How To Pull off an Intimate Garden Wedding in the City
January 19, 2017
California
RomanticParkOutdoor Weddings
Smack dab in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, this wedding was as beautiful as it was intimate. A garden setting surrounded by city skyscrapers added a uniquely elegant touch to this couple's special day. Soft blush florals provided by The Little Branch, added a perfectly subtle enhancement to the already beautiful setting. Check out the entire collection captured by Michael + Anna Costa Photography.
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From the Bride... In our first year of dating, we attended 11 weddings, so we had the chance to see many beautiful ceremonies, venues and wedding styles. But when it came time to plan our wedding, neither of us really knew what we wanted. I had never been the girl who imagined her dream wedding or pictured what my dress would like, so we had a hard time getting started. We knew we wanted an outdoor venue close to home, and happened upon Maguire Gardens, a private park in front of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library. We saw a few pictures online, and when we visited it felt like a tree-covered oasis in the middle of the high-rise buildings of Downtown L. A. It felt comfortable, chic, unique, and perfect for us. From there, everything started to fall into place.

When I started dress shopping, the jeweled ball gowns were gorgeous, but they didn’t feel right for our venue. It seemed like something natural and fluid was more appropriate. My Bliss Monique Lhuillier gown was perfect with its delicate, understated lace and open back. The Art Deco exterior of the Central Library juxtaposed against the lush garden inspired the bridal party attire - navy suits for the guys and gray dresses for the girls. For a fun touch, we asked the guys to wear whatever brown dress shoes they had and asked the girls to pick out their favorite dress silhouettes. I love how natural everyone looks in styles they find comfortable and the overall look of the bridal party when everyone is just a little bit unique. For a fun touch, Randy wanted to wear a matching navy vest and pink tie to set him apart, and it totally worked.

Given that the park had so much greenery and innate beauty, we wanted the flowers to look organic and natural as well. We opted for a pale palette and unfussy arrangements rather than tightly-bound, symmetric bouquets. The ivory, blush and silver sage in the bouquets paired perfectly with my gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses. Meg at The Little Branch helped us create beautiful arrangements to go under our ceremony tree to help define the space, and, since the reception was outdoors at night, she incorporated lanterns and votives on the tables for additional lighting. I told Meg that I wanted the flowers to look nice but not overdone and too serious, and she made sure everything turned out more perfectly than I ever could’ve imagined. To add a little something fun and unexpected to our venue, we added a couple of chandeliers - one hung from the tree where we held the ceremony and one over our sweetheart table. Sandra at Luna Party Rentals proposed the idea of the crystals strewn over the tree and making the chandelier look like it was floating over our table. Despite having spent hours getting ready and taking some of the pre-ceremony photos, I didn’t feel like it was truly our wedding day until I first saw the ceremony tree with the chandelier and crystals right before we did the first look. It was like a fairy tale.

For the ceremony itself, Randy and I thought it was important to write our own vows and make the wedding ceremony truly our own. Our officiant, Elysia, made us feel comfortable in front of everyone, and there were definitely a few times where we were all laughing during the ceremony. My favorite was probably after Elysia told the story of how Randy was so nervous during the proposal, that he handed me the ring but didn’t put it on my finger. When he slid my wedding band onto my finger that day, I very quietly joked to him, “You did it this time”, which Elysia decided to share with all of our friends and family. And the fact that Randy and I made the same joke about our competitive nature when we watch Jeopardy together is probably a good sign that we are truly meant to be together.

Other than the type of venue, one of the few things we knew from the beginning was that we wanted good music and food. Basically, we wanted a fun party for our family and friends. Angelica Strings provided beautiful music for our ceremony, even arranging a string quartet version of Jose Gonzalez’s “Heartbeats” for the bridal entry. During cocktail hour, we had a signature spicy mezcal cocktail and Django Foxtrot, a local jazz band, both of which fit the cool, urban vibe at our venue. Dom from Red Shoe was an amazing DJ and provided the best mix of oldies, pop and our favorite 90’s rock and hip-hop that kept people out of their seats and dancing all night. Our nephew, the ring bearer, and my cousin, the flower girl, had so much fun dancing on a “real dance floor” that they were sweaty and exhausted by dinner time, and one of our friends danced so hard that she sprained her ankle!

The other wedding decision we had no trouble making was picking a cake. Our favorite bakery for birthday cakes is SusieCakes, so it was an easy decision to go with them. The hard part was picking which flavor to go with after the tasting, so we ended up with two flavors! We had a hard time figuring out how to cut the first slice and couldn’t stop laughing. Dessert has always been our favorite part of a special meal, so we also had a dessert table with various bite-size options and candy. We couldn’t have done any of it without Brooke, Christy and the team at Orange Blossom Special Events. They went above and beyond to help us throughout the planning process and ensured that the day was perfect. We knew we were in good hands with them. We’re so grateful to have worked with Michael + Anna Costa Photography. Michael’s photos are beautiful, and he really captured the day. We couldn’t believe how many photos he had taken and had a tough time selecting the ones that would ultimately go into our album.

Lastly, we had been worried throughout the whole planning process about doing a completely outdoor wedding during an El Nino year in California. We didn’t have a contingency plan other than getting a large tent to cover the whole area, which would have blocked out so much of the natural beauty of the venue in addition to being inconvenient. Thankfully, we had a quintessentially Southern California day full of blue skies and sunshine. It ended up being the perfect day to celebrate the start of our marriage with friends, family, dancing, and lots of dessert.
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