DeAndre "Dre" Glover knew he wanted to to move out of his hometown Augusta, Georgia, but he wasn’t sure where he wanted to go. So the welder and founder of lifestyle brand Mustard Grain began using work as an excuse to travel the U.S. and explore. One project brought him to Chicago for a month and, while there, he logged onto Hinge. That’s where he came across celebrity hairstylist and salon owner Alexandra Brown. She was a traveler too: She’d lived in LA for a few years, and now calls Chicago home while flying to style clients.
“Our first date was a Chicago Bears versus New England Patriots football game,” Alex remembers. It was October 2018, and the date sealed the deal.
“We got engaged in July 2020,” Alex says. “After living in LA, I fell in love with nature and hiking—so Dre knew how much I loved going to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. It has gorgeous hiking trails and waterfalls, and is as close to LA hiking as we can get in the Midwest. He planned an intimate picnic in the woods at sunset with sushi and wine. It was such a surprise and so romantic!”
For their wedding, they wanted something similarly intimate and nature-driven. “Having a wedding during a pandemic was obviously something neither of us would have expected, but luckily we always knew we wanted only our closest friends and family there,” Alex says. With their guest list set at 55, and knowing they wanted a destination wedding, they began searching Instagram for the perfect venue. “We had fallen in love with the desert and had traveled to the Palm Springs and Joshua Tree area a few times while dating. We love the energy of the desert and all of the amazing stars at night. We stumbled upon Le Chacuel while searching Instagram hashtags for #palmspringswedding and #joshuatreewedding. We wanted something outdoor and intimate. This home in the middle of the Joshua Tree forest, designed by two insanely talented women, was our dream backdrop.”
In fact, they felt the venue was so special that they kept it a surprise from their guests for the October 16, 2021 wedding. “Guests were shuttled to the private residence down a small dirt road into the middle of the desert, and were dropped off at the entrance to the property,” Alex shares.
Once the venue was set, everything else fell into place quite easily. “Overall, the planning process was a lot of fun,” Alex says. “Dre and I pretty much knew the overall vibe we wanted after securing Le Chacuel, so it felt obvious and fun when it came to choosing all of our vendors. We wanted neutral, earthy tones and textures to complement the desert, but added in modern furniture and decor and some street-style details to tone down the total bohemian feel the desert can give off, which really complemented the overall architecture of the venue.”
“We started the planning process about eight months before our wedding,” she continues. “The hardest part was being patient and waiting for vendors to respond to our emails. Dealing with so many different people and companies can become overwhelming, so I found it super important to organize my emails and take lots of notes in my planner.”
She had some help, of course, from the planning team at Fetelle Designs. Read on to see how their intimate, earth-tone wedding day came to life, photographed by Brooke Miller Photography and videography by Spin The Dial Productions.
Being in the beauty industry, Alex went all in on skincare leading up to the wedding. “I did microneedling, Clear + Brilliant treatments, and hydrafacials at SpaDerma medspa in Chicago, starting seven months before my wedding,” she says. “I also purchased the NuFACE radio frequency machine and used it leading up to the wedding day and on the morning of my wedding. It helps with tightening and lifting the skin—I love it!”
Her big-day beauty vision? “I wanted to feel timeless, and to be an elevated version of myself,” she says. “I really wanted glowy, dewy skin and long, full lashes!” Her makeup artist used Patrick Ta Major Glow body oil on her chest and collarbones to amp up the glow. For hair, she wanted “effortless half-up hair that had a soft bounce to it from velcro rollers,” she says. “I saw a photo of a bride on Instagram that I loved and tried it out before the wedding day. I liked that it was pulled off of my face, but still had hair on my shoulders and down my back. It felt very glamorous.”
Her manicure was harder to decide on. “I was going back and forth for so long because my nails are my thing. Instead of doing natural or French, I went with a super dark maroon color, which really felt like myself and was perfect for my October wedding.”
“I fell in love with Danielle Frankel's unique designs that aren’t super traditional or overly bridal,” Alex says. She opted for the designer’s Noa dress and paired with a unique pleated Danielle Frankel veil. “I wore dainty gold earrings with a pearl on them from BHLDN; my sister-in-law’s dainty gold bracelet, something borrowed; and my grandmother’s solid gold baby ring on my pinky finger.”
She carried a chic earth-toned bouquet of neutral florals mixed with dried elements.
“Dre started off the morning with a run, and then his dad, who is a barber, cut his hair,” Alex says. “He showered and had a drink in the suite with his closest family and friends.” He’s diligent about skincare, too. “I make sure to have a cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer always on hand and exfoliate once every three days,” he says. He finished his prep with a spray of Creed Aventus cologne.
The groom designed a custom tux with Chicago-based PROVENANCE by Diana Michelle. “He wanted a double-breasted jacket with a subtle floral pattern and satin lapels,” Alex says. “Our names and wedding date are embroidered in the jacket lining. His shoes are the YSL Wyatt leather boots, which he chose because of the fall wedding in the desert sand, and he wore palm tree cufflinks to signify the location.”
