With the first same-sex marriages finally taking place in England last weekend, it’s timely that today you’re getting not one but two fabulous brides! Kathleen and Liz were married at Casa Cody, a charming B&B in Palm Springs, California, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet that their beautiful wedding will be pinned to within an inch of its life.
It’s one of the most exquisitely themed W-Day’s I have ever come across, and as a branding designer, I don’t say this lightly folks.
Using an achingly hip and deeply significant ‘music’ theme, Kathleen and Liz pulled off one of the most gorgeously designed weddings I’ve ever seen. There are brilliant pieces of signage, genius wine label table numbers, wonderful table settings, superb stationery and a beautifully uncomplicated and meaningful chuppah – in my mind, it’s actually one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen.
But most of all? Most of all there is L.O.V.E
INCORPORATING JEWISH ELEMENTS INTO OUR WEDDING DAY
Kathleen: When I was 9 years old my mum remarried a lovely Jewish man with three children. Although I myself am not Jewish, I grew up celebrating Passover, Chanukah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur… as well as lighting candles and saying prayers every Friday night. Through these experiences I grew to love and appreciate the Jewish faith and it’s beautiful traditions.
Sadly my stepdad passed away in December of 2010, before we were even engaged, so to honour him and his faith, we wanted to include some Jewish elements on our big day.
Our wedding as at a Bed and Breakfast in Palm Springs, California called Casa Cody. It’s nestled at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, but is only a block from the main drag, so it offers a private, yet convenient location for guests. The inn has 31 rooms, and for our wedding we took over the entire property — so it felt like a giant family reunion!
Liz and I had stayed there before, early on in our relationship, so it had a sentimental place in our hearts. Also we absolutely LOVE the grounds. The property is broken up into four courtyards which each have rooms surrounding them. The centre two have pools, and the outer two are beautiful grassy areas full of citrus trees, succulents and bougainvillea. We used the outer courtyards for our Ceremony and Reception.
Casa Cody is a beautiful, rustic outdoor setting, so having tables with fancy white tablecloths just wouldn’t have fit the location! We found this amazing Palm Springs based company, Planks & Patina, who provided us with rustic tables and chairs all made from reclaimed wood.
Our colour scheme was coral and grey with touches of mint. We opted for more neutral tones as the venue itself offered bright and vibrant colours!
A MUSIC THEME WITH LYRICS FLECKED THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Our theme was music. Liz and I met through work (we work in music Supervision for film & TV) so music is extremely important to us. So there were music lyrics peppered throughout the entire event:
SAVE THE DATES: These were laser cut with the lyrics to Lamb’s song “Gorecki” — “All I’ve known, All I’ve done, All I’ve felt was leading to this. I’ve found the one I’ve waited for.” Each laser cut had a manila tag attached that included the wedding details.
INVITATION ENVELOPE: Instead of a traditional envelope we designed a craft paper poster that when unfolded had some of the lyrics to “Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized — “I will love you ’til I die, and float in space just you and I.”
INVITATION: The back of our invitation included lyrics from “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave — “And I believe in love, and I know you do too. And I believe in some kind of path that we can walk down, me and you.” On the other side of the invite there were all of the wedding details, but we particularly liked how each side had the “Me & You” as a mirror image.
RSVPs: We included a vintage 1950s card in each invitation and asked our guests to write down their favourite song lyric. It was a lovely keepsake for us, and on our one-year anniversary I had our friend and designer create a 32×32 laser cut with the song lyrics each guests had submitted. It now hangs in our home as a beautiful reminder of our wedding day and our closest friends and family.
TABLE ‘NUMBERS’: Instead of traditional table numbers, we designated each table with a song title from tracks that were on mix-tapes we exchanged early on in our relationship. We designed labels that we put on bottles of wine which included the song title on the front, and full lyrics on the back.
“When You Walk in the Room” by Fyfe Dangerfield
“Snuggled on Your Shoulder” by Kay Starr
“English Rose” by The Jam
“Wild is the Wind” by Nina Simone
“This Girl’s in Love with You” by Dusty Springfield
“You Get Me” by Teitur
“Call Me Irresponsible” by Dinah Washington
“When I See You Smile” by Bic Runga
“For Once in my Life” by Stevie Wonder
“I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Deathcab for Cutie
“Lullaby” by Lamb
The Save the Date/Invitation design was extremely important to us. We wanted every detail to reflect who we are as a couple and really make an impact on our guests.
Instead of having many of the elements printed, we opted to design and create stamps, and stamp them ourselves. It was a bit more time consuming, but allowed us to use some unique paper and vintage cards that would have been difficult to use with traditional printing techniques.
