Reality check. This Palm Springs wedding is solely responsible for making our week brighter – you’ll understand what we mean as you discover their personalized spin on a tropical desert locale and all the special touches inspired by their hobbies and loved ones. Kim + Luke ordered extra awesome sauce for their wedding weekend, bursting with bougainvillea and tacos. And honestly, what more could a girl want?
It was clear from the start, these images from Cara Robbins Studio would have us hooked on a feeling in no time. From the giggly candids to the punchy portraits of native California blooms, she knows a thing or two about capturing the essence of perfection!
Well & Wed dreamed up the most fun invitation suite to set the tone of the weekend. Loving all the cacti details!
We’ll prep you now… After the Engagement coordinated a pretty snazzy experience, tying together such fun details as potted plant table numbers, wooden bistro chairs, amber tumblers and much more!
There’s just something about the European look of these Mila folding chairs from Planks & Patina that has us grinning from ear to ear. Perfectly imperfect, and delicately beautiful.
Kim gives us the inside scoop below!
How We Met
We met the old-fashioned way: at a bar. Luke and I both went to UC Santa Barbara but our paths had never crossed—that we know of—until about 5 months after graduation, where we both happened to be at the same neighborhood bar on the same Friday night. My roommate at the time knew Luke from college and flagged him over to our table of girlfriends. He introduced himself to everyone, shook my hand, and I thought, “he’s cute, but I’ll probably never see him again,” and went back to texting on my phone. Eek—not the greatest first impression on my part.
A) Boy, was I wrong though… our first date was a month later and we’ve been together ever since.
B) Well, lo and behold, a lot of texting, Frasier episodes, craft beers, two cities, a cat, a new puppy, and a couple hundred bike rides later… and we’ve ended up spending forever together.
We’ve traveled to Palm Springs every year we’ve been together for an annual bike ride event in the desert. I’ve always loved Palm Springs, but with all the time spent on our bikes, I hadn’t had an opportunity in a while to just relax poolside and soak it all in, so we decided to plan an additional end-of-summer trip sans the bikes. The week before our trip wasn’t great: I was having a rough week at work, something went wrong with our original hotel reservation, my horse got injured, and I had started to feel like we should just stay home. Luke, however, was very insistent that we stick to our plans. He sprung into action, and said he’d handle making new hotel reservations and would take care of all the other details, too.
We arrived in Palm Springs on Friday afternoon, had divine tacos at Arrive’s Reservoir, and then pulled into the Ace Hotel & Swim Club—a totally awesome surprise for me. After a somewhat unsuccessful night of trying to get me back to our room, we eventually ended up on our outdoor patio just before midnight, where Luke lit the fireplace, poured me a glass of wine, and we sat and listened to “Milkshake” echoing from the wedding reception going on across the way. Acknowledging the irony (and comedy) of the moment, he said, “Well, I was hoping this was going to be more romantic, but…,” pulled out the ring, and got down on one knee. I instantly said, “Yes!,” and started excitedly gabbing for at least five minutes before he, still on one knee, stopped me and said, “Can you please let me put the ring on your finger?!”
It was silly and imperfect, but perfectly us. Exactly a year later, we returned to Palm Springs to tie the knot!
And how cute are these custom matchbooks from For Your Party? Great touch for a welcome bag if you ask us!
The Welcome Party
On Friday night, we welcomed friends and family to Palm Springs at “Tiki Rob’s”—a tiki-themed cocktail party hosted by my dad Rob (a true lover of all things Polynesian) at Casa Cody. We brought in tiki rentals from Oceanic Arts and invited Palm Springs’ famous Bootlegger Tiki to serve up amazing handcrafted tiki cocktails. It was so fun to mix and mingle with our guests ahead of the wedding, and was a great kick-off to the entire weekend as a whole. The tiki music and vibes ended up going well into the night, resulting in multiple limbo competitions and more than a few people in the pool—whether by choice or not.
The Wedding Planning
I worked from home for the majority of our wedding planning process, so I knew I’d have the time to handle a lot of planning, design, logistical emails, and phone calls myself. However, I knew I’d need help in the weeks before the wedding and on the day of to make sure all of our plans came to fruition, so bringing in a wedding coordinator was a must to ensure my peace of mind and allow myself to enjoy the day.
