Our Do-It-Yourself Ann Dvorak Wedding (Anniversary)

This past week marked five years since my husband, Joshua Hale Fialkov, and I were joined in holy matrimony at Ann Dvorak’s former estate in Encino. This was the place she built in 1934 with her first husband, Leslie Fenton. Originally the property sat in the middle of a 50ish acre walnut ranch, but the land was divided up and developed long ago. What remains is the heart of the property including, the house, pool, pool-house, greenhouse, servant quarters, and cow stables. I was fortunate to become friendly with the owner of the property who had lived there since 1959, and corresponded with Ann. He even spent and evening with Ann and her mother! When Josh and I got engaged, the owner opened up his home for me to have my ultimate fairy tale wedding. Unfortunately, he retired and sold the property last year, and while I have not yet met the new owners, I was assured they appreciate the beauty and history of the place I have affectionately come to call, Ann Land.

As I wait to receive editorial notes on the first draft of the bio from my publisher, please indulge me as I share some highlights from this personally special day from five years ago.

Josh and I were not exactly flush at the time we got married and did not want to break the bank on a wedding/reception, so we got creative, rolled up our sleeves,  and called on the talents of many friends for our awesomely frugal wedding.

My husband is a comic book writer, which means he knows a lot of amazing artists who were more than happy to pitch in and help. Josh’s frequent collaborator, Noel Tuazon created the artwork for what became our wedding invitation which we ended up printing ourselves.

For the program, it was my turn to call upon a colleague at the library who created an exquisite painting of the property, which Josh overlaid with lyrics from a Marx Brothers song. Even before we were married, he knew what I loved!

For the party favors, Josh wrote a comic book about us which we gave to all of our guests. Noel Tuazon and Micah Farritor illustrated the story, while Phil Hester did the cover, with our dear friend, Tony Fleecs did the coloring.

For the ceremony and reception, we set up all the tables and chairs ourselves, and I spent the day before rolling all the silverware! One of my favorite things about the reception (besides the vintage sodas from Galco’s Soda Pop Stop) was the centerpieces, which featured different actresses dressed as brides in movies. Ironically, Ann Dvorak never wore a wedding gown onscreen, or in real life, despite having been married three times. I don’t think we got photos of all the centerpieces, but here are some of them.


We dragged the poor photographer all over the property. I did not want to miss out posing anywhere around Ann Land, even if some of the photos are kind of cheesy.

At the end of the pool.

By Ann’s greenhouse.

More greenhouse.

By the Sicilian wishing well.

In a grassy corner.

By the artificial creek.

By the pool.

More pool.

The ceremony in progress.

With the inimitable Charles Phoenix.

Immediate post-ceremony.

Thanks again for tolerating the gushing about my 5th anniversary. Hopefully, more news soon about the book!


  1. DickP October 31, 2012

    Christina; don’t ever change. You’re a one off special edition!!!!!

    The best of wishes in the future for you and your hubby….

  2. admin October 31, 2012

    Thanks Dick!

  3. Lanna Pian January 7, 2013

    Happy belated 5th Wedding Anniversary, Christina & Josh!
    Amazing and such a creative wedding–love your photos & what inspired them 🙂

    Wishing you a lifetime of of happy anniversaries!

  4. admin January 8, 2013

    Thanks, Lanna! See you around sometime soon, I’m sure.

  5. CatherineMcDonough May 30, 2013

    Where is this in Encino? Great photos. I grew up in Encino.

  6. admin May 30, 2013

    Thanks Catherine! The property originally was a few dozen acres off of Libbit, and in between Ventura and Magnolia. Now it’s around two acres off of Morrison.

  7. Fay Massie December 23, 2020

    Entertaining and colorful writing interspersed with fun art and lovely photos! Seems like it was such an interesting setting and unique decor. Your red heels were the bomb!

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