Chanelle Laurence and Christian Ojeda, cofounders of cool-girl clothing brand Valley High, dated for 11 years before getting engaged. “Christian told me he was planning to pop the question, but I had no idea when,” Chanelle says. That is, of course, until he made plans with his now-wife to head back to the Santa Monica arcade where they’d gone for their first Valentine’s date to take pictures in the photo booth. “Christian hates photos, and really doesn’t like going anywhere, so when he made plans to drive to the west side, I caught on immediately. Some girls might want a surprise, but I was so glad I knew. It meant I could be hyