A French-Inspired Engagement Party in Los Angeles
Hannah and Steve
When Steve Steinhardt and his girlfriend of nearly 10 years, Hannah Bergman, took off for a vacation in France, he had an engagement ring in his pocket and a proposal rehearsed in his head. But when he got down on one knee alongside the Grand Canal in Versailles, he found himself rendered speechless. "I just teared up—I proposed without saying a word," Steve remembers, laughing. "He was crying; I was crying," says Hannah. "It was perfect."
The couple soon started planning a wedding in Ojai, California—scheduled for the following May. But in the meantime, they decided to pay homage to France with an intimate engagement party in their current hometown of Los Angeles. "We're both big Francophiles, and the fact that we got engaged there means a lot to us," says Hannah. "We wanted to re-create the romance of the country in California."
On August 30, 2016, they did just that, throwing a fête filled with French touches for 30 friends and family members in a downtown L.A. loft. The couple are no strangers to the wedding world—she works for a bridal-gown-restoration company; he's a wedding photographer—and they pulled the evening together with help from industry friends. "Having relationships with so many talented people made it really easy," says Steve. "We knew we could trust them to just do what they do."
As candlelight twinkled amid vintage mirrors and antique furnishings, guests were greeted with signature cocktails—including one inspired by the couple's favorite French saying, "J'ai la pêche" ("I'm peachy"). A chef classically trained in French cuisine prepared dinner, and the table was set with lush garden roses and blue-and-white china. The large windows of the space afforded them a stunning view. "We were able to watch the sunset turn the city aglow as we ate," says Hannah.
While the night was carefully orchestrated, one of its most memorable moments was unplanned. After dinner, as an acoustic guitarist quietly played, Steve made an impromptu romantic gesture: "I grabbed Hannah, and we started dancing right there by the table." Inspired, their guests got up and joined them.
Steve worked with L.A.-based Vram Jewelry to create Hannah's engagement ring in time for their trip to Paris. "I didn't know exactly where I would propose, so I thought I'd wait for the perfect moment," he says.
An Elegant Updo
To show off the dress's neckline, Hannah's stylist created an updo inspired by Grace Kelly, elegant but a little undone.
One Long Table
Romance ruled at the table, where gilded chairs and gold utensils were paired with a eucalyptus garland and bouquets of garden roses and peonies.
Pretty Place Settings
The table was set with vintage blue-and-white china (which Hannah collects), with personalized macarons serving as place cards.
We'll Drink to That
A Champagne tower topped a vintage table; after dinner, Hannah and Steve toasted their guests with brut rosé.
Guitarist Jason Sulkin helped set the mood, playing an acoustic mix of Bossa Nova and jazz music throughout the night.
A cluster of antique and vintage furnishings created an intimate seating area for guests, and brought an old-world vibe to the modern loft.
On the Menu
The evening's menu was etched on a vintage mirror, brasserie-style.
Sharing a Meal
Guests were treated to a French-inspired dinner by Haute Chefs LA, featuring mini tartes flambées and sous-vide salmon with morels and crab butter.
Steve's mother and father posed with the couple. "After being together for so long, we knew our friends and family were eager for us to set a date," says Hannah. "An engagement party was a nice way to get everyone together under one roof."
A Petite Cake
Tiered cakes by Sweet & Saucy Shop—one filled with cheesecake mousse and fresh raspberries, the other with chocolate salted caramel—were decorated with gold flakes and hand-painted macarons.
The blue-fondant appliqués on white-chocolate-dipped Oreos mimicked the pattern of the china.
Location, Hudson Loft
Event planning, Modern Dame Events
Catering, Haute Chefs LA
Photography, Steve Steinhardt
Stationery, Papermade Design
Calligraphy, Calligraphy Katrina
Cake and desserts, Sweet & Saucy Shop
Guitarist, Jason Sulkin Music
Her gown, Monique Lhuillier
Hair, Stephanie Sanchez
His suit, J.Crew
Engagement ring, Vram Jewelry
Ring box, The Mrs. Box