Three weeks after matching on a Jewish dating site while Daniel Feldman was filming on the set of Ford v. Ferrari, Samantha Minkus received a call from him out of the blue. They spoke for over an hour, and their connection was instant. As Samantha was living in Tucson, Arizona, at the time, Daniel drove from Los Angeles to visit her one weekend. An all-day date – which started with brunch and led to drinks, a sunset horseback ride, and a romantic dinner – ended with their first kiss.
“I had a little red Thunderbird at the time, and I remember driving down the winding road with the top down; we were singing to The Temptations and laughing as though we had known each other forever,” smiles Samantha. “It was either me or my amazing date planned in the wild west that won him over, and needless to say we were never the same after that weekend.” Not long after, Daniel proposed to Samantha with a stunning oval-shaped diamond ring while celebrating her birthday with her parents at The Magic Castle.
As the pair became engaged in 2020, their planning process had more challenges than they expected. “We also had a fire at our venue the week before the wedding… It was not the relaxing week I had hoped for,” Samantha remembers. “I had no choice but to let everything go, and my planner Natalie Sofer really took care of everything for us.” To create a unique, magical feel for their somewhat traditional Jewish wedding, the couple selected The Houdini Estate in Los Angeles. “There were surprises around every corner, and it contributed to the magical atmosphere I wanted to create!” confirms the bride.
Following their “first look,” which took place in an alcove with a wishing well and a pond, the couple exchanged vows with a backdrop of lush greenery, statues, and a waterfall. The bride was gorgeous in a stunning gown with pearl beaded appliqués; she wore her beautiful blonde hair down in glamorous curls and as a makeup artist and owner of Minkus Makeup, she did her own makeup for the special day.
“The overall feel of the night felt very Old Hollywood and timeless.”
Samantha and Daniel were married alfresco, beneath a gorgeous chuppah showcasing lush florals designed by Butterfly Floral & Event Design and champagne-toned drapery. “Rabbi Shemtov’s words to us were unforgettable,” remembers Samantha of the ceremony. “The music in the air and standing in front of our family and longtime friends felt surreal… It was why we were all there and truly a moment we will always remember and hold in our hearts.”
Friends and family enjoyed a cocktail hour with live music before the reception, which was held on a lush lawn surrounded by trees and illuminated with romantic string lighting. As guests arrived, they approached a large hedge wall and rang a bell to prompt a gloved hand to reach through the wall and hand them a glass of Champagne.
They then took their seats at tables covered in black velvet linens and decorated with dreamy florals in shades of blush, white, and peach, accented with candlelight. “The centerpieces were running wild with ranunculus and roses,” adds the bride of the magical décor. “The overall feel of the night felt very Old Hollywood and timeless.”
“Danny is retired Air Force, so we had some fun with that!” notes the bride of their grand entrance through a sabre tunnel. “At the end, the tradition is to welcome the bride with a sabre tap on the backside, which we fully cooperated in,” she smiles. Samantha and Daniel shared their first dance to “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke, which the bride describes as “one of the most ‘us’ moments of the evening” since she has danced ballet for most of her life and Daniel is an incredible ballroom dancer.
After dinner, loved ones joined them on the black-and-white checkered dance floor complete with a fog machine. Before leaving, guests received a deck of cards in an acrylic case emblazoned with, “Thank you for spending this magical evening with us!” Samantha confirms, “The wedding in its entirety really from beginning to end was a reflection of who we are.”
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