Nadia Nasrat & Sam Saleh
September 2, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California
There may be no more unlikely place for a tradition-minded couple to meet than amid the glitz of Beverly Hills. Look at Sam Saleh’s bio, and your first thought might be “playboy.” Raised in London, he’s got a charming accent to go along with his good looks, and surely it didn’t hurt his prospects with the ladies that he’s a successful cosmetic dentist whose clients include Hollywood celebrities in search of the perfect smile.
Sam met Nadia Nasrat at a Redbury Hotel dinner party, but the two didn’t hit it off immediately. However, a few months after their initial meeting, Sam found a Facebook friend request from Nadia in his inbox. Recognition failed to click at first — Sam even awkwardly sent a note asking Nadia who she was — but a date was soon proposed; a second became a magical night of dining, drinking, and karaoke spent in a rooftop pool cabana.
Part of what brought the couple together was a shared heritage: Sam’s parents had emigrated to the U.S. from Iran, while Nadia’s parents hailed from nearby Afghanistan and Uzbeckistan. “Despite the fact that I’m very progressive, my core is very traditional,” says Sam. “I believe in equality, but also that there are roles and responsibilities that each person brings to the relationship.”
Nadia, raised in the Bay Area with strong family values, has a similar reverence for tradition mixed with modernity. “I was interested in Sam, but at the same time had reservations because I thought men like him simply did not exist,” says Nadia. “He is very gentleman-like, knowledgable, and sophisticated.”
Dating quickly grew into a full-blown love affair, and within a year of meeting Nadia, Sam was already buying an engagement ring. He decided to propose on Valentine’s Day (“It was very easy to cover up what I was about to do”) during a return visit to the Keo restaurant at The Redbury, the site of their first great date. “I sat on the same side of the table as her and said, ‘I see you as my wife, as the mother of my children,’ then asked her to marry me,” recalls Sam.
Nadia was so surprised that she barely noticed the ring in front of her. “He made me the happiest and luckiest woman,” she says. “I was very excited.”
Co-workers as well as a couple, Sam and Nadia collaborated on planning their September wedding, which began with a Jewish ceremony under a chuppa on the terrace of the sleek London Hotel in West Hollywood. A reception for 200 guests — a relatively modest number by Middle Eastern standards — followed at the historic Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills.
The couple arrived at their reception in a vintage Bentley; the high-energy party was highlighted by a first dance to Sade’s “By Your Side,” the song they had sung together in karaoke.
Like so many grooms, Sam had been moved to tears when he first saw Nadia walking down the aisle in her Rivini gown, but both bride and groom said the most romantic part of their wedding day was a quiet interlude between the ceremony and reception.
“We sat in the balcony of our hotel room in front of a beautiful city view, and we were gazing into our future together drinking champagne,” recalls Nadia. “There were so many positive emotions we were feeling all at once — it was overwhelming. I’ll always remember that very special moment.”
The couple honeymooned in Bora Bora, reveling in plenty of “alone time” in an overwater villa at the luxurious Four Seasons resort before returning to their lives and work together in L.A.
> Written by Bob Curley