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Eat Drink Man Woman

When actress Julie Benz finally made dinner for Rich Orosco, she won over his heart.

Julie Benz & Rich Orosco, May 5, 2012

Blush roses, coral peonies and succulents were used in the bouquets.

Angella’s Sweet Spot made a gluten-free vanilla cake with strawberries and lemon.

The courtyard at Sowden House

Orosco’s nephew, Diego, surprised his uncle with a cheeky sign.

Rich Orosco and his bride, actress Julie Benz, have proved the saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Benz, known for her roles in Dexter, Defiance and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, had dragged her heels for months about cooking dinner for Orosco, a partner at Firebrand, an entertainment brand management company. “I’m a really good cook,” she warned him. “I don’t want to make you dinner unless it’s serious.” Orosco was surprised to discover Benz’s culinary talents, and after one bite of her famous chicken wings, he knew his bachelor days were over.

Their relationship had been full of such pleasant surprises from the start. After meeting through mutual friends, Orosco flew Benz to Miami for their first date. Almost five years later, cushion-cut sparkler in hand, he asked her to take a longer journey with him. Benz said “yes” and a pop-up engagement party began, complete with a mariachi band and taco truck. Then friends and family streamed in to congratulate the newly engaged couple.

The party continued almost a year later at Sowden House in Los Feliz with a wedding that coincided—serendipitously, given Orosco’s Mexican heritage—with Cinco de Mayo. The exuberant Mexican holiday set the tone for the day at the house built by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright. Event planner Tony Schubert transformed the secluded courtyard into a setting that glowed in the late afternoon sunset. Bright bouquets amplified the colors of the lush bougainvillea cascading over the walls, and Benz’s eight bridesmaids sparkled in silver-sequined gowns.

Once the “I dos” were said, DJ Michelle Pesce mixed exuberant sets of old-school hip-hop, Latin pop and alternative rock. Five guests who had traveled from the farthest locales, including Vietnam and Australia, were awarded with sombreros by Orosco. They joined revelers who were snacking on finger foods with a Latin twist and sipping Brancott Estate pinot noir, Benz’s favorite wine. Later, the couple cut into a gluten-free cake from Angella’s Sweet Spot.

But Orosco had another surprise up his sleeve. As he pulled Benz onto the dance floor for their first dance, she heard the notes of one of her favorite songs. Orosco asked his pal Vinney Elliot, a London-based recording artist, to perform it for his bride, unbeknownst to her. Nestled in her new husband’s arms, Benz knew one thing for sure: Life with Orosco would always be full of sweet surprises.