Wedding of the Week: Layla Kermanchi and Richard Bersch

29 Aug 2017

A 'Petite Paris' concept was the theme of choice for this enchanting wedding in the Big Apple

How did you meet?

Through work. My former boss and two former employees of the groom (three friends) introduced us.

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Tell us about the proposal.

It was romantic; a casual picnic in Central Park. As Richard proposed, it started to rain. As I said yes, we looked up and we were right beneath a beautiful rainbow. 

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

Old world European charm. Off white and champagne. 

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What was the theme of the day and why did you choose it? 

The wedding had all the elements that resonated with me/us; ‘Petite Paris’ in the middle of Manhattan.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

It was complicated. I should've listened to my mother. On the first day of shopping, we found a dress and my mum said that was 'the' dress. Months later, in fact one week before the wedding, I ended up getting the one my mum suggested. 

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What did the bridesmaids wear? 

I didn't want a typical chain of bridesmaids, so I just chose a maid of honour. She has a fabulous sense of style and so I allowed her to select whatever she wanted. Dress attire was a mandatory black tie wedding.

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Where did you find your suits?

Richard had an existing Italian made tuxedo.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

L’Olivier design all the flowers for the exclusive hotels and fashion houses in Manhattan. On top of that, immediately following the wedding, they donated all my flowers (except for my bouquet - that's a keeper) to Memorial Sloan Kettering for all cancer patients. Our venue didn't allow open flame candles (unless covered or faux) as was my first choice.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

There were too many to list. However, I would say that the one detailed element that stood out in our wedding would be that we had dozens of photographers to choose from in NYC but nobody seemed to offer an old world vision… but Barrie Downie offered just that. An incredible eye and without explaining much, he really understood me. So much so that we had him do our post wedding photos both in Paris and London. He's the best of the best.

In addition, another detail that we implemented in our wedding was having our own sweetheart table at the reception. In doing so, we bought our very own French antique settee which we purchased at an antique dealer in San Francisco and had delivered in time of our wedding - it will be in our home and our lives forever.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Nervous, but since we had eloped a few months prior, the tension was a lot less than I imagined it to be. I was more worried about tripping over my gown. 

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What was your most memorable moment?

Sharing and celebrating my big day with my parents, specifically my father. My father was at a far away nursing home but unbeknownst to me, my hubby transferred my father to a nearby New York State facility and made certain my dad would be there on my wedding day. 

My second favorite memory, is when we had our first dance; my father (in wheelchair) was right there next to my stepdaughter (my husband's 16-year-old daughter) to which she sang our first song for our first dance. She sang Love Story by Shirley Bassey. Our amazing and talented photographer captured that very moment when I broke down in tears. Truly moving. All the months of planning unfolded right there before my very own eyes… with my stepdaughter and my father by my side, while my husband and I had our first dance.

Lastly, my younger brother’s speech had me so emotionally touched along with multiple guests who felt the very same. It was all heart. As he delivered his loving speech I couldn't stop thinking how I used to push him in his stroller. 

What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding? Just ask anyone who knows me well… too many to list. Let's just say I didn't know what the term ‘Bridezilla’ meant until the week before my wedding. 

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What was the most important investment for you?

Hands down, photography. And we had the best of the best. 

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

Yes, absolutely. Our guests are still raving about our band. 

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

Our wedding cake was one of a kind and beautiful.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Yes and no. One would be that we had more photos taken in front of the classic 1968 Rolls-Royce we had rented. We have pictures standing to the side but none in front. Also, I wish we had more time spent with each guest. My husband prepared me and told me the night would fly by… our goal was two minutes per guest. Out of 88 guests, we got through only nine.

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Did anything go wrong?

The week before everything went wrong, including my dress, which was ruined one week before my wedding. Additionally, my husband didn't have his passport ready in time for our honeymoon until one day beforehand.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We went on a 10-day trip to the Maldives the day after the wedding. Simply amazing. Unbeknownst to me, my hubby extended our stay an additional two days.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Yes - expect the worse, hope for the best. 

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Get the look:

Venue: James Burden Mansion (ceremony) and Cellini's (reception) - both Manhattan, New York
Photography: Barrie Downie & Sharron Goodyear, Beau and Belle London
Catering: Feast and Fêtes
Entertainment: Chris Norton and La Vie en Rose
Venue: The James Burden Mansion
Transport: Romantique Limousine
Hair: Kevin Mancuso
Make-up: Moyra Mulholland
Stylist/ Bridal Dress: Kelly Mallet of Wedding Atelier NYC
Accessories: Manolo Blahnik shoes, Andrew Prince Crystal, and Mother of Pearl Tiara, Bergdorf Goodman
Engagement and wedding rings: Tiffany and Co and Cartier
Stationery: Crane
Calligraphy: Rory Kotin Scribe Inc. 

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