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A Multi-Heritage Wedding in Malibu


June 30, 2023
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Jillian Rose Photography

Love stories are often written in the most unexpected ways, and Darren and Nima’s journey to the altar was no exception. Meeting online through Match, their connection blossomed despite a brief hiccup. “We met online on Match. Nima likes to remind me that I ‘ghosted’ him after some online chat for a few months,” Darren chuckled. “The reality was I had failed to mention I was having surgery and would be ‘offline’ while recovering. Thankfully, Nima ‘poked’ me again a few months later, and a dinner for a first date was arranged… and as they say, the rest is history.”

Choosing a destination wedding seemed like the perfect fit for Darren and Nima, who were on a work assignment in Australia at the time. California held a special place in their hearts, and they considered it their forever home. With guests coming from near and far, including overseas, the wedding became a destination for everyone involved. “Only a handful of guests lived in the LA area, so it was a destination wedding for almost everyone, including us,” Nima explained.

When it came to selecting the ideal location, the couple had a clear vision in mind. They discovered The Birchwood Room at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu while living abroad, and its enchanting beauty captivated them. “We were attracted to the open spaces, greenery, the lights and candelabras in the trees and outdoor space of The Birchwood Room,” Darren said. The venue felt like a private grotto, offering a stunning backdrop and a perfectly sized space to bring their wedding plans to life.

Their journey to finding the venue had a touch of serendipity. “We had a friend who had been to a wedding at another part of the property, and we saw it on TV as part of ‘Making the Cut’ Season 2 on Amazon Prime,” Nima shared. Once they set foot on the grounds and experienced its magic firsthand, they knew it was the right place for their special day.

Darren and Nima infused their personalities and heritage into every detail of their wedding. The decor reflected their love story and showcased their diverse backgrounds. “We used a welcome table with pictures of the years of our courtship, engagement, and with our moms and dogs,” Darren explained. The floral arrangements harmoniously combined elements from both their heritages, incorporating hyacinth from Nima’s Persian background and eucalyptus representing Darren’s Australian roots.

Planning a wedding from afar presented its challenges, but Darren and Nima found solace in technology and a pre-wedding visit. They met all their vendors through Zoom, except for their planner, Adam, and the venue. “It was definitely helpful (and inspirational) to visit LA three months before the wedding,” Darren said. Walking through the venue with their photographer, Jillian, allowed them to discuss photo locations and eased their minds. Their planner, Adam, also joined them for a site visit, facilitating discussions about food stations, cocktail tables, and dining room arrangements.

The ceremony itself was a beautiful blend of tradition and personalization. To express their commitment, they chose to read the poem “Our Union” during the ceremony, translated into English. This heartfelt reading served as a tribute to their love and the promises they made to one another. Another tradition they embraced was the “honey kiss,” a Persian ritual symbolizing a sweet life and future together. Just before being declared husbands, they took turns dipping their fingers into a dish of honey and fed it to each other, incorporating a touch of Darren’s Australian heritage with their choice of honey.

Darren and Nima’s real wedding in Malibu was a testament to their love, determination, and the power of blending traditions. From their first online encounter to their magical destination wedding, their journey was filled with surprises and unforgettable moments. As they embarked on their new chapter as husbands, their union stood as a testament to the power of love that transcends boundaries and embraces the beauty of diversity.

Vendors: Photographer: Jillian Rose Photography; Planner: Adam with Unoaked Events; Venue: Calamigos Ranch; Florist: Butterfly Floral Design; Cake: Teehan Cake Design; Videography: MJP Cinema; Officiant: Let’s Get Married by Marie; DJ/MC: Matt Gudis from Who’s that DJ?; Cookies: My Cookie Space; Persian Sofreh Aghd Display: Elegant Sofreh Design

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