secular ceremony, the grooms exchanged handwritten vows while their guitarist softly played "Somewhere" from West Side Story. The grooms used their promises to express their love for one another, share their story, and discuss their future together. The service also involved readings from Justice Anthony Kennedy's Majority Opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Supreme Court decision which legalized same sex marriage in the United States.
David and Tim say their ten-year-long relationship grew during a time in which they were both learning to love and accept themselves; during this period, they drew tremendous strength and courage from each other. It was incredibly meaningful to them to have the opportunity to celebrate their commitment in front of their chosen family and be able to craft an event which reflected their newly-legalized and unapologetic love.
Here Come the Newlyweds
David and Tim's processional music, "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles, reflected their elation at finally being officially (and legally!) married.
Handcrafted and Hand-Drawn
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a cocktail party on the vineyard grounds. During this interlude, handcrafted signature drinks—made in advance by Tim himself—were served. The cocktail menu, featuring illustrations also penned by Tim, highlighted his creations: the "Disco Punch," "In-Sandíary," and "BK Do."
Geometric General Seating
David and Tim eschewed the traditional individual escort card concept, opting instead for a general seating chart. The lists were printed on geometric paper framed by a dusty blue background, and were displayed on a wooden door with black wrought iron elements. Designed by their wedding planner and designer Hovik Harutyunyan of Harutyunyan Events, the seating chart also showed off calligraphy by Peony and Plum.
Passed Hors D'oeuvres
Guests enjoyed passed hors d'oeuvres provided by Kitchen 12000. Selections included meatball sliders with arugula and caramelized onions.
At the reception, long wooden farm tables were arranged in a U-formation to facilitate an inviting, communal feel. Guests took their places on gunmetal industrial chairs from Ventura Rental Party and Events in an outdoor space in the vineyard, which was illuminated by bulbed string lights.
What a Gem
David and Tim's modern, deconstructed reception décor was offset by romantic, elegant elements to meld their different styles. Forage Florals placed greenery and wildflowers in suspended test tubes (a tribute to David and Tim's professions as doctors) as well as in kombucha bottles and uniquely-designed glass vases, all of varying heights and finishes. White pillar candles were held in cylinder vases, while dusty blue tapers were placed in gold candlesticks. Blue agate gemstones emblazoned with gold calligraphy served as table numbers.
Place cards consisted of customized wooden signs by Fran Johnson House; the laser cut pieces spelled out guests' names, and offered a personal, thoughtful touch at the start of dinner. The menus, printed by Details on Demand onto translucent white vellum, were hand-lettered by David in an Armenian font his grandmother taught him as a child. Blue napkins provided contrast to the wooden farm tables, and hints of gold were found throughout the tablescape, in both the signage's coloring and the black-rimmed dinner plates. Brass flatware completed the look.
F Is for Food (and Family)
Dinner was served family-style to enhance the community feel of the wedding. A modern fusion of American and Armenian-inspired foods were provided by Kitchen 12000; guests were encouraged to share their plates.
After the entrées had been served, David and Tim delivered a welcome speech. "We had decided that, since our wedding was smaller and more intimate, we wanted to say a few moments of thanks to our guests," says Tim. "Seeing each person's face light up as we recalled an embarrassing story from the past, or a moment we shared with that person and how it had touched us for life, is a moment that we will always remember."
From Proposal to First Dance
David and Tim's first dance song, Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love with You," was a special tribute to David's PowerPoint proposal: After clicking through photos of their six-year-long relationship, David reached one particularly special slide—which showed videos of Tim's friends, from all points of his life, singing along to the song that would one day become the backdrop to this major wedding moment.
During the reception's dance party, which featured a mixture of American and Armenian music played by JJ the DJ, guests also had the option to recline by the various fire pits strategically set up throughout the venue.
Barrels and Baked Goods
In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, Tim instead decided on a rustic pie bar to complement the venue (and his taste buds, since pie is his favorite dessert!). Attendees were treated to a variety of pies by local favorite The Bakery Farmstand. The treats were displayed on a wooden plank supported by two vintage wine barrels and framed by a large vine installation similar to the seating chart's.
Like the Sweetener You Are
Ariana Grande's "Sweetener," a bouncy pop song about the healing power of love, played during the grooms' pie-cutting ceremony. After the reception was over, guests headed back to Santa Barbara in yellow school buses from First Student Inc., a tribute to Tim and David meeting in medical school, before continuing on to the after-party at a local bar.
Photography, Todd Danforth Photography
Venue, Sogno Del Fiore
Event Planning and Design, Harutyunyan Events
Catering, Kitchen 12000
Flowers, Forage Florals
Grooms' suits, Bonobos
Grooms' shoes, To Boot New York
Wedding Bands, Anna Sheffield
Day-of Signage, Fran Johnson House
Menus, Details on Demand
Calligraphy, Peony and Plum
Pies, The Bakery FarmStand
Rentals, Ventura Rental Party & Events
Transportation, First Student, Inc.
Security, Triumph Protection