Photo: Tribute Portfolio
Palm tree-lined boulevards, posh resorts, those iconic midcentury modern estates — Palm Springs has rightfully earned its place in the pantheon of classic California destinations. A desert enclave that caters to A-list clientele, Palm Springs has no shortage of incredible locations for brides drawn to the idea of a destination wedding with a dose of Hollywood glamour.
Tucked into the eastern side of the San Jacinto Mountains in Southern California, Palm Springs feels more remote than it actually is. It's an easy drive from San Diego or Los Angeles, and numerous airlines offer direct flights into Palm Springs, including Delta, JetBlue, United, and Virgin America. Once on the ground, the city is fairly easy to navigate; many hotels offer bicycle rentals and free shuttle services, and the downtown core is very walkable.
As Palm Springs is a desert climate, the best seasons for weddings are spring and fall, although brides should be wary of booking during the April weekends that coincide with the Coachella Music Festival (unless a festival wedding is your thing!). Although the temperatures are cooler, winter desert weddings do have their own charms, including discounted rates, less visitors to the area, and still not much chance of rain.
As far as resources go, the Palm Springs City Tourism Bureau has a dedicated website to assist with wedding planning as well as a Pinterest account with inspiration boards covering everything from resort venues and private estates to LGBT weddings, and desert-inspired floral arrangements. The Greater Palm Springs Wedding Association is another excellent resource.
Palm Springs has wedding venues to suit any fancy, from The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, an intimate and luxurious 8-room villa with spectacular views and a storied past, to The Riviera Palm Springs, a Tribute Portfolio Resort, which brought a touch of Vegas glitz (and entourage) to Palm Springs when it opened in the late 1950s. The Riviera recently upped the ante with a $70 million renovation, which includes a new pool bar, and wedding pavilion.
For brides wanting that quintessential vintage Palm Springs aesthetic, the Parker Palm Springs — the chic, West Coast sibling of Le Parker Meridien in New York City — and the Ace Hotel & Swim Club — an outpost of the so very hip boutique hotel brand — both channel Palm Springs of another era without skimping on modern luxuries.
And for an outdoor ceremony against a backdrop of rolling fairways and desert landscapes, it doesn't get better than La Quinta Resort & Club, which is home to five championship courses. A hideaway to the stars since the 1920s — Ginger Rogers married French actor Jacques Bergerac here in 1953 — the expansive property features a mix of Spanish-style casitas and suites, numerous swimming pools and a 23,000-square-foot spa.