It’s a bold choice to design your own wedding gown – in black, nonetheless. But bold choices often have the biggest payoffs, as was the case with this downtown L.A. wedding. The bride’s handmade gown was only one of the many boldly beautiful choices they made when designing their jaw dropping big day. There was only one who could photography the wedding in the perfect way, and luckily Docuvitae was more than up for the challenge – leaving us with a gallery full of images that will make your heart stop.

My husband and I are artists. Tony is a musician and composer, while I am a textile designer. When planning our wedding we didn’t choose a theme or colors but instead let our shared, oddball aesthetic be our guide. We also found great inspiration in our beautiful venue, Carondelet House. We were dissatisfied with the usual wedding accessories, so we ended up designing (and sometimes making) our own and it was so gratifying to share the creative process together. I would recommend to other couples going the DIY route to have a longer engagement and save themselves from the extra time pressure. You’ll be married for the rest of your life, but your engagement will be over in a wink.

Since I work in the fashion industry I really wanted to design my own gown. I found inspiration in a 1930’s dress I bought at a flea market. I brought my sketches, fabric and beads to Alina Pizzano, who did such an incredible job of bringing my vision to life. Her hand beading was especially amazing– by the time the dress was finished it had over ten thousand beads! I was initially hesitant to have my dress made in black, but my mother encouraged me, saying it was the color that looked best on me and besides– anyone who knows me sees me wearing black all the time. I would encourage brides to wear whatever makes them feel like the most beautiful version of themselves and not be restrained by any image of what a bride “should” look like.

When we chose our vendors, we looked for artists whose work we loved and who shared our sensibility. We gave them a clear idea of the atmosphere we wanted to create, and then just encouraged them to be as creative as possible. All our vendors told us they loved working with so much creative freedom, and I think the enjoyment they had in creating our wedding really shows in the final outcome. We are so honored to have worked with such an amazing team of artists!

We knew we wanted to be married in a house and Carondelet House was just perfect for us, with its New Orleans charms and warm bohemian atmosphere. Lara was great to work with, patiently answering hundreds of emails over the course of the year.

We worked with in-house caterers Tres LA to design our Creole-inspired menu. Their food is divine and their presentation is pure art. We don’t like cake, so instead Tres LA served delicious cream filled beignets with a rum banana sauce.

Stephanie from Conceptual Nature conjured up the most beautiful and wild floral arrangements we could have dreamed of. I hand printed and sewed our huppa, which she completed with Spanish moss and hanging flowers to form the perfect back drop to our ceremony. We made our own centerpieces– terrariums with black sand, air plants and vacuum tubes we scavenged from the local flea market.

Our dear friend Roslyn led our ceremony. It was important to us that our ceremony be highly personal and a true reflection of our values and beliefs. The three of us worked on it together, each contributing our own ideas. Roslyn was the perfect conduit for our written words.

Tony dreamed of having a Klezmer band and Kugelplex totally rocked our world. They didn’t bat an eye when we asked them to lead our ceremony procession while playing their instruments, or to perform a Klezmer rendition of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” at the reception. They even learned a song to play for our first dance, which was a tango.

My 1930s-meets-1950s hair was done by my favorite hair stylist, Katherine Munro from Salon Dione. She’s cut my hair for years and I was surprised at how comforting it was to have a familiar face with me as I prepared for the big day ahead. My boudoir make-up was done by Rachel Wei from Kelly Zhang Studio who was so sweet and gave me just the kind of golden-age Hollywood look I had hoped for.

Brooke from Orange Blossom Special Events was our Day-of Coordinator. She is a truly exceptional person–highly organized and authentically positive at all times. There isn’t enough praise to sufficiently thank her with. Because of her hard work, we were able to just relax and enjoy the entire day.

After admiring Docuvitae for years, I was thrilled to finally work with them. Laura is the consummate professional and her self-assured presence really calmed our nerves the day of. Her eye is sharp, her hand is quick, and she has an inimitable talent for vintage photography. In every image she captured not only the essence of each moment but also the essential personality of each character in our story.

There’s no doubt about it– planning a wedding is just as time consuming and difficult as everyone says it is. But for us, having a wedding presented the opportunity to give our friends and family the gift of a communal memory; and we are so happy to have shared the moment of our union, as well as the joyful celebration that followed, with all of our loved ones.

Photography: Laura Kleinhenz and Erin of Docuvitae / Flowers: Conceptual Nature / Event Planning: Orange Blossom Special Events / Ceremony + Reception Location: Carondelet House / Dress: Designed by Bride, Made by Alina Pizzano / Catering + Desserts: Tres LA / Band: Kugelplex / Hair: Katherine Munro from Salon Dione / Makeup: Rachel Wei from Kelly Zhang Studio

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