Classic style combines with garden grace to create a romantic affair

For Elizabeth, who once considered becoming an event planner, coordinating the details for her wedding to Christopher was a dream come true. The LA-based couple chose to host their May 2006, wedding at The Parker Palm Springs, where the lush greenery set against the grand rocks of the desert provided more than just a scenic backdrop. "I was so taken by the tranquility of Palm Springs," says Elizabeth. "Chris and I wanted our guests to feel like they had escaped on a minivacation while being here." So when their friends and family gathered for the springtime celebration, the couple threw a party that played off of the history of Palm Springs: "We were surrounded by this amazing mid-century architecture, and we were inspired by the fun of the Rat Pack era," says the bride. "Chris and I wanted to host our version of an old-school supper club."

Elizabeth had the lawn area decorated with umbrellas, hammocks, beds and silk pillows in their color scheme of pink, chocolate brown and pale yellow, so guests could escape from the sun and relax in an elegant environment. "Everyone was having such a great time," she recalls. "We had dogs and children running on the lawn. It really felt like a family party in the backyard!"

As the doors to the main ballroom opened, classics by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin filled the air. "Our guests really experienced old-time Palm Springs," says the bride. As everyone finished the last dance, they were handed a small bag of chocolate-chip cookies with a tag that read "Groom's Favorite Dessert"—a surprise that Elizabeth had arranged for Chris, and a delicious way to end the night on a sweet note. —Cristi L. Hansen

Learn from Elizabeth and Chris

Encourage Interaction: When it came time for guests to find their escort cards, they found flirtatious cards by Kate Spade with fun phrases such as "Playing footsie is encouraged." "Our guests loved them!" says the bride.

Plan for the Full Experience: To help everyone get into the Palm Springs spirit, the couple arranged for a croquet match to be held the day before the wedding. Elizabeth and Chris also created a CD entitled For the Road and filled it with tunes that would evoke the feeling of the locale.

Recruit Wedding-Day Help: Although Elizabeth enjoyed the experience of planning and organizing her event, she had two planners on hand the day of to handle all of the last-minute logistics so she could relax at her wedding.

The bride carried an arrangement of summery blooms in her wedding colors, and accessorized with an elbow-length veil.

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