Start Slideshow View Grid Start Slideshow 43

The Bride Cut Her Hair Before The First Dance at Her Wedding in Los Angeles With Persian and Scottish Elements

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Angelica Marie Photography

Gordon Stewart proposed to Natalie Pirzad, owner of event planning business Brand Like That, two months shy of their six-year anniversary. To lift the spirits of his girlfriend, who was having a subpar week in the events industry during a pandemic, Gordon booked a weekend away in Dana Point. It was the same place where they’d stayed on their very first getaway together, which Natalie noted as simply a happy coincidence. “I did text all my closest friends and said, ‘It’s happening,’ but I got no hints from anyone!” Natalie recalls.

When they went to the hotel’s outdoor happy hour, Natalie heard someone call her name and saw her sister, brother-in-law, and aunt—who had flown in from Houston—with a sign that read, “Turn around, Natalie.” Taking the direction, she found Gordon on one knee professing his love.

The engaged duo kept their wedding venue search local and found The Lodge at Malibou Lake, which gave their guests the scenic view they were wanting to showcase. Since their guests were traveling mostly from Houston and the United Kingdom, Natalie and Gordon wanted to give everyone the full California experience. “I always envisioned an elevated and colorful garden party,” Natalie says of her wedding aesthetic. “I knew our venue was the perfect base to build off of.”

Although Natalie and her company don’t plan weddings, she knew her experience would give her the tools to take on the heavy lifting of coordinating her own wedding with her business partner and mother. “It was no easy feat, and I’m very grateful they cared as much as I did on the final product!” Natalie exclaims. Wanting to fully enjoy the big day, the bride tapped LB Events to help execute the overall plan, and Angelica Marie Photography lensed every beautiful detail and moment.

There’s a running joke with Natalie and her friends that she only likes square-neck dresses for formal occasions, and she didn’t deviate from that for her wedding gown. In the end, Rebecca Schoneveld gave their blessing to adjust the neckline of one of their designs to Natalie’s liking. “I am typically a very colorful gal when it comes to my wardrobe, so it was really important for me to keep it simple for this because I wanted to have a timeless look,” the bride shares. To complete her bridal ensemble, she styled her gown with earrings that her uncle from Iran had gifted her sister as a wedding present and pink Loeffler Randall Camellia heels.

Gordon wore a kilt in his family’s tartan for the ceremony. “Down to the Sgian-dubh—a traditional Scottish sock knife—it was all part of his classic kilt look he has worn over the years,” Natalie explains. “His brothers, dad, and all fellow Stewarts have the same tartan, and it was very cool to have that tradition amongst my Persian culture touches!”

“Throughout the planning process, I’ve always said the ceremony was my baby,” Natalie shares. “Being Persian, the traditions of the ceremony are super important.” The mother of the bride came out to Los Angeles early to help Natalie give the traditional Sofreh—an arrangement of symbolic items that represent elements in nature: earth, fire, water, and wind—a modern spruce up, so it was cohesive with the day’s design. “She DIY-ed all the symbolic elements that needed to be on display, found all the platters/holders, and truly showcased my style through a very tradition piece.”

“For a lot of my friends, I am their only Persian friend,” Natalie reveals. “Our wedding happened one day after the event that led to the current women-led revolution happening in Iran. I don’t take that coincidence lightly, and it justifies the importance I had for our ceremony. I wanted to showcase my culture to my friends and bring light to the beauty of our traditions.” On September 17, 2022, Natalie’s family friend, who also married her sister and uncle, led the poetic ceremony and made sure that non-Persian guests understood everything completely. “We got a lot of compliments post-wedding about how fun the night was, but my favorite comment was from those who said how interesting and beautiful the ceremony was. Hearing that compliment made it all so worth it.”

After the delicious seated reception dinner of steak and salmon, which Natalie still recreates at home to this day, the bride snuck away to get her hair cut by her mom’s friend, who owns Rima’s Salon. “I’ve been a short hair girlie for a while now, but I really wanted the sleek bun look for the ceremony,” she explains. “I always have my hair that [shorter] length and it feels a lot more me, and I’m so happy I have the photos of both looks now. . .Gordon knew it was happening and thought I was extra, but also that’s not new information to him!”

Originally, Natalie was going to add an organza skirt to her look for the reception, but in the end she loved her wedding dress too much to change it, even just for half the day.

Natalie came back to the party with a new ‘do to share a first dance with Gordon to “Drowning” by the Backstreet Boys. Natalie admits she’s always been stuck on music from the aughts, and Gordon has always supported her “obsession.” The bride adds, “I just wanted the wow factor of switching SOMETHING up and the [hair] chop was the perfect option!”

For the rest of the night, the bride was on the dance floor with her loved ones. In-N-Out served as the much-appreciated late-night snack and fueled the party even further. Eventually, the newlyweds boarded the shuttle bus with their guests and headed back to their hotel. “We had a room block and continued the party a little in the lobby, but really it was time to go to sleep,” Natalie admits. “I was buzzing from the amazing night, but my dancing feet were stoked to be in bed by two-ish!”