When I first found After the Engagement online while browsing various wedding blogs, one thing was clear: Courtney truly embraced the unconventional, and her clients knew how to have a good time. Her upbeat attitude and willingness to work with all of my ideas made me feel confident we could pull off an amazing weekend. She was responsive to every email about every little thing (I’m a triple-checker make-surer), and even went to bat for me when some plans went awry a week before the wedding. Calm, cool, collected, Courtney made sure our everything we dreamed of became a reality—and that we had a good time doing it.
And that veil from Untamed Petals. Pure beauty!
So much reverence for these arrangements by Siren Floral Co.! Skillfully bound to maintain that wild, foraged appearance, this is the role these petals were born to play.
Gah, we need these pink suede heels from Madewell in our lives now!
Working with Cara was an absolute dream. I was fortunate enough to know her personally and professionally before embarking on our wedding planning journey, so choosing her to document our day was a no-brainer (and something I had dreamed of for years).
Cara is so wonderful to be around and so immensely talented, too. Her laid back charm, charisma, and laugh instantly puts you at ease, and makes the often nerve-inducing act of getting your photo taken so easy and fun. She went above and beyond at every opportunity, meeting with me to help make sure our day-of schedule and shot list made sense before the wedding and making sure we got the most out of our day on the day of. It’s pretty simple, really… Work with Cara Robbins and you’ll get a few things: a new friend, great memories, and drop dead gorgeous photos to cherish forever.
The Signage and Paper Goods
Given my experience as a graphic designer and Luke’s love of building just about anything, we knew from the start that we wanted our paper goods and wood signage to really make a statement throughout the venue. Each item was the perfect opportunity to extend our modern, minimal yet romantic aesthetic, whether it was the black and white contrast of our programs, menus, and table numbers or the crisp white lettering on our handmade welcome sign, bar menu, and escort wall.
On the invitation suite, I’m a lover of simple yet bold typography, classic black and white motifs, and playing with texture and pattern. This combination of elements let me to design an invitation suite that was perfectly playful and Palm Springs-themed but still somewhat formal and sophisticated. Most importantly, it all felt so us.
Having worked on wedding paper goods for years, I always imagined designing my own suite would be a challenge (the pressure!), but, when it came down to it, it ended up being so fun and all of the different pieces came together so naturally. The fun language on our belly band payed homage to our #goingtandem bicycle theme, the geometric tile pattern was carried over from our Save the Dates, and the watercolor cactus painting on the backside of the invite was custom made for us by Luke’s incredibly talented mom.
Our DIY desires extended to our table settings, too. Each of the pom-pom ikat table runners were homemade with the help of the mother and grandmother of the groom. Each water glass was handmade by Luke and his father from wine bottles collected from friends and family during the course of our engagement. The glasses also served as our favors, as we encouraged guests to take them home with them at the end of the night.
We love tacos and tapas-style eating, so it was a no brainer for us to pick MIHO Catering Co.‘s taco truck menu. Also, the relaxed food truck vibe helped to establish the low-key, happy hour ambiance we were looking to achieve at our reception, with people up and moving as much as possible and not sitting for too long at a formal dinner. Passed mini ceviche tostadas and carne asada fries at the start of the night really helped to kick things off, and churros with a caramel dipping sauce [or “our naked chocolate salted caramel nutella cake was”] were the cherry on top of a perfect evening.
The Bridesmaid Dresses
I had so much fun picking out dresses with my bridesmaids. I decided the mix-and-match look was best for us because I didn’t want to ask anyone to spend more than they were comfortable with or wear something they didn’t feel amazing in. So I sent my bridesmaids off on their own merry ways to find something they each loved, were comfortable in, and—most importantly—would be ready to have fun in. I loved having them be able to show off their own personalities, and I think it looked really modern on the day of.
I picked out a few color swatches in the shades of pink that I liked and gave them a few rules to follow (no lace, beading, or fabrics that would be TOO casual-looking). I also put together a Pinterest board of suggestions and invited them to collaborate on it with me (I just couldn’t resist doing some online window shopping even though the dresses weren’t for me, haha).
