Julie Meyer and Robert "Max" Lavie first spotted one another on the popular dating app Tinder and, once they both swiped right and conducted a full background check that included vetting one another through mutual friends, the two went on their first date. "And we've been inseparable since," says Julie. But despite their close bond, Max was able to throw Julie off his scent when he was ready to propose. "He put a lot of effort into making me think an engagement was a very long way off," the marketing director bride says. How much effort? The pilot secretly sneaked off from their Dallas home and flew to Kanas City to ask Julie's father for permission to pop the question, never once revealing his flight plans. So when he dropped to one knee days later, "I was shocked to say the least," Julie says. "But it was the happiest surprise of my life."
"Where to get married was a no-brainer," Julie admits. The couple looked to Palm Springs, California, for their May 9, 2015 nuptials since it was the city where they first vacationed together and where Max proclaimed his love. Julie and Max ultimately booked Toscana Country Club, in nearby Indian Wells, which boasted mountain views and manicured lawns, and lent the ideal setting for the couple's romantic blush- and gold-hued party, photographed to perfection by Sara & Rocky Photography.
While the couple didn't have a theme for the wedding, Julie says, they did use a monogram that has been passed down through the family — a swirling M and L — throughout their event, including on their ivory, gold and pink invitation suite. "We carried it through our welcome bags, napkins, party cups, paper fans, and even the dance floor," Julie says. "I think we pretty much monogrammed everything we could."
Julie admits she tried on no fewer than 75 dresses in her search for "The One." But she slipped them off almost as quickly as she stepped into them. "I probably spent 30 seconds in each one until I tried on my Ines Di Santo gown," she says. "When I put it on, I didn't want to take it off." With its French ivory lace, silk taffeta underlay, and scalloped sweetheart neckline it was the first dress in which Julie remembers feeling like a bride.
The bride's full, round bouquet included a mix of pink and white peonies, astilbe, parrot tulips, dendrobium orchids, ranunculus, stock, roses, and lisianthus.
The bride added a bit of sparkle with her Christian Louboutin patina T-strap sandals. "I'm obsessed with them," she says of the blingy shoes. And that wasn't her only glittering accessory. Julie borrowed 35 carats worth of diamonds from a longtime family friend that owns the jewelry store de Boulle. "It was very special to get to wear their pieces on our wedding day."
Julie and Max couldn't wait to see one another on their wedding day, and opted for a first look. "Our first look is probably my favorite memory of the day," Julie says. "Everything else went by so fast, so it was nice to be able to see, hug, and kiss each other when it was just us."
Because Julie didn't want her bridesmaids to be "matchy-matchy," as she describes, she asked them to each chose their own gown from Jenny Yoo's line in blush. "I loved how they all looked together," the bride says. Max and his groomsmen all wore classic tuxedos.
Julie and Max's nearly 100 guests arrived at the ceremony while a string quartet performed and enjoyed water and champagne to cope with the Palm Springs heat. With mountains as their backdrop, the couple needed little in the way of décor, opting for two large arrangements at the end of their grass aisle made of pink, white, and peach hydrangea, peonies, pink astilbe, parrot tulips, ranunculus, stock, roses, lisianthus, and dendrobium orchids.
After her father walked her down the aisle, Julie and Max exchanged vows they chose themselves. "Our officiant worked with us to write our ceremony script, so we got to choose our own wedding vows and the overall message, which I thought was really special and meaningful," explains Julie. The went with traditional vows, during which they promised to stand beside one another through all life's adversities. "We chose those vows thoughtfully because we both wanted the ceremony to really reflect how we felt about each other and the commitment we were making," Julie says.
Beneath a tent draped in blush fabric, guests found Julie and Max's reception. "The fabric created a softer, more intimate feel," Julie explains. To upgrade the space, the couple accented the tent's permanent chandeliers with string lights. Tables were dressed in a blush lace overlay and lined with gold Chivari chairs.
"Because the tent was so tall, I wanted tall table arrangements to fill the space," Julie says. The couple asked their florist to mix candles with towering arrangements of hydrangea, peonies, astilbe, parrot tulips, ranunculus, stock, roses, lisianthus and dendrobium orchids, plus lemon leaf, seeded eucalyptus, and ferns.
After serving a selection of filet mignon and wild Chilean sea bass with sides like potatoes, asparagus, and carrots, the couple sliced their cake, a four-tiered round confection with blush scroll piping and cascading flowers, and a second sweet treat. They served up a groom's cake in the form of an edible version of Julie and Max's chocolate Labrador, Alder.
On a dance floor that featured their custom monogram, the couple took a twirl to Sam Cooke's "That's Where It's At." Once they left the party through a tunnel of lavender (towards a decorated golf cart as their getaway car!) the couple headed for Maui on their honeymoon. "It was absolutely beautiful and relaxing," Julie says. "Exactly what we needed after the wedding."
"Wedding planning is stressful," Julie admits. "There are so many moving parts, outside opinions, and financial and time commitments. So my advice is work together, don't get too caught up in what other people think, and remember why you're planning all of it in the first place. In the end, the day is about the two of you and a celebration of your love and commitment!"
Venue, Wedding Coordination & Catering: Toscana Country Club || Bride's Wedding Dress: Ines Di Santo || Jewelry & Rings: de Boulle || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Hair: Hair by Holly Farley || Makeup: Makeup by Keturah || Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Groom's Attire: Neiman Marcus || Groomsmen Attire: Mr. Tuxedo || Flower Girl Attire: Us Angels || Florist: Vaso Bello || Invitations & Paper Goods: Ellis Hill || Music: Wild Fire || Cake: Exquisite Desserts || Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Indian Wells || Photography: Sara & Rocky Photography
Want more wedding inspiration from the west coast? Then you'll love watching another couple's California celebration in the video below.