A Festive Wedding Weekend in Palm Springs
In 2009, Kate went to look at an apartment in Los Angeles with a friend. At the complex, they ran into Bryce, who Kate's pal knew from high school. Though at the time Bryce was there to see his girlfriend, Kate immediately saw something special about him. "He was so cute and sweet, but clearly committed so I didn't think anything of it," Kate recalls. Nine months later, Bryce was single when he and Kate met for a second time at a party. "We talked all night, not leaving each other's side," she says. A few months later, they began dating.
Kate, a television executive, and Bryce, head of a digital studio, spent six years together before getting engaged. Then one day in 2016, Kate reminded Bryce of how time-consuming wedding planning can be. "I literally sat him down and told him weddings take time to plan, so he better hurry up already." Thinking their engagement was months away, Kate didn't think twice when a week later, Bryce's parents suggested they all meet for drinks at the Bel-Air. Bryce and Kate arrived early to the hotel (Kate's favorite in the city) and Bryce said they should walk by the stream on the property. "I love nature and animals and usually have to drag Bryce along to come on walks with me," Kate says. "As we were walking down the stairs, I thought, 'UGH! This would such a great time to propose. Oh well.'" To her astonishment, her boyfriend got down on one knee. Kate started laughing, because it felt so surreal, and she said yes. After a surprise engagement party in the bar of the Bel-Air and a post-proposal trip to Vegas to celebrate, the couple began planning their Palm Springs wedding weekend for six months later.
Kate and Bryce met 208 friends and family in Palm Springs for their tropical desert-oasis wedding. On Friday, October 21, 2016, the couple exchanged vows written in small notebooks and said, "I do" under a handmade chuppah on the serene grounds of Parker Palm Springs. "It was the best day, with the best people, and the best wife I could ask for," Bryce says. "There is literally nothing I would change."
The couple danced into the evening, and then met their guests the following morning for a pool party. "While the wedding day was magical, it doesn't give you a lot of time to truly connect with people," Kate says. "The pool party enabled us to do just that, and it was fun to keep the party going!"
See You in Cali
Prim and Pixie designed the stationery in shades of pink, green, and gold. Though Kate was initially skeptical about incorporating her favorite color, she was pleased with the decision to include black font in the suite, and it came into play on the big day, as well. "It brought a bold, graphic element, and helped tone down how feminine it was starting to feel." Response cards asked, "Will you join us for an epic weekend?"
Pampered in Palm Springs
Guests received a warm California welcome by way of a tote filled with chic goodies including pink and blue Turkish towels. A "hangover kit" was also tucked inside, to ensure everyone would be feeling great for the entire weekend—and ready for the pool party the day after the wedding. RO. & Co. Events helped design the collection of playful treats.
Desert "I Do's"
Kate and Bryce had their guests in mind when they chose to host their wedding weekend in Palm Springs. "It's a couple of hours from LAX for our out-of-town guests, and local folks can drive there easily, yet it still feels like you are on vacation when you are there," the bride says. The couple's wedding weekend encompassed the best natural elements Southern California has to offer—with portraits at the base of the mountains, and a celebration on the lush, colorful grounds of Parker Palm Springs, a chic resort.
Another draw to the desert? "I'd be lying if I said it never entered my mind that getting married in Palm Springs would be fabu for my hair," Kate says. "The dry climate is perfect to combat frizz!"
Bryce sported a tuxedo from The Black Tux, white shirt from J.Crew, and Hugo Boss shoes to the black-tie optional affair. His satin bow-tie was a gift from Kate who wore an Inbal Dror gown. "I knew this was my dress because it was the only dress I tried on that I thought, "Wow, I feel beautiful," Kate remembers. The blush-nude shade of the gown made it feel "surprising, yet classic in its own way," the bride says.
The First Look
Initially, Kate's mother was against the couple having a first look. "Once we explained that we really didn't want to miss the cocktail hour, and that she could still watch us see each other for the first time, she caved," Kate says. "I kept my veil off and it still felt impactful walking down the aisle."
Bridesmaids in Black
Kate let her bridesmaids choose their dresses, but gave them a few guidelines to follow—each dress had to be long and black, and without lace or sequins. She wanted the ladies to look cohesive, but also feel comfortable, and pick something they would wear on another occasion.
Kate's bouquet by Honey and Poppies, included garden roses, blushing bride protea, hellebore, fern, jasmine and hosta leaves. Her attendants carried more colorful, petite arrangements.
