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The Chairs Wore Organza, the Bride Dressed in Silk

For a Wedding Set in the Garden, Chandeliers Were Hung From the Trees, Tables Glittered With Silver and Romance Was in the Air

June 16, 1996|Susan Heeger

The romance of flowers in full bloom makes a garden the perfect backdrop for a wedding. Here, in a 20-year-old garden in the Hollywood Hills, a recent nuptial drama unfolded with the last late gold of day filtering through the trees and ended in the shimmer of festive candlelight. The bride, Kristine Belson, spent much of her childhood amid these rose and iris beds, so when she and fiance Paul Golding considered marriage, she thought of home.

Kristine's stepmother, artist Jo Ann Belson, staged the evening in keeping with Kristine's simple tastes and her own flair for the theatrical. She converted a small, fenced herb and vegetable patch into a wedding bower complete with a dichondra floor and eight-foot flower sprays in antique urns. To take the edge off the rows and rows of wooden guests' chairs, she dressed them up in frothy white organza. As night wore on, they doubled as dinner seats around tables on the lawn, and the wedding bower became a bandstand. Giant chandeliers flickered to life beneath the elms--lights designed by Jo Ann to warm the large, dark space for dining. Crafted of metal, paper, branches, orchids and martini glasses, they created a visual ceiling below the trees and added a touch of whimsy to the formal proceedings. So did silver bubbles painted on the driveway to guide guests to the party, and a wedding cake presented on a table swathed in leaves.

"People really relax in a garden," says Jo Ann, who developed her 1 1/2-acre spread with landscape designer Mia Lehrer and gardener Benn Welch. While most hosts may have less turf to work with, Jo Ann insists that the spirit of the place, not the size, is the important thing. "It's completely magical," she says, "to make a gift of a place you love."

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Flowers by Mark's Garden, Sherman Oaks; catering by Gai Klass Catering, Culver City

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