A Totally Laid-Back Black Tie Wedding (Yes, It's Possible!)
April 12, 2016
ModernHotels + Resorts WeddingsFall Weddings
Leave it to a NBC creative director and a LA actor to throw the coolest black tie wedding ever. They took all the stuffiness out of a formal affair and focused on creating a night their guests would never forget - french fry and donut bar included. With a color palette deemed "fifty shades of beige," and Victoria Canada on the design scene, you better believe this day was anything but boring. Elyse Hall photographed, and we're wholeheartedly obsessed.
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From the Bride...We started dating sophomore year at Boston University. 9 years and 4 cities later, Jake popped the question on a rooftop overlooking Los Angeles, where we now live. Having called so many different places home, we opted for a destination wedding in Phoenix, Arizona.

When guests asked us, "Why Phoenix?", we told them that they would understand the second that they stepped foot onto the grounds at the Arizona Biltmore. My family vacation place for more than a decade, the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired resort was the ideal backdrop for our entire wedding weekend. It had everything we were looking for in a venue, including the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood but in the laid back setting of the Southwest. It also had palm trees, pools, and spectacular event spaces, which made it so that our guests never had to leave the property and could instead relax in between festivities which was incredibly important to us.

At the top of our list of must-haves for the big day was an amazing band that would get – and keep – people out of their seats and on the dance floor the entire evening. For us, that meant bringing world-renowned, San Diego-based Bonnie Foster Productions to the Arizona Biltmore. Led by Bonnie Foster herself, the 10-piece band kicked off the evening with Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk (a personal favorite) and later brought down the house with Beyonce, Motown, and a Michael Jackson medley that our guests are still talking about months later. To help keep the party going, we invited everyone to "Get Fried" (literally) with a late night snack, because it’s our personal feeling that black-tie is best served with a side of fries. And donuts.

As a creative director at NBC (bride) and an actor (groom), picking the right photographer and videographer to capture the event was essential. We absolutely LOVED working with Elyse Hall and her team well as Krisanna Mowen at NoBox Films. Even in 99-degree weather, Elyse made everyone feel completely at ease and was such a joy to work with – we couldn’t be happier with how the photos turned out (or more surprised that she managed to make us look like we weren’t melting!).

We worked very closely with our planner Victoria Canada and her incredible staff to bring to life our vision of a classic, timeless wedding that also reflected our own personal style. For the walk down the aisle with both of my (the bride's) parents, a string quartet arranged and played James Taylor’s “Blossom,” a song that my (the bride's) mom and dad first introduced me to when I was little, and which Jake had learned on guitar as a surprise for me the first summer we were dating (a definite highlight!).

For the reception, to compliment the existing 1920’s-inspired design of the Biltmore’s Grand Ballroom, we opted for a neutral color palette that was in line with our custom Vera Wang wedding invitations so that everything had a cohesive look. Various shades of cream, ivory, and soft white were offset with gold accents, including individual calligraphy lettered menus, metallic table numbers, and cocktail napkins that read “Got Married About It!” (a play on one of our catchphrases for the wedding weekend). Other details – like sequin and beaded table linens, floral centerpieces in crystal vases (Angelic Grove), and single orchid buds that adorned each place setting – gave the grand space a more intimate feel. Tying everything together was the custom-made round dance floor (which incorporated the intricate gold floral design seen on the back of the wedding invitation).

When we reflect back on our wedding, we truly look at it as the best time of our lives. Not only did we get to make it official in front of our closest friends and family, but we also got our wish: the most epic dance party of the year. In fact, we may or may not still be recovering.

From Victoria Canada Weddings and Events... Abby and Jake had personality. We could always count on the fact that we were going to chuckle throughout each meeting. We knew when Abby's summary of loving a monochromatic color palette as "Fifty Shades of Beige" to her fast and funny descriptions of her ideal day, we would love working with this couple.

Abby and Jake's wedding was beautiful and timeless but always had sense of humor. We worked closely with Abby and her Mom to create the perfect look for them. They had very distinct items in mind and we rose to the challenge of finding what they had in mind and bringing it to life. Every guest benefited from their specific vision as they were welcomed by stunning custom gift boxes on their arrival at The Arizona Biltmore Resort. The music, the dance floor, the stunning floral all were a reflection of wanting to leave their guests with an unforgettable night!
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