Photography by
Miki and Sonja Photography


Carlos Ortiz & Michael Maya

September 10, 2016. Los Angeles, California


Carlos Ortiz and Michael Maya were introduced at a bar in West Hollywood through a mutual friend. “After our first date, which included a night of food, drinks, dancing, and a kiss, we knew we could not be apart,” says Michael. Six blissful years later of dating and living together, the couple was vacationing in Spain, and Carlos proposed during a rowboat ride in the middle of a lake in Madrid.

“Our planning experience was quite the dream,” Michael recalls. “That was mainly due to our amazing event planner, Kristin Banta from Kristin Banta Events. Her team was the most creative, meticulous, organized, communicative people I have ever met. I, being a control freak, felt at ease knowing they were in charge. That, in itself, allowed us to truly enjoy our wedding.”

Hosted at the Alexandria Ballrooms, guests arrived and were escorted to a pre-ceremony cocktail hour. Geometric tables filled the space, and a dramatic triple-length bar was set in front of 50 feet of back wall shelving, filled end to end with oversized bubble bowls – each, housing one black goldfish. Cava was served, along with signature drinks, and Cuban and Puerto Rican tapas, reflecting the grooms’ cultures.

A path lined with 500 feet of black velvet led guests to the ceremony, where a chuppah and black X-back chairs created a runway-esque vibe. The wedding party wore a collection of black tuxes and black couture gowns with gold accessories, while the grooms were dressed in white. “There was a beauty in the simplicity, which allowed the focus to be on why we were all gathering to witness our marriage,” Michael reflects. “We didn’t feel like anything was missing.”

For the reception, no detail was spared when it came to creating an artistic and personal ambiance. There were escort cards made of origami boats (symbolizing the grooms’ engagement); 400 feet of nautical rope stretching down the length of the dining tables with twists and knots (symbolizing the “knot” they tied); and thematic music and regional cuisines that transported guests to Istanbul, Japan, Spain, and Mexico – everywhere Michael and Carlos had traveled together.

After dinner, the newlyweds and their guests transitioned to the mezzanine, where the evening culminated in a lively dance party. A live Latin band and DJ duo provided music, and the décor featured a black and gold airplane installation, vignettes accented by modern art pieces, eclectic lamps and gold terrariums, and a custom black bar with whimsical gold details. Everyone enjoyed cake and passed Latin late-night snacks as they danced the night away on a gold dance floor.

“Our honeymoon was the ultimate adventure,” says Michael. “We traveled for a month, exploring the food, culture, and sights of Australia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, and China, where we celebrated the new year from the highest bar in Hong Kong.”

> Written by: Lauren Malamala

Planner and Event Design: Kristin Banta Events Inc. Studio City, CA; Grooms’ Attire: D.Gnak & Dolce and Gabbana;