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One Way to Get the Perfect Dress: Marry Into Your Dream Designer’s Family

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Heirlume Photography

Sara Nachlis, marketing director for jewelry brand Adina Reyter, and screenwriter Brad Vassar “met on OkCupid about three months before dating apps became an acceptable way of meeting people,” she shares. Before their first date, Sara had made a rule to limit the back and forth messaging before meeting a potential beau. But consequently, when they met up, she quickly realized she had no idea what his name was. “At the end of the date, I had to knock his credit card off the table to check what it was.”

After eight years together, Brad surprised Sara with a proposal in the Grand Canyon—“exactly enough time for Brad to turn me into a cat person and me to turn Brad into a Dodger fan,” she jokes.

Immediately after getting engaged, Sara knew Brad’s parents’ home on the bay in Newport Beach was the perfect wedding venue, and his parents enthusiastically agreed. “Brad’s mom, Caroline, has the most impeccable style, and their home is just breathtaking, so as far as aesthetic goes, I wanted to take the look and feel of the house and bring it outside,” the bride explains. “Essentially I wanted an antique-y, super romantic, backyard party, where everyone just happens to be dressed up.”

The couple chose to get married on Saturday, October 23, 2021, which is also Sara’s parents’ wedding anniversary. It felt like Beshert (Yiddish for “destiny) for the bride-to-be.

“I joke that my biggest piece of wedding advice is to marry your favorite designer’s brother,” Sara laughs. “It makes things much easier when it comes to creating your couture dream dress.” Right after she got engaged to Brock Collection co-founder Laura Vassar’s brother, Sara was a little shy—for reasons she can’t even explain—to ask Laura for help with her wedding gown. “I was thrilled when she called me and asked, ‘Are you ever going to ask me to make your dress?’”

Laura began the design process by asking Sara how she wanted to look and feel on her wedding day. The next step was sending Sara and her mother to a bridal salon to try on dresses to really figure out what she did and didn’t like design-wise. “It also gave my mom a chance to see me try on dresses and cry,” Sara adds. After sending a ton of inspiration imagery back and forth, she and Laura were on the exact same page about the vision—romantic, curve-hugging without being crude, and soft but with secure structure. “I’m a G-cup, so it was very important to me to really feel like I was IN my dress.”

From there, Sara trusted Laura and simply told her future sister-in-law, “Just make me look good!” And she delivered. Once the dream dress had arrived, Sara worked with The Velvet Hanger to fit it, so she “looked snatched in a way that would make RuPaul proud.”

To complete her bridal ensemble, Sara paired the custom gown with Loeffler Randall’s Camellia sandals in a French floral print. And on the day-of, makeup artist Rachael Vang gave her a soft, glowy look with a simple brown cat-eye and a long-lasting lip color, while hairstylist Lauren Miller slightly pulled back her waved tresses.

Since Sara works in the jewelry industry, picking the right bridal baubles was super important to her. On a typical day, she’s layered to the nines, but for her ceremony, she wanted something more understated—well, as understated as diamonds go. Sara’s boss Adina Reyter helped pick the special pieces: the diamond cluster Half Riviera necklace, the Grace half flower Marquise posts, and a sapphire and diamond cluster tennis bracelet.

Brad looked handsome in a Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit and shoes with a Lanvin tie and his dad’s Bulgari watch. “Annoyingly to me, he needed very limited tailoring,” Sara admits. “And I was so happy that Laura was able to wear Brock Collection for Over the Moon!”

The groom, who is an amateur leather worker, expertly and impressively handmade all his groomsmen leather valet trays with their names embossed on them. And Sara gave her bridesmaids custom Adina Reyter Bead Party necklaces in the wedding colors that tied them all together.

The brides sisters-in-law nailed it with the smallest wedding party members’ outfits. Sara’s niece, Rosalind, looked adorable in a navy blue Cuclie dress, and Laura made her son, Charlie, the cutest custom suit. “Apparently he had opinions on the color palette, so he wore black and looked so handsome,” Sara shares.

The wedding service was surprisingly Sara’s favorite party of the day. Guests sat facing the house and the floral chuppah by Foxglove Los Angeles which featured the bride’s grandfather’s tallit. “My father, Marvin Nachlis, passed away in 2013, after a battle with ALS, so it was really important to me to have him very present in the day,” Sara shares. “Having his father’s tallit covering Brad and me, as we said our vows, was just the beginning of my dad’s stamp on the day.”

“The ceremony began with an announcement to put away phones that no one listened to,” Sara laughs. After Rosalind threw all the petals and the basket down at the end of the aisle—and then tried to clean them up—the bride and her mother walked down the aisle to the acoustic version of “Hysteric” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Before heading under the chuppah, Sara made it a point to giver her 95-year-old Grandmother Ruth Tumpowsky a kiss.

The couple’s friend, Matt Watkins, got ordained and performed the short and sweet ceremony. And Sara and Brad exchanged their own vows. “In case anyone was worried about them being too serious, his included realizations he made while under dental nitrous, and mine included a line about him having a great ass,” the bride reveals. “They were funny, sweet, slightly sarcastic, and just so us.”

Finally, it came time to exchange rings. Sara’s wedding band was passed down from her grandmother to her mother to her, and it carries a legacy of happy marriages. Brad’s is an antique 22k gold ring from Etsy.

After the groom stomped on the glass and “Mazel Tov!” was shouted out, the newlyweds recessed to “I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman. “It’s the song that plays after a Dodger win, and once we read the lyrics, we knew it was perfect,” Sara says. “Rollin’ down the Imperial Highway with a big nasty redhead at my side.”

Since the bride’s favorite activity is eating enchiladas in the Vassars’ backyard, she wanted to give that same experience to her guests. However, things didn’t go as planned. “The food was bad AND there wasn’t enough of it,” Sara reveals. But, after ordering pizzas from Laventina’s Big Cheese Pizza, it was an unexpected joy to see guests enjoying tray-passed pies on the dance floor.

At the bar, the couple’s friend Kyle Davidson of Dough Daddy created signature cocktails inspired by their two cats, Harold and Rupert. And Brad’s cousin, Sally Anne Fischer, painted watercolor portraits of the beloved felines on the menu.

Between bites of pizza, the toasts began with Sara’s mother and Brad’s father welcoming everyone. Sara’s father’s sister gave a touching tribute to the bride’s dad, and Sara’s cousins on her father’s side of the family carried on the special 25-year-long tradition of giving a joint poem speech.

After dinner and the mother-son dance, Sara chose a few words to say about her father. “Growing up, he would ask me to dance regularly and say it was good practice for my wedding,” she began. “It broke my heart that we didn’t get that dance, but I was so lucky we got all that practice.” The bride then invited everyone to join her for the “father-daughter dance” to “Get Up Offa That Thing,” which led into the Hora.

Taking a break from dancing with DJ Kara of Second Song, the new Mr. and Mrs. Vassar cut their wedding cake, made by Sara’s childhood friend, Nataly Stein of Butter + Cream Bakery. And the Dodgers were playing in game six of the National League Championship, the couple made sure to have the television on inside the house—around the ninth inning, half of the party was inside cheering their boys in blue on.

Even the Dodgers losing couldn’t curb the couple’s happiness. Around 2:00 a.m., Sara and Brad called an Uber to their hotel. “My Life” by Billy Joel was playing in the car, and the two belted out the lyrics. “We were exhilarated, exhausted, and blissed out,” she remembers. “It’s one of my favorite memories of the night.”