After many wonderful years of being in love and of dreaming that we would one day get married, we finally officially became husband and wife. On 11-11-11, Tolga and I had a storybook, rose-filled, Bohemian wedding at Chameleon Studios, the Moulin Rouge of Las Vegas (in decor anyway.) We had an aerialist, belly dancers, live performances, Turkish food, dancing and fun, but most importantly, a touching outpouring of love.
Our Romantic, Storybook Wedding
This how the building looked when I arrived with my mom and daughter Kandice (aka pop artist Lola Blanc). It took our breath away. Notice that they even lighted the palm trees in pink!!
Video projections on the inside walls of this gorgeous venue added a spectacular touch.
This was one of the rooms where the after-party was held.
Flowers were everywhere!
Tolga and his family orchestrated to have 600 pink roses shipped in!!
Our wedding ceremony began with an extraordinary performance by an aerialist. A television crew was there filming our wedding, described as sort of “Bohemian meets Moulin Rouge,” with a geeky, storybook & Turkish twist.
When they opened the velvet curtains for the bridal procession, Kevin Mitnick, a resident of Las Vegas, a famed hacker and close friend of ours, walked me down the aisle. By the way – learn more about Kevin HERE. He stood in place of L.V. Charles Besemer, my beloved father who was, no doubt, watching from heaven.
Our rings were carried in Victorian valentine box. Steve Wozniak, the original best man, had to be best-man-in-spirt spirit (due to the fact that he won the Nobel Prize for technology in Armenia – or something like that!) While we missed him & his wife being with us, they wished us the best and if there’s any excuse that’s forgivable, winning a Nobel prize qualifies.
Tolga’s long-time friend for 25 years, Paul Fishkin (Stevie Nicks, Foghat, Natalie Cole), was actual best man. Another dear friend of Tolga’s, Jason Flom (Lava Records), attended as well. Tolga was very touched by the reunion of people from his different walks of life.
Tolga’s ring. Notice the heart-shaped shadow. We both got rings of made of tri-colored Black Hills gold – with leaves, grapes & vines. .
My ring inside his ring. The antique book is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, my favorite author, and after whom I named my son Emerson.
The chapter is called “Love.”
Tolga looked gorgeous. When I saw him, I got weak in the knees.
Tolga describes this as a vampire marrying a ghost, but considering the hours that Tolga keeps, it’s got an element of truth. A Bohemian vampire storybook wedding works for us.
During the ceremony, my eyes were full of tears. Tolga was fighting tears. I have loved my genius vampire for so long, I thought this day would never come. I had to pinch myself to make sure it was really happening.
The Pastor was Pastor Ed of Casual Elegance. He was the perfect pastor for us. In his prior life, he was an engineer. How perfect that we had a geek for a wedding officiant. We even had a premarital counseling session with him, and he was awesome.
Trevor Blazso took this amazing photo (above) of us during our vows. Tolga looks like a prince, don’t you think?
After the ceremony, we were thrilled to finally walk down the aisle as husband and wife. Elated.
A happy, happy day! Both of us felt like we were walking on air!
The wedding reception was held in the same room as the wedding.
Bebe caught the bouquet!
It was an explosion of roses!
Duygu (Tolga’s stepmom) left, and Dorothy (Christine Marie’s mom) right, got along famously and are laughing their heads off.
An incredible belly dancer lit the place on fire! (Sorry – better photos coming soon.)
The girls joined in first, then LOTS of people!
The bridesmaids – Lily Antebi, Andrea Moore, Lola Blanc – all look as feminine as can be. Girly girls we are!
Half my family is Turkish now! On the far right is Ali, then Oksan, then Ali’s wife Ayla. Ali is Duygu’s brother, Tolga’s uncle.
I love this ring. It’s made of tri-colored Black Hills gold, something my parents loved. Legend has it that good fortune comes to those who wear black hills gold. To me, this is the most beautiful ring on the planet earth. I kiss it, like, 50 times a day.
My daughter Kandice (artist name: Lola Blanc) is in pink to my left. My mom is in blue, holding my chihuahua princess. My son Christian has the beard.
Tolga’s sister Oksan is on the far left, and his father is to my right. To the right of my mom is Tolga’s little brother Kutan, and on the far right is Duygu – an elegant, sweet, classy woman who is more like my sister than my mother-in-law!
My beautiful, gorgeous, breathtaking cascading bouquet of pink roses! This was made by Rosie, and many miracles happened in the process. More about that later.
Bambi had her own wedding dress and veil, and of course – she had her nails done too.
Bambi was the official flower dog.
The more professional-looking photos are by Las Vegas photographer Steve Mammich, a dear friend of ours. I love this photo above because it looks aged.
Tolga and Christine Marie Katas
Boys, left to right: Producer/promoter John Galiszewsky, tech legend John “Captain Crunch” Draper, dance music veteran and love of my life - Tolga Katas, music producer and film financier Garianno Lorenzo, famed hacker and best-selling author Kevin Mitnick, celebrity musical director Michael Bearden (Madonna, Michael Jackson).
No gathering of hackers & geeks would be complete without our friend, cat lover, hacker and engineer Dan Sokol. Getting him to sit for this photo was years in the making, so you see, there were many things to celebrate on 11-11-11.
Gary Kam and Alex Blazso. And what do geeks do at a wedding? Test their mobile apps of course! (Compliments of Trevor.)
On the left is hacker//programmer John Draper, Tolga, A-list screenwriter Clay Ayers, award-winning comedian Travis McFarland, Tolga’s brother Kutan -named upcoming young director for Turkey, and entrepreneur Adam Faletti – sleeping on the job I think. But not for long.
Turkish wedding accessories.
This is a candle for the bride’s hands. The Turkish wedding color is red.
Presents from Turkey! They pin gold on the bride and give special jewelry too.
It was overwhelming fun and joy. Every little thing made me so happy.
I have so many Turkish family members and friends to thank – how do I even begin?
Our cake topper was custom made to look like us in Turkey. It’s wonderful!
DJam Hassan, a long-time friend of Tolga’s, truly rocked the house!
Paul Fishkin chatting with Tolga’s father Erol.
The back of my hot pink & ivory wedding dress.
Turkish food, Turkish coffee, and candles everywhere!
I love our anniversary. I love anything and everything that has our anniversary on it!
Photo by Steve Mammich.
I introduced him to my new friend Jumi Pak – (thanks to Nick O Toole!) because she raises money for charitable causes and boy does Chris have a charitable cause!
Humanitarion/philanthropist Jumi Pak & me
My maid of honor was my dear friend Andrea Moore – psychologist & author of “God’s Brothel.”
This is Tolga and I are dancing our first dance as husband and wife. Even though this moment has been a long time in the making and I must tell you, somehow being “officially married” to Tolga has had a deep, incredible positive emotional impact for me in a way I didn’t anticipate. At all.
People tend to casually rationalize away the need to get married when they are already committed, saying it’s “just a piece of paper.” Or – everyone already thinks we’re married anyway.
One day I’ll figure out how to express it better. But for now, accept my deeply special feelings and heartfelt thanks to you for making the sacrifice to come share in our celebration, and to all you who wanted to come but couldn’t, and wished us well from afar. We’ve been through a lot, Tolga and I, and we look forward to going through more together. Like getting old. And having fun. Forever.