A Special Ceremony
Before the ceremony, on the croquet lawn at Parker Palm Springs, a DJ spun 80s pop music while guests sipped on drinks. The pre-celebration closed with Steve Winwood's "Higher Love," and shortly thereafter, Kate's father walked her down the aisle to a cover of the song by James Vincent McMorrow.
Loved ones watched from white chairs, as Kate and Bryce exchanged personally written vows under a chuppah. Bryce's uncle and Kate's family friend, Mary, served as the officiants, helping to incorporate traditions from both families. Per Mary's suggestion, Kate and Bryce had their bridesmaids and groomsmen spread out on both sides of them. "Why not have the people closest to us in our lives right next to us, as we said our vows—regardless of gender," Kate says.
Made with Love
"The chuppah was incredibly special to us, and is one of the elements of the wedding that we are most proud of," Kate says. The couple's family worked together to create the canopy Bryce and Kate were married under. Kate's mother quilted squares of fabric with messages written by loved ones to be placed on top of the chuppah, which was hand-made by Bryce's father. A final, personal touch was the K&B logo stenciled on the floor in gold, courtesy of Bryce's mother.
"Every detail was lovingly put together, and we are so lucky to have such talented generous parents who put so much time into making it distinctive and memorable," the bride says.
Program posters were created by Prim and Pixie. A unique event during the ceremony was the "ring warming." Before the wedding party walked down the aisle, the officiants requested guests pass around Kate and Bryce's bands, hold them close, and say an internal thought, prayer, or blessing for the couple. Some friends even kissed the rings.
Rather than having traditional readings, Kate and Bryce asked their parents to each write something—pertaining to love, relationships, the pair themselves, or marriage. Bryce's aunt read his parents' note aloud, followed by the message from Kate's parents, read by her cousin. "One was funny, and one was more serious, but both were unique and incredibly touching," the bride says.
Although the couple didn't want a particularly religious ceremony, it was important to them to include elements from their families' religions. To honor Kate's family, there was a Catholic reading. Toward the end, Bryce broke a glass with his foot, per Jewish tradition.
Bryce's favorite moment of the day came next: walking up the aisle with his new wife. "Turning around and seeing all of our friends and family, I couldn't help but let out a yell and big fist pump," he says. "It was such an amazing feeling of not only being loved by Kate, but having everyone there that meant so much to us."
As the newlyweds kissed, the DJ played "Tenderness" by General Public—a silly and fun gesture Kate loved.
Cute Kid Moments
The flower girls, wearing matching Nellystella dresses, tossed bougainvillea during the ceremony. One of them actually ran back to hold Kate's hand as she walked down the aisle. The ring bearer, Kate's nephew, was at the very end of the recessional. "That just seemed like the perfect capper," Bryce says. "We both gave him a big kiss and headed off to party!"
A Chic Cocktail Hour
After the ceremony, guests walked through a palm-tree filled courtyard at Parker Palm Springs, where appetizers and drinks were being served, to a pathway leading to cocktail hour. Waiters stood with wine along the way, as the celebration headed to the Gene Autry court.
In another personal detail, Bryce's father built the canopy structures himself. The couple rented furniture, but brought some from their home, as well. Kate, Bryce, and their nearest and dearest sipped cocktails and ate small bites in the lounges on the lawn, listening to live music as the sun set behind the mountains.
The Escort Cards
Kate's brother had the idea to print "Find Yourself" on the wall filled with guests' names. The black board, with pink and white flowers, popped against the hotel's deep green foliage.
The hexagon shape of Kate's engagement ring (which Bryce and the bride's mother designed together) inspired graphic elements used throughout the weekend, including the escort cards.
Dinner took place on one of Parker Palm Springs' large lawns after sunset, so the reception was lit entirely by candlelight and the overhead string lights. The focal point of the evening, a floral installation above the head table, added to the enchanting ambiance. The bride and groom sat beneath more than 40 feet of bougainvillea, jasmine vine, garden roses, and blushing bride proteas.
The couple chose to use long tables because they felt round tables separated people too much. "The long tables made it feel more like everyone was part of one big group," Kate says. Black chairs and gray candlesticks offset the various shades of pink, helping the color scheme not seem overly feminine.
A Tasseled Touch
A colored tassel on the back of each chair denoted guests' meal choice—sea bass, New York strip steak, or mushrooms en croute. Kate credits their planner with the great idea, calling it "understated, unobtrusive yet elegant, and a great add to the décor!"
Pretty Place Settings
The linens at each table were white with a textured, geometric design, which matched the hexagonal pattern present throughout the celebration. Pink napkins on top of gold-rimmed plates stood out among gold cutlery and soft-colored flowers and succulents.
