Modern LA Grooms
Tell us your love story!
We met at our favorite queer bar in Los Angeles - Akbar. We have completely different memories of what happened that night (alcohol may have been involved). But we’ve seen each other almost every day since that night (over 7 years ago).
What about the proposal?
We went out to dinner the night before Zlatan’s 31st birthday. I (Ajay) hid the ring in my car and surprised Zlatan with it after dessert came out. Zlatan opened the ring box and said something like, “Oh, you got me a ring for my birthday!” Unprepared for this response, I blurted out something like, “Let’s get gay married!” Zlatan somehow thought it was a prank, and I spent the next few minutes trying to convince him it was a serious proposal. He said yes (whew!)
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Probably after our trip to India together, when Zlatan met all of my (Ajay’s) extended family. We spent a week on the road together in Goa and in North India. After that, I knew our relationship was built to last. For me (Zlatan), our relationship was pretty effortless from day one. I had never been with anyone before that cared that much for me. I knew we were meant for each other early on in our relationship. I was having lunch with one of my best friends about a year into it when she asked me if he was the one, and without hesitation, I answered “absolutely!” I had no doubts about it!
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We wanted something low-key, with our close friends and family. We did not want an elaborate ceremony. We wanted our guests to feel like they were at a dinner party at our house.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
I (Ajay) was shocked at how much Zlatan and I agreed on things! I don’t remember any major disagreements in the planning process. The hardest part was figuring out the guest list -- our venue could only accommodate 150 for a seated dinner.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
It’s impossible to make everyone (guests, family, your partner) happy, so don’t try to do it. Get a planner and stay out of the venue the day of your ceremony! I was hoping to be more hands on with décor, flowers, and the setup but realized there was no way I could handle it. Having someone else worry about all of that was the best thing we could have done!
Any advice for couples planning weddings now?
Keep things as simple as possible -- it’ll be easier on you and your guests! Try to sleep the night before because you will be exhausted otherwise.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
For me (Ajay), it was definitely the ceremony. Our good friend, Stacey, who is hilarious, officiated the wedding. She brought so much joy, humor, love, and insight to the whole process -- we couldn’t have asked for more. I choked up during my vows and cried like a baby. It was excruciating, but also the most meaningful event of my life. For me (Zlatan), it was all about being able to celebrate our union in front of our family, friends, and loved ones. It made the day that much more special!
From the photographer...
This historic 1920's house was such a charming venue for their ceremony and reception. After getting ready at Hotel Covell, a small, boutique hotel located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, we took a trip to the bar where the couple first met, and had some fun recreating some dance moves in the back room where a disco ball was hanging over head (but it was during the day so we had the whole place to ourselves).
At their venue, candles, succulents, and white hydrangeas provided the perfect accent to the exposed brick walls of the venue. The couple's ceremony was officiated by their dear friend Stacey, and there was not a dry eye left by the time Ajay and Zlatan were done with their vows. Zlatan, an Art Director for Barbie, of course had to have the doll herself at his wedding - she guarded the guest book and made an appearance on the dance floor later in the evening.