Josh Cavinato flew halfway around the world to ask Rana Lintotawela's parents for their blessing to marry their daughter – without his bride-to-be (or her parents) suspecting. "I wanted to ensure that her parents did not know of my visit and its purpose ahead of time," shares Josh of his stealth trip to Sri Lanka. "I also wanted to make sure that Rana was unaware until I proposed to her." Thrilled with their future son-in-law's gallant gesture, Rana’s parents said yes, and Josh returned home from what Rana believed was a business trip. On a planned vacation to Europe a few weeks later, Josh proposed in front of the storied lily pond at Giverny, the estate of artist Claude Monet. "It meant the world to me that Josh flew all the way to another continent to speak to my parents in person,” says Rana, who accepted the proposal with joy. “He was gone for six days, I had absolutely no clue that he had traveled to Sri Lanka. He wasn’t even jet-lagged when he got back!” she laughs.
The couple knew that they wanted to be married outdoors, and they fell in love with an enchanting vineyard estate in Malibu. "It was so green, and the space was quite versatile," explains Rana of the luxuriant nine-acre setting. Rolling hills with lush rows of grapevines provided just one of many scenic backdrops on the estate. A rustic boathouse and Normandy-style chateau complemented verdant garden hamlets and majestic sycamores, but it was the pond on the estate that sealed the deal for the bride and groom. "It was quite similar to the lily pond at Monet’s garden where Josh proposed, " says Rana. "I teared up when I saw it."
In accordance with tradition, a poruwa (wooden canopy) was draped in diaphanous white fabric for the couple’s Sri Lankan Buddhist ceremony. The fabric was tied to the natural wooden posts with bright floral cuffs in burgundy and orange that coordinated seamlessly with miniature pomanders that adorned the seats along the aisle. The groom wore a navy sherwani accented with silver trim, while his attendants sported classic grey suits dotted with single orange flowers in their lapels. The bridal party carried sunny orange bouquets and wore dresses of identical scarlet fabric configured and wrapped differently to suit each individual’s figure and style preference.
Traditional Sri Lankan drummers and dancers preceded Rana down an aisle designed to reflect a paisley pattern of scarlet and ginger rose petals. Escorted by her parents, the bride beamed in an ankle-grazing white saree trimmed in burgundy and gold. "Walking down the aisle and seeing Josh was the most memorable moment of the day," Rana recalls. The Sri Lankan ceremony included several aspects that honored the couple’s families, and was concluded with the mandatory “cracking of the coconut,” a time-honored tradition that was performed with smashing success by Rana’s cousin Tucky.
After the main service, the couple exchanged western vows officiated by a friend of the groom that had been ordained for the day. "His creativity, thoughtfulness, and sense of humor made that small gathering a true reflection of my and Rana’s personalities," says Josh. "It was incredibly special for both of us," adds Rana.
The cocktail hour that followed featured hot hor d’eourves and two fiery signature drinks that reflected the couple's personalities: a tequila-based concoction with jalapenos; and a whiskey-based drink with red peppers. "Josh and I both love spicy food, and I put hot sauce on absolutely everything, so the drinks were perfect!” says Rana. Guests were then directed to an ingenious table that encapsulated the couple's love for adventure and travel. In lieu of traditional escort cards, elegant compasses in bronze and ebony featured a guest's name and table number, literally guiding guests to their seats and also doubling as favors. "We both love to travel, and had people flying from all over the world for our wedding, so we thought the compasses were a great way of tying that aspect of travel into our wedding," says Josh. To highlight the bride's love of elephants, the floral designer incorporated a large bronze elephant that presided over the table on a bed of deep red roses surrounded by tea lights in amber votives. "It was stunning," says Rana.
Four different versions of Eastern-influenced centerpieces were created for the reception tables. A mix of mini calla lilies, dahlias, cymbidium orchids, tiger lilies, and mokara orchids were arranged in alternating vessels of brown metal urns, bronze elephants, glass lanterns, and metal vases. Table numbers were etched on rustic wooden planks, and golden dinnerware contrasted gracefully with burgundy linens and Chameleon chairs with plum velvet seats.
Both bride and groom changed into western-style wedding garb for the reception, wowing guests as they made their grand entrance. Rana was resplendent in a floor-length beaded gown with lace overlay and capped sleeves. Her equally stunning groom was handsomely attired in a black suit with a burgundy paisley-patterned tie. "Entering to our cheering family and friends, who came from all over the globe to share in our special day, was exhilarating and memorable," says Josh.
An elaborate three-course meal was concluded with a five-tier wedding cake that featured two flavors – a vanilla cake with vanilla bean frosting, and a delectable chocolate fleur de del cake with salted caramel filling. The base of each tier was festooned in a whimsical matte-gold motif that matched the design on the couple's invitation suite. Vibrant orange and red flowers topped the cake and a handful of blooms rested atop select layers. Amber tea lights and bronze elephants surrounded the confection. After dancing the night away, guests were treated to a late-night snack of sliders, grilled cheese and pastrami sandwiches, frites, and milk shakes, a sweet ending to an incredibly sweet and memorable day.
"The day was perfect," effuses Rana of her colorful and memorable nuptials. Her advice for couples seeking an equally perfect day? "Enjoy the process and try to find people you enjoy working with – we did, and it made the wedding planning really enjoyable for us. We loved all the vendors we chose, and felt that each of them took the time to really get to know us so that they were all able to make the day extra special.