Casey Cooper and Brad Emmons's love story is straight out of an early 2000s flick—no really, Brad, the senior quarterback, and Casey, the freshman cheerleader, met as high schoolers in 2001 and have been together ever since. "It sounds like a 2000s movie starring Freddie Prinze Jr.," she jokes.
After more than 15 years together, the couple went from being just high school sweethearts to engaged when Brad proposed in St. Tropez. "I had been waiting for this day for a really long time," she shares. "I burst into tears that after 15-and-half years together we were finally going to be husband and wife!"
She'd also imagined marrying Brad since she just 17-years-old and on September 21, 2019, it finally happened. The wedding day was a sophisticated bride's dream, but with a twist: all-white wedding décor, abundant florals, and romantic lighting dropped in the middle of a desert and at a colorful resort, nonetheless. "We wanted a party, from the moment our guests arrived on Thursday, to the moment they left," Casey says of the wedding weekend, which included three nights of events and a post-wedding brunch.
Everything took place at the Parker Palm Springs. "From the moment we pulled up to that white art deco wall with the orange door, I knew that was the place we had to get married," she says.
From the outfit changes to the custom details to the late-night treat, Casey and Brad surprised their guests at every turn. Ahead, more of their Palm Springs vows, as planned by The Lynden Lane Co. and photographed by KT Merry.
Palm Springs has long been a special location for the couple so planning a destination affair there was a no-brainer. "There is something about being in the desert that gives us both a sense of peace, calm, happiness, and reinvigorating energy," says the bride.
To set the tone for the weekend in California, the Miami-based couple sent blue-and-white save the date cards and lucite invitations by Swell Press.
There is something about being in the desert that gives us both a sense of peace, calm, happiness, and reinvigorating energy
Once Casey and Brad finalized their wedding date, the next task was to hire KT Merry as their photographer. "To us, pictures were the most important thing," she reveals.
Before guests arrived Thursday evening for the rehearsal dinner, Casey and Brad snuck away with their photographer for a photoshoot in the desert. "KT had us climbing under fences and up hills to a place that legitimately looked like we were on Mars," recalls the bride. "The sand was whipping all of us in the face, my hair was going wild, but the photos turned out absolutely insane and we all were laughing the entire time!"
Choosing the Parker Palm Springs as the locale for their grand weekend was an easy choice. "We wanted our guests to come to Palm Springs for the weekend, check into the Parker and get lost in this wonderful world that has been created behind that giant white wall...and that is exactly what they did!"
Upon arrival, each guest received a bag full of the couple's favorite snacks, candies, and drinks plus other Palm Springs essentials like sunscreen, flip flops, and custom embroidered hats and t-shirts. "I wanted to do the welcome bags myself because I wanted them to be exploding with personalized things that all of our guests knew represented Brad and me," adds the bride.
Personalizing our wedding was very important to us—we wanted ourselves to be reflected in every part of our weekend.
After a Thursday evening rehearsal dinner, Casey and Brad formally welcomed their 150 guests to the Palm Springs oasis on Friday. Their cheeky welcome sign reminded guests of the witty wedding hashtag: #WhenLifeGivesYouEmmons—a cute play on their soon-to-be last name! "Personalizing our wedding was very important to us—we wanted ourselves to be reflected in every part of our weekend," says the bride.
They hosted a welcome party that night, using Brad's favorite bottle of tequila, Clase Azul, as inspiration for the blue décor. He wore a colorful suit while Casey opted for a strapless white gown by Alexia María.
Casey knew this strapless Monique Lhuillier ball gown was "the one" the moment she first put it on. However, she admits, it was her entourage that needed some convincing—so she tried it on again on three separate shopping trips. "I knew it was my gown because I kept going back to it and I was comparing every other dress I tried on to it. I finally brought my sister Ashley with me to try it on one last time and she helped me confirm that it was one hundred percent my dress."
She did make a few changes to the princess-style gown, adding extra lace to the back and extending the train by three more feet for a dramatic, romantic look.
White wasn't solely reserved for the bride, but for the bridesmaids, too! "I think wearing all-white looks clean, classy, and elegant, and it is something my family is infamous for," reveals Casey. And while her seven 'maids all stuck to the angelic shade, she let each one pick their own style gown. She says of her reasoning, "I wanted all of the girls to be in different styles so that it looked less bridesmaid and more editorial."
Sticking with the all-white theme, both Casey and her bridesmaids carried white floral bouquets accented with greenery from Oak and the Owl. Despite using the same flowers, the bride's bouquet was the biggest, of course!
Before meeting each other at the altar, the high school sweethearts met up for a loving first look. "Brad’s attire was a bit of a negotiation," admits the bride, saying she wanted him to wear a classic suit while he envisioned something edgier. "He wore a custom all-black tuxedo by My.Suit with our wedding date and his initials embroidered on the inside of the jacket for the ceremony, and then changed into a custom navy blue velvet smoking jacket for the reception and after-party."
