According to James Michal, 32, he and Aleema Bath, 32, were destined to meet somewhere in California. "We both grew up with a desire to journey west," he says. And that wanderlust landed them in the same apartment building in Melrose Place in 2009. Conveniently, the building's rooftop pool became a gathering place, and was the perfect spot for Aleema and James to kick off their romance.
Almost three years later, James popped the question at 6:45 in the morning. "I thought I was getting ready for an early meeting at work, when James told me to pack," says Aleema. "He caught me completely off-guard when he got down on one knee." Instead of going to work, James and Aleema were off to Hawaii to celebrate their engagement!
On May 4, 2013, Aleema and James made it official at The Parker Palm Springs. "We fell in love with the hotel during our first visit," says Aleema. "There's something magical about it. An almost Alice in Wonderland quality." So they ran with the feeling, planning a glam celebration with bright, whimsical colors that personified their venue, and their relationship. Zoom Theory Photography captured every playful detail.
The couple used coral, turquoise, and hints of yellow to highlight the bright colors of Palm Springs and the nearby desert: coral for the mountains, turquoise for the sky, and the yellow sun.
Aleema wore an A-line gown by Stefan Jolie. The gathered chiffon at the waist was soft and elegant, while a silver accent at the waist (and silver glitter flats!) dressed it up. She carried a bouquet of overblown pink peonies, tied with white ribbon. She added a veil for the ceremony to honor James's Catholic heritage.
James and his groomsmen wore three-piece suits with white orchid boutonnieres. The groom wore pink striped socks to match the bride's bouquet.
Aleema's six bridesmaids wore coral knee-length chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of coral peonies and white tea roses.
Aleema had wanted to get married at the Parker since she first visited the hotel in 2011. "James and I had only been dating a year," she says, "but I had to ask them if they were available in May of 2013!" Little did she know, she'd be back!
The wedding party, decked out in formalwear, were the picture of timeless — but with a vibrant twist.
The ceremony took place on the hotel's croquet lawn in front of clusters of paper lanterns. Aleema's nephew was the ring bearer, and walked the couple's dog, Teddy. "As he made his way down the aisle, guests could hear him saying 'C'mon Teddy, we can do it,'" says the bride. "He (and Teddy) did a fantastic job!"
Guests sipped fresh lemonade as they waited for the ceremony to begin. Once they said "I do," James and Aleema were showered with white rose petals on their way up the aisle as husband and wife.
Teddy wore a tuxedo to match James and the groomsmen. "He played an important role in how we got closer early on in our relationship," says Aleema. "There was no way we could get married without him!"
As guests arrived at the hotel's ballroom, they found their place cards tied to votive candle lanterns, casting a glow on the room. Cards featured a playful chevron design that matched the invitation suite.
Reception tables were topped with a mix of low and tall centerpieces featuring peonies, roses, and hydrangeas in white, coral, and orange. "We wanted to make sure everyone could talk and engage across the tables," says the bride.
The signature cocktails featured the Ginger Monkey, inspired by Teddy ("Because he looks like one!" says Aleema), and a Coralhound, which was a traditional greyhound with a splash of Chambord.
Instead of a traditional guest book, guests left their thumbprints on a tree print for the couple to display in their home.
Aleema and James worked with their band to choose every song until the end of dinner. "I wanted to create the feel for every moment," says the bride. The couple shared their first dance to Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight." After dinner, guests enjoyed their choice of either chocolate cake with banana cream filling or white cake with chocolate mousse filling. The band played 'til late, at which point the bride and groom left the reception to change. "We had a DJ for the Mad Hatter-themed after-party," says Aleema, where guests danced and snacked on truffle fries and sliders.
James and Aleema spent their honeymoon immersing themselves in the romance of Paris, Venice, and Greece, then returned to their new home and the beginning of married life. After the work she and James put in to make their wedding as special as possible, she urges brides to remember the details. "It's hard work, but that's what will set your wedding apart and make it yours," she says. "And don't forget to hire a videographer to capture those moments on film!" If you need any more convincing, click here to see their video by New Classic Films!
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Parker Palm Springs || Wedding Coordinater & Florist: Joey Lizotte of Artisan Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Stefan Jolie from Bijou Bridal || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Nathan Rickel of Salon 119 || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff || Groom & Groomsmen's Tuxedos: Black by Vera Wang || Wedding Bands: Diamonds by Diana || Invitations: Brenda Himmel Stationery || Paper Goods: Lovely Little Party || Signs: Jolie Mae Collections || Music: Ceremony - Cindy Brogan, Reception - New Sensation || Catering & Cake: The Parker Palm Springs || Favors: Custom Ink || Videography: New Classic Films || Photography: Zoom Theory Photography