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An Elegant Persian Wedding at a 12th-Century Castle in the Tuscan Countryside

By Sara Dial | Photography by 

David Bastianoni Studio

|Planning by 


A friend of interior designer Sarah Akbary ran into Kia Jam at a wine event in Malibu and immediately called her to tell her she’d met the man Sarah would marry. Shortly thereafter, while skeptical, Sarah met the film and television producer at Via Alloro in Beverly Hills. “Meeting him outside the restaurant, my first impression was of a true gentleman—courteous not just to me, but to everyone,” Sarah recalls. “His chivalry was captivating, reminiscent of my father’s patience, wisdom, confidence, and charm. . .From that night onward, the game was over for both of us.”  

Nearly two years later, Kia proposed in Paris. On the fourth day of their stay, he suggested lunch at Pavillon Ledoyen in the heart of the city. Led through the open kitchen to a small Moet Chandon-sponsored private room, Sarah’s suspicions grew. “The meal commenced, and despite the delightful food and wine, no proposal occurred. I was growing slightly bothered; I excused myself to freshen up,” she explains. When she returned, she found a book filled with pictures of them on the table. “I began flipping through the pages, discovering a chronicle of our love story over the past two years. As I turned the final page, Kia knelt on one knee, presenting a ring that had belonged to his mother for almost 55 years—a truly perfect moment.”

Sarah and Kia swiftly decided on a destination three-day wedding and while the pair initially thought they’d marry in Lake Como, Sarah ultimately fell in love with COMO Castello del Nero, a 12th-century castle in the Tuscan countryside. “Early on, I envisioned a warm, elevated, and romantic atmosphere for the wedding, featuring sparkling lights, white florals with greenery, plenty of texture, and candlelight. This was the perfect venue,” Sarah says. Silvia Gali of Sposiamovi executed the bride’s vision beautifully, and Alessia Franco of David Bastianoni Studio photographed every moment. Bliss and Bone detailed the events to come with a custom invitation suite, as Studio Alispi designed the day-of stationery.

On September 28, 2023, guests gathered beneath the lemon trees for the welcome party. To this, the bride-to-be chose a green floral Monique Lhuillier midi, which coordinated with Kia’s bespoke emerald velvet jacket. 

Sarah always knew that on her wedding day, she’d wear a long-sleeve low-back dress and headed to Monique Lhuillier’s atelier first. The second dress she tried on, “Viviana,” was the one. “I loved that the dress showed off my curves and still had a very long train,” the bride says. “The entire dress was covered in hand-embroidery, not lace, which gave it texture and it allowed it to form well on my body. I added custom pearl buttons to the sleeves and back zipper seam to finish it off nicely.” Satin Jimmy Choo heels and custom diamond drop earrings completed the look. 

Sarah discovered Lara Naravinni’s bridal beauty expertise on Instagram and requested nudes, browns, and a soft blush lip for the ceremony. Kia donned a custom tuxedo, Cartier cufflinks—graciously gifted by Pierce Brosnan—and Gucci patent leather shoes. 

The couple wed before loved ones in a Persian ceremony featuring a traditional Sofreh. “As is tradition, happily married members of our respective families extended an elaborate sugar cloth over our heads,” Sarah explains. “Then, these joyous married ladies took turns grinding sugar cones together, showering us with sweetness and passing on blessings from one generation to the next. Simultaneously, Kia was asked if he would take my hand in marriage. In Farsi, he responded with ‘Baleh,’ which means yes.” Once Sarah also said “yes,” the couple stood and exchanged personal vows. “I truly felt like it was just the two of us, and he was the only person I saw and heard in that moment.” 

Afterward, colorfully dressed NuArt performers escorted guests toward the castle for cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. Then, everyone gathered on the upper terrace under a collection of twinkling lights, spinning disco balls, and a garden of overhead greenery by Tuscany Flowers. The newlyweds graced the checkered dance floor and joined the celebrations. 

Everyone dined on Michelin starred Chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro’s cacio e pepe and sea bass before heading outside for the Sugarcups cake cutting. “Unbeknownst to the guests, we had a surprise fireworks display, creating a magical moment as we cut our cake with Coldplay’s ‘Sky Full of Stars’ playing,” Sarah says. Following the firework show, the bride featured a second look—a Carolina Herrera mini dress and Loeffler Randall platform heels.

Everyone took to the dance floor alongside DJ Darman, and before long, the party moved into the bunker-turned-nightclub. “We lined the property with candles, leading guests to the bunker after-party nightclub,” Sarah remembers. “Flip-flops, burgers, and French fries awaited everyone, and the full bar kept the energy high. We danced until four in the morning, making it the best night ever, filled with joy and unforgettable moments.”