Lush Greenery Transformed a Downtown Los Angeles Warehouse Into This Couple's Ultimate Wedding Venue
Kaily and Matt, who met in a Los Angeles acting class, had been dating for five months when they took a trip to Ojai, California, for New Year's Eve. "That's when I realized that she was unlike anyone I'd ever met—in a good way," says Matt, now a screenwriter. A little over four years later, Matt brought Kaily back to the town where he fell in love with her, only this time he was traveling with a diamond engagement ring.
"We were in our hotel room drinking rosé on the balcony while the sun was setting, and Kaily literally said, 'When you propose to me, I want it to be just like this. I don't know how you will top this because this is perfect,'" says Matt. Seizing the moment (but feeling incredibly nervous), Matt got down on bended knee, pulled out the hidden ring, and proposed on the spot.
Kaily and Matt spent the next year-and-a-half making sure every detail of their wedding felt authentic to them and their relationship. For example, they chose to honor Matt's Texas roots by serving barbecue instead of traditional wedding fare. Bludso's, a BBQ joint in L.A. owned by friends, catered dinner, and Cofax, their sister restaurant, supplied the late-night breakfast burritos. And they made sure the evening included lots and lots of dancing. When May 27, 2018, finally arrived, the couple exchanged vows in front of 150 guests—including their former acting teachers—at The Millwick in downtown Los Angeles. The hip warehouse-style venue was transformed with lush greenery, an abundance of white flowers, and simple gold accents into an elegant space for the black tie-optional affair.
A Clean Slate
Kaily and Matt needed a venue that would allow them the freedom to create a truly customized event. "When we walked into The Millwick, it was in the early evening, the vibes were strong, and we fell in love with the space," says Kaily. "It had a magic we couldn't put into words, and it just felt so right."
"I always thought I would want a princess-type gown full of tulle and perhaps some beading," says Kaily. "However, as I started trying on dresses, I slowly gravitated toward more simple dresses, and by the end I had decided on a slip dress." After the ceremony, she turned up the volume on her minimalist look, wearing a Dan Jones skirt over her sleek A la Robe wedding dress. Because Kaily had such an amazing experience shopping for these items at LOHO Bride, she now works at the curated bridal boutique. Matt wore a black tuxedo by Ted Baker hemmed at the ankle to show-off his sockless style. His tuxedo shirt and bow tie were both by Eton.
Custom Wedding Rings
When it came time to design their wedding bands, Kaily knew she wanted something less traditional than a pavé ring. Matt, on the other hand, really only cared about who made his band. "All I really wanted was a ring from the same designer," Matt says. "I thought that would make our rings more special and meaningful." The couple went back to Heidi Gibson, who designed Kaily's engagement ring, for both of their bands.
Deciding on a First Look
The pair wasn't going to have their first look photographed, but they changed their minds after viewing their photographer's portfolio. "First looks seemed to capture such an emotional moment that felt so intimate. We wanted to experience that together," says Kaily.
No Boys Allowed
After getting ready together in Santa Monica, Kaily and her bridal party—her three best friends and her sister—were shuttled to The Millwick in a girls-only party bus. Matt and his groomsmen took a separate bus and met them at the venue for pre-ceremony photos.
The ladies wore the same long black dress from Hayley Paige.
Up on the Roof
Kaily had only one request of their photographer, Steve Cowell: She wanted rooftop portraits. "I left the rest up to Steve," says Kaily. "We put all our trust in him, enabling us to relax and enjoy the day."
A Non-Traditional Chuppah
Making an Entrance
The bride wore a long Daphne Newman veil for her solo processional, as a friend and her boyfriend played "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis on violin and guitar. "Seeing her walk down the aisle was the most surreal and special moment of my life," says Matt. "I'll always remember that."
Laughter and Love
The ceremony included religious elements as well as some truly personal touches. Matt's sister read a passage from the movie When Harry Met Sally and the couple's former acting teachers offered heartfelt—and hilarious—words. But Kaily's favorite part of the ceremony was exchanging vows with Matt. "Being able to read our vows to each other in front of everyone who is close to us was absolutely magical," she says.
