What feels like day 758 of quarantine has me dreaming of simpler times, specifically, our citrus themed wedding in Palm Springs just months ago. Palm Springs has been a special place for my husband and me for the entirety of our 7-year relationship. It’s not just a sunny destination a few hours away but a second home, housing memories of our life together under the sway of the palm trees. This made the location of our wedding one of the easiest decisions to make.
When we started planning our Palm Springs wedding, there were a few non-negotiables. We knew we wanted a small and intimate wedding, and we wanted to make it a weekend affair, incorporating Friday happy hour and Sunday football, two of our favourite pastimes.
Our guest count was under 50 people, so it basically just included immediate family and our best friends. We both have large extended families, so it was either under 50 or over 300 guests. While it was a difficult decision to make the wedding guest list as small as it was, we knew it was the right one. We missed our families and friends dearly, but the day goes by so quickly. Looking back in hindsight, it is pretty special knowing we shared great moments and conversations with every single person that attended the wedding while still having time to soak it all in as a couple.
Our Palm Springs Wedding Venue: The Bougainvillea Estate
We knew pretty quickly that we wanted to get married at an estate versus a hotel. We loved the idea of renting out an estate we could have for the entire weekend with our friends and fam privately. This was key for actualizing our vision for a fun Friday happy hour, Saturday wedding and a Sunday NFL pool party. There are also a lot of restrictions at hotels that you don’t get when you rent your own private estate, for example, leniency on the curfew, cooking your own meals, and taking over the pool.
We looked at a few estates before finding the Bouganvillea Estate in Indio, California, about 35 minutes outside of downtown Palm Springs. If you are planning a Palm Springs wedding, I rounded up my favourite venues here. I loved the Spanish colonial style, the cascading bougainvillea, and the citrus trees. The theme for the wedding was going to naturally lend itself to the desert citrus and landscape, so it was perfect.
I also loved that the pool and bar area where the reception would be held was contained and intimate as our guest count was so small. We looked at a few estates with sprawling backyards, great for large parties but not for us. I think this is one of the most important things to consider when looking at venues. You have to think about functionality and the details of your specific wedding.
The estate had 9 bedrooms, so we were able to host 9 couples, practically half the wedding guest count lol. It also had a games room with a massive movie room, aka football Sunday heaven.
My hairstylist Christine from Life and Color not only happens to be one of the most talented and sought after stylists in Vancouver, but she is also a dear friend. I didn’t have a bridal party, so the morning of the wedding unfolded quietly and slowly. I was a bundle of nerves so it was nice having the comfort of someone close to me there to kickstart the day without the room swirling with people.
We opted for old Hollywood glam to celebrate the iconic Palm Springs connection to 1950’s Hollywood celebrity.
I had my make-up done by the talented Nancy Z beauty. We had a trial a few months before and went with a sun-kissed glow with peachy tones. She is the sweetest person and even helped with a last-minute dress emergency that required some cover-up wizardry in some awkward places lol.
Ladies, don’t forget to try on your dress with a bra or nipple covers prior to the wedding day instead of adopting an “I’m sure this will work” mentality ;-).
What citrus wedding dreams are made of
Ahh, to do a first look or not to do a first look. This was one of the decisions I kept going back and forth on. I am currently working on a blog post all about this, but I’ll just say that walking away from the day, this is by far one of our favorite moments of the entire wedding weekend. It was so intimate and special and gave us the opportunity to connect after a morning of anticipation and prior to a whirlwind of an evening.
It was beautiful, emotional and a moment we will never forget.
We got married at the Bougainvillea estate in front of the lake with the chocolate mountains surrounding us as the sun began to set. One of our best friends Zack officiated our wedding. I can’t tell you how much that meant to us and how special it was to have someone we love up there with us. To have someone that truly knows you and your relationship makes the moment where you say “I do” that much more personal.
He had never officiated a wedding before, and almost every guest mentioned that he should probably quit his day job to officiate full time ;-). It was the perfect ceremony, a quick 15 minutes celebrating our relationship thus far and the journey we were about to embark on together. I highly recommend having a friend that knows you both officiate your wedding if you can!
We rode off in a golf cart, a nod to Palm Springs and my childhood spent here
We wanted the wedding day to transition seamlessly so there were no lulls in the action. Immediately after the ceremony, guests moved to the other side of the lake where we had a bar and some outdoor games set up. Guests played cornhole, connect 4, sipped his and her cocktails and ate passed appetizers while we zipped over to the nearby La Quinta Cove for some photos.
We were both hesitant to do this because we knew we would have major FOMO and wanted to start partying with our friends, but our photographer insisted, and I’m so glad she did. The photos and video footage of the dreamy desert-scape at golden hour are so magical and capture our love for Palm Springs. We set a timer for 10 minutes, took a bunch of photos and videos, and zipped back to cheers our friends.
A few cocktail hour photos. This was one of my favourite parts of the whole day.
While I didn’t have an official wedding party, I asked all my best friends to wear dresses that fit under the citrus wedding theme umbrella, incorporating grapefruit, blood orange, lemon, and tangerines.
A few shots from the disposable film cameras we had scattered around
In keeping with the citrus wedding decor, we chose farmhouse tables and vineyard chairs with various open sliced citrus fruits complimenting the foliage. We kept glassware classic and clear and added a modern element with rose gold dipped cutlery. One of my friends is a talented calligrapher, so we hired her to create our digital invitations and signage for the wedding. She totally understood the citrus themed wedding and weaved those elements throughout.
For dinner, I wanted something laidback and non-traditional that felt very us and also very SoCal. We both love tacos and margs (who doesn’t?!) so we opted for Harvest Kitchen’s taco bar. We placed housemade guacamole and salsa on the tables, three different kinds of tacos, mexi-kale salad, and forgoing a traditional wedding cake we had passed churros and s’mores for dessert. Our late-night snack was two different sliders, a traditional burger and a BBQ jackfruit slider that soaked up the wine and tequila nicely.
Our lounge set up by Planks and Patina
This was a last-minute addition and I’m so glad we had this as it created a great conversational area.
Our sweetheart table with flowers from Bloom of Time
Krammer from Sugarplum and Co is a genius and put this dreamy set up together using candle votives and florals from our vendor, Bloom of Time. For the florals, I wanted corals, blush, peach, and orange tones to match the citrus themed wedding with subtle citrus fruit accents and leafy greens and of course a pop of bougainvillea. They utilized romantic fall flowers in a hand-picked, laid back, and relaxed arrangement. I also asked them to incorporate some personal elements. The fern foliage is native to the trees that lined the street I grew up on in Palm Springs. I also happened to live on streets named after two different flowers, and they were able to incorporate those into my bouquet. When planning a wedding, adding these personal touches makes all the difference to make the day feel yours and special to you.
His and Her cocktails, negroni for him, spicy marg for me
Aannnnddd now I’m crying. Every bride told me to enjoy the day because it would go by in a blink of an eye. I took this to heart and took several moments to take it all in. And still, I wish we could do it all over again. And again and again and again. Truly the best day. Thank you to all our insanely talented vendors that made it all happen! All photos courtesy of Brianna Broyles.