A Tasteful Romance: Andria & Roberto Lo Grande – November 3, 2012 (Wedding)

Photos by John Mattera Photography

Andria (Trani) Lo Grande went to the Taste in San Pedro in April 2009 expecting to sample the different flavors of town. Little did she know that in addition to savoring the various delicacies San Pedro is known for, she’d also meet her future husband, Roberto.

Andria was introduced to Roberto while hanging out with friends at the Taste. At the time, Blackberries were still popular, so Roberto didn’t hesitate to ask for Andria’s “BBM” (Blackberry Messenger) name. That night, Roberto BBMed Andria and after two weeks of messaging back and forth, they went on their first date to Sushi Fiori in Redondo Beach.

“It was really sweet how he asked me – he asked me in Italian,” describes Andria, daughter of Phil Trani and Michelle Katrich. “He’s full Italian and I’m part Italian, part Croatian.”

The date went well and was a somewhat new experience for Andria as she didn’t really date much prior to Roberto, son of Sal and Maria Grazia Lo Grande. Although always a little “standoff-ish,” Andria decided to venture into a second date two weeks later, where the two enjoyed a night at the movies.

During this time (and in typical San Pedro fashion), one of Andria’s friends was dating one of Roberto’s friends, so they all spent a lot of time together. Then, Roberto had Andria meet his family in November of 2009, and a few days later, asked her to be his girlfriend.

“It was like I had to pass a test before he made the commitment,” Andria jokes.

Andria continued to make the grade in Roberto’s eyes, which was made evident during an October 2011 trip to Vegas for Andria’s and a friend’s birthday. While hanging out with a group of friends in their hotel room, Roberto got down on one knee and popped the question.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” says Andria. “We were all just so shocked!”

Andria said yes, of course, and the couple married on November 3, 2012. Their ceremony was at Mary Star of the Sea Parish. Andria’s grandfather, Marijan “Mutt” Katrich, walked her halfway down the aisle, while her father walked her down the rest of the way. There were more than 350 guests in attendance and their large wedding party consisted of many relatives and friends.

On Andria’s side were Maid of Honor Cassie Redlew; bridesmaids Shannon Fredericks, Nicole Trani, Paola Palma, Cara Williams, Rindy Vidovich, Christina Lo Grande, Melissa Malahni, Stephanie Fiamengo, and Carly Potter; and flower girl Lauren Fredericks. On Roberto’s side were Best Men Sergio Lo Grande and Gaetano Lo Grande; groomsmen Phil Trani, Salvo Cracchiolo, Giuseppe Napoli, Paolo Funiciello, Pay Lopez, Jason Dorio, Joe Agrusa, and Eddie Sullivan; and ring bearers Jack Fredericks and Max Trani Hardin.

Following the ceremony, a pre-reception was held at Phil Trani’s Fine Food & Spirits in Long Beach, which is Andria’s father’s restaurant.

“We wanted our guests to have a place where they could go and be entertained since there was a large time gap between the wedding and reception,” explains Andria. “Everyone was able to enjoy drinks and appetizers, and we had a mariachi band that played for everyone and continued to play at the reception.”

Andria’s grandfather was a commercial fisherman and fell in love with the mariachi music he would hear while working on his ship. For Andria’s mother’s and aunt’s weddings, he hired mariachis to play at their receptions, so Andria wanted to carry on the tradition at her own reception.

Roberto and Andria’s reception was held at the Hilton Long Beach, where the couple entered dancing to Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” They then shared their first dance to Steve Tyrell’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight,” followed by the father-daughter dance to Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl.” Also featured at the wedding were a variety of Italian and Croatian cookies, which were homemade by family members.

Following their special day, the couple spent a week in St. Lucia for their honeymoon.

Currently, Roberto and Andria reside in San Pedro, and Roberto is a superintendent on the docks, while Andria is a registered nurse at San Pedro Hospital. They hope to buy a home and start a family soon. spt

From Puppy Love To Soulmates

Photos by John Mattera Photography

It began as a schoolyard crush.

We all remember that feeling, that queasy stomach every time that person entered the classroom, the nervousness that came when you tried to talk to one another. The awkward glances. The overanalyzing of every word they said and move they made. It’s puppy love and it’s supposed to prepare us for the romantic experiences that would lie ahead in all our lives. For some, puppy love can lead to something much bigger. Such is the case for Petar and Magali (Martin) Blazevic, whose schoolyard crush turned into a lifetime commitment of happiness.

Petar and Magali met in the sixth grade at Miraleste Intermediate School in Rancho Palos Verdes. They entered into what Magali would call, “a middle school romance – the kind where you date for a few days and then move on.” Although their relationship fizzled, their friendship didn’t, and they continued to remain close all throughout middle school and into high school. They both dated other people their freshman year at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, but when their sophomore year came around, they thought they’d give romance another shot and began dating once more. The two have been together ever since.

In 2008, Petar and Magali took their relationship to the next level and the two moved in together. Three years (and two dogs) later, they bought a home in San Pedro.

Just months after purchasing their home, their relationship would take yet another big step. Magali had just completed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, and as a reward for finishing the program, Petar wanted to treat her to a day of whale watching on his friend’s yacht on Easter Sunday. While out on the water, the boat came to a stop in front of a lifeguard tower in Redondo Beach. But this was no ordinary lifeguard tower – this was the same lifeguard tower Petar asked Magali to be his girlfriend their sophomore year of high school. This time around, Petar asked Magali to be his wife, of course, she said yes.

The couple married on July 14, 2012, which was also their anniversary. More than 200 attendants watched Petar and Magali share their vows at Mary Star Church, a ceremony officiated by Father Brian Nunes, who also baptized Magali following her RCIA completion. The ceremony had many special moments, including Magali walking down the aisle with both of her parents. Magali also wore a necklace containing a diamond her grandfather gave to her mother before his passing. The ceremony also featured readings from Petar’s cousin, which was in Croatian, and Magali’s cousin, which was in French – both in celebration and honor of their heritages.

The bridal party was just as special, and consisted of numerous relatives and friends. On Magali’s side were maid-of-honors Lauren Johnson and Alyse Intagliata; and bridesmaids Janessa Reyes, Lisa Vidov, Kristen Boskovich, Kristin Montti, Stacie Ayala, and Katie Tamayo. On Petar’s side were best men Mark Blazevic and Michael Blazevic; and groomsmen Serge Martin, Peter Hazdovac, Drew Varela, Loren Blazevic, Brian Ayala, and Joe Vidov.

After the ceremony, Petar and Magali went to take photos with his grandmother at her home because she couldn’t make it to the ceremony, a moment that meant a lot to both Petar and his grandmother. Meanwhile, guests got to enjoy Croatian spirits during the cocktail hour.

The reception followed at Hotel Maya in Long Beach, where guests participated in lots of dancing, drinking, and of course, Croatian desserts and Kolo dancing (the popular Croatian folk dance). The reception also featured a blessing by Petar’s mother and a speech by Magali’s mother. Petar and Magali shared their first dance to Jason Mraz’s, “I Won’t Give Up.”

The newly married couple honeymooned in Hawaii, where they spent 10 days between the islands of Maui and Oahu. Their favorite part? Staying at the very private, exclusive Turtle Bay Resort in North Shore, Oahu.

Currently, Petar works as a railroad conductor for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Co., and Magali works as a tutor for Academics Etc. in Lunada Bay.

In regards to adjusting to married life, Magali says, “It’s really not that much different than before – besides the fact that I have to change my name on everything!” All joking aside, the two are excited to continue in their love through marriage, and are looking forward to someday starting a family. spt