A Family-Filled Wedding at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs

Planned by After The Engagement

first kiss

Photo by Tony Wodarck

Instead of going to one of their hometowns or even Washington, D.C., the city where they met, Rachel Louie and Abe Liao decided to host their wedding in the new city they call home: Palm Springs, California. “We wanted to showcase our beautiful new city to our friends and family, so we loved the outdoor space Colony Palms had to offer,” Rachel says of their wedding venue.

Since both Rachel and Abe work in hospitality but wanted to be complete guests, so they hired Courtney Tibbets of After The Engagement to plan the wedding from start to finish. “She made it seamless and helped calm us down and keep us focused if we ever got stressed,” Rachel says. “Literally, because of her, our day was more than we could have ever dreamed of.”

That day included heartfelt vows to one another—and to Abe’s two daughters—as well as touching speeches from friends and family on the lawn of the Colony Palms Hotel, where the couple held the ceremony and reception. Guests dined on a family-style meal, to promote conversation with one another, and danced alongside Chinese lion dancers before the couple took the last dance to The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” After, they jetted off to Maui for a mini-moon. “Oh, how we wish we could relive it again,” Rachel says.

Read on for all the sweet details from Rachel and Abe’s wedding, planned by After The Engagement and photographed by Tony Wodarck.

invitation
Photo by Tony Wodarck

The couple invited their 145 to celebrate with them in Palm Springs, California, the city the couple now calls home. Their invitation suite set the tone for the weekend with an illustration of palm fronds and gold accents.

rings
Photo by Tony Wodarck
rings
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Abe proposed to Rachel along a canal in Amsterdam with a marquee-cut diamond and yellow gold ring.

bride with mom
Photo by Tony Wodarck 
bride with bridesmaid
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Rachel was dress shopping with her mother and mother-in-law when she found her silk sheath dress by Savannah Miller. “When I came out with MY dress, they were both speechless,” she says. On the big day, she paired it with floral-embellished heels and a jade bracelet, being that jade is an extremely lucky stone in Chinese culture. “I didn’t want to change any aspect of my look," she says. "I felt like a bride!”

bride
Photo by Tony Wodarck

I didn’t want to change any aspect of my look—I felt like a bride!

bouquet
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Rachel’s bouquet included a variety of white flowers, including roses and anemones.

first look
Photo by Tony Wodarck
first look
Photo by Tony Wodarck
bride and groom
Photo by Tony Wodarck
groom crying
Photo by Tony Wodarck

The couple did a first look to kick off the wedding day. For the big reveal, Abe wore a black tuxedo from Suitsupply with black suede loafers for the ceremony with a few nods to his heritage: a jade pendant and a gold chain given to him by his parents.

bride and groom
Photo by Tony Wodarck
bride and groom
Photo by Tony Wodarck

After their emotional first look, the couple took portraits at a variety of locations around their wedding venue. “We wanted an outdoor affair full of, good food and good drinks, and most importantly, a great dance party,” Rachel says.

flower girls
Photo by Tony Wodarck
bridesmaids
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Rachel’s bridesmaids wore a mix of black dresses and jumpsuits that each woman picked out to show off her personal style.

groomsmen
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Abe’s groomsmen all donned matching black tuxedos from The Black Tux that they paired with antique typewriter-style cufflinks.

ceremony backdrop
Photo by Tony Wodarck

The couple used lots of natural greenery to offset the black-and-white color palette for the day. That included a hanging floral arch as the ceremony backdrop.

bride with father
Photo by Tony Wodarck
bride with father
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Rachel was escorted down the aisle by her father.

couple with flower girls
Photo by Tony Wodarck
flower girls
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Abe’s daughters served as flower girls, wearing custom rainbow-accented dresses (look at the hem!)—a look they actually requested. “We were happy to oblige,” Rachel says.

vows
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Rachel prepared special vows for the girls as well, which were heartfelt, genuine, and there were very few dry eyes afterward.

