When Viviana Boero entered Los Angeles hotspot Sky Bar during Labor Day weekend of 2001, her plan was to spend the entire evening with friends visiting from Madrid. That plan vanished, however, the instant she laid eyes on Jeffrey Hedrick, who was enjoying a typical night out with friends at the same locale. "Quite literally, everything around him went black, and I zeroed in on his face," the bride remembers. And Jeffrey? "All I remember is seeing her." They talked and danced together the entire night. "Who says you can't meet Mr. Perfect at a bar?" jokes Viviana.
Nearly five years after that fateful meeting, Jeff surprised Viviana with a well-orchestrated proposal thinly veiled as her belated birthday celebration. Whisked away by limousine back to Sky Bar, Viviana found Jeff waiting for her on bended knee. The following evening, Viviana and Jeff were joined by their families for an engagement celebration -- another surprise for the bride. "It was truly a weekend to remember," says Viviana.
Over the next year, the couple researched various wedding resources and planned almost every detail of their event together. According to the bride, the most difficult part of the planning process was locating an elegant venue that would provide a "dreamy, ethereal, yet glamorous" ceremony followed by a "dramatic, rich, and equally glamorous" reception. The bride and groom finally selected a private, cliff-side estate they were confident that none of their 171 guests had visited before. The location allowed the couple to blend their Catholic and Lutheran faiths as well as Viviana's Latin culture all while overlooking the Pacific.
A pastor from Jeff's childhood parish performed the outdoor ceremony beneath a "flowering tree" altar -- an oak tree decorated with chandeliers, crystals, and balls of white roses and hydrangeas accented with cascades of orchids in green and white. Eight bridesmaids wore champagne-colored bubble dresses while two "groomswomen" -- Jeff's sisters -- wore the same style dress in black.
After the couple's toy poodle Rocco (who sported leis around his paws and a bow tie) trotted down the aisle as ring bearer, Viviana made her grand entrance carrying a lush bouquet of her favorite pink peonies and wearing fresh orchids in her hair. The bride and groom then took in touching readings given by family and friends, one of which was recited in Spanish for the benefit of Viviana's grandmother. The couple also exchanged personalized wedding vows before the ceremony closed with the release of two white doves representing a new beginning.
Immediately following the ceremony, guests were invited to relax on white, leather lounge furniture and enjoy lobster wontons with chili sauce as well as tuna tartar on lotus chips with wasabi caviar. Three signature cocktails were served, including a classic Kir Royale (the bride's drink of choice), a "Bora Bora Breeze" (named after the couple's honeymoon destination), and a Pisco Martini made with pineapple juice and Pisco liquor imported from Viviana's native Peru. Scattered on the cocktail tables were copies of personalized newspapers created by a journalist friend of the couple that featured different "articles" about the bride and groom.
For the reception, Viviana and Jeffrey elected to switch from the serene look of the ceremony to a vibrant color palette. Emerald-green table linens on round and square tables contrasted beautifully with three different styles of fuchsia and magenta floral arrangements. The head table boasted its own twenty-foot-long centerpiece made of roses, hydrangeas, and submerged orchids and lilies surrounded by dozens of small votive candles. The same flowers also graced the five-tier wedding cake, which was designed to mimic the shape and pattern of Viviana's Chantilly lace bridal gown.
In keeping with the musical theme generated by invitations, ceremony programs, and cocktail signs inscribed with Tony Bennett's "The Best Is Yet to Come," dinner tables were designated various song titles that were meaningful to the bride and groom. Guests playfully adorned themselves with pink cymbidium orchids set at each place setting before giving the bride and groom a standing ovation for performing a fox trot with a surprise salsa-style ending during the first dance.
The surprises kept coming, especially for the groom. Viviana had arranged for a groom's cake to be made with a "Bull and Bear" theme in honor of Jeff's favorite hobby, trading stocks. She also sang "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" by Frankie Valli as a wedding present to her husband. "She looked so beautiful and I felt so proud knowing that this woman was now my wife," remembers Jeff.
Before jetting off to French Polynesia for their honeymoon, the newlyweds thanked their guests by giving them miniature bottles of Pisco liquor with leather covers hand painted by a Peruvian artist.