Tory and Brooks’ wedding has Autumn completely wrapped up. An orange and navy colour scheme, dune grasses, twinkly lights, and pumpkin seating card holders. One of my favourite elements? The fairytale ‘boardwalk’ petal-covered grass aisle. So very, very pretty.
Tory is such a sparkling bride — watch out for her incredible silver-glitter-heeled Kate Spade shoes, and searingly honest report.
Oh and I love her advice at the end to “find three separate secret times to kiss your groom in private!” Absolutely right!
It’s just about one year since these two lovebirds got married so I take great joy in wishing them a happy 1st wedding anniversary!
All of the wonderful images were taken by the rather talented and lovely Elisabeth Millay.
HOW WE MET
Tory, The Bride: Brooks and I met at ReelzChannel in Los Angeles n 2009 which is a TV cable channel all about movies. I was a host and he was a producer. After we both left the company, we stayed friends and then best friends. Coffee dates every day, dinner every night. Finally, on Valentine’s day, after one year of this platonic bliss, Brooks asked me what I would have said if he had asked me out on a date that night. I said I wasn’t sure and needed to think about it. The next day I called him to go to lunch as usual but he said he was at the beach hanging out with a couple of friends (including this cute blonde chick I knew). Hilariously, my jealousy was all it took. By the next sunset we had our first kiss and said we loved each other. The rest is history.
A ‘BLACK TIE’ BEACHSIDE VENUE
I had always dreamed of a beach wedding with a boardwalk, dune grass, twinkle lights and a light breeze. When I was researching wedding planners, I met with Nira DeLuna from Amber Events for a lunch meeting and explained my vision. I told her I wanted the ceremony to have a “crisp and unfussy Nantucket type evening vibe” and I wanted the ceremony to be a “super formal black-tie event blazing in colour and twinkle lights.” She typed something in her iPad and then handed it over and said: “You want the Bel-Air Bay Club. It’s a crisp, unfussy country club that over looks the ocean with a fabulous ball room inside for the reception.” I decided right then and there that it was what I wanted.
BRIGHT, BOLD COLOURS
Colour was of utmost importance to me, and I knew for sure I was not a “blush and bashful” type girl. No pink, no ivory, and no white at all. I wanted bright, rich, saturated colours. My wedding planner was a little thrown when I pulled up an image of my favorite tangerine Popsicle and said: “This is the exact colour I want. I want to bounce this tangerine off of a stormy night sky blue and I want small details in gold glitter like the stars in the night sky.” I was incredibly specific which made things a lot easier.
THE DRESS… A STORY AND A HALF!
The dress shopping started as a nightmare. My mum and dad flew out immediately after I got engaged and we started in on the dress shopping straight away. My mum and I went to The Glamour Closet which is a sample sale salon in Los Angeles. I immediately picked out an Oscar de la Renta shimmering strapless A-line dress with cascading sequins for an amazing price. My mum and I bought it on the spot.
Later that night, my husband used my computer and happened to see a model wearing the Oscar de la Renta dress on the runway that I had saved and said: “Thank G-d you didn’t get anything that looks like that.” I excused myself and then started bawling. I was devastated and he had no idea. I immediately put the dress up for sale and started the search again to find something more simple and less “prom dressy.” My family flew out again and my mum, dad and sister went to all the big LA wedding stores trying to find the best fit. Nothing was working out. Nothing. I was just so ridiculously concerned that my husband wouldn’t like the dress again. So I decided to shop by myself one day after the family left at JLM Couture, one of the smaller wedding salons we had tried before.
The stylist begged me to try this incredibly simple Tara Keely lace sweetheart neckline dress and when I did, I just loved it. The other mums that were in the salon for their daughters all turned and told me they loved the dress and gave me big hugs. I FaceTimed with my parents and showed them the dress and my dad asked the all important question: “Are you saying yes to the dress?” And I said YES! The designer Lazaro happened to be in the salon for a trunk show and agreed to add more sequins to the bodice and drew me a personalized sketch of me in the dress. Afterwards, they gave me a glass of champagne and I downed it in the dressing room by myself which I found hysterically funny for some reason.
