On July 1, 2017, Gaspar Avdolyan and Lola Osmanova got married at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, CA. While all weddings are memorable, this one became unforgettable for many factors, one mainly being the price tag. Rumored to be a $10 million dollar wedding, photos and videos of this extravagant wedding went viral. What stood out for us was that this was an Armenian wedding, and the couple incorporated Armenian traditions into their wedding. And so our team reached out to some of our contacts to bring you an inside look into Gaspar and Lola’s wedding.
First, meet Gaspar and Lola. Gaspar Avdolyan is the son of successful Armenian telecommunication businessman Albert Avdolyan. His wife, Lola Osmanova, is the daughter of Russian energy tycoon Eldar Osmanova. Gaspar is 100% Armenian, and Lola is half Armenian. The couple spends a majority of their time in Moscow and travels internationally very frequently.
The wedding took place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles with an estimated 300 guests. Every component of this wedding was lavish. Clearly the location is not your average wedding venue. Celebrities walking down the runway to attend the Oscars were replaced by wedding guests. One of our sources mentioned that the Dolby staff appeared shocked to see a wedding taking place!
In order to prepare for the wedding, the couple rented the Dolby Theater a week in advance. Some of the changes made were to remove all the seats and add chandeliers to transform the theater into a wedding ballroom. And of course, there was a major investment made in flowers to decorate the venue. It's estimated that over $500,000 was spent on flowers alone.
As we can see from photos and videos, the couple outdid the Oscar's production with their lavish wedding décor and elaborate designs. Lola wore a bespoke off-the-shoulder gown designed by Zuhair Murad, a famous Lebanese designer. The detailed beading and jewels made her gown stand out along with her long train. She later changed into a second dress, a form-fitting, 1940's style, feather designed dress paired with a sparkling headpiece.
We also heard no expenses were spared when it came to food. The "most expensive fish" was served at their wedding. Our quick research shows bluefin tuna is currently the most expensive seafood at nearly $4k per pound. While we don't know what was the exact fish served, we know the seafood was the highlight of the wedding for all the foodies. Additionally, we were surprised to hear there were 300 wait staff members to accommodate the 300 guests. So literally everyone had a personal wait staff! We heard buses of waiters arrived to serve the guests.
Now what's the most special part of the wedding to us? The couple performed a traditional Armenian dance choreographed by Vartan and Armine Aghajanyan from Zvartnots Dance Ensemble. It was really special for us to see that this couple who planned an extravagant wedding chose to incorporate their culture into their wedding in the form of dance. So we spent some time talking to Vartan Aghajanyan to learn all about the details of the dances performed by Gaspar, Lola and the Zvartnots Dance Ensemble.
There was a total of 20 dancers from Zvarnots, 10 men and 10 women. The Armenian dance performance lasted 6 minutes, broken into three 2 minute dances:
- Bride’s Dance – The bride danced with the 10 female dancers to the traditional Armenian song “Harsi Par” composed by Karen and Sevag.
- Groom’s Dance – Next the groom danced with 10 male dancers to “Pesi Par” with instrumental duduk music.
- Group Dance – The entire group including the bride, groom and 20 dancers performed the “Ver-Veri Par”, also referred to as the shoorj par. The music was performed by Artsrun Babakhanyan.
While the performance was only 6 minutes long, Gaspar and Lola invested 10 days of consecutive dance practice to learn the performance, meeting 2 hours each day. The choreography and instruction was done by Vartan and Armine of Zvartnots. Zvartnots Dance Ensemble was originally founded in Armenia where Vartan and Armine met, and they've celebrated their 28th anniversary of forming this dance group in the US. Vartan shared with us that the learning process was not easy. Neither Gaspar nor Lola are dancers and they had not danced to Armenian music in the past. And thus it took a lot of time and commitment from the couple to master their performance. The instruction was done in Russian as neither the bride nor groom speak Armenian.
The Armenian dance performance was a success, and Vartan recalls Gaspar's father was extremely pleased with the dance. And given about half the guests were of Armenian descent, the dance left a meaningful impression on the guests. Following the Armenian dance performance, there was a 4 minute dance performance representing Lola's culture. Lola's from Kabardino-Balkaria, located in Russia's North Caucasus.
And next Lady Gaga took the stage to perform for 45minutes. There was a rumor that the original plan was to have Beyonce perform, but since Beyonce recently gave birth to twins, she passed on the opportunity and instead Lady Gaga was selected. When we asked Vartan whether guests were dancing to Lady Gaga's performance, he commented that more people were taking pictures than dancing! Additionally, two Armenian singers performed at the wedding. Arman Hovhannisyan and Tata each performed for 15 minutes.
We're thrilled that Gaspar and Lola chose to represent their Armenian culture through dance and music. Vartan shared with us that he's been seeing a trend lately of more couples choosing to incorporate Armenian traditional dances into their weddings by hiring dancers to perform. In fact, the day after we interviewed him, the Zvartnots dance group performed at a Russian-Armenian wedding in Los Angeles. Vartan concluded "After all these expenses, it's so good to know that the couple acknowledged their Armenian roots and they both danced in front of the large crowd."
Special thanks to Vartan and Armine of the Zvartnots Dance Ensemble for taking the time to share details about this special dance performance. Zvartnots does not typically teach couples to dance but they made an exception for Gaspar and Lola given a close mutual friend had reached out to them.
Congrats to Gaspar and Lola! And we're looking forward to seeing more traditional Armenian dance performances at upcoming weddings!