Coachella Valley Mansion Wedding from Apertura
May 13, 2013
United States
Classic WeddingsEstate WeddingsFall Weddings
This wedding is so, so gorgeous, I bet you'll be shocked when I tell you it was planned in seven months... from all the way across the country. I definitely was. Every sweet gold, black, or white detail looked straight out of a dream and I have such a hard time wrapping my head around the concept that it was all done from so far away - so quickly. With Apertura behind the lens, this couple wed in what could possibly be one of the prettiest days. Ever. See the whole thing here.
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From the beautiful bride ... George and I were together for six years when he surprised me by popping the question at The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Southern California in 2012. We’re from New Jersey so it’s amazing that seven months later we were married less than one mile from where we were engaged.

The week before the wedding George and I had flown to Las Vegas for a mini vacation and it definitely turned out to be a fateful decision. Hurricane Sandy made landfall shortly after we left and ravaged New York and New Jersey, where most of our guests are from. All of the major airports closed just days before guests were scheduled to fly out to California for our wedding. Any stress my fiancé and I had about wedding planning quickly drained as we watched news reports and frantically tried to make contact with friends and family back home. Luckily, everyone we knew was safe. My parents, my brother and my two sisters, who were my Maids of Honor, were able to catch a flight out but they didn’t arrive until the very night before the wedding — talk about cutting it close!

George and I wanted to be married at an idyllic location that offered a lot of privacy for our intimate wedding and we could not have asked for more from our venue. After discovering the property, we set our wedding date for three months away! The 14,000 sq. ft. home features five acres of enclosed lawns, a private lake, and an inner courtyard with an Italian villa feel where we held our reception. The best part was that it was entirely ours for three days, and twenty of our close friends and family stayed with us in the home. The day before the wedding, we threw a “Welcome BBQ and Pool Party” and our chef provided us with amazing food throughout the entire night.

Planning a wedding in such a short amount of time, from across the country no less, proved to be no small feat. We couldn’t meet most of our vendors in person and trying to convey our vision through email was not easy. Everything from our programs to our cake stand, to hundreds of candles and glass votives, crystal and mirrored centerpiece stands, favors, vases, picture frames, and even my wedding gown and shoes among other things were boxed and shipped cross-country. It was more than a little nerve wracking keeping track of every item and there were a few anxious moments when shipments did not arrive on time.

Our wedding was a contemporary affair and reflected both George and me equally. That meant staying away from pinks and pastels, but being a girly girl at heart I decided on blush pink Valentino shoes. Otherwise, our colors were black, white and gold, and this color scheme continued all the way down to the groomsmen’s cufflinks. Our wedding invitations were mailed inside black leatherette boxes lined in black ostrich feathers. Each box was tied in a white satin ribbon. The invitations featured our “crest” and were tucked inside vellum envelopes that were painstakingly sealed with wax. We designed our menus and table numbers to feature our crest as well. For a more personal touch, black escort cards were made out in my handwriting in gold and tied to sunglasses, which were offered to guests along with lemonade as relief from the hot day. I created our wedding programs, which also doubled as fans.

I grew frustrated with finding décor items for the wedding that were not the right color, so I took matters into my own hands and painted them in the desired gold tone. Every item that was gold in our wedding was not originally that color. The many acrylic strands that hung from the candelabra on the head table and on the twelve centerpiece stands unfortunately did not catch the sunlight very well, so I removed them and re-strung them with genuine crystals and crystal pendants.

My mom made my mantilla veil, which took her 40 hours to hand sew. We searched the garment district in NYC to source the perfect lace trim and organza. The first time I wore the veil with my dress was on my wedding day. My brooch bouquet was something I had made because I wanted a bouquet I could take home with me after the wedding that would still look as pretty as it did on the day I was married. The bouquet weighs over 5 lbs so needless to say I did not have a bouquet toss! Before I was even engaged I knew I wanted a vintage-style lace gown with a large keyhole back and a long, exquisite train. My dress is ivory lace with a champagne underlay, and features all-over beading of Swarovski crystals.

The day of the wedding it was 90 degrees and sunny, and I’ll always remember how blue the sky was and how I couldn’t find a single cloud. We could not have hoped for a more beautiful day to be married. George and I always say that had we decided to have our wedding that day locally instead of in California, it would have most likely been cancelled since most areas were still without power weeks after Hurricane Sandy.

Even though there were several empty seats at our wedding due to cancelled flights and only three out of my five bridesmaids made it to the wedding, everything was taken in stride. We were glad for our family and guests, and for the bridal party by our side. Despite rerouted flights and flooded, powerless homes, 50 of our closest friends and family were in attendance at our wedding. We are so thankful because everyone fought hard to join us despite what was going on back home. George and I had so much fun that we had almost forgotten that it was our wedding. It was truly a magical night underneath the stars and at the end, the entire bridal party jumped in the pool, dresses and tuxedos and all! I couldn't believe it when our guests followed suit and jumped in after us! Our friends tell us it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to, and that’s the greatest compliment George and I could hope to receive. We will always remember the first day of the rest of our lives together.

Wedding Photography: Ray Soemarsono, Apertura | Floral Design: David Rohr Floral Studio | Catering: New Leaf | Wedding Cake: Exquisite Desserts | Coordinator: Kaci from Hustle & Bustle Events | Wedding Venue: private estate in Indio, California | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Wedding dress: RK Bridal | Veil: Handmade by Bride's mother | Bride's Bracelet: Cartier | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Badgley Mischka | Hair & Makeup: Kelly Zhang Studio | Chair & Table Rentals: Classic Party Rentals