Alex and Shastan’s Palm Springs wedding is all kinds of cool.
A legendary location, an iconic hotel, glamorous bridesmaids, and a gorgeous couple.
And it was all captured by the awesome Claire Eliza Photography (who’s so freakin’ cool she even took some of these shots on her iPhone!).
Hazy desert sunlight, retro architecture and of course, the ubiquitous palm trees shooting into the sky, created the perfect scene for this elegant poolside party.
From the family style food to the killer playlist and the alluring attire to the dreamy photography, this wedding looks sharp, chic, and so much fun.
Bridesmaids in gold, swans in the water, and chopsticks on the table, this well-travelled twosome created a stylish soiree that was loaded with personal touches.
We think you’re going to be as obsessed with this wedding as we are!
Wedding Day Snapshot
We have always loved the colors that the desert and mountains create in Palm Springs.
Blushes and creams keeping it soft and light and a pop of gold to keep it fun and highlighting the vibe of the Ace Hotel and Swim Club.
We didn’t want a super theme but it became clear that it was truly about creating this adventure together and celebrating with our loved ones.
With nods to our travels (globe guest book) and keeping it simple with our initials stamped in gold foil (fans and custom created coasters), we ensured that it was classy but still always very us.
With a mix of modern and old Hollywood, we focused on our love for sleek and simple but we also love pops and surprises.
The Bridesmaid Dresses
With 11 bridesmaids, the ladies shopped at every store and every site for over a year picking their favorite dress, that flattered their bodies, personal styles and hopefully that they will wear again!
The First Look
We had a first look prior to the ceremony. It was important to know that we had every minute possible free to mingle with our guests that traveled all the way post ceremony.
I thought it might be silly or built up but you find yourself completely caught up in your person. Everything seemed to freeze around us and my groom and I had this true moment of peace and calm and pure bliss before all the fun madness took place!
The photographer, Claire, let us be ourselves and her presence was so natural that it allowed us to capture our true excitement and happiness.
After our first look, we headed to our outdoor suite at the Ace where we met with all our bridesmaids and groomsmen. This was the only time the whole wedding weekend that it was just: the bride, the groom, and our people that we choose to be a part of this with us.
After the ceremony, it becomes everyone and we felt so lucky to have this time to take a breath, apprecaite eachother and pop some Champagne before the ceremony.
Almost like a team huddle, it brought us together before we went out to the crowd.
We kept it simple with flower arrangements and in the white and pink range but wanted many. We filled the long family style tables with rows of vases, filled with gold floating glitter and pink and white flowers.
While the bride’s bouquet was full, the 11 bridesmaids each held one very long stemmed garden rose. It keep the look sleek without looking like a cluster.
A Family Touch
Our wedding was traditional in many aspects and not traditional in others.
What sticks out to me is that we had our large wedding party sit in seats in a half circle next to the alter but had only our two brothers (each) on our own sides.
My brothers mean everything to me and though I love my 11 bridesmaids, I felt best knowing I had my two big brothers on my side and Shastan, the groom, felt the same with his two brothers by his side.
This day we were joining our families and we both felt backed and blessed.
I have known the photographer for several years and it is safe to say I am one of her biggest fans.
She is an artist, a fellow adventurer, and just makes people feel confident during a time of wild nerves. I have followed her every blog and traveling wedding post.
Claire has always made me feel alive with her photos and she nails it when capturing the emotion of the weddings. When I first got engaged, I knew my groom and I knew my photographer – the rest we would figure out.
The videographer I found online after emailing with several runner-ups. We wanted a certain vibe and felt that many were too cookie cutter and Chris really felt authentic and eager to show what he could do for us.
Decor & Details
With the help of my artist friends and family, we designed and created every detail. We had the help of Khylia Chatman for the day of coordination which allowed us to relax and know our vision would come to fruition without stressing on the big day.
We wanted to keep it simple and classy and not too trendy or ‘Pinterest-y’ but once you start, it can be hard to stop. Our designer and lucky for me, a great friend, Liz Grant, told us to pick a handful of items, one or two themes, write them on a sticky note and carry it with me anytime I started to get over excited.
The theme became, ‘S + A and the adventure continues…’ and as Liz describes, “Alex and Shastan wanted a wedding suite that had a modern vibe to it. They also wanted to incorporate their love for travel throughout the branding of their wedding. So we created a logo that had illustrations representing their travels together.
The logo was then gold-foiled on their cocktail coasters. The A + S stamp was used throughout their brand as well, including being hand-stamped on their ceremony fans.”
We included chopsticks at each seating we picked up in Taipei, Taiwan on our travels, and found fun ways to add the pops of gold like glittered feathers for one’s seating assignment.
Everyday, I was purchasing balloons or gold foil prints from Etsy, crafting with my mom or best friends, and perusing Pinterest…
It’s true when they say it all flies by and is a total whirlwind.
Having the moment with groom before, as well as the bridal party toast prior to the ceremony, seeing my parents overwhelmed with emotion and when we stook up to toast before dinner started.
It was seeing our 110 favorite people, sharing one giant table, about to toast and feast and celebrate all together. It was truly the best day of our lives.
One of the most important aspects of a good party to us is the food!
The Ace nails it with their local cuisine, everything fresh and within miles of the source. We had long family style tables and the food was all served family style. Three incredible salads, three wild sides and three entrees that would stuff anyone silly.
We felt like a giant Italian family passing around several beautiful dishes. Our custom menus also played with fun names for each entree, like ‘Tokyo Tsujiki Fish Market catch-of-the-day’ (near the bride and grooms house in Tokyo).
Neither the bride or the groom like cake much so we decided to go with what makes our mouth water – pie. We had five different types of pies, Whiskey Pecan Pie, Key Lime Pie, Nutella Cheesecake Pie, Banaoffee Pie, and Apple Carmel Pie. Who does’t like one of those options!?
Bridal Party Processional: Bright Eyes, ‘Best Day of My Life.’
Bride Processional: Devotchka, “And the Winner is…”
First Dance: Cover of “Crazy Love” by live singer, Rachelle with Toasts & Bells.
Father Daughter Dance: Temptations, “My Girl.”
Advice for Other Couples
Commit to colors, your themes, your ideas and go with it. It becomes so much more fun when you can finally craft and create and no longer have to read bridal magazines and think, ‘what if.’
Don’t sweat the small things, and…everything is small thing.
I realized later that things were forgotten on the cocktail tables or the balloons didn’t stay in the pool or I forgot to tell this person something…and it all just didn’t matter at that point.
We choose Thursday night as the night that we would let everything be as it was.
If it was going to happen, it would happen and now we had to enjoy every minute with our friends and families for the best weekend of our lives.
Watch Alex and Shastan’s Tear-Jerking Wedding Film
Thanks so much to the fabulous Claire Eliza Photography, and the gorgeous Alex and Shastan for sharing their very special, very cool Palm Springs wedding with us!