KATE SPADE SILVER GLITTER SHOES
Shoes turned out to be really annoying as I couldn’t find a pair I liked to save my life. I bought a pair of Jimmy Choo‘s but they were too tight and I ended up selling them. Again, since the dress was so simple I knew I wanted some bling so I ended up buying a Kate Spade pair that was completely covered in silver glitter. They were super comfortable and so cute. Only thing I would have changed is that since the reception was on grass, my heels kept sinking into the ground and I had to curl my toes up the entire ceremony to keep from sinking in. By doing that, I bruised my big toe so much that the nail fell off after the wedding. But the shoes were worth it. Big note to upcoming brides: if your ceremony is on grass-then you and your bridesmaids should wear wedges for the ceremony for sure!
Brooks has the body of a male model. Slim and tall. We knew we wanted a slim fit, modern black tux. We went to J.Crew but their tuxes were almost too trendy (cropped tuxedo pants were not what we wanted). We went to Men’s Wearhouse and the only possible choice was Black by Vera Wang. It looked great on him and on all the groomsmen. Only problem was that several items like cufflinks or handkerchiefs were missing in the Men’s Wearhouse groomsmen kits so make sure to double check if you are ordering from there.
I had five bridesmaids and chose a dark stormy night sky blue colour for their dresses. After picking the colour I went to weddingtonway.com and found this one-shoulder, long and classy style by Alfred Angelo in a dark navy and knew it was the one immediately. My bridesmaids looked GORGEOUS in them.
From the beginning, I knew I wanted to walk down an aisle that was bordered by dune grass so I could feel like I was on an East Coast boardwalk. I must have emailed my florist one million times about the exact type of dune grass I wanted and how I wanted it angled and planted and I simply adored the way it turned out. My other favourite special touch was the canopy of twinkle lights that I had hung over the ball room. I told my lighting guy–the brilliant Brad from Stage Labs that wanted to feel like the entire room was in a glass of champagne. I wanted the evening to literally sparkle and he did a phenomenal job. I loved the end result.
MUSIC FOR THE CEREMONY
My husband has a much better taste in music than I do and can play guitar and piano by ear so he really led the way on the music. As for the ceremony, we chose a string quartet to play Forever Young by Alphaville as our bridesmaids and groomsmen walked down the aisle. Then we had them play Fields of Gold as I walked down the aisle with my parents. Since we had golden dune grass lining the aisle-it really felt like Fields of Gold.
For our recessional we chose Hello Goodbye because of the fast pace and recognisable beat. I wanted the crowd to stand up and have a little bit of energy to take them into the next part of the evening.
FLOWERS: DUNE GRASSES AND A ‘TANGERINE’ RECEPTION
I didn’t know want any frilly, feathery flowers and I didn’t want a single white flower in all of my decorating. Nira took me to this cool spot Holly Flora where I hung out with these cool florists with tattoos and I explained my vision. For the ceremony, I wanted NO flowers. I wanted it to feel very natural and beachy and not at all arranged and I wanted to walk down an aisle that felt like a boardwalk.
So I drew a picture of the aisle and showed how I wanted the dune grass to line up against the aisle so it replicated the look of a boardwalk. She didn’t understand which dune grass I meant until she figured it out and showed me her phone with an emojii of the right kind and we jumped up and down with joy!
The dune, beachy story was going to end at the ceremony and then we were going to move into the bright, saturated, tangerine story of the reception. I showed them the tangerine popsicle that I had showed Nira and explained that all the flowers should be in this bright orange tone and should have no green leaves. I also didn’t mix flowers in a bouquet. I wanted them to be more monotone and modern in their display. I desperately wanted peonies but they said they were not in season so we used bright orange tulips, calla lilies, ranunculus and orchids and daisies and any other round fluffy circular flower in orange.
