This Couple Rented Nearly 40 Pieces of Midcentury-Modern Furniture for Their Upbeat, Colorful Wedding in Palm Springs
"Is that a Canadian tuxedo?” were the first words Kevin Kato said to Stefanie Bainum, referring to the denim-on-denim outfit she was sporting when they met. They were ordering drinks at a craft-beer bar in Fresno, California, and Stefanie, who was emulating a look she'd spotted on Gigi Hadid, busted out laughing. After that icebreaker, it took only a few dates for the couple to realize they had more in common than quick wit. Though Kevin is a born-and-raised Californian and Stefanie headed there after growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, they share an identical, abiding love for midcentury-modern design. After a year and a half together (and plenty of antique-shopping trips), Kevin dropped to one knee during a beach hike in Carmel. His planned spot was closed off due to landslide damage, but a breaching whale made a special appearance.
The Fresno-based duo quickly set a date—October 27, 2018—and chose a location: the Parker Palm Springs. The hotel's geometric décor and desert-oasis landscape were an ideal backdrop for their day, which blended midcentury elements (naturally) with garden-party elegance. Velvet touches and a deep-blue-and-emerald palette established "a Rat Pack club vibe," says Stefanie, and a starburst motif added '60s-Hollywood sparkle.
With the help of D.C.- and California-based Karson Butler Events, Stefanie and Kevin planned their day with the sun in mind, since it slips away early in Palm Springs, behind the nearby San Jacinto Mountains. The couple shared a first look, then joined 160 guests in a semi-shaded courtyard for a 4 p.m. ceremony, where the pair exchanged self-penned vows. "I wanted us to really talk to each other," says the bride, who included heartfelt tributes to Kevin's late parents in hers.
After sunset cocktails, guests dined in a hedge-enclosed courtyard, and after hours of dancing in the Parker's ballroom, the night ended just as the newlyweds' story had begun: with Stefanie and Kevin laughing together at the bar. But this time, they shut the place down with family and friends—and the groom was the one in the tux.
To introduce the midcentury motif, Carey Lowe from The Idea Emporium used gold foil and a bean-shaped, Jetsons-style insert in the invitation suite. The envelope flap had a laser-cut design matching the wedding site's famous white brick wall.
The littlest ladies (daughters of Stefanie's cousin) wore smock dresses from Southern Belles, a boutique in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
As for the bride herself? She donned a Carolina Herrera wedding dress, which she fell for the second she saw it: "I loved the elegance of the high-neck topper—and that I could remove it for a different look later in the day." The bride also included three "something blues" into her look: her grandmother's garter, studded Valentino shoes, and the bow on the back of her gown.
On the big day, the groom stepped into a classic black tuxedo from The Black Tux and completed his ensemble with a personal detail. To honor Kevin's late parents, Stefanie gave him cuff links engraved with their names, Milton and Jean. "It was such a thoughtful thing, and a way to have my parents with me during the ceremony," he says.
Stefanie's understated bouquet of creamy ranunculus, anemones, and garden roses let the hotel's tropical blooms and palms do the talking.
Glasses of the hotel's legendary lemonade—made daily with citrus grown on-site—greeted arriving guests.
Rings and Vows
The couple's vows were printed in foil-stamped velvet books; their rings were from the Diamond Gallery.
Ahead of the service, the duo shared a first look, which was particularly memorable for the groom. "She looked out of this world. You prepare yourself for a beautiful day and a beautiful bride, but it's surreal when you're experiencing it. Watching Stefanie's father see her for the first time was one of my favorite moments. He was so touched," says Kevin.
Back in Time
A jazz trio, high-top tables, and vintage midcentury couches from Found Rentals invited lounging before dinner.
When the newlyweds arrived at cocktail hour, they headed straight to a black-and-white checkered floor for their first dance, to a live trio playing Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose." "That's our mantra," says the bride. "Living life with rose-colored glasses on." She also had the song title engraved inside Kevin's ring.
Florist Katie Noonan of Noonan's Wine Country Designs incorporated the groom's favorite colors, mustard and gold, into arrangements of roses, strawflower, copper-beech branches, and dahlias near the day's signature drinks (an old fashioned and a lemon drop).
Key to the Party
Room-key escort cards with brass nameplates hinted at Stefanie's family history in the hotel business.
All of the Lights
Karson Butler Events helped the couple pull off a Secret Garden-chic look for their seated dinner with clear glass tables, gold flatware, and navy velvet chairs by Theoni. The couple rented 10 Sputnik-style starburst chandeliers, which upped the wow factor. "They were an investment, but a total showstopper," says Stefanie. "They made the dinner space." Low centerpieces made conversation easy.
The celebrants ate at long tables, grouped close together—togetherness was, after all, a theme of the duo's wedding weekend. The bride and groom and their immediate relatives (brothers, sisters, and significant others) stayed in the Donald Wexler-designed Dinah Shore Estate for the wedding weekend. They enjoyed dinner and breakfast together there, and had a small birthday celebration for Stefanie's brother, too.
The newlyweds sliced into a four-tier lemon-lavender confection with cream-cheese filling and gold fondant accents. In southern fashion, Stefanie surprised Kevin with a skateboard-shaped peanut-butter-chocolate groom's cake—a nod to his days as a competitive skater.
Photography, Rebecca Yale Photography
Venue, Catering, and Cake, Parker Palm Springs
Event Planning and Design, Karson Butler Events
Flowers, Noonan's Wine Country Designs
Videography, Hello Super Studios
Stationery, The Idea Emporium
Vow Books, Wedding Story Writer
Groom's Cake, Over the Rainbow Desserts
Rentals, Creative Plant Rentals; Found Rentals; Signature Party Rentals; Theoni Collection
Bride's Gown and Veil, Carolina Herrera
Bride's Shoes, Valentino
Bride's Reception Outfit, Revolve (jumpsuit); BHLDN (cape)
Hair, Charlie Gonzales
Makeup, 10.11 Makeup
Groom's Tuxedo, Shirt, and Shoes, The Black Tux
Bow Ties, Jordan Lash Charleston
Lighting, Amber Event Production
Transportation, Cardiff Limousine
Welcome Bags, Signs, Favors, Napkins, and Keychains, Ah Louis Store