This couple unexpectedly mixed revelry and relaxation for their destination celebration.
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Despite the fact that they live in Montreal, Canada, and were married in Seville, Spain, Karolina Victoria Jez and Sorab Alavi maintain that their favorite city is New York. It was there that Sorab proposed to Karolina after five-and-a-half-years of dating. "He booked the entire restaurant, The Blond, at our hotel for brunch (my favorite meal of the day), so it was just me and him, very intimate and personal—although I still had no idea what was about to come! He's great at keeping secrets!" says Karolina.
She remained completely oblivious right down to the moment; when the final course's dish arrived at their table and she lifted the silver lid, she was shocked to find a ring box there. When Sorab got down on one knee and told her he wanted to marry her, Karolina was giddy: "I felt like a million thunderbolts were running through me!"
It didn't take long for the duo to begin planning their destination nuptials in Seville. Southern Spain's iconic orange trees were an immediate source of wedding inspiration for Karolina and Sorab—this makes sense, when you consider the bride's history. Karolina, who grew up visiting Spain, had Andalusian culture on the brain during the preparation process. The result of her vision? A truly immersive experience of Seville for their 100 guests.
Virtually every big-day detail—from the grand venue, Villa Luisa, and traditional entertainment (which included a Tuna band and live flamenco dancers) to the fresh oranges on the reception tables—was influenced by the culture Karolina grew up loving. The couple's biggest commitment to Spanish culture, however, was made on the dance floor—they made sure to follow tradition and dance into the early hours of the morning.
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A Unique Wedding Dress
Karolina cited very specific reference points when designing her wedding dress with Viero Bridal: "My gown was inspired by my favorite show, Sex in the City, and Stephanie Seymour's dress in the video for the song 'November Rain' by Guns N' Roses, which is also my favorite music video." The rose on the dress was, like much of the wedding, inspired by the south of Spain. The skirt was also detachable—which made the garment perfect for dancing.
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Karolina and her mother accompanied Sorab to his longtime family tailor, HPadar, to have his tux custom made. The mother-daughter pair was very involved in the process of designing the slim-cut, dark navy suit with black detailing—so involved, in fact, that the tailor "nearly passed out from the stress!" she jokes.
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Karolina and Sorab aren't ones to stress too much—which is why they felt perfectly comfortable writing their vows together in their room at the Hotel Palacio de Villapanes on the morning of the ceremony. Those promises may have been impromptu, but they were poignant and "made a lot of people cry," notes the bride.
The non-religious ceremony itself was held at the Hotel Alfonso XIII and was officiated Sorab's best friend, Jonathan Nuss, who is a lawyer. Karolina's favorite classical piece, Handel's "Water Music," played as her mother walked her down the aisle.
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A Surprise Recessional
The couple was showered with fresh petals during the recessional, and Karolina used this as the moment to surprise Sorab with a Tuna band, comprised of students in traditional dress. "It's a very big tradition in Seville. They escorted us and our guests out to the surprise of many passersby on the streets—they joined in on the fun!" explains the bride.
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A mix of their childhood best friends and family, Karolina and Sorab's wedding party wore their own outfits on the big day. Seeing all of their loved ones in one place, gathered to celebrate their union, was one of the duo's favorite parts of their wedding: "We still get emotional about it when we talk about it," says the bride.
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Karolina and Sorab's relaxed approach wedding planning didn't prevent them from indulging a bit. To celebrate their newly-married status, they hopped onto a motorcycle (or, in Karolina's case, hopped into the bike's side car) for a pre-reception ride; the bride set off orange smoke bombs as they traveled through the city streets.
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A Quick Photo Session
The couple paused for portraits after their nuptials ("We wanted the images to be very natural and organic, so we did a quick session after our ceremony on the streets of Seville and at our reception venue," says the bride)—which included this sweet family snapshot.
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Karolina and Sorab skipped a traditional guest book and opted for a photo booth, instead. They encouraged their guests to tape their printed-out images into a book, along with notes. It was left out well into the evening, so "some of the entries are really funny," laughs the bride.
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Dinner Under the Palms
As soon as Sorab and Karolina saw Villa Luisa, they knew that the locale was the spot for their wedding reception. The venue's Neo-Mudejar style was representative of southern Spanish architecture and the palm trees and fountains were grand and opulent, but still imbued the space with warmth coziness and warmth—two elements essential to the celebration's relaxed vibe.
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Their Spanish band, Son de Cuba & Cia, serenaded guests all throughout dinner.
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Along with live music, Karolina and Sorab kept their guests entertained with flamenco dancers; the traditionally-clad performers set the tone for the rest of the evening's festivities.
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The neon "Dance for Love" sign flooded the party space with warm, fluorescent light and contributed to the after-party vibe. Xite and Co, the newlyweds' DJ, drummed up such good tunes that Karolina and Sorab completely forgot they had actually planned a first dance. "We wanted to do a Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman-inspired dance—and we even took classes learning it—but by the time the after-party kicked in, we forgot about it!"
Though that forgotten moment was supposed to serve as the couple's first married spin, they didn't mind the default alternative: "Technically, our first dance was 'The Conga,' by Gloria Estefan, which we danced to after our outfit change after dinner," notes Karolina. "That song caused all our guests to form a giant Conga train around the main table—and really started the party!"
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Before setting off for Ibiza and Barcelona, Karolina and Sorab left it all out on the after-party's dance floor. A particular music highlight? The Polish disco hits—they caused the bride's side of the family "to get really wild," says Karolina.
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Photography, Benjamin Wheeler
Videography, Cayuela Videos
Wedding planning, Love a Tope
Catering, Tu Otra Cocina
Cake, Aquarela Cakes
Flowers, Cartamo Flores
Stationery design, Kromad
Stationery printing, That Sky Blue Stationery
Music, Xite and Co (DJ), Son de Cuba & Cia (band)
Makeup, Marieta Nogueras
Hair, Adrien Dupuis
Wedding bands, Maison Birks