One element of the invites that is really special to me is the Casa Cody Map. When Liz and I had gone to Casa Cody to confirm the wedding date with the manager, we were sitting at a table and a hummingbird flew right next to us. In our family, we have a firm belief that hummingbirds are a way for our loved ones who have passed to remind us they are still with us. I snapped a photo and later sent it to our designer. She took a novice iPhone photo and turned it into something not only beautiful, but incredibly personal and special. We actually used this image again as the backdrop for the laser cut of our guests song lyrics.
We produced “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” laser cut hearts. I bought these for Liz about a year into our relationship. The Smiths are her favourite band, and the lyrics showcased (“And if a double decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die”) are her favourite lyrics of all time. In fact, her best man and I surprised her during his speech by singing the song to her. I couldn’t believe we managed to keep it a secret – the look on her face was priceless!
KATHLEEN’S JENNY PACKHAM WEDDING DRESS
I purchased my dress from Panache Bridal in Pasadena, California. It was designed by Jenny Packham and called “The Symphony,” which in and of itself felt very serendipitous, given our connection to music.
I am a curvy girl, so I wanted to find a dress that would accentuate my best features, and flatter some of my not so favourite features ;). Also because we were getting married outside in Palm Springs in late September, I knew it would likely be really hot, so I didn’t want anything too heavy or uncomfortable!
I had had a few unsavory wedding dress shopping experiences, and came to Panache the day after Christmas with my mum and stepmum hoping to try on a few Jenny Packham dresses, as I just love her design and sensibilities.
After searching through the store, it was actually the last dress I found, but as soon as I saw it, even before I tried it on, I just felt like it was “the one.” It had all of the elements I was looking for — flowing, vintage, unique, a touch of (classy) sparkle, straps. So when I tried it on and it was perfect, I said yes immediately, before I even looked at the price (thankfully it was in budget!).
LIZ’S BEAUTIFULLY-CRAFTED WEDDING SUIT
Liz’s suit was actually designed by one of my closest friends (and bridesmaids) Lindsay Woods. Lindsay lives in New York and has worked for Zac Posen, Haute Hippie and Catherine Malandrino to name a few, so we knew we were in good hands. Liz wanted something light (for the heat) and feminine, but still with a touch of structure. Rachel Dorn took Lindsay’s design and created the pattern, and the suit itself was hand stitched by a suitmaker in Brooklyn named Peter Frew.
A STUNNING SWAROVSKI HAND-SEWN HEADBAND
My Headband was actually designed and created by Lindsay as well — the day before the wedding no less! I had gone with one of my bridesmaids to pick up my dress and try it on one last time and they put a ribbon headpiece in my hair with my veil. It looked absolutely stunning but the cost was just insane ($900!!!). So my friend Kristen and I went to a craft store and bought some beautiful ribbon as well as some Swarovski crystals, which Lindsay hand sewed in a beautiful art-deco design. In total it cost about $50, and it was so much more special to have something made by one of my best friends.
A BEAUTIFUL VEIL
I wore a veil during the ceremony (but not one that went over my face). It was fingertip length and had small floral designs made out of crystals along the edging. I purchased it at Panache Bridal as well.
MEANINGFUL WEDDING JEWELLERY
Since the beginning of our relationship, Liz has given me some beautiful David Yurman jewelry with Prasiolite stones, so it only felt right to wear things that she gave me on our wedding day. And even more special, Liz’s wedding gift to me was a pair of David Yurman earrings which matched the necklace and bracelet I was already planning on wearing!
I’m not the biggest fan of heels (I’m all about comfort!) but wanted to wear heels for a portion of the day. I opted for 1 ½ inch heels from Elie Tahari that were really comfortable with a fantastic art-deco style that complimented my dress. They were a brushed silver (so not super shiny). But as soon as we moved over to the reception the heels were long gone and I put on a pair of white Havaiana sandals!
HAIR + MAKE UP
We worked with our good friend and stylist, Maranda Widlund, who helped us look our best on the big day! My hair inspiration was Brigitte Bardot, hence the volume up top – you know what they say, the bigger the hair, the closer to God! 🙂 I wanted my hair to be out of my face completely, but didn’t want an up-do, so we opted for the half up, half down look. Maranda threw in a few real hair extensions which just took my hair to the next level!
Makeup wise, I wanted to look like a more glamorous version of myself — nothing too over the top. We also had to take the hot weather into account so we did a light application of foundation and eye makeup — didn’t want my face melting off halfway through the ceremony!
As for Liz — she doesn’t wear a huge amount of makeup, so Maranda just did some light foundation and blush/bronzer to even out her skin and make her beautiful blue eyes pop.
