A Modern-Meets-VIntage Wedding at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California

There was plenty of wow factor on hand for Erin Leonard (28 and a consultant) and Ethan Grunstein’s (31 and a marketing manager) midsummer wedding at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California. With its serene garden patios, spacious courtyards and distinctive architecture, the one-of-a-kind venue provided a jaw-dropping backdrop for the couple’s modern affair and endless inspiration. “We wanted a wedding that played off the surrounding nature and the modern, stylish aesthetic of the space,” Erin says. Mission accomplished. Making the most of Skirball’s dramatic event spaces, the couple hosted the ceremony outdoors, which was followed by an indoor reception in Cotsen Auditorium. Shawna Yamamoto Event Design set a romantic tone for the ceremony, adorning the Taper Courtyard, an impressive semicircular space complete with a lily-pad-studded reflecting pool and modern stone architecture, with striking green garlands and arrangements of lush greenery and vines. “Because the space was so modern and clean, a romantic, vintage look stuck out in my mind as being the right choice for florals,” Erin says. “I was thinking whimsical and unstructured, and Ethan agreed.” 

Erin and Ethan exchanged vows in a traditional Jewish ceremony, and they surprised their families and friends with a gospel choir who serenaded them with Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are,” as well as “In My Life” and “Across the Universe” by the Beatles. The modern, whimsical theme continued into the reception, with shantung and rosette linens in a shimmery champagne hue adding a hint of sparkle and sheen to the tables, while garlands of greenery and purple blooms and skyward-reaching arrangements of vibrant foliage introduced an element of organic charm to the expansive space. Before enjoying a sit-down dinner, guests gathered outdoors for cocktail hour, complete with signature tequila cocktails and Moscow Mules. Guests jotted notes for the newlyweds and popped them into a custom pinata, which the couple opened on their first anniversary. Outside the ballroom was a cocktail and lounge area where guests were able to grab a drink, talk, eat appetizers and enjoy a photo booth complete with props. Advice from Erin and Ethan: “Remember that it is your day. We had a cocktail hour before and after the ceremony, complete with a life-size cutout of our Weimaraner, Riley. For a second we thought it might be a little tacky or extreme, but people still talk about it. He even made an appearance in several images we saw from the photo booth. You’ll hear it all the time, but communicate, delegate and don’t sweat the small stuff, even though it’s so easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of details.” —Libby MacCarthy