Good morning SMP-ers! I hope everyone had a lazy, wonderful weekend. We are kicking off the week with one of THE most spectacular weddings I’ve ever seen. You know, one of those weddings that makes you want to dump all of the decisions you’ve made thus far and copy every little detail that this bride infused. Photographed by our friends at Belathee, I am in swoon city this morning. Click here to see more pics!
PS…As usual, I attempted to edit down the description that the GORGEOUS bride wrote for us, but failed miserably. All of the details are just so cool, I had to include each and every word. Oh and you can see lots more pictures right here.
Dennis and I met 12 years ago in the Washington DC area. Our careers took us to New York and then Los Angeles in 2002, which was the time we first discovered the magic of Palm Springs. We both worked in the fast-paced entertainment marketing industry, and often left LA to spend a few days in Palm Springs – we fell in love with the lazy yet glamorous feeling the little place in the desert exuded. When Dennis proposed to me, we decided that it was time to share our little “secret” sunny hideaway with our friends and family who were scattered all over the world, and host our wedding in Palm Springs, CA.
As we were creating a “destination” wedding weekend, it was incredibly important for us to show our guests what we loved about Palm Springs. We wanted to create a balanced weekend of pure relaxation & casual by-the-pool chic, coupled with Palm Springs glamour for our wedding day. The night before the wedding, we hosted a casual rehearsal dinner with taco’s and beer for all invited guests. This was at the Ace Hotel pool, which is also where we had guests stay.
We decided to have our wedding on an estate, which would allow us to create a private, bespoke experience to celebrate our day. When thinking about venue options we were faced with a choice…go with the easy, out of the box, simple packaged solution or choose an estate/private property which would allow us to make every complicated decision and detail our own. We decided to approach our wedding as we do any creative project…throw ourselves completely in and create. We did not want to be forced to use a caterer or be shown where couples typically have the ceremony. We wanted a clean slate to make our private and unique memories and photographs. It proved to be an incredibly time-consuming and passionate project on top of both our full-time jobs, but we did it, and will never regret this choice.
When we found out that the Elizabeth Taylor estate (which had been on sale for a little while) was opening its doors for weddings for the first time ever, we immediately needed to see it. Upon walking onto the property we could not contain ourselves – this was the place we were going to get married. The lush property was set against the desert mountains and allowed for a perfect flow of events to hold both an outdoor ceremony and outdoor reception at one site. It consisted of an amazing main house, a pool cabana (where the boys ended up getting dressed), a pool, fountain in front of the home (where we hosted cocktail hour), a wine cellar and of course Elizabeth Taylor’s private bathroom & gorgeous closet – this was the glamorous place my girls and I were going to get ready for the day!
We wanted to create a sexy, modern yet comfortable environment in a color palette complementing the desert and mountains during sunset (dark purple, grey, pewter, silver and shades of white). It was also important to us that we incorporate vintage references tied to the history of Palm Springs.
Once the location was secured, the details started to fall into place. It started with the wedding invitation suite that our dear friend Nic (also the best man) and his wife designed and letter pressed on beautiful vintage card stock. The design captured the magical atmosphere and craft that we love…it inspired a lot of the other elements. You can see our invitation suite on their blog.
Our overall vision for the reception was to create the most fabulous dinner party our guests ever attended, followed by the fun party you always hope to walk into after leaving a great meal with friends. The real drama for the reception was the 100’ King’s table by the pool that allowed us to seat our 90 friends and family on one table…with Dennis and I. The gorgeous table setting was a mix of grey/purple-toned succulents, calla lilies and white dahlias… all unified by lots of glass and candlelight. The decor was designed by Luna at Arrangements (her family owns the flower & design shop).
The table created the intimacy we hoped for, and that meant great food was a very important element. Catering became a dream come true with Restaurant, Le Vallauris. Our guests are still raving about the food … people were stealing bites from each others selections. Chef Jean Paul is absolutely incredible and Manager Tony provided some of the best service (and fatherly advice) throughout the process that we’ve ever had.
We wanted to incorporate ideas that made the wedding really feel like us, and continue with these twists on the “traditional”. We loved the idea of our guests having the option to leave something behind… a mark or signature beyond the formal guestbook or semi traditional Polaroid camera. We had purchased a 1950’s Royal typewriter in turquoise blue a few years back… it had been sitting in Dennis’ studio when we came across it one evening and thought how much fun it would be if people left their thoughts on individual pages via the typewriter – the individual pages are going to be hand bound into a book by Thunderwing Press.
In addition to the typewriter, we wanted to create a modern version of a photo booth that allowed guests to take pictures on their terms and let them create the moment. This became a DIY project were we mounted our digital camera on a tripod, attached a clicker and provided props inspired by old hollywood glamour… feather boa’s, fedora’s, cigarette holders and lace gloves.
No photo booth was going to eliminate the need for a photographer. We met Dorothée from Belathée by referral, shortly after securing the estate and meeting with countless other photographers. Her editorial and somewhat candid style is what cemented this decision for us. We love looking at our pictures all the time… we could not be happier. She is an amazing artist.
We were also terrified of cliché wedding music and an over-the-top MC, so we hired “real” DJs. Our friends Jean-Marc and Dave agreed to spin the reception – both are professional DJ’s in LA and created the atmosphere we dreamed off… an eclectic mix of classics inspired by the location as well as our iPods.
Another element that was important to us was our dog, Sampson (our baby), who was a year and a half at the time of the wedding. He is a Vizsla & full of energy and love. Although I wanted nothing more than for him to be a part of the wedding, I could not escape the nightmare of him seeing me as I walked down the aisle…jumping up to give me love..and rubbing his muddy paws all the way down my gown. Dennis gave me the next best thing on my wedding day. His friend Jess brought a surprise, HUGE cutout of Sampson. There he sat politely throughout the ceremony as one of the groomsmen. It was such an amazing gift…”Sampson” ended up in tons of pictures, on the dance floor, and was wearing someone’s jacket by the end of the night.
Following our wedding, we put our guests back on a chartered bus with gift bags containing weekend wedding recovery items such as Advil, water, candles, mints, and candy. The party continued at the Ace Hotel. We got to spend the night at the estate and wake up in one of the most spectacular houses in Palm Springs – we spent the morning swimming in the pool before heading to the airport to enjoy our honeymoon in Bali.
Photography: Belathée Photography Photographer, Dorothée Brand / Invitations & Wedding Collateral: Thunderwing Press / Catering & Cake: Le Vallauris / Flowers & Décor: Arrangements Party & Floral Designs / Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: Musical Affair Entertainment / Reception Music: Private DJ’s based in Los Angeles, Dave Yoshitomi and Jean Marc Virard (email for contact info) / Officiant: Specialized Wedding Services, Reverend Stan Jacobson / Bridal gown: Saks Designer – Oscar de la Renta / Groom’s Suit: Barneys Designer – Ralph Lauren Black Label / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo / Groomsmen Suits: J Crew