Photography by
Brian Leahy Photography


Danielle Ghaffari & Charles “C.J.” Watson

July 21, 2018. Las Vegas, Nevada


Location: Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV; Planner and Event Design: Andrea Eppolito Weddings & Events Las Vegas, NV; Ceremony Dress: Ines Di Santo; Reception Dress and Cape: Berta; Invitations: Ceci New York New York, NY

High school sweethearts Danielle Ghaffari and Charles “C.J.” Watson met young—she was just 15 and he 16—but C.J. knew from the beginning that she was the great love of his life.

“To say you met your soul mate at such a young age is rare, but we fell in love so quickly,” Danielle says. “C.J. always told me, ‘We are gonna get married one day, and we are going to have this big wedding with all of our friends and family.’ He definitely stayed true to that.”

After high school, C.J. went to the University of Tennessee to play basketball while Danielle stayed in their hometown of Las Vegas, but they always maintained a strong relationship. In 2016, the couple had their second daughter, and for her birthday in August, C.J. took Danielle and their two little girls to the top of the Paris hotel for a huge surprise on the viewing deck.

“As I turned the corner, stroller and all, there was C.J. down on one knee asking for my hand in marriage,” Danielle says. “We then went to my birthday party, which was now an engagement party as well, and told everyone the big news.”

They stuck to Vegas for their ultra-chic wedding, the last held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, now the Waldorf Astoria. They chose it for its clean lines, contemporary feel and–perhaps most importantly to Danielle–because it didn’t have a casino and allowed for maximum privacy for their event.

The décor was very monochromatic, with over-the-top white florals and marble floors, but with added pops of gold and glam. “I’m half Persian,” Danielle says, “and we Persian girls love gold and glam!” The gold lettering of their initials on the aisle and the giant grey rose custom wall behind the band were particularly glamorous, but neither matched Danielle’s showstopping wedding gowns. For the ceremony, Danielle wore a stunning dress by Ines Di Santo and then changed into a Berta gown and cape.

One of the most memorable parts of Danielle’s day was during the ceremony, when she walked down the aisle to her husband. “It was a feeling that you can’t put into words. Being able to incorporate our children into our wedding, and seeing how beautiful they were as they walked down the aisle—and our toddler actually making it down the aisle, running to Daddy!”

The highlight for their friends and family was the choreographed first dance, which included a very special guest star: the couple’s older daughter, Ayanna.

“She and C.J. did an upbeat father-daughter dance. Definitely the highlight of the wedding!” she says.

After the wedding, the couple headed to Bora Bora for an action packed honeymoon. Danielle planned all sorts of activities, like snorkeling, kite surfing, boat rides and ATV tours. They started the trip at the beautiful InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa and ended at The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort.

“It is truly the most breathtaking place we had ever been,” Danielle says. “It was the most amazing trip and place to be as husband and wife for the first time. Although we didn’t want to ever leave Bora Bora, we missed our girls tremendously and were eager to get back to their smiling faces.”

> Written by Allyson Reedy

Location: Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV; Planner and Event Design: Andrea Eppolito Weddings & Events Las Vegas, NV; Ceremony Dress: Ines Di Santo; Reception Dress and Cape: Berta; Invitations: Ceci New York New York, NY;