“We rented boho rugs from Archive to layer as our altar, and we bought an outdoor aisle runner from Designing the Aisle,” Alex describes. “We layered large flower arrangements in an arch behind us and down the aisle—a mix of dried and real florals—and included a ton of large pillar candles.” She continues: “We made our own ceremony programs from a template on Etsy and had them printed. We then folded them and cut two holes in the fold to tie a thick ribbon on the edge and dress them up a bit.”
“We hired a saxophonist to walk around and play his own rendition of ‘Tadow’ by FKJ and Masego as guests arrived,” Alex says. “He complemented the DJ very well and played along with some of the songs the DJ played.”
To begin the ceremony, Dre entered with his mom to “Chicago Freestyle (Giveon only version)” by Drake, then Alex’s father walked her down the aisle to the tune of Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed.” “Dre and I loved waiting to see each other at the aisle for the first time,” Alex says. “It made the moment so much more special and was also exciting for our guests to witness.”
“Our ceremony was the most important part of our wedding to us, so we wanted it to be meaningful and so special,” Alex says. “It was officiated by one of our best friends, Arron Bethel. We both thought of choosing him right away; he has such a kind and deep soul. One of Dre’s best friends read the poem ‘On Marriage’ by Khalil Gibran. This poem felt very meaningful to Dre and I. We also wrote and read our own vows.”
The couple performed a unity candle ceremony as Beyonce’s “Ave Maria” played in the background. "The ceremony was deep and intimate, which was something we really were wanting," share the newlyweds.
They had an epic idea for portraits. “We love a good vintage car, and Dre’s dream car is the 1970 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors,” Alex says. “We loved the idea of incorporating this into our wedding photos and found one to rent for the day that was white with a forest green leather interior.”
Alex’s Gucci shoes were a key accessory. “I knew I’d need a platform or block heel for the desert sand and these were so comfortable,” she says—but, she still let Dre sweep her off her feet.
“The cocktail hour was so dreamy during sunset, and included passed appetizers of red snapper ceviche and espadas de fruta,” Alex says. “Our bar was a renovated trailer from a woman-owned business, Nomad Cocktail Co., with our favorite drinks as our signature cocktails: a mezcal old fashioned and a spicy margarita.” A Champagne display doubled as a seating chart, and guests signed their name in a coffee table book, At Home in Joshua Tree, that the couple found on Amazon.
Two long tables were set on either side of the gorgeous pool, with a sweetheart table for the bride and groom. String lights sparkled overheard. “Our tables were covered in tons of candles and flowers from Joy of Bloom,” Alex says. “We purchased cloth table runners from Etsy; we hung disco balls and included them in a large floral hanging arrangement above our dance floor which added a lot to the cement!”
“The place settings were white with brass silverware. There were brass goblets for water and clear glassware for other beverages,” Alex describes. “We had neutral fringe chargers which complemented the place cards well. Velvet Fox Designs made the cutest leather menus with a small wooden place card with fringe for each guest.”
There was a moment during dinner when we sat back and really looked at everything and everyone together in awe.
The couple swung to Tevin Campbell's “Can We Talk” before everyone sat down for dinner. “We wanted to bring what we love into our wedding, and we have always been obsessed with a taco truck,” Alex says. “We found a company called Soho Taco that brought in a taco cart where the chefs cooked the tacos right in front of our guests—a taco truck couldn’t safely drive down the dirt road that led to the venue, so this was the next best thing. Guests were able to choose from five different proteins and could customize everything.” The cart also served up rice and beans, guacamole, and fresh homemade salsas.
“There was a moment during dinner when we sat back and really looked at everything and everyone together in awe,” Alex remembers. “It was a moment we will never forget.”
Parent dances came next, and the couple chose a trio of songs: Alex and her dad danced to Céline Dion’s “Come To Me” and The Beatles’ “All My Loving”; then Dre and his mom danced to “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men.
The newlyweds cut into a vegan caramel chocolate cake adorned with more dried florals before the party really got started. They stayed in California for a honeymoon at Rosewood Miramar Beach in Santa Barbara, and reflected on a wedding day that beautifully reflected their elegant street style. “It goes by so fast and is such a whirlwind—take a moment together to soak it all in,” they advise other couples. “And make time to eat your dinner at the wedding!”
Venue Le Chacuel
Wedding Planner Fetelle Designs
Bridal Gown and Veil Designer Danielle Frankel
Bride’s Jewelry BHLDN; HauteCarat; Vladdys Diamonds
Bride’s Shoes Gucci
Bride’s Hair Carly Bethel
Bride’s Makeup Lyndsay Zavitz
Groom’s Attire PROVENANCE by Diana Michelle
Groom’s Shoes YSL
Engagement Ring Vladdys Diamonds
Wedding Bands HauteCarat
Floral Designer Joy of Bloom
Invitations and Signage Velvet Fox Designs
Music Saxophonist: Adi Ben Yehuda; Reception: DJ T-Roc
Catering Soho Taco
Beverages Nomad Cocktail Co.
Cake Hey There Cupcake
Lighting Brilliant Event Lighting
Videographer Spin the Dial Productions
Photographer Brooke Miller Photography