Jessica and Ilya’s Backyard Rehearsal Dinner Full of Delicious Food
When Jessica and Ilya first met in high school, she was a sophomore with a crush, and he was a senior who thought she was too young for him. But nearly a decade later -- after Jessica tracked him down on Facebook -- that was no longer the case, and they began dating. Two years later, Ilya proposed, and the couple began planning their wedding celebration, which included a rehearsal dinner on April 21, 2012, at a friend’s Los Angeles-area home.
While 60 guests sipped drinks and nibbled on appetizers such as mushroom tartlets and tuna tartar atop cucumbers, a pianist kept the mood lively with ragtime tunes.
Cocktails like The Buckley -- a blend of sage, lime, and gin -- and Prosecco mixed with vodka and peach liquor were crowd favorites.
The Main Attraction
The cheese-loving duo had a spread of their favorites paired with delicacies like Marcona almonds and fig confit. Their selections were displayed on a large chalkboard framed by a tufted antique headboard.
First up, Balarina gouda, a type of goat cheese. Quince paste, green apples, tapenades, and finocchiona salumi made for tasty matches.
Cane de Cabra, a creamy goat's milk cheese, was paired with Spanish olives. Boschetto, a semi-soft option made from sheep's and cow's milk, was served with truffles and glazed cherries.
To go with a "Roaring 40's Blue" cheese, dried apricots and honeycomb were laid out. A Vlaskaas gouda, best enjoyed with crystallized ginger, was next on offer.
Last but not least, was a Pilota, a cow and sheep's milk-cheese, paired with Marcona almonds and fig confit, and Fiore Sardo, a sheep's milk version accompanied with prosciutto and glazed figs.
Long tables were decorated with white flowers and pillar and taper candles, and black lampshades hung from overhead, for a modern bistro atmosphere.
The family-style meal, prepared by Joe's Restaurant, began with a cranberry-and-goat-cheese topped salad, as well as a couscous salad. Grilled salmon, chicken ravioli, and veal followed.
The Place Settings
At each seat rested mini loaves of bread from La Brea Bakery, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with lavender and green bakers' twine. The finishing touch? Tags reading "bon appetit." The colored string coordinated with the green-and-white striped tablecloths and helped set off the dramatic black dinnerware.
The groom, his brother (and best man) Victor, his uncle Robert, and Robert's partner, Steve, smiled for the camera. Robert and Steve put their knowledge of vino to good use by helping the couple select wines for the dinner.
A Special Collection
One bottle of wine, saved by Ilya's uncle just for the occasion, was a Le Pergole Torte by Montevertine from 1997.
Feeling the Love
Steve and Ilya's maternal grandmother, Cheri, shared a hug.
All in the Family
Jessica, with her aunt, Maneej, who put her sewing abilities to work, assisted with the bride's wedding dress alterations.