Jewelry designer Ashley Pittman Hamra and television writer Taylor Hamra met the old-fashioned way—on a blind date set up by mutual friends. Unbeknownst to them, they’d been in each other’s orbit for years: Both Dallas natives, they grew up in the same neighborhood and attended sister-and-brother private schools (albeit five years apart).
That first date went off without a hitch, and nine months later Taylor got down on one knee. “We’d been to a holiday party that afternoon. We changed into sweats, and Taylor cooked one of our favorite Lebanese dishes,” Ashley says. (Taylor’s family hails from Lebanon.) “He began by talking about our lives together, then about our future together, and proposed. The ring he chose is just what I’ve always wanted—a beautiful emerald-cut diamond eternity band that he bought from William Noble,” a rare-and-fine jewelry merchant in Dallas.
While planning their Los Angeles ceremony, Ashley and Taylor’s top priority was to create an intimate, personal celebration in which every detail had meaning. “My mother has a stunning home and garden in Bel Air, and the setting was the perfect environment for our families and friends,” Pittman says. “We wanted the wedding to feel like an extension of our home, and my mother found a way to beautifully and seamlessly incorporate family heirlooms and antiques from our home into the garden tent.”
The couple tapped Dallas-based Jackson Durham Events to plan their special day, and wedding designer Sara Fay Egan was instantly taken with the nuptials’ setting. “Ashley’s mom’s home was the perfect location with the most beautiful garden,” she says. “And a home wedding enabled us to start two weeks early and do a lot of customization. That instantly adds so much personalization to a wedding.”
The décor drew exclusively from Ashley’s mother’s personal items and garden: antique silver vessels to hold arrangements of kumquats, lavender, bougainvillea, dahlias, and hydrangea, plus crystal pagoda chandeliers that hung throughout the tent. The front garden was the site of the ceremony, where a greenery-strewn tent with a clear roof maintained the garden-party feel.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a gospel choir entered the tent singing the opening verse of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.” “As the words ‘love, love, love’ filled the air,” Ashley says, “it felt like the perfect way for us to begin this new stage in our life together.” The guests followed the choir through the house to the rear garden for cocktails and dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck. During the dinner hour, guests were serenaded by the Cowling Band, a high-energy California quartet.
After dinner, guests returned to the front garden, which had been transformed into a dancing area. The bride and groom immediately cut their simple yet elegant four-tiered cake topped with yellow David Austin roses, then took a turn on the dance floor to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” Soon after, the band struck up Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” filling the floor with guests eager to cut a rug.
The reception was full of memorable moments, but the ones Ashley most cherishes were from the ceremony. “Our dear friend Edward McPherson officiated and wrote a beautiful ceremony that made us laugh and cry,” she says. “It was personal and touching, and the perfect beginning to what I will always remember as the most perfect night.”
The details: Photography: Jose Villa. Ceremony and reception site: The mother of the bride’s home in Bel Air. Ceremony music: West Coast Music, Cowling Band and their gospel choir. Bridal gown designer: Oscar de la Renta. Groom’s tux: Zegna. Hair: Pam Vasko. Makeup: Lauren Andersen. Florals, design, and planning: Jackson Durham Events. Stationery and calligraphy: Happy Menocal. Tent and event rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals. Cake and desserts: Lee Sanders. Caterer: Wolfgang Puck. Lighting: Stage 2 Lighting. Wine, alcohol, and glassware: Wally’s Wine Beverly Hills. Getaway car: Classy Chassis Rentals.