I had the bridesmaids carry tight and bright tangerine tulip bouquets which bounced off the navy blue dress so beautifully. I carried a big tight bouquet of white ranunculus and that was the only white in the whole place.
OUR OUTSTANDING PHOTOGRAPHER
I searched high and low for the right photographer and I ended up with Elisabeth Millay because her pictures were different and much more modern than the others. They each told stories like a grandmother watching her granddaughter or the married couple caught kissing at the table. I thought her website was super rad and when we met she seemed super mellow. I absolutely loved the shots she captured and I loved working with her.
A NON-WEDDING WEDDING CAKE
I am not a dessert person. I really couldn’t care less about the cake. All I knew was that I did not want a mulitlayered white wedding cake like everyone else has. I’m not a fan of vanilla frosting and I didn’t want any white at my wedding.
What I really wanted was a Duncan Hines chocolate cake with yellow interior like at a seven year old’s birthday. So that’s what we did. I went to my favourite cupcake place, Susie Cakes, and told them what I wanted. We went with a low chocolate layered yellow cake with dark blue ribbons details and Kate Spade modern bows. Simple and easy. Our wedding cake topper was one of my favorite details: it was groom and a bride but the bride was pinching the groom’s ass in the back!
We also had a cake made for my Dad and my Godmother since it happened to be their birthday. For my Dad the attorney we had a cake made to look like his favorite closing tie with sharks on it. For my Godmother, we had an elephant cake since she is an elephant lover and volunteers at the Elephant House at the DC zoo.
AN AMAZING DJ
We went with a DJ since it saved so much money and I’ve been to too many weddings where the band was too loud or wasn’t that good, and Wes from Red Shoe was amazing.
For our first dance, we had a choreographer at 3rd Street Dance create a dance for us to The Killers’ Read my Mind. Our favourite song and our favourite lyric of all time is in that song: “I don’t shine if you don’t shine” and we felt strongly that this embodied our relationship. Plus I had the canopy of twinkle lights so “shining” felt really appropriate.
PUMPKIN SEATING CARD HOLDERS
Since it was in October, we used Baby Boo pumpkins as the seating card holders that I bought from a grower on Etsy and Nira spray painted them bright, opaque gold and guests were free to take them home.
I loved our tablecloth. We went to La Tavola and picked a rather boring linen until I saw this leather gold circular cloth in the back and we switched immediately. It mirrored the canopy of twinkle lights perfectly.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Stay true to yourself! Go wedding dress shopping alone. Don’t over do on Pinterest. ( I got a little addicted) If you’re having one, be friends with your planner. Like really good friends. Be very curt and honest about exactly what you want with every single vendor. They appreciate it, I promise. Don’t drink too much and remember to have bites of food. Also choose your last dance as well as your first dance. Also make sure you sit somewhere in the middle of your guests. We placed ourselves near the back and it wasn’t a great idea.
Most importantly, when the wedding starts it can get overwhelming with how many people are there for you. Try and centre yourself beforehand… I was not as centred and I wish I had been. I was semi-centred and semi-deer in the headlights but that’s bound to happen to many brides.
All in all, remember to have fun, dance in your love’s arms and to find three separate secret times to kiss your groom in private.
Watch Tory & Brook’s wedding film
TORY + BROOKS’ LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photographer — Elisabeth Millay Photography
Venue — Bel-Air Bay Club
Wedding Planner — Nira DeLuna from Amber Events
Videography — Juice Box Media
Bride’s Dress — JLM Couture
Bride’s Shoes — Kate Spade
Groom’s attire — Black by Vera Wang
Bridesmaids —Alfred Angelo from weddingtonway.com
Linens — La Tavola
Lighting — Stage Labs
Florals — Holly Flora
Wedding Cake +Desserts — Susie Cakes
Ceremony Music — Angelica Strings
DJ — Red Shoe
Rabbi — Heather Miller
Stationery — The Paper Source
Make up — Rachel Herrera