Nothing like modern metallics for the tabletop in these pieces from Signature Party Rentals.
Wow, Kim’s gown from Sarah Seven fits her like a glove! We’re obsessed with the open back of this silhouette. Miranda Priestly would be too.
This is a very good dog of honor indeed.
Palm Springs and classic cars go hand-in-hand, so our getaway car was an obvious choice: my grandfather’s 1963 Chevrolet Corvair convertible. Although our wedding was mostly Spanish-themed due to Casa Cody’s atmosphere, incorporating the Corvair was a fun way to pay homage to Palm Springs’ mid-century modern past and present.
Our officiant held and recited scripture from the mother-of-the-groom’s heirloom family bible throughout the ceremony, while we asked the groom’s uncle to recite a passage from his other grandfather’s personal bible.
Casa Cody’s lush bougainvillea and greenery greatly influenced the modern, minimal yet romantic Spanish vibe we were looking to achieve. We were already so fortunate to have so much beautiful foliage around the venue, so when we asked Rachael of Siren Floral Co. to help us enhance the property’s natural beauty, we knew the result would be amazing. Rachael absolutely went above and beyond: both foraging for bougainvillea throughout the property and bringing in additional arrangements of lush pinks, magentas, and corals to perfectly complement the native bougainvillea. For the tables, we alternated between gold bud vases of bougainvillea and full branches of flowers running down the center of the table. The end result felt both dreamy and whimsical.
My bouquet followed suit, featuring various shades of bright pink and blush, with pops of white and coral and adorned with a ribbon from Silk & Willow in the perfect shade of blush.
To pair with the bridesmaids’ different shades of dusty rose-colored dresses, Rachel put together bushels of greens in various shades adorned with beautiful white ribbon from Bellame Ribbon.
We knew music was going to be really important to us from the onset and would be the perfect thing to really set the mood for the evening.
For our processional, our dear friend and officiant sang Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” while one of the groomsmen, the groom’s cousin, performed the song on an acoustic guitar. It truly made for the most personal, serene, and intimate setting, and will be a moment we never forget.
We wrapped up the ceremony and kicked off our cocktail hour with “Electric Love” by Børns for our recessional.
We wanted to steer clear of most wedding reception staples when it came to both song selection and events, which meant forgoing an announced cake-cutting, the bouquet and garter toss, and other classics. Essentially, once the dancing started, we didn’t want it to stop. So as fans of indie alternative pop, classic 70’s rock, and the occasional Top-40 novelty pop song, we turned to DART Collective to make it happen… and they knocked it out of the park. It was a warm end-of-summer night, but that didn’t stop us or our guests from living it up on the dance floor all night until our last song: “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop.
Processional: “Walking on a Dream” – Empire of the Sun
Recessional: “Electric Love” – BORNS
First dance: “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Elvis Presley
Father/Daughter dance: “You Are My Sunshine” – Johnny Cash
Last dance: “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” – Elvin Bishop
At first, Luke ambitiously thought we could handle setting up all of the reception lighting ourselves the day before the wedding. After careful consideration (and realizing we’d much rather spend our time with family and friends), we reached out to SociaLights in San Diego, who worked with Luke’s ideas and created a lighting scheme that was far beyond what we could have done ourselves. Going with a professional lighting team was definitely one of our best decisions!
Photography: Cara Robbins Studio
Wedding Coordination: After the Engagement
Floral Design: Siren Floral Co.
Venue: Casa Cody
Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven
Veil: Untamed Petals
Bridesmaid Dresses: Everlane, Show Me Your Mumu, Express, ASOS and Nordstrom
Suits: The Black Tux
Groomsmen Accessories: Handmade, personalized tie clips made by the groom
Rentals & Decorations: Oceanic Arts
Furniture Rentals: Planks & Patina
Flatware Rentals and Napkins: Signature Party Rentals
Tabletop: Cut wine glass cups made by groom and table runners made by bride
Ribbons: Bellame Ribbon and Silk & Willow
Invitations + Paper Goods: Well & Wed
Custom Matchbooks: For Your Party
Catering: MIHO Catering Co.
Cocktails: Bootlegger Tiki and Barçon Cocktail Co.
Lighting Rentals: SociaLights
DJ: DART Collective