Palm Springs + Speakeasy + Synchronized Swimmers… This is a seriously fun wedding! Plus photos by Nancy Neil, and a ton of great details about the planning and the big day from the bride. What’s not to love!
How much would you love to get this special delivery in the mail?! Says the bride, “We had a disaster with a printer which caused us to throw away all of our invitations less than a month before the wedding and start all over. Our second-round of invitations were the result of working with several great vendors and frantic DIY-ery. That said, the ones we came up with on our own were so much more interesting and fun and a much better reflection of us. It was probably one of the most personal and gratifying parts of the whole process, and it really set the tone for the wedding. Everyone was so excited after the invitations arrived…us most of all!”
Says Rhonda, “I have a daughter from a previous marriage, so including her (as well as her friends) in the planning process and in the wedding itself was important to Huy and me. We really tried to make our ceremony and reception as much of a reflection of our family, and us as we possibly could, which meant creating our own traditions. My daughter was a part of the ceremony, and she preceded me down the aisle because she didn’t want to actually walk me down the aisle. We took her ideas into consideration, and as a result we had a very funny and touching ceremony that was unique to us as a family.”
Flower girls wore dresses from Forever 21 (only $20 each) that were altered to fit – perfect for little flappers!
Kazoos! “Using ‘cigarette girls’ from the 1920’s as inspiration,” says Rhonda, “we had the flower girls greet guests before the ceremony with cigar boxes filled with kazoos. As I walked down, in lieu of playing ‘Here Comes the Bride’, the flower girls marched down the aisle buzzing the tune, and the guests joined in. This also went tremendously the kids, and added an element of humor for the adults.”
I don’t know about you, but I would love to attend any party with synchronized swimmers. From Rhonda, “We were super excited to have the Aqualillies as our surprise entertainment during dinner, and they were worth every single penny, plus their weight in gold. The girls are beautiful, professional and perfectly synchronized! And, our guests were literally speechless during the performance.”
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Well, for one, it is breathtakingly gorgeous. We wanted to have a destination wedding that wouldn’t be cost or distance prohibitive for everyone (ourselves included…) and Palm Springs fit the bill. It is beautiful, relatively affordable, and easy to get to from Los Angeles. We also wanted a place that could host our wedding and our guests, exclusively, for the entire weekend. The Colony Palms was not only perfectly sized for the number of guests that we had invited, but we were able to book the whole hotel as well – which meant that everyone could stay in one place (which meant we had more time to see everyone over the course of the weekend). Beyond the size and spectacular surroundings of the hotel, Brett Doherty (one of the proprietors) is hands-down the nicest, most accommodating person one could ever ask to work with. The hotel staff was more than happy to accommodate all of our events with impeccable service. There is not an ounce of pretentiousness among the hotel staff – and that was very important to us too.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The history of the hotel offered tremendous inspiration for the entire weekend. The hotel was a front for a speakeasy (which actually still remains under the hotel restaurant, but is closed to the public due to safety regulations). In reading up on the history and ownership, we took the whole Prohibition/speakeasy thing and ran with it. The theme really set the tone for every single decision we made, from the invitations to the entertainment, to the lighting. In the invitations, we asked our guests to dress up in Prohibition-era attire, and we were surprised at how into it everyone was – guys and dolls alike! In fact, I think that asking people to dress up actually made them feel more invested in the weekend, and brought an even greater sense of ‘community’ to the whole affair.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? There were so many amazing parts of that day, but one favorite was when we all ended up in the pool during the reception – with our clothes on!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? A colleague told me a hysterical story about her mother-in-law breaking out in song and the chicken dance during her reception. Of course, she wanted to die the day-of, but it ended up making for a really great story afterward. She said this to me as an illustration to not sweat the stuff that doesn’t go perfectly, and just enjoy the day – and at some point, it will all be funny. I am glad that I took that to heart. Once we arrived at the hotel, I just told myself, “All those little things that I thought I needed to take care of… of it’s not done now, it’s not getting done, and that’s OK.”
What advice do you have for other brides? Splurge on a good photographer, invite only the people that are important to you, skip traditions that don’t speak to you, and make the day yours. And, of course, have fun!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? If there are a lot of children attending the wedding and you feel comfortable, ask the guests with kids if they would mind chipping in for a sitter. We made the arrangements for two sitters, and the parents all chipped in on a ‘per child’ basis. It allowed the kids to hang out with their friends, while still having adult-supervision; and our grown-up guests were able to have a good time, without worrying about the whereabouts or safety of their children. It ends up being pretty cost-effective for everyone, and the kids felt like they had their own little party.
Also, DIY, DIY, DIY. If you can enlist the talents or skills of friends, do it! We found that our friends were more than happy to help us, and our budget was more than happy to have them help. If you have a friend that is super organized, ask them (very nicely, and perhaps with a bottle of wine in hand) to coordinate your ceremony and be the point person for vendors on the day-of. There are such great resources on the web these days (ahem, like right here, on Snippet and Ink), that you might surprise yourself on what you can come up with and execute by just enlisting a little help from your friends and family. Little things here and there can save a bundle.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? We were engaged in May, and married in November of the same year. We had less than six months to plan everything, but I think that was better for us than having a year or more. Anything more than six months and I would have agonized over the details (and, likely would have driven poor Huy mad) more than I did already. That said, every detail that we did agonize over was mostly about whether or not it would make the weekend more fun for us, and more fun for our guests. It was of the utmost importance to us that everyone that attended have a good time. And, I think we succeeded!
Photographer: Nancy Neil / Venue: Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs, California / Bride’s dress: Yoshino “Yoshi” Miyazato / Reception dress: All Saints / Bride’s shoes: Lanvin, Christian Louboutin / Fascinator veil: Ice Green Eyes / Vintage dress clips: Jemima Jay’s Emporium / Hair, makeup: Mina Kang / Groom’s attire: H&M / Groom’s shoes: Converse / Custom wedding rings: Metalicious / Flower girl dresses: Forever 21 / Wholesale flowers: FiftyFlowers / Synchronized swimmers: Aqualillies / Music: Eduardo Castillo / Catering: The Purple Palm / Dessert table: Over the Rainbow Cakes