July 6, 1997

Vows: Samira Samii, Kourosh Mahboubian



O NE friend described Samira Samii, 35, as the sort of woman you might meet in the front row of an aerobics class.

She has a high-powered job as the marketing manager for two children's clothing labels, Little Me and Ralph Lauren Infants and Toddlers. She's athletic, determined, well organized and not a bit shy. At the end of her first date with Kourosh Mahboubian, she said: "Let's get together sometime soon. When is good for you?"

Mr. Mahboubian, 32, is a founder of Mad Dog Expeditions, an Upper East Side company that organizes scuba diving trips to wild places where people have to be especially daring to swim -- under Arctic ice, in rivers of the Amazon jungle, in flooded caves or in the Indian Ocean, where there's a large population of great white sharks.

Mr. Mahboubian has lots of incredible stories to tell. His father's family includes a long line of archeologists and art dealers, many of whom led lives as colorful as mosaic patterns.

Describing his mother's family, he said: "My grandmother on my mother's side was from a German Lutheran family, and my grandfather was a Persian Jew. They met in a drugstore in Paris in the late 1920's."

Mr. Mahboubian and Ms. Samii's own love story is one to add to the family collection. It took them less than six weeks to decide to marry.

Both are Iranians who grew up in New York. They met as children but hadn't seen each other for years when they attended a wedding last December. He called soon after, and on Feb. 10 they met for dinner, a night they refer to as Date No. 1.

"It went extremely well," Ms. Samii said. "It was constant conversation about what we've done and who we are. I told him about my last breakup. It was a major story, things your Mom would say, 'O.K., you don't have to tell all the details.' "

Date No. 2 took place on Feb. 17 and lasted nearly 12 hours. They started out at the Guggenheim Museum uptown, ate at Katz's deli on East Houston Street and then drove through a nearby carwash.

"I said, 'You know why I wanted to go to the carwash, other than getting the car clean?' " Mr. Mahboubian recalled. "And Samira said, 'Because it's a good place to kiss?' "

After kissing, they spent hours talking in an Upper West Side coffee shop, then caught a film at the Lincoln Center Cinema. "When I got home, I said to my roommate, 'This is the guy I want to marry,' " the bride remembered. "And she said, 'Sure, sure.' "

On March 2 (Date No. 7), Mr. Mahboubian proposed.

"With no control whatsoever, out of my mouth came, 'Will you marry me?' " he said. "Her answer was yes, without even a thought, without a bat of an eye. Then we felt completely giddy. We were in disbelief over what we'd done. The key to this whole thing is, in my opinion, you don't need to know everything about a person to know that person is right."

Last Sunday, 350 guests gathered at the Pierre in Manhattan to watch them exchange vows under a huppah made of birch branches, moss and wild roses.

The dress code was black tie. A few women wore heavy Victorian-style gowns with pendant necklaces, antique earrings and their hair piled in curls on their heads like Michelle Pfeiffer in "The Age of Innocence"; others chose skintight dresses with tiny spaghetti straps and matching sheer shawls that undulated in the air-conditioning like underwater sea life.

From the clothes to the enormous bouquets of calla lilies perfuming the rooms to the passion fruit wedding cake by Ron Ben-Israel, the wedding was full of beauty and sensuality. It was about being swept away.

back to AS SEEN IN