Sent by her cello professor to take extra lessons, Sami Myerson was looking forward to getting additional practice time with her instructor’s teaching assistant, Kris Khang. “The most memorable part about our first meeting was the realization that I had, actually, met him before,” laughs Sami. “I hadn’t realized that he was the same person that Mr. Harrell had introduced me to a couple of months earlier.” Seven years into their relationship, they’d endured prolonged separation and a big career change, but stayed strong throughout. Kris popped the question on Sami’s birthday, sending her to her favorite spa and dropping to one knee at the end of the day. “I was crying before he could even get a word out!” gushes the bride-to-be.

Texas natives, the pair ultimately chose to host their wedding celebration in Southern California. “We had actually found our venue, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, before searching for a wedding planner,” Sami notes of her smart choice of location. “Ilana Ashley Events was on a list of recommended planners from the hotel, and we immediately felt like she was the right planner for us.” Organizing their nuptials from a distance, the bride and groom heavily relied on Ilana’s expertise in putting together their dream event. “She was thoughtful, warm, and organized – an overall perfect combination of a seasoned professional and a caring friend,” says Sami.

Nearly one year after Kris asked his beloved girlfriend to become his life partner, both were more than ready to make the trip down the aisle. The bride donned a gorgeous ivory sheath gown with a plunging neckline and delicate lace throughout, bridesmaids put on long elegant gowns in varying shades of lavender, and the bridesman sported a stylish suit, matching the groomsmen with a purple tie. Guests gathered underneath the property’s 140-year-old fig tree and found their seats facing a whimsical chuppah featuring white florals around the top and cascading strands of orchid blossoms down the sides and back. Meanwhile, the lovebirds partook in a “first look” before their vow exchange. “When Sami tapped my shoulder and I turned around to see her for the first time that day, I was overwhelmed by how beautiful she looked, as she does every day,” Kris muses.

During their ceremony, the couple combined their different backgrounds in order to customize the experience. “Our wedding combined both Jewish and Christian traditions, as I am Jewish and Kris is Christian. Our ceremony was conducted by both a rabbi and a chaplain and they both added elements of each religion to the ceremony,” explains the bride. After reading their own personal vows to one another, they were officially joined as husband and wife. Friends and family moved inside the luxury hotel and into the ballroom for the reception, using escort cards with artful calligraphy as a guide to their table. “The wedding colors were white and lavender,” tells Sami. “The idea was to create a relaxing spa-like atmosphere, with a soft purple lighting.” Round tablescapes featured light grey linens, candles of differing heights, and small square vessels – creating a modern look – holding snowy blooms. The newlyweds' four-tier, two-flavored wedding cake showcased the chosen tones of the event, sugar flowers, and decorative hearts. 

The bride has a few words of wisdom for future engaged pairs: “Think about your ideal wedding and try to visualize what that looks like. Really prioritize the top two or three things that matter most to you. As these things come up, remind yourself of your priorities as a couple – what will make you feel amazing on this once-in-a-lifetime day – and focus on those things,” she remarks. “This way, the other details won’t seem as important or stressful.”