A Casual, Outdoor Wedding in Palm Springs with a Black-Tie Dress Code
Brittany and Damion
Great things come to those who wait and Brittany and Damion are the best example of that. The Houston-based couple met and started dating during sophomore year at Tulane University and stayed together for nearly a decade before tying the knot.
Brittany, who's now studying to be a dietitian, moved to London with Damion, a commodities trader, for a year-and-a-half for his work. During their time abroad, they traveled and explored Europe and their wanderlust became the inspiration for Damion's proposal. The twosome was invited to a friend's wedding in France, so Damion surprised Brittany with a weekend trip to Mallorca. "I knew Brittany would want a private proposal, so I rented a beautiful villa, overlooking the bay, and proposed there that first evening," he says. Little did his fiancée know that he'd asked her parents for their blessings and that he'd worked with her sister for months to design the perfect engagement ring. The couple spent the next week celebrating with friends in London and France before returning stateside to be with family.
When it came to choosing a wedding venue, it was a no-brainer for the California natives, who selected The Parker Palm Springs. The expansive resort has always had a special place in the couple's hearts as six years prior, Brittany and Damion fell in love with the grounds and setting when they stayed there during their first vacation together. So, it felt fitting to host their big day at such a memorable locale. They drew inspiration from the places they've lived—the Southern charm from New Orleans and Houston, and Southern California's glamour and laid-back vibes—to create a refreshingly relaxed black-tie celebration.
On June 4, 2016, Brittany and Damion exchanged their vows, surrounded by 138 of their closest family and friends. The wedding channeled Old Hollywood elegance with its gray-and-gold color palette but maintained the fun Palm Springs energy with added pops of bright colors.
The Stationery Suite
Jill Sassa of PS Paper created the couple's orange save-the-date, a fitting reflection of the ceremony's sunny location. However, for the wedding invitations, she encapsulated the glamorous fashion that the couple envisioned—gray script penned by Sally Laporta of Monks of Age, and a matching envelope with a gold-foiled palm leaf-printed liner.
"The Parker Palm Springs is such a magical and romantic property, with intimate gardens connected by mazes of intertwining paths—a refined ambience with just the right amount of quirkiness," Brittany says. "The fact that we have history there only added to the nostalgia and significance." It was also the perfect location for the couple to throw a formal shindig while still maintaining that relaxed Southern California vibe. A fiesta-themed rehearsal dinner kicked off the weekend festivities.
Brittany's Oscar de la Renta gown was already sought out for her a year prior to her engagement! The bride's sister had seen someone else trying it on then and when Brittany got engaged, she knew it was the perfect fit. "I also think it is important to consider your setting when choosing your dress and it felt right for the event," she advises. Brittany's choice featured lace and hand beading—luxe enough for the black-tie fête but still light and fresh for the outdoor ceremony. Not wanting to steal the limelight from her intricate gown, the bride chose a simple veil made by Heidi Johnson of The Wedding DeTailor and Rene Caovilla sandals.Damion complemented his beautiful bride in his custom Sid Mashburn tuxedo, Ralph Lauren bow tie and shirt, a Tom Ford pocket square, Hermès cufflinks, and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes.
The Bridal Bouquet
The couple worked with their florist to create floral arrangements that were "elegant but not stuffy." The result: a delicate bridal bouquet of peonies, roses, and variegated greenery that had subtle pops of color, aptly capturing their idea of "dressing up the desert."
The Furry Family Member
Among all the loved ones in attendance, one special guest stood out: the couple's dog, Cricket. More of a family member than just a pet, Brittany and Damion had adopted her five years prior and Cricket was part of all the wedding festivities. The pup also played a big part of the ceremony as she was walked down the aisle by one of the flower girls.
Despite the sweltering heat (Palm Springs had a heat wave and it was close to 110 degrees!), guests abided by the black-tie formal request and came dressed to the nines. Parasols were also provided for the stylish attendees to shade themselves from the Californian rays.
The Ceremony Location
The ceremony was held on the property's Gene Autry lawn, where rows of white chairs, potted green plants at the beginning of the aisle, and a white arch covered in greenery made up the quintessential outdoor nuptials set-up.
The Flower People
The ceremony started off with an adorable ensemble, thanks to the darling flower people. "Our flower people were the nieces and nephews of my best friend," Brittany explains. "They feel more like family than friends—all our parents even went to college together and our dads ran track together back then too."
Brittany's father escorted her down the aisle to Les Misérables' "I Dreamed A Dream." The bride and groom also made the unique decision of not having a bridal party. "We felt that everyone invited was special and it felt more personal to be standing up there, just the two of us," she says. However, Damion's sister did a Kahlil Gibran reading on marriage for the two.
The Escort Cards
In keeping with the Palms Springs theme, the escort cards were done in the same gold foil palm leaf print as the couple's wedding invitation envelope liner.
Following cocktails, guests walked through a hidden door in the hedges to a lawn for dinner. The newlyweds loved this little element of surprise and the reception's set-up of different sized tables made the area feel even more expansive, much like the panoramic views of the mountains.
While lighter tones were used during the ceremony, as the night progressed, the couple chose to incorporate bolder pops of color in the flowers. The centerpieces of peonies, stock flowers, and olive branches were surrounded by tea lights.
The Place Setting
The Marching Band
Homage to where they met and fell in love, Brittany surprised her new husband (and everyone else) with a Second Line, a New Orleans tradition. She had booked the entire Palm Springs High School marching band (dancers included!) almost a year earlier and was so happy to see her surprise come together.
The marching band played a rendition of Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" as they led guests to the ballroom for dancing. "It was a great way to get people on to the dance floor and get the party started," Brittany says.
The Special Moments
With a fun wedding weekend accomplished, Brittany and Damion were spoilt for choice when it came to picking their favorite moment. In the end, the bride says that nothing beat seeing her groom's face when the marching band came in. And for Damion? "My favorite moment was seeing Britt walk down the aisle with her dad," he notes. "But the marching band second line definitely comes close to that!"
Photography, Lacie Hansen
Location, Parker Palm Springs
Event planning, Jenna Lam Events
Flowers, Jenna Lam Events
Videography, Cana Family
Stationery, PS Paper
Calligraphy, Monks of Age
Bride's gown, Oscar de la Renta
Hair & Makeup, Janet Miranda of Be.NYLA
Flower Girl dresses, Nellystella
Groom's suit, Sid Mashburn
Lighting, Lighten Up Inc.