How about we all jet off to Palm Springs to revel in the à¼ber glam destination wedding of Londoners, Carys and Baz?
Carys is half Welsh, half American (with Jewish heritage) and Baz is half English, half Persian, and they had the most exquisite wedding full of stylish, creative details and more than a hint of Palm Springs glitz and glamour.
It’s swoon-inducingly pretty… I just love every element — from Carys’s entire outfit — a divine gown by Israeli wedding dress designer, Berta, a sweeping, full length veil, and glittery Louboutins — to the pink ombre wedding cake, the glittery details, the dreamy flowers, and the Mexican mariachi band that played during the cocktail hour. It’s all just so much fun and beautifully stylised.
One thing that might not have gone so much to plan was the breaking of the glass… A member of the cleaning staff had mistaken the bulb and napkin for rubbish, but fortunately the groomsmen spotted the slip-up at the last minute before Carys and Baz had even noticed, and the equipment was saved!
This wedding proves that you don’t necessarily need to hire a destination wedding planner for a big day abroad. Anything is possible if you have a clear vision, great suppliers, and some helpful friends.
Let’s hand over to Carys for the inside story, but before I do, I must just mention Mi Belle who took all the gorgeous imagery on the page today.
A destination wedding in Palm Springs
Our ceremony, reception and after party were held in the Gene Autry residence at the Parker, Palm Springs. My dad was born and raised in Palm Springs and I have always loved spending time there every summer. My husband Baz also fell in love with the place the first time he visited. The weather, cool vibe, laid-back atmosphere — what’s not to love?! When we got engaged in Charleston, South Carolina, we knew we didn’t want to risk the British weather and decided on an April wedding in the desert.
It also coincided with my grandfather’s 100th birthday the day before so a perfect opportunity for a double celebration. The Parker was a clear winner for us — the venue and grounds are gorgeous and we knew it was the perfect place for us to get married. We chose the Gene Autry residence as it was super cool, private and the perfect size for our wedding after-party. We wanted an intimate house-party atmosphere and the space was just right. Ironically, it was also the place my grandpa used to dine with Gene back in the day.
a classic, stylish wedding with the glitz and glamour of Palm Springs
In terms of style, I wanted classic and stylish with a hint of Palm Springs glitz and glamour. My grandmother on my dad’s side was an amazing and talented lady, and a lingerie / clothing designer in her day. I used to love playing with all of her beautiful buttons, and it was these that started my inspiration for the styling — beautiful golds, pinks and creams, with an injection of glitter and sparkle.
I actually used her buttons as part of the place settings to attach the name tags. I wanted vintage, opulent styling…ornate gold mirrors and frames, chandeliers, velvet seating, candles — I wanted to bring the inside outside into the open space under the stars.
I didn’t use a wedding planner as I was quite clear on what I wanted and the vibe I wanted to create. We also had some excellent input and support from our floral design team (Joey Lizotte from Artisan Events) and Melanie McMillan who was our events coordinator at the Parker.
Lucy Swanston and the team from Nutshell Creative Marketing helped us to create our amazing Save The Dates. We picked up a vintage Palm Springs postcard and got the team to replace the pictures inside the Palm Springs letters with our own personal images (a Daffodil as I am half-Welsh, the tower of London, boxing gloves as Baz loves the sport etc.). It was very fun to do, and our guests loved working out what all of the pictures were. It was also a great way to introduce the Palm Springs vibe and get our guests excited for a destination wedding.
Parasols and fans were laid out for guests to protect themselves from the heat, and pashminas to keep them warm from the evening chill (as well as flip-flops to keep the guests dancing and palm tree sunglasses, inflatables and wild animal masks for the dance-floor party)!
There were photos of Baz and I from when we were children placed around the venue, as well as photos from our parents weddings. Our guest book was a vintage copy of Palm Springs Weekend, a coffee table book in which we asked guests to find a fun page and write their message. In the bathrooms we had toiletry baskets for guests to freshen themselves up, as well as Baz and my favourite sweets (jellytots and rhubarb and custards).
We arrived in the States two weeks before the wedding to relax and get prepped — the evenings were spent rounding up family, drinking wine and making confetti bags, glitter signs etc. – it was great fun and a lovely way to involve the family in the final preparations.
Goodie-filled welcome bags
we made welcome bags full of some local treats for all of our guests who were travelling from out of town. Inside we had some yummy pastries from Sherman’s Deli, See’s candies, water, suncream, fruit snacks and a welcome postcard. We made sure to drop them off to our guests hotels before they arrived as a surprise treat and a thank you for making the journey.
I love fashion but was worried I would struggle finding the perfect dress. I didn’t think I would ever find ‘the one’. I visited a number of shops with family and my bridesmaids, and although I found potential options, none of them were perfect. It was after one full day of (unsuccessful) dress shopping that I came home and started investigating Israeli wedding dress designers.
Luckily an amazing Israeli designer called Berta was showing in a town about an hour away for one weekend only. I booked a train that day. As I was travelling on my own, I was worried about not having a second opinion, but I knew as soon as I tried on the first dress that it was the one for me. It was the perfect mix of elegance and fun and exactly what I was looking for. I felt like myself. I texted my bridesmaid a picture and was on the train home one hour later having ordered my dress. I would not hesitate to recommend the store where I purchased my dress – The Wedding Club (stores in Birmingham and now London). They stock the most beautiful dresses and the ladies there were fabulous — so friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable. The service was impeccable and I didn’t want to leave!
