And guess what time the ceremony was!
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Sunna and Eric
"Attire: Strive for no pajamas." That line, emblazoned on Sunna Yassin and Eric Roblee's wedding invitations, was the first sign guests weren't in for a traditional affair. "We wanted a wedding that reflected us, not what you’re supposed to do," says Sunna. For the fun-loving couple—she's a wedding and event planner; he manages a wine-and-spirits business—that meant one thing: putting on a really great party.
And what better place to do that than Palm Springs, California, a city that's as legendary for its pool scene as for its natural beauty? The San Francisco duo have a close connection to the region. Sunna grew up nearby, and the pair had traveled there many times throughout their 14-year relationship to visit friends and take breaks from the city, before buying their own Palm Springs vacation pad in 2015. "It's a place that means a lot to us, and one where we knew we could give people an amazing little getaway," says Eric.
The locale played into every part of their March wedding, which was at once spirited, laid-back, and considered to the finest detail (a reflection of Sunna's 15 years of party-planning experience). As 61 family members and friends arrived on Friday night, Eric and Sunna put them in a Palm Springs state of mind with a "caftans and cocktails" soirée. Held at a neighbor's house, the party gave guests—the women in drapey dresses, the men in khakis and shorts—a chance to unwind poolside. "The idea was to set the mood but keep it low-key," says Sunna.
After all, everyone had an extra-early wake-up call the next day. The couple decided to hold their ceremony at sunrise, a move designed to avoid the harsh sun and lend a little magic to the proceedings. The location? "Literally the middle of nowhere," says Eric. One of Sunna's dearest friends had suggested the spot, saying it was perfect and sending nothing more than a photo and a pin drop on a map to guide them. The wedding party and guests drove a couple of miles out into the desert, then made their way on foot to the base of a mountain while it was still dark. They stood amid the cacti and tumbleweeds to watch Eric and Sunna quietly recite their vows as the sun came up. In keeping with the tight-knit feel of the weekend, they stood with their immediate family members as a close friend officiated.
From there, everyone circled back to the same house they'd celebrated in the evening before for a Champagne breakfast. The rest of the day was left open for sightseeing and, yes, naps, before the weekend's big bash: "the white party," as Eric and Sunna dubbed it. Dressed in desert-appropriate whites (even the couple's young nieces got into the spirit), the crowd gathered at their house for a casual family-style meal. "It rolled into the idea that we're all one big family," says Eric. Dinner was followed by dancing, Champagne. . . and more Champagne. It was a night that ended, as seemed inevitable, with a splash. "At least 20 of us, myself and Sunna included, wound up in the pool," says Eric. "To me, it was a sign that the night was a success."
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Save the weekend cards designed by Amber Moon Design built anticipation for the festivities; the reply cards read "Pack your bags and go on vacation!" In planning the event, the couple wanted to channel, in part, the getaway spirit of this vintage Palm Springs postcard (from their personal collection). The cards went out in black envelopes calligraphed in a pool-blue ink by Anne Robin.
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Making a Splash
Much of the three-day celebration was held poolside, where mums, azaleas, and roses often floated in the water. Relaxation was the order of the weekend: Arriving guests received beer Koozies, plus T-shirts that read "day drinking, sun soaking, pool floating." Days were left open for exploring Palm Springs. And on Sunday, all were invited to lounge by the pool; they even hired a masseuse as a treat. "That might have been the smartest thing we did all weekend," says Eric.
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Kicking Things Off
A poolside buffet and vintage rattan furnishings defined the casual vibe of the "cocktails and caftans" soirée.
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Sunna rented vintage pieces to place around the pool for the cocktail party, giving guests ample opportunities to lounge. The pair of peacock chairs lent a little grandeur to the setup.
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Loving the Dress Code
Guests really embraced the caftan theme.
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"All of us girls had the best time borrowing and ordering caftans for the welcome party," says Sunna. Friend Myka (far left) borrowed her dress from Natalie (second from left), Natalie from another friend and so on. Many of her friends are also in the event-planning industry. "We spend so much time in what we call 'event blacks' that it was nice to have everyone in color and patterns," says Sunna.
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A Touch of Humor
The quote on the napkins was an inside joke: "We’ve been together so long, we always say, 'We met—I forget the rest,'" says Sunna.