Cards were available for guests to share a favorite destination they'd recommend to the newlyweds. Though Kate and Bryce haven't ventured to any of the suggested spots yet, the couple included many of them on the bucket list they wrote in a notebook after the wedding. "There were some really creative ideas and places," Kate says. And no repeats!
Dance Floor Decal
After dinner and speeches, the party moved to the ballroom at the Parker Palm Springs. The large glass doors in the space were propped open, allowing guests to enjoy the warm night with a whiskey tasting bar and a photo booth on the lawn. The floor had an important message in chic, pink script: Just Dance. "We both love to dance, and it's kind of something we live by: there's nothing better, or more fun, so just dance," Kate says. "It's also a bit of a nod to the song by Lady Gaga, which is such a fun party song."
The couple's first dance was to James Morrison's "You Give Me Something."
Dancing with Dad
The bride says one of her favorite parts of the wedding happened with her father. "Standing with him as we were about to walk down the aisle, it was just the two of us for the only time that day and I got to tell him how much I love him and how grateful I was," Kate says. Later in the evening, they shared another special moment swaying to "Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon.
Bryce and his mother chose a song by the same artist, sharing a dance to "Love Me Like a Rock."
Kate and Bryce couldn't decide on one cake flavor, so they chose two: lavender-lemon with cream cheese frosting, and graham cracker with cream cheese frosting decorated with a hexagonal design and a topper in their likeness. Other desserts offered included mini bites of the couple's fathers' favorite sweets—key lime pie and caramel apple crumble. Peanut butter bars with Maldon salt and dulce de leche cheesecake were in the mix, as well.
The Pool Party
At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Kate and Bryce met their guests at The Wesley Palm Springs, a micro-resort nearby for a tropical pool party. "We wanted to keep it casual, yet cohesive and special—not like your typical pool party," the bride says. "It was a fun, very Palm Springs spin on the day-after brunch." With colorful floats, mini piñatas, and an open bar with signature margaritas, the newlyweds' post-wedding celebration proved to be as festive and lively as the day before.
The hotel provided vibrant turquoise towels, so guests could dry off on their way from the pool to the bar.
In addition to typical cocktails, the open bar served two signature margaritas—The Bryce (spicy cucumber) and The Kate (skinny, with fewer calories). Black plastic cups added to the festive ambiance, and gold straw sticks with the couples' logo were available. Flamingo floats kept drinks safe in the pool. Kate and Bryce ditched the cup holders, though, when it was time to dance. "There was a moment when a song came on that Bryce and I loved, and we just started dancing around the pool, margs in hand, and the whole place just erupted in applause and cheering," Kate recalls.
Soho Taco prepared a menu fit for a day of basking in the sun and drinking tequila. Guests chose from an array of cheese quesadillas, tostaditas de guacamole, tostaditas de chorizo, coctel de camarón, espadas de fruta, chips and salsa, tacos, and rice and beans.
Using Instax cameras, guests snapped photos of themselves and taped them in an album for the couple. Each instant pic was accompanied by a message from the person. The newlyweds also reminded everyone to use their wedding hashtag if the photos made it to Instagram.
Robin of RO & Co. Events created a design board with festive decoration ideas for the pool party, including these fun flamingo sunglasses. "By the time we got to the point of deciding on the details of how the event would look, we were ready to hand it all over to her," Kate says. "We trusted her so completely."
Terrariums with a Story
Bryce's mother made the terrariums, which told the story of Kate and Bryce's relationship from when they met to their engagement, via photos of the couple tucked inside. "It was a fun surprise for people who looked closely," the bride says.
The newlyweds stayed poolside past sunset, chatting, drinking, dancing, and of course, swimming, with friends and family. "So many of the people that you love meet each other at the wedding, and it gave us so much joy to see them all continuing the party and getting to relax and soak it all in," Kate says. "It was a magical day."
Photography, Max & Friends
Location, catering & cake, The Parker Palm Springs
Location (pool party), The Wesley Palm Springs
Catering (pool party), Soho Taco
Event planning and design, RO & Co. Events
Flowers, Honey and Poppies
Videography, Noteworthy Weddings
Stationery and signage, Prim and Pixie
Bride's gown, Inbal Dror Haute Couture
Hair and makeup, Jenny Bowker Makeup
Flower girl dresses, Nellystella
Groom's suit, shoes & groomsmen attire, The Black Tux
Transportation, Cardiff Limousine
Engagement and party location, Hotel Bel-Air
Photo booth, Union Booth