groom crying
Photo by Tony Wodarck

After sharing their personalized vows with one another, Rachel surprised the crowd with an additional set of vows—for her soon-to-be step-daughters. “Rachel prepared special vows for the girls as well, which were heartfelt, genuine, and there were very few dry eyes afterward," Abe says.

first kiss
 Photo by Tony Wodarck
ceremony exit
Photo by Tony Wodarck
married
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Be present for the days leading up to the wedding, for the entirety of the big day, and for the glowing days after,” Rachel advises. “Before you know it, it’ll all be a memory.”

seating chart
Photo by Tony Wodarck
seating chart
Photo by Tony Wodarck
wedding guests
Photo by Tony Wodarck

To keep with the chic vibe, table assignments were written on a massive acrylic board and the card box was also made from acrylic.

guest book
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Also done in acrylic, the couple had a box made to hold cards from their loved ones.

reception table
Photo by Tony Wodarck

We shared the table with our daughters so it was wonderfully intimate, but we felt so loved being surrounded by our friends and family.

reception table
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Rachel and Abe shared a "family table" with his daughters. It had quite the prominent placement: atop a custom bridge built over the pool! “We shared the table with our daughters so it was wonderfully intimate, but we felt so loved being surrounded by our friends and family,” Rachel says.

table decor
Photo by Tony Wodarck
table decor
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Tables were topped with gold vessels overflowing with greenery, white flowers, and gold spray-painted palm leaves. The reception décor included reclaimed wood tables with black-and-white flowers, greenery, and a pop of gray on the linens.

chinese dancers
Photo by Tony Wodarck
dancers
Photo by Tony Wodarck
chinese surprise
Photo by Tony Wodarck

The couple surprised their guests, including their parents, with Chinese lion dancers as a nod to Abe’s heritage. It remains one of the couple’s favorite memories. “Lion dance performers were incredible,” Rachel says. “Everyone was captivated as they wound around the pool.”

dancing
Photo by Tony Wodarck
first dance
Photo by Tony Wodarck

After dinner, the bridge served as a focal point for the couple’s first dance.

father daughter dance
Photo by Tony Wodarck
mother son dance
Photo by Tony Wodarck

The couple skipped some traditions, like a bouquet toss, but kept a sweet one to honor their parents: the father-daughter and mother-son dances.

jean jackets
Photo by Tony Wodarck
jean jackets
Photo by Tony Wodarck

Towards the end of the night, Rachel threw on a customized Mrs. Liao jean jacket for the reception, a look mirrored by Abe’s daughters, who had their own personalized jackets too.

dancing
Photo by Tony Wodarck
dancing
Photo by Tony Wodarck 

Having a great dance party was a priority for the couple, and they were successful—guests of all ages were on the dance floor all night!

cake cutting
Photo by Tony Wodarck
cake cutting
Photo by Tony Wodarck

The couple cut into a single-tier cake but didn’t make a big point of showing off the moment to the crowd. Instead, they took made their last dance—to "Hey Jude" by The Beatles—their big moment. “We crowded in a circle with our parents singing, and before we knew it, the rest of our guests gathered in a circle surrounding us and we all shouted the song together," Rachels recalls. "It was such a powerful moment full of love and support!”

Wedding Team

Wedding Venue & Catering Colony Palms Hotel

Wedding Planner Courtney Tibbets of After The Engagement

Floral Design The Lavender Rose

Bride's Dress Savannah Miller

Hair & Makeup Jen Plus Colour; Say I Do Updos

Groom’s Attire Suit Supply

Groomsmen Attire The Black Tux

Floral Design The Lavender Rose

Invitations Minted

Music DJ Matt Phipps

Cake Over The Rainbow Bakery and Desserts

Rentals Planks and Patina; Signature Party Rentals

Videography Iron and Fern

Photography Tony Wodarck

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