Jennifer Charleston & Brian Porter

November 15, 2003 /// Los Angeles, CA /// Photographed by Jeff Carrillo

A Sense Of History

Jennifer Charleston and Brian Porter wanted something unique for their momentous day, something different from other weddings that would capture the distinct personalities of both bride and groom. Jennifer advises all brides to see their weddings as a one-time opportunity to plan a celebration that can be different and untypical. Putting her words and talents into action, Jennifer—a designer by profession—created a beautiful melding of the traditional and the modern, the uncommon and the historic.

Jennifer and Brian began their planning by scrutinizing the Trojan football schedule. Having met in theater class at USC, the two wanted to avoid interfering with ’SC games, especially during a winning season. Finding an appropriate date for the wedding, the couple set about putting together their special day.

The ceremony and reception captured a beautiful sense of history. The invitations, which Jennifer personally designed with a friend, incorporated artwork done by Jennifer’s grandfather. A uniquely constructed book, the invitations were a richly hued brown, the wedding’s guiding color scheme. The wedding programs, too, boasted covers featuring artwork done by Jennifer’s obviously talented grandfather. Her grandmother, for her part, personally crafted the wedding dress, a collaborative design with her granddaughter that exuded traditional style and sleek, modern lines.

The setting for the celebration, the historic Lobby and Terrace Ballroom at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, was a perfect locale, a vibrant combination of the contemporary and the historic. Built in 1925, the building boasts a breathtaking Art Deco architectural design and interior décor.

The minimalism and clean Art Deco style of the lobby and terrace ballroom, aglow with the warm light of the hotel’s distinct twelve-foot lamps, proved an exquisite counterpart to the Japanese accents Jennifer included. Being Japanese, the bride wanted the ceremony and reception to reflect her heritage, and she found charming ways to do just that. Delightful and touching Japanese elements, like chopstick party favors wrapped in washi paper and tied with gold thread, corresponding nicely with the Park Plaza’s Art Deco adornments and reception’s modern table settings. For the centerpieces, Jennifer worked closely with a florist to create a unique, minimal design. The centerpieces featured an enchanting arrangement of vivid succulents and moss in small bronze boxes. These boxes were then scattered on the stylishly adorned tabletops. Guests all agreed that the atmosphere was a one of a kind, a beautiful contrast of ornate interiors and sleek minimalist decor.

Guests were treated to delicious Japanese appetizers, followed by a formal dinner that included the choice of Chilean sea bass or petite filet mignon. Jennifer had a distinct vision for the wedding cake, and like the other parts of the ceremony and reception, she worked closely with the experts to create something unique. The cake boasted multiple square layers of varying heights, exuding a modern, clean style. Jennifer called the confection “a very architectural cake.” After cutting the ceremonial cake, the newlyweds enjoyed their first dance together, taking in Elvis Presley’s “Pocket Full of Rainbows.” Following that lovely exchange, the bride shared a touching moment with her father, dancing to “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers.

In keeping with their unique outlook and the distinct sense they gave to their wedding, the newlyweds honeymooned in the Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka. All agreed it was a special locale for a very special couple.

Aimee Manis