A Tropical Palm Springs Wedding

Complete with the epitome of summer wedding décor: palm fronds and bright florals!

Bride and groom with tropical leaves

Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

The wedding of Elyse Dodge, an artist and events art director, and Lyndon Mayer, a UX design director, was as picture-perfect as their proposal, which happened surrounded by forest, lakes, and snow-capped mountains in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The pair originally met in 2012 at Lyndon's office party, when Elyse tagged along with her best friend (and now sister-in-law!), who, unbeknownst to the future lovebirds, had tried to set them up before. And after such a dreamy proposal, it was only appropriate that their “I dos” come at an equally picturesque outdoor venue, this time with 125 loved ones from around the globe in attendance. "We wanted a warm, comfortable location where everyone could be in vacation mode,” Elyse says. “We had visited Palm Springs a few times and loved the desert heat, the mid-century modern design, and laid back ‘60s vibe.” There, they found Cree Estate near the heart of town, which made the perfect venue with different atmospheres for the reception and ceremony. “It was beautiful but not opulent, and we felt at home there,” says the bride, who describes the look as “an elegant backyard tropical party.”

As an event designer herself, Elyse decided to plan on her own but enlisted the help of her longtime friend Call Wenner as a day-of coordinator and called in a few last-minute reinforcements before the big day, May 6, 2017. “Since we had such a clear theme and a limited budget, the details took a little longer to find,” she says. “We had a modern tropical ‘60s theme and our color scheme was white, coral, hot pink, and aqua—with a lot of fresh greenery added in,” she says. Keep reading to see how the talented Lauren Scotti captured their special day (fair warning: you're going to wish you had an invite!).

Bride and groom holding hands
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

The bride wore a charmeuse Celmira gown by Pronovias, which featured a scoop neckline, low back, and subtle lace appliqués along the sides and train. "When I put on the floor model, I felt giddy, comfortable, and elegant," she remembers. "I felt like a bride!”

Elyse accessorized her bridal look with her great aunt’s purse (something old), Marchesa crystal earrings (something new), an arrow ring from her sister-in-law (something borrowed), and a blue bracelet (something blue).

Bridal Party on beach
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

The cool bride asked her bridesmaids to wear dresses ranging from light pink to blush in whatever style they wished. Their vibrant bouquets (or red ginger, hot pink tropical flowers, palm fronds, monstera leaves, and desert air plants) helped to create a cohesive look for the mis-matched wedding party.

Guests at ceremony
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

“The coral and pink parasols added a pop of color at the ceremony and were a nice touch for guests who sat in the sun,” says the bride. They also served champagne and a "mocktail" made of soda, pineapple juice—and garnished with a pineapple and mini umbrella!

Tropical ceremony backdrop
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

The ceremony décor was fairly minimal—thanks to the outdoor garden setting!—but effective. The bamboo ceremony structure was covered with palm fronds and monstera leaves, while more palm fronds framed the aisle .

Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

The couple’s adorable flower girl matched the bridesmaids in a handmade dress from Rarity Fashion by Beverly Card. But warning: Her flower petals wilted in the hot weather so Elyse suggests keeping them in a cooler or having them delivered closer to go time.

Bride and Groom at the Altar
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography
Bride and groom kissing at altar
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography
Bride and groom walking down aisle
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

Elyse and Lyndon wrote their own vows, which contained both heartfelt serious messages and funny jokes: Elyse promised to kill spiders for her husband, while he vowed to be more interested in all the puppy videos she shows him. The ceremony was very much personal, with their eldest siblings and mothers sharing tearful readings and a longtime family friend (and marriage counselor!) officiating. “It was so nice to share such an intimate and special moment with someone we both love and admire,” Elyse says.

Reception Venue
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

As designers by trade, both the bride and groom hand-selected the bamboo lanterns, festoon lights, tiki torches and LED-lit palm trees. “It all really added to the whole aesthetic of the day," she says. Which isn't surprising as Elyse spent time and money to ensure the lighting was correct—it was on her priority list, after all!

Reception venue
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography
Wedding Party Sitting at Reception
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

“We both love tacos and down tempo house music so picking a caterer and DJ was really enjoyable,” says Elyse, who adds they spent a lot of time on their playlist. “I think it’s important to take a step back and realize that not only is this your wedding but it’s also your chance to make a party for your friends and family that you want to go to.”

The head table was clad in white linen, bamboo chairs, and a runner of palm fronds, monstera leaves, and tropical flowers. Soho tacos were served on compostable palm leaf plates, alongside matte gold flatware and aqua and clear Parisian glassware. “Lyndon and I drank from fun golden pineapple goblets that we have kept as a reminder of the day," Elyse adds.

Bride and groom first dance
Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

The couple learned that you can't plan everything to perfection, thanks to the unexpected sandstorm that hit halfway through the reception and forced everyone to grab their chairs and make a run for the ceremony site. “We made a big circle with all of the chairs and everyone got really close,” recalls Elyse. “It made for a really intimate setting for the speeches and first dance. By the time the dance floor opened up, full bottles of champagne were going around and cigars were being passed. Everyone was in such great spirits!”

Wedding Team

Venue: The Historic Cree Estate

Catering: Soho Tacos

Desserts: Shermans Deli

Bar: Shake Bartenders

Planner: Make My Day Events

Bride’s Dress: Atelier Pronovias Collection

Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman

Groom’s Attire: Indochino, Simons

Hair: Veronica Gomes Hair

Makeup: PM Hair Salon, Marriott Desert Springs Hotel

Floral Design: My Little Flower Shop

Music: DJ Joe Mama

Invitations: Adams Print

Paper Products: Vistaprint

Guest Book: Artifact Uprising

Groom’s Wedding Band: David Yurman

Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

Photography: Lauren Scotti

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