We’re all familiar with the co-worker cuties that are Jim and Pam (à la The Office), but allow us to introduce you to the modern version: Joel and Dana. Their work romance eventually evolved into the ultimate wedding and quite frankly we’re uhb-sessed. Next Exit Photography was behind the day capturing every detail (and a few familiar faces) and we’ve got it all in The Vault!
From the Bride… Joel and I met at work. We both work in digital media – he’s a cool creative type and if you ask him he’d describe me as “badass and business-y.” What that really means is that we were on different sides of the company and didn’t have a lot of reason to interact on a daily basis. I found out later that he had a crush on me for months before we spent time together at one of our company’s monthly social events. He teased me a little bit, I pretended to be offended and made him apologize; we flirted for the rest of the night…and now we’re married!
Joel proposed in Napa Valley, CA at my favorite winery, Cliff Lede. The reason I like it there so much is because in addition to delicious wines – they name their vineyards after famous rock albums and all their wines have musical names. In the middle of a private tasting he had arranged, he invited me to take a walk through the vines. Joel asked me to spend the rest of my life with him while we were sipping High Fidelity wine on “The Dark Side of the Moon.” Of course we had Cliff Lede shipped in and served as the wine at the wedding.
It was really important to both of us that our wedding was an authentic reflection of our relationship. We wanted to combine Joel’s classic style with my bohemian taste, and what better way to do that then to have a black tie wedding in a garden? We both love living in Los Angeles, so we also wanted to share our adopted city with our friends and family. Early on, we brainstormed what it is about LA that defines us: where we met, our weekly trips to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, our first dates in West Hollywood, and more. The Farmer’s Market was a real jumping-off point for us: I was very inspired by the flowers, greens and herbs we see there – so we focused a lot of details on bringing in those elements throughout the wedding.
For me, the very first decision was choosing a dress. I found mine online and went to Monique Lhullier specifically to try it on. It was the first dress I tried – what can I say? I’m a girl who knows what she wants! The bridesmaid dresses were the next step but they were a little more difficult to find. I knew I wanted floral dresses to help define the garden theme, and once I decided on the Donna Morgan dresses, most of my color palate fell into place.
Florals were the most important part of the décor for me. For the chuppah, I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like and HollyFlora went above and beyond to execute beautifully. We really wanted to bring the garden-feel of the Sunset Marquis into the reception area as well. We came up with the idea that the centerpieces, each anchored by a different seasonal Farmer’s Market herb, would be vase-less and look like they were growing out of the table. We supplemented the overgrown feeling of the centerpieces with flowering trees in the rest of the room.
Most of our time planning was spent on the details. Joel is an artist so he hand-drew the art for our save-the-date and welcome bags. I did a lot of the design work myself, including our letter-pressed invitations, the custom step-and-repeat for our photobooth and our program fans. The wedding weekend was abnormally hot for Los Angeles in June, so those fans actually turned out to be functional – I can tell people actually used them because we only have one left!
When I think about everything, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one favorite detail. Our custom his & hers cocktails – which we sat at the Sunset Marquis bar one gorgeous afternoon to taste-craft ourselves – integrated herbed salt and sugar made by a local vendor from the Farmer’s Market. We then gave the salt and sugar to our guests as favors, and included the drink recipes. I still have some leftovers if anybody wants one!
Our dreamcatcher sign-in was the most obvious nod to my bohemian sensibilities, and it’s already hanging over our bed to give us good juju while we sleep. I also laid out funny signs around the grounds. My favorite said “If you’re crashing this wedding you’d better be funny. Or famous. And preferably both.” – because Billy Bob Thornton showed up! Not only is he “both”, he was also gracious and charming, and posed for pictures with us and our relatives.
I have two favorite moments from the reception. The first was when music started playing – I was finally able to let loose and relax! I think “Shut up and Dance” will forever be added to my Roster of Happy Songs. My second favorite moment was my dad’s speech. He had already given three father-of-the-bride speeches before, but had never prepared anything so he always ended up rambling. He actually wrote something this time, and it was perfect. Joel’s favorite moments were all on the dancefloor: with his family and with his beautiful new bride! (I swear he wrote that part!!)
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Photography: Next Exit Photography | Wedding Planning: Center Of Attention Events | Floral Design: Holly Flora | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhullier | Cake: Half Baked Co. | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan | Makeup: Julia Taylor | Hair: Lee Rittiner | Band: Non-Stop, De Bois Entertainment | Ceremony Music: Angelica Strings | Venue: Sunset Marquis Hotel | Flower Girls Dresses: Atelier by Sienna Ray | Groom and Groomsman Tux: The Black Tux | Invitation Letter Press: Tiny Wren Press | Linens: Line 204 LLC | Photobooth: Dot Photobooth | Screenprinting: CEO Tees | Tree: Greenset