A Lifetime of Love and Happiness Made Possible by a Phone Call
So often the defining moments in our lives — those moments that rewrite our story, that alter our path for better or worse — are preceded by smaller, seemingly insignificant moments. For Bita Milanian, a 20-something telecom executive from Los Angeles, the path to the love of her life, her dream wedding, and a marriage for the ages, began with a random phone call, one sunny afternoon in June 1998.
The amiable, elderly woman on the other end of the line was a friend and former colleague of Bita’s mother. Though at one time Bita shared a cordial relationship with Helene, it had been years since the two women had been in contact. As odd as it was to hear from Helene after so many years, odder still was the nature of her call. Helene cut to the chase, and asked Bita if she was dating anyone, to which Bita replied a hesitant no. Well Bita was in luck, because Helene had recently become acquainted with a man through his business whom she felt was a perfect match for Bita. His name – Behrooz “Bruce” Ghavami and like Bita, an Iranian-American. Not surprisingly, Bita was unconvinced. How could a woman she had not seen or heard from in years have any sense of who Bita was, much less what she was looking for in a partner? Anxious but not eager, Bita awaited his call.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town in Brentwood, Bruce was even less eager. Unlike most Iranians who expatriated in the mid-1980s in the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Bruce had come to the United States in the mid-1970s. For more than two decades, Bruce had called Southern California home and had little interaction with the Iranian community in the region and therefore had never dated a woman of Iranian origin. But Helene was determined and reminded Bruce daily to make the call; and 10 days later, Bita finally received a phone call from Bruce, and the skeptical duo agreed to meet for coffee.
As Bita circled the block looking for parking, she caught a glimpse of a man sitting in the patio of the rendezvous spot, Starbucks in Brentwood, reading a book. Assuming he was her date, she resigned herself to an awkward evening ahead. At that very moment, Bita was suddenly struck by the sight of a different man, driving by in a sporty convertible, classic good looks, with an undeniable presence. In that brief moment, he took her breath away. Why couldn’t he be her date, she thought. But as quickly as the car came to view, it disappeared down the road, now a speck in her rearview.
One more go around the block, and Bita finally found parking. Bracing herself, she headed for the Starbucks. Crossing the street, she saw him again. It was the man she had passed on the street earlier, the one who took her breath away. He was standing outside of the coffee shop, seemingly waiting for someone. Her slow disbelief finally yielded to the realization that he was in fact waiting for her. He was Bruce. Given his looks, sporty car, and meticulous style of dress, she couldn’t help but feel cautious about his personality. But before long, he had disarmed her of her assumptions, and she had returned the favor. That night, they had sushi for dinner, and by dessert, she knew she was falling in love.
During their courtship, Bruce introduced Bita to his teenage son Blake and the two hit it off from the get-go. After about a year of dating, Bruce and Bita became engaged on December 31, 1999, and on September 29, 2001, amidst of 18 days post-9/11 tragedy, they were married in a traditional Iranian wedding at the famed Beverly Hills Hotel, a venue selected by Bruce’s late mother who adored the color pink.
Bita and Bruce opted for an intimate ceremony to be able to spend quality time with each and every guest at their wedding. The celebration, like their first date, was a magical event, permeated with a storybook vibe. But what was to come next for Bita and Bruce was the true fairytale: fifteen years of building a loving and happy life together, one that included Blake, and now his beautiful wife Mariellen, who together have given them the gift of grandparenthood with their beloved son named Hudson.
In celebration of their 15th wedding anniversary, Bita and Bruce commemorated the very special occasion with a photo shoot. In reaching this milestone, the couple couldn’t help but be tremendously grateful for their many blessings, and thankful to a woman named Helene, without whom the photo shoot, and the 18 years that preceded it, would never have been possible.