A Surprise Song
Kaily had no idea what song was going to play at the end of the ceremony. "I love surprises and thought it would be fun, on a day when everything was planned and expected, to have little surprises built in to the wedding," say Matt. His pick? Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up." "I love the song he chose because it is so him... hilarious," Kaily says. "And he was right, it was a fun treat to have pop up out of nowhere when we walked down the aisle."
It was only fair that Kaily got to surprise Matt with a song during their entrance to the reception. Actually, two songs. DJ Paul Tao spliced together Michael Jackson's "Hold Me" from Free Willy with Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." "We both picked such atypical songs that we knew would make the other laugh, which is indicative of our relationship," Matt says.
A Trio of Signature Drinks
The couple hired the Los Angeles-based cocktail catering company The Whaling Club to create their personalized bar. "We had crushed ice cherry margaritas, a floral and cucumber gin cocktail, and the most delicious whiskey and ginger drink," says Matt of the bespoke menu.
What's in a Name
Kaily and Matt had fun coming up with clever names for their custom cocktails: Just Cherried, Meet the Gin-Laws, and Here Comes the Mide.
On the Wall
Setting the Stage
Renting everything they needed for the reception turned out to be a much larger undertaking than the couple anticipated. "I wanted specific napkins, plates, silverware, chairs, you name it," explains the bride. After making multiple trips to a variety of vendors, she and Matt decided on two party rental companies. However, Kaily was still on the hunt for napkins. "I went all over to every linen store and couldn't find the ones I wanted until my mom showed me one from World Market," she says. "It's a good thing I thought they were perfect because she had already purchased them!"
Bigger is Better
Kaily knew that oversized installations absorb a good portion of the floral budget, but she kept them on her must-have list (along with tons of candles!). "The drapery was my mom's idea. She thought it would fill out the space, and she was right," says Kaily.
Find Your Seat
"It was important to us to assign seating and not just tables. We thought hard about where our guests sat to make sure they were sitting next to other guests they would enjoy," says Kaily. "I also never like to see guests running to reserve a seat at a table. I wanted them to chill and have fun during cocktail hour." Simply Stated created the place cards, writing each name in gold ink on small clear tiles.
Shapely Table Numbers
Calligraphed marble tiles served as table numbers, adding more texture to the setting.
May I Have This Dance?
Matt thought that learning a choreographed dance for their first dance would be a fun and relaxing way for him and Kaily to connect during the wedding planning process. "While it was fun, it wasn't exactly relaxing!" says Kaily. The couple spent many late nights in the weeks leading up to the big day practicing with their friend Ryan Halprin, who, coincidentally, had just started a wedding choreography company called Cold Feet.
A week before the wedding, Kaily began to worry about performing their first dance in her Jimmy Choo heels. While they were browsing, Matt found the perfect alternative: pink Superga sneakers with green leaves that complemented the décor. "I always intended to change back into my heels, but I was having too much fun," says Kaily.
A Perfect Choice
Matt and his mom danced to "You Are The Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne, a song that Kaily suggested for them.
All Night Long
The couple wanted their guests on their feet all night, beginning at cocktail hour, and continuing through the hora performed during the reception. "I have always wanted to go in the chair, so I was very excited," says Matt, who describes the wedding as "an amazing blur of dancing, barbecue, and dancing."
Best of Both Worlds
"We actually got the cake from two different places," Kaily says. "Crazy, I know." While she loved how Vanilla Bakeshop masterfully decorates cake, she preferred the chocolate icebox cake from Lark in Silverlake. Luckily, the bakeries were happy to collaborate on the two-tiered wedding cake. "We got everything we wanted and actually saved a bit of money somehow!" she says.
A Sweet End
Matt and Kaily treated their guests to late night ice cream from Carmela. "Matt likes their ice cream best, and I love the aesthetic of their cart and sign," says Kaily.
Photography, Steve Cowell Photo
Location, The Millwick
Event planning, XOXO Weddings
Flowers, Honey & Poppies
Videographer, First Moment Films
Calligraphy, Simply Stated Stationery
Music, Morgan Paros (ceremony); DJ Paul Tao (reception)
Hair, Abreanna Gilbert; Hector Garcia
Bridesmaids' dresses, Hayley Paige
Groom's tuxedo, Ted Baker
Groom's accessories, Eton
shirt and bow tie; Jimmy Choo loafers
Choreographer, Cold Feet
Cocktails, The Whaling Club
Napkins, World Market
Rings, Heidi Gibson