The couple's dreamy, elegant ceremony décor was a stark contrast to the desert terrain. Two luscious floral arches served as focal points—one at the beginning of the aisle and one at the end. For an added level of glamour, Casey and Brad planned to say their "I dos" on an elevated stage alongside the wedding party, and white flower petals covered the white aisle for added romance.
As Casey walked down the aisle with her father, a string quartet played John Legend's moving track "All of Me," which the bride claims is very special to her and Brad. "Music was very important to us and we wanted all of the music to reflect songs that meant something to us," she says.
The couple chose to exchange traditional vows at the altar. But they did personalize the ceremony by asking the priest to share anecdotes about their 15-year love story throughout.
David Guetta's "Without You" (also played by a string quartet) was the soundtrack to their recessional as guests tossed flower petals into the air.
Do what you want and what you envision because, at the end of the day, it is about you and your partner and no one else.
"Do what you want and what you envision because, at the end of the day, it is about you and your partner and no one else," Casey encourages future couples. "As much as you love your friends and family, know that you can’t make everyone happy, so make yourselves happy!"
Cocktail hour commenced with two signature drinks—a spicy Mezcal mix dubbed "The Londoner" (after their dog!) and a vodka pink lemonade cleverly called "When Life Gives You Emmons." Each came with a custom cocktail napkin. "We used custom embroidered cocktail napkins throughout the weekend which included fun facts about Brad and me on Friday night, and song quotes that were special to us on Saturday night," adds the bride.
The escort cards were kept simple, boasting the couple's custom monogram, which was a reoccurring theme throughout the night.
"There was one thing I really wanted that we had to work really hard to make happen: the canopy of twinkle lights," exclaims Casey. "It still makes me teary when I look at it! We were all so happy when we got to walk in there and see it in real life. We all cried tears of joy!"
Another must? Candelabras! "I always knew that I wanted crystal candelabras for the wedding," she says. For subtle color, the couple chose blue taper candles that matched both the glassware and napkin embroidery (which was actually a suggestion from their planner!). Their napkins were also custom, putting their two-initial monogram on display yet again.
Rather than choosing a classic love song, the newlyweds played the hip-hop tune "21 Questions" by 50 Cent during their first dance. "It has been our song since we first started dating in high school," she explains. "We were holding onto each other and I kept thinking back to the first time I remember dancing to that song with Brad – during the first summer we were together, at a house party we were at in the town we grew up in. And then there we were 15 years later, in a wedding gown and tuxedo, in Palm Springs, surrounded by the same friends that were there the first time, as husband and wife, and still dancing together like we were in that backyard in 2003. It was absolutely perfect."
Following the meal, everyone made their way into an all-white indoor lounge (with plenty of mirrored furniture, florals, and candles) for dancing and dessert. There, guests found another treat: a three-tier geometric wedding cake filled with chocolate cake with Oreo buttercream and Funfetti flavors with vanilla buttercream.
To kick off the after-party indoors, the bride swapped her princess gown for a dancefloor-friendly look by Berta. Encrusted with Swarovski crystals, the long sleeve, high slit dress was made to "party all night in," she claims.
"We love live music, but we also love electronic music, so we decided to do both," Casey says. A full 18-piece band, The Lucky Devils, started the night with Earth Wind and Fire's hit song “September," an ode to their wedding date of September 21. Later, RedShoe, a Los Angeles DJ, took the stage as glow sticks and other party paraphernalia were passed out to guests. "The dance floor was packed until they kicked us out in the wee hours of the morning," exclaims the bride.
The final surprise of the evening was the late-night In-N-Out. "It was the one non-negotiable," says Casey. "Sitting down to eat that burger mid-party, amongst all of the people I love while Kygo blasted from the speakers, was legitimately one of the best parts of the entire weekend!"
Venue, Accommodations & Catering Parker Palm Springs
Wedding Planner The Lynden Lane Co.
Officiant Father Alfred Burnham
Bride's Dress Monique Lhuillier
Veil Chic Parisien
Bridal Salon Chic Parisien
Shoes Christian Louboutin
Hair Jesse German
Makeup Kendall Bennewitz, Deanna Imerti
Rehearsal Dinner Attire Alexia Maria
Reception Dress Berta
Bridesmaid Dresses Katie May
Groom’s Attire Custom by My.Suit
Groomsmen Attire The Black Tux
Flower Girl Attire Manaia Baby Designs
Ring Bearer Attire Ralph Lauren
Engagement Ring Gene Berkey
Wedding Bands Cartier
Floral Design Oak and the Owl
Invitations Swell Press
Guest Book Regusci Winery
Entertainment Angelica Strings, The Lucky Devils, Red Shoe LA DJs
Cake Over the Rainbow Desserts
Rentals Theoni Collection, La Tavola Linens, Found Rentals, Bright Event Rentals, Edge Design and Décor
Lighting & Draping Amber Event Productions
Monogrammed Dinner Napkins The Robins Nest Custom Embroidery
Videography Le Reve Films
Photography KT Merry