It was the week before the 2011 NFL Draft when Randall Cobb first met Aiyda Ghahramani in New York City. At the time, the prolific football player was days shy from being drafted by the Green Bay Packers while Ghahramani, an aspiring attorney, would soon pack her bags for law school in New Hampshire. There was, however, an unshakeable spark between the two. “We both realized the timing was not right to start something romantic,” Ghahramani tells The Knot in an exclusive interview. “But we became inseparable.”
The distance turned out to be a blessing for Cobb, who was an NFL rookie, and Ghahramani, who was busy tackling Torts. It took three years for something romantic to develop, but the couple decided to take a risk in 2014. The transition was seamless.
“Our friendship will always be the foundation of our love,” the bride says. “We just have such a comfortable, easy relationship… While I was focused on studying for the bar exam, Randall made every effort to be my biggest support system. He would make me breakfast every morning, take me to work, pick me up, make dinner, and sit in silence while I studied.”
Last spring, Cobb arranged an elaborate, private proposal during a birthday trip to New York City. “Randall walked me through a path of candles to the exact spot where he first said hello,” she shares. “I couldn’t believe that he remembered.”
Like most couples, their first joint decision was narrowing down the location and the venue. “I immediately created inspiration boards,” says Ghahramani. “And I received The Knot from a few girlfriends and started mapping out various details that I knew we both wanted.”
With the attorney working full-time in Washington, D.C., and the wide receiver shuffling back and forth from Green Bay to East Coast, the pair decided to find a neutral-but-meaningful spot for their nuptials. They ultimately settled on an elegant and classic, black-tie event at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. “We wanted to pick a place that had significance to us,” she says. “It’s where we met and where we got engaged, so it only made sense.”
The couple, who for nearly a year worked closely with Francesca Abbracciamento and Kiva Eisenstock of Francesca Events, opted for a neutral wedding palette comprised of white and beige floral arrangements accented by white pillar candles illuminating clear glass cylinders.
The bride dazzled in the classic ambiance, wearing a figure-flattering gown by Carolina Herrera for the ceremony that was accessorized by a pristine Alençon lace veil. She later swapped into a sexier party gown by Berta at the reception, while her bridesmaids stunned in BCBG dresses.
The ever-so-stylish groom, 26, went for a sleek tuxedo designed by Ralph Lauren paired with Louis Vuitton shoes and Burberry cufflinks. “I was nervous the entire day leading up to the wedding,” says Cobb. “But the moment I saw her during the first look, she brought me peace. Which she always does.”
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Jordy Nelson supported their teammate on his wedding day, and the NFL-groomsmen connection continued with the addition of CAA agent Edward Berry and Cobb’s Kentucky teammate Morgan Newton. Cobb’s brother, Michael Love, as well as his new brother-in-law, Ariya Ghahramani, and the groom’s old friends Jalon Webster and Daniel Sullivan, rounded out the handsome pack of nine all in coordinating Black Lapel suits and Del Toro shoes.
With so many high-profile athletes in attendance—some in the wedding party—the bride and groom wanted the occasion to be free of cell phones and any external social media; Essentially, they wanted their guests to be completely present. Photographer Brian Marcus of Fred Marcus Studio, however, was there to document key moments.
“The entire day was unplugged which was wonderful,” notes the bride. “We worked with Over Yondr to ensure that we have a phone-free space, where all of our guests were able to enjoy themselves.” Cobb says that was one of the best decisions they made. “We lived in the moment,” he continues. “No one was worried about their phone or posts on social media.”
Attendees witnessed two different types of ceremonies; one, civil and the second, a cultural Persian wedding that was designed by Ghazal Hajizadeh.
“We wanted to blend our cultures,” she explains, noting that music was a big portion of that experience. “The ceremony music was perfect,” says the bride. The groom and his parents walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of “All My Life,” by K-Ci & JoJo, while Vali Entertainment’s string quartet played a gorgeous rendition of John Legend’s “All of Me” for the bride’s entrance.
The pair then took their seats at a traditional Persian ceremony table known as the “Sofreh Aghd,” which displays symbolic items. “Each has a different blessing or meaning involved,” Ghahramani explains.
While some aspects of the wedding were fixtures, the pair wanted to write their own vows. “We both spent a lot of time making sure that every word truly meant something to us,” she says. Cobb adds, “My favorite part of the entire night was looking into Aiyda’s eyes as she read her vows.”
Following the ceremony, the couple’s 235 guests made their way to the grand ballroom of the hotel, which was decorated with lush floral arrangements and centerpieces produced by David Beahm. “We focused on white hydrangeas, peonies, Bowl of Cream peonies, white tulips, and Sahara roses,” notes the bride. “One of my favorite aspects of the wedding design was the ceiling treatment.” The design team created a dazzling optical illusion on the dance floor.
The couple’s loaded cocktail hour featured some traditional crowd-pleasers–think mini BLT sandwiches, Maryland crab cakes and risotto balls. Guests also enjoyed a variety of options with five different food “stations” devoted to seafood, tapas, dim sum, sushi and Middle Eastern cuisine.
For the meal itself, guests dined on crusted filet mignon with sweet potato gratin and brussel sprouts, herb-crusted halibut with Parisienne potatoes and carrot julienne, and risotto with roasted vegetables. The newlyweds then cut into a traditional five-tier vanilla cake stuffed with salted caramel, chocolate and cookie filling and designed by Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.
According to the bride, the entertainment portion well-exceeded the couple’s expectations. The floor was so packed at one point that the couple’s DJ Martin D’Arce ended up spinning until 2:30 a.m.
“Our band was beyond amazing, and the DJ integrated Persian music,” Ghahramani says. “We had so many people that didn’t want the party to end.”
While the wedding weekend was brief–both husband and wife were forced to return to work the following Tuesday–the couple tells The Knot that their relationship has changed. “We now share an incredibly special bond,” Ghahramani concludes as her husband echoes her sentiments.
“Now that we’re married, there is a deeper [connection],” he says. “The night couldn’t have been more perfect. All of our closest family and friends were in the room together, and it will never be replicated again.”