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Countdown to Midnight: A Marriage of Two Cultures

Mar, 11, 2024

Courtney and Rod celebrated their love at a magical New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with Persian food and a surprise snow flurry. Courtney always knew she wanted a New Year’s Eve wedding, and their special day exceeded her expectations on December 31, 2022. 

“I always wanted to get married on New Year’s Eve for two reasons; I feel like you either don’t have plans and you’re anxious about having plans, or you do have plans and you’re so excited, but it’s a little bit of a bust.” She figured that a wedding would be the perfect solution—a celebration of a new calendar and a celebration of a new marriage. 

“To me, I knew if we made it about us and celebrating our wedding, and provided a space for our closest friends and family to celebrate with us, every New Year’s Eve would now be, for me and Rod, about our anniversary and our wedding. What better way to ring in the New Year than with all your best friends and family?” Courtney has us wishing for our own New Year’s wedding!

“Sometimes holiday weddings are a little controversial… I think people were excited to have something to dress up for and go to.” Courtney and Rod had their guests come in black tie formal—something that can also be controversial at times—but after the wedding, their guests expressed how much fun it was to have an excuse to get dressed up to that level. 

Each year they get to reflect on their celebration together and remember having all of their favorite people with them on that once-in-a-lifetime day.

Destination Wedding… In Utah?

Their wedding day began at the Grand America Hotel, where the couple and many of their guests stayed leading up to the wedding. A Park City native, Courtney has always known she wanted to get married in Utah, even though she and Rod have been living in Los Angeles for the last few years. And their families are from even farther away than LA—as far as Iran. 

“My husband is Persian, so we had people that came from Iran, and came from all over, so we wanted to stay in Salt Lake with everyone.” Instead of a rehearsal dinner, they hosted a welcome party as their families came into town in the days leading up to their wedding. With so many of their guests traveling to Utah, it felt like a great way to prepare for their big day. 

The Countdown Begins

Courtney started getting ready in her hotel room before moving to Twenty and Creek, their gorgeous venue, because she wanted to make sure she didn’t feel rushed once she got there. One of her bridesmaids was the talented makeup artist Tori Plant, so they were able to enjoy a peaceful and calm morning together with just the two of them. And Courtney did her own hair—she really wanted to feel like herself on her wedding day, and that was the way she did it. 

In her rollers and robe, they headed over to Twenty and Creek where she met with the rest of her bridesmaids to finish getting ready in the stunning bridal suite. 

At the time, Twenty and Creek was a brand-new venue, and Courtney and Rod decided on it even before it was finished. “I had gone to ten venues in one day, and nothing was speaking to me. Then we went to Twenty and Creek… We put all of our trust into them that it was going to be something really cool for us.” It was important to Courtney to have a classy, beautiful indoor wedding in the middle of winter, and it turned out amazing. They also had to make sure they found a venue that let them stay past midnight, and Twenty and Creek made it happen.

Is It the Cold or Is It the Nerves?

After they finished getting ready, Courtney and Rod had their first look. Courtney knew she wanted to have a first look before the ceremony so they could go straight into their cocktail hour without worrying about pictures. But there was another bonus to having their first look before the ceremony that she didn’t expect—nerves. 

“I was really nervous, to be honest, and when I get nervous I get really cold and shaky. It was nice because after we did the first look I was a lot more relaxed.” Courtney was able to go into her wedding day feeling a lot more calm after seeing her husband-to-be. They took pictures with their family and wedding party afterward and went right to the ceremony to start the night off. 

“Savanna Richardson, our photographer, is literally the most joyous lovely person to work with ever. We loved her, our family loved her, she was awesome.” And Courtney loved their videographer Samuel Hansen as well.

Two Cultures Becoming One

Their ceremony was a beautiful celebration of two different cultures coming together. Not only did her brother officiate, adding a level of sentiment to the moment, but it was important to Courtney and Rod to incorporate elements of his Persian culture into their whole day. 

In a Persian wedding, there are many different traditions to celebrate the union of two people in love. When they began planning, they thought about having two different ceremonies, an American one and a Persian one. “But that didn’t feel right for me. It felt like we were saying we were two separate cultures, and I wanted it to feel more interwoven and entwined, like it was two cultures becoming one.”

They took parts of wedding traditions from both cultures and did exactly that—created a celebration that brought them together in meaningful ways. A Sofreh Aghd is a table of offerings, with each item placed on the table representing something meaningful to the couple and their love story. 

They also incorporated a sugar rubbing ceremony, where women who are important in their lives come and rub sugar over them to represent “spreading sweetness” over the couple, along with a honey exchange, where the bride and groom feed each other honey right before their first kiss. 

Courtney and Rod also wrote their own vows—something that isn’t normally done in Persian weddings, but it was important to Courtney to incorporate that along with standing together in some capacity. 

In a traditional Persian wedding, the couple sits behind the table. “I didn’t want to sit for the whole ceremony—I paid so much money for this dress I wanted to stand for part of it as well.” So they did half of it sitting behind the sofreh aghd and half of it standing in front of everyone. 

Eat Drink and Be Married

Dancing is something that’s important in Persian culture as well. With the help of their wedding planner Ayunda Whiting, they organized the seating so that the dance floor would be the center of the party. “Ayunda executed our day exactly as we imagined it to be, she was really amazing to work with.”

Rod and his mother started off their mother-son dance with a slow song that transitioned into a fast Persian song, with Persian dancing. In addition to that, their DJ incorporated a lot of Persian music into the whole day. 

They actually did some of their dancing first, getting their guests on the dance floor for a few numbers before sitting down for dinner.

Dinner was another highlight of the night for everyone—they had Persian food and everyone loved it. “One way to really immerse yourself in someone’s culture is through taste and food. The Persian people at our wedding were shocked that we had Persian food, and excited, and the American people at our wedding hadn’t had Persian food so it was a very cool introduction into the culture.” Zaferan Cafe went above and beyond to incorporate this experience into their wedding day. We’re definitely going to add them to our list of restaurants to try this year. 

Courtney also loved Copa Bar Service, who went above and beyond to deliver delicious drinks the whole night.

A Snowy Surprise

As the night went on, their beautiful wedding turned into a crazy fun New Year’s Eve party. They handed out hats and noise makers to everyone as the night got later, and even had the Fiore Pizza Truck for some late-night snacking. 

But, the most special moment of the night, and the most unexpected, was the snow. “There were so many people that loved it. It brought people together, and it was so magical.” 

Their photographer took advantage of the enchanting snowfall and brought them out for some spur-of-the-moment pictures. “They’re definitely the most magical photos from our night. Rod and I got to sneak away alone in the snow for a moment.”

Courtney’s favorite part overall was having so many people she loves and adores be a part of her day. “It was very overwhelming in a positive way. Having them there to support you and witness your love and commitment to someone that you really love is really special.”

From the marriage of two cultures to a countdown in the snow, Courtney and Rod’s stunning wedding is one that we’ll be daydreaming about every New Year’s Eve from now on. 


Venue: Twenty and Creek
Planner: Ayanda Whiting Events
Photography: Savanna Richardson Photography
Video: Samuel Hansen Productions
Florals: Wild Aura Floral
Hair and Makeup: Tori Face Plant
Dress: Kinsley James Couture Bridal
DJ: Powell Weddings and Events
Rentals: Diamond Event and Tent & In The Event
Bar: Copa Bar Service
Cake: Cakes by Rach
Catering: Zaferan Cafe & Fiore Pizza
Transportation: Fuzzy Hall

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