One of my favourite parts of our wedding ceremony was the reading of the Seven Blessings. Even though we didn’t have a traditional Jewish ceremony, I really love the sentiment of the Seven Blessings and wanted to include them. We found a modern, English translation and asked seven influential women in our lives to each read one. It was extremely personal and special, and I loved that the words could be appreciated by everyone regardless of their faith (or lack thereof). I’ve included the version of the Seven Blessings we used below:
May you be blessed with love. May your admiration, appreciation and understanding of each other foster a love that is passionate, tranquil and real. May this love between you be strong and enduring, and bring peace into your lives.
May you be blessed with a loving home filled with warmth, humor and compassion. May you create a family together that honors traditions old and new. May you teach your children to have equal respect for themselves and others, and instill in them the value of learning and making the world a better place.
May you be best friends and work together to build a relationship of substance and quality. May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship. May you respect each other’s individual personality and perspective, and give each other room to grow in fulfilling your dreams.
May you be blessed with wisdom. May you continually learn from one another and from the world. Together, may you grow, deepening your knowledge and understanding of each other and of your journey through life.
May you be blessed with health. May life bring you wholeness of mind, body and spirit. May you keep each other well-balanced and grounded, and live long that you may share many happy years together.
May your life be blessed with the art and beauty of this world. May your creative aspirations and experiences find expression, inspire you, and bring you joy and fulfillment. May you find happiness together in adventures big and small, and something to celebrate each day of your lives.
May you be blessed with community. May you always be blessed with the awareness that you are an essential part of a circle of family and friends. May there always be within this group love, trust, support and laughter, and may there be many future occasions for rejoicing in their company.
A CHUPPAH THAT MEANT SO MUCH TO US
The chuppah we were married under was actually built by my late stepdad. It was the same chuppah he married my mum under. The morning of the wedding my mum, two step-brothers, step-sister and I all got up and we built the chuppah together. It was such a special experience. And even though my stepdad wasn’t there physically, it was such a comfort to have something he built be such a focal point of the ceremony. I still smile every time I look at photos and see his beautiful craftsmanship and colourful tallit — it was a physical reminder that he was there watching over the entire day.
MUSIC FOR THE CEREMONY
Processional: ‘Fragile No. 4‘ by Dustin O’Halloran — We absolutely love this composer, and we’ve always loved this song. It’s so beautiful and builds with such emotion. It was the perfect song to play as we saw each other for the first time on our wedding day.
Recessional: ‘When You Walk in the Room‘ by Fyfe Dangerfield — We didn’t want anything too serious or classical for the recessional, so opted for a fun, upbeat contemporary song. The lyrics just perfectly capture how we were feeling — “In this moment no one is pulling me down into the ground. I can’t help it if I’m happy. I can’t help it if I’m happy not to be sad. Cause when you walk in the room I see things that I can’t understand. I want you endlessly…”
My vision was soft, warm tones with subtle pops of colour. I wanted to feature more wild, organic arrangements to compliment the rustic environment. I didn’t want anything too polished — my goal was for it to look like someone had walked through a garden and pulled together these incredible bouquets of wild flowers, berries, and succulents.
Our florist found these incredible pale pink/coral Garden Roses that had green stems growing out of the center. They were so unique and were just stunning — I’ve never seen them since! Instead of grand, large centerpieces we opted for a variety of smaller arrangements at each table, using mason jars and milk bottles that we’d collected as vases.
Our florist was Gregory Goodman from My Little Flower Shop in the heart of Palm Springs. Gregory was just THE BEST. He went above and beyond and was so helpful, giving us advice and suggestions for other Palm Springs based vendors.
We each had a Maid of Honour, Best Man and bridesmaids. Instead of picking one particular dress style, we let our wedding parties decide on the dress they wanted from J.Crew’s bridal line — all they had to do was stay within the fabric/colour parameters. In line with our colour scheme of coral and grey with a pop of mint, my wedding party wore coral and Liz’s wore grey, and they all wore mint coloured jewellery. And our Best Men wore grey suits from Indochino with mint ties.
Christian & Reinna Cruz of Max & Friends captured our big day. I have always been a fan of Max Wanger’s work, so when it came time for our big day, he was the first to come to mind. We ended up meeting with Christian and Reinna from Max’s team and just totally hit it off! They had a completely relaxed vibe about them and made us feel super comfortable. And we just loved their portfolio. They have such a knack for capturing the moment in a candid and beautiful way. Honestly, we barely noticed they were there on the day, and I think that totally comes through in the pictures. They’re perfectly candid and warm, and just really capture the relaxed vibe of the day.
CAKE, DESSERTS + A FOOD TRUCK!
The cake was done by our caterer, Heirloom LA. It was a vanilla cake with fresh raspberries throughout, with a vanilla buttercream frosting. Instead of doing a massive, tiered cake, we opted for a smaller, more understated cake, and filled out the rest of the desert table with a fresh fruit trifle and warm chocolate chip and sea salt cookies.