The veil was a full length Italian tulle, extremely soft and classic. I also had a custom made clip from vintage brooches and combs for my hair. I worked very closely with the designer Annie (Tallulah’s Trinkets) to design the piece. It was extremely collaborative as we discussed ideas and designs to eventually create the perfect piece. It is definitely something that I will treasure forever.
sparkly glittery Christian Louboutin heels
My shoes were sparkly glitter Christian Louboutins — I love them! The glitter tied into the glitter accents throughout the day and they are definitely shoes that I will wear again and again.
hair + make up
My hair and make-up was done by the amazingly talented Kacee Geoffroy, who also did the bridesmaids hair and makeup also. Kacee was wonderful — not only was she such a lovely and calming influence in the morning, she made us all look wonderful!
The handsome groom
My groom looked incredible — so handsome. He had a blue suit custom made from Spencer Hart in London, which was actually from their Palm Springs range! His shirt was from Start Boutique in Shoreditch, London, so extremely local to where we live. His tie and pocket square were from Spencer Hart and his shoes were black patent dress shoes from Oliver Sweeney. My wedding gift to him was the Palm Springs fragrance from Floris, London, which my bridesmaid delivered to him on the morning of the wedding. Whenever he wears it, it brings back all the wonderful memories from the day.
bridesmaids in blush pink, and a gorgeous page boy, and a flower girl
I had two bridesmaids with me on the day. They wore blush pink Two Birds dresses which were perfect seeing as they could wear them in their own style. The flower girl was in a white tutu and glitter flat pumps, and the pageboys in white linen shorts and shirts, braces and bow ties.
A Jew-ish ceremony
From the moment my dad shook Baz’s hand and gave me a kiss before he sat down, Baz and I could not stop looking at each other. Our vows and the service was the most wonderful part and we made our commitment to each other in front of our friends and family. Our officiant, the Reverend Jim Kefford was wonderful — he really took time to get to know us and make sure that the ceremony reflected us as a couple. His words were so genuine and really resonated with us and our guests. We had the breaking of the glass (which almost was a disaster as a member of the cleaning staff had mistaken the bulb and napkin for rubbish. Luckily the groomsmen spotted it at the last minute before we had noticed!) and then our guests wished us good luck in the language of our choice — Mazel Tov, Pob Luc (Welsh) and Mo’afagh bashed (Farsi) to honour our heritages.
music for the ceremony
My processional song was Pachelbel’s Canon which has been a favourite for as long as I can remember. Amy Winehouse escorted us back up the aisle as husband and wife (a nod to British music).
For flowers, I wanted pink peonies, darker pink ranunculus and garden roses, as well as some beautiful hydrangeas to remind me of the UK. Joey Lizotte from Artisan Events and his team were AMAZING and really brought our ideas to life. The flowers were all gorgeous and exactly what we wanted.
A mariachi band for our cocktail hour
There is a strong Mexican influence in Palm Springs and my family and I have made a good few trips South of the border. A mariachi band was an obvious choice for the cocktail hour entertainment and Mariachi Los Palmeros did not disappoint — our guests loved it! It really got the party going as the muddled lemon cocktails started to flow.
A DJ for the evening party
For evening, we had the wonderful DJ Oscar from Music Media Entertainment. He spun the decks and kept the guests dancing through the night.
a pink ombre wedding cake
I wanted a simple, single-layer ivory cake with peonies on the top. Inside I wanted it to be pink ombre to tie in worth our overall colour scheme. Our favourite deli in town (Shermans of Palm Springs) provided the cake — not only did it look beautiful, it tasted amazing — the sponges were subtlety flavoured with strawberry and vanilla buttercream — there was none left at the end of the night! We used a vintage cake cutter that belonged to my grandma and grandpa to cut our cake.
our fabulous photographer
The photographer for me was so important as the images were going to last a lifetime! It was challenging given we were in the UK, but we did lots of research online to come up with a shortlist. Mi Belle Photography was a definite favourite, and we knew as soon as we had a Skype date with Josh that he was the man for us. We got on with him right away — he has such a lovely manner that we booked him as soon as we came off the call. We were confident that he would capture the day without being too obtrusive — and he really didn’t disappoint. We were over the moon with our photographs.
advice to other brides and grooms
Choose your suppliers carefully as they will be the ones supporting you and keeping you calm on the day. Create a running order for the day and make sure your suppliers and bridesmaids / groomsmen have this so you do not have to be contacted to sort out any last minute challenges. Keep your wedding party and family involved and let them help! Finally — when the day arrives, not everything will go exactly to plan, but just accept it, laugh, move on and just enjoy the most wonderful day.
Carys & Baz’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — Mi Belle Photography
Event styling — Artisan Events
Venue and catering — Parker, Palm Springs
Bride’s dress — Berta from The Wedding Club
Bride’s shoes — Christian Louboutin
Bride’s custom hairpiece — Annie from Tallulah’s Trinkets
Groom’s suit, tie and pocket square – Spencer Hart
Groom’s shirt — Start Boutique
Groom’s shoes — Oliver Sweeney
Bridesmaids — Two Birds
Hair + Make Up — Kacee Geoffroy
Wedding Cake — Shermans Deli
Mariachi Band — Mariachi Los Palmeros
DJ — Music Media Entertainment
Save The Dates — Nutshell Creative Marketing