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Everyone stood for the brief ceremony. From the start, Sunna campaigned for a dawn ceremony. "Eric took some convincing," she says. But as the sun peeked over the mountains in the background as they said their vows, there was no doubt they'd made the right choice.
While Sunna and Eric chose to walk down the aisle together— "We do everything as a united front," says Sunna—they recited their vows with their family, including Sunna's sister and niece, plus Eric's sister, nephew, mom and two close friends, by their sides. Both of their sisters toasted the couple at the white party, and an especially moving speech was given by the best friend of Eric's father, who had recently passed away. Sunna and Eric wrote their own vows: "I promise to respect you, to listen, to laugh, to pick you up when you fall down, to allow you to shine with me and on your own. I promise to remain a constant support to you, your family, and all of our friends. I vow to be loyal, kind, and honest. I promise to love you, always."
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The Bridal Bouquet
For her bridal bouquet, Sunna wanted something gorgeous but edgy; florist and friend Natalie Bowen delivered, with this mix of black and Japanese white ranunculus, jasmine, pincushion proteas, nerine lilies, and even some pretty weeds she found in the desert.
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Time to Celebrate
At the reception, a bounty of charcuterie was served, with fruit and cheese from Eric's home state of Wisconsin and the couple's current home, California.
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The couple had their own version of a guest book: "A friend literally made a Book of Hashtags for everyone to write in," says Sunna. "It was hilarious to read them all after." Guests came up with 59 different hashtags for the soiree.
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Personality was packed into various details throughout the weekend, from paper cups printed with "But First, Coffee" that were given out to guests early Saturday morning to these celebratory napkins at the evening's fete.
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All in the Family
Sunna poses with her sister, Nor Fagnani, holding her daughter, Lucy, along with Eric's sister’s daughter, Ariea, who were all part of the wedding party. Before the wedding, Sunna sent her sister some images of sunrise-inspired colors inspired by the sunrise; she opted to go with a soft-pink dress that fit within the scheme.
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Get in Formation
At Saturday's "white party," Sunna got her girlfriends together to re-create an image from singer Solange Knowles's wedding. "Everyone was laughing, but we had to get serious to pull it off!"
"The whole weekend was about friendship— mine and Sunna's, but also this group of people who have been there since the beginning of our relationship," says Eric on the inspiration behind the wedding.
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Plenty of Bubbly
A swanky bar cart was stocked with bubbly; touches of gold throughout brought a subtle glamour to the weekend.
The signature drink of the weekend was Sunna and her friends' go-to in Palm Springs: rosé with a splash of LaCroix and a Meyer-lemon garnish.
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In Brilliant Color
The tabletop decor at the wedding reception took its cues from the locale. "The streets of Palm Springs are lined with hot pink bougainvilla, so we used this as the base of our color inspiration," says floral designer Natalie Bowen.
The team from Paula LeDuc Fine Catering made the trip from the Bay Area to Palm Springs to prepare the food for the weekend. On Saturday night, the family-style meal included New York strip steak and fried chicken (Sunna's favorite), with fresh spring vegetables to balance out the decadence. In lieu of a formal cake, small desserts were passed on the dance floor: salted chocolate-dipped caramels, bourbon and rye truffles, Momofuku Milk Bar–inspired cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies (baked on-site so that their aroma wafted through the party).
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Modern Table Setting
The setting for the dinner echoed the white theme, with Eames chairs and tableware set off by earthy wood accents. The couple rented oversized plants to serve as decorative accents throughout the weekend.
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The table settings played off the scenery, mixing white dinnerware by Bay Area company Heath Ceramics with low pots of cacti and succulents, pincushion proteas, bunny tail, jasmine, and bright-pink ranunculus.
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Event planning and design, Sunna Yassin of Bash, Please
Catering and desserts, Paula LeDuc Fine Catering
Flowers, Natalie Bowen Designs
Photography, Jesse Leake
Stationery, Amber Moon Design
Calligraphy, Anne Robin Calligraphy
Music, DJ Austin Hendrix
Videography, Featherline Films
Lighting, Classic Party Rentals
Plants and succulents, The Plant Library
Bride's caftan-party dress, Jen's Pirate Booty
Bride's ceremony dress, Dreamers & Lovers
Bride's white-party dress, HD in Paris
Groom's Thursday-portrait attire and white-party shirt and pants, J.Crew
Day-of coordination, Susie Papadin