Instead of doing a traditional plated dinner or buffet, we wanted to do something different! So we opted for a food truck! Heirloom LA parked their amazing truck (known as Black Betty) just on the edge of our reception space, and they provided the delicious food for our guests.
Then after the reception we moved to another area of the grounds for the after party where they provided late night snacks: a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches and fries.
PARTYING LATE WITH A FABULOUS DJ
We had an amazing DJ — DJ Michaelis. He wasn’t your typical wedding DJ — he actually spins at clubs & bars all over the US, so he was really great at reading the crowd and mixing songs together, rather than just playing one song after the other.
It was non-stop dancing, and everyone had such a great time. Because there was a 10pm noise curfew in Palm Springs, we had to stop amplified music outdoors, but all moved into the Adobe House (a two bedroom cottage on the property) and continued the party there. DJ Michaelis set up inside and we continued the dance party until nearly 1am!
SCENTED CANDLE FAVOURS
Our wedding favours were candles in mason jars. Our favourite candles come from a place called Stone Candles in Culver City (www.stonecandles.com). We purchased the mason jars and had them fill each with our favourite scent: white tea ginger root. We also included personalized matchbooks and a thank-you tag for each guest.
A VIP GUEST – OUR CHOCOLATE LABRADOR!
Casa Cody is dog friendly, so after everyone had eaten dinner, we had our chocolate lab, T, join the festivities. Some of my favourite photos are of us cutting the cake with her standing right in between us, waiting for some crumbs to drop. It perfectly captures our little family, and I couldn’t have imagined not having her be a part of our day.
‘JUST MARRIED’ BELTS!
We were staying at a hotel down the road (literally a stones throw from Casa Cody) the night of our wedding, so decking out a getaway car seemed ridiculously unnecessary. So I decided we could be the getaway vehicles. Our designer created laser cut hearts with the words “just” and “married” and I created belts with ribbons and cans. It was a fun and inexpensive way to make our grand exit.
EMBRACING SOMETHING OLD / SOMETHING NEW / SOMETHING BORROWED / SOMETHING BLUE
I fully embraced this tradition! ‘Something Old’ was a gorgeous necklace from my Great-Great Grandmother that was passed down to me. Instead of wearing it, I had our florist include it in my bridal bouquet.
‘Something New’ was my wedding dress, of course!
‘Something Borrowed’ and ‘Something Blue’ was a two-fer! My late stepdad never went anywhere without a hanky (handkerchief), so I had our initials and wedding date embroidered in blue thread on one of his hankies, and then had it sewn into my wedding dress.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Do not buy a wedding dress thinking it will look good when you lose some weight! Similarly, don’t buy a dress a size or two small for you. Buy something that you love, looks good and fits you NOW! Planning a wedding in and of itself is extremely stressful — worrying about whether or not you’re going to look good, or worse, FIT, into your wedding dress would just be unbearable! You can always take your dress in, but you can’t let it out! This was advice that I actually followed myself, and I’ll tell you, when my dress finally arrived and I went to try it on for the first time and it was TOO BIG — there’s no better feeling!
Take your personality (and the personality of your fiancà©) and your timeframe into account when choosing a location. Casa Cody was an absolutely fantastic venue, and even more appealing to me, it was a completely blank slate. You pay a rental fee which guarantees you the property, but after that, you’re on your own. It was the perfect setup for us, because we had the time (an 18 month engagement) and I loved that I could plan every element without any restrictions (like a list of approved vendors). However, if you’ve got a short engagement, you’re not a planner, or you find it hard to make decisions, planning a wedding at a space like Casa Cody could be your worst nightmare. There are pros and cons to having a venue that’s a blank slate versus a more traditional wedding venue (where weddings are their business), so I would encourage you to keep that in mind when making your decision! Know your limits!
Invest in a wedding planner or day of coordinator. They are worth every penny! Don’t underestimate the value of your sanity!
Always remember your wedding is a celebration, not an event! Don’t lose sight of the purpose of the day — you’re there to marry the love of your life.
KATHLEEN + LIZ’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — Christian & Reinna Cruz of Max & Friends
Videography — Son of Sharkpig
Venue — Casa Cody
Flowers — My Little Flower Shop
Designer — Annessa Braymer
Rentals — Planks & Patina
Catering — Heirloom LA
Wedding Dress — Jenny Packham
Wedding Dress Purchase & Alterations — Panache Bridal, Pasadena
Wedding Suit Designer — Lindsay Woods
Shoes — Elie Tahari
Bridesmaids — J.Crew
Best Men — Indochino
Wedding Favours — Stone Candles
Hair + Makeup (for Brides) — Maranda Widlund
Hair + Makeup (for Bridesmaids) — Salon 119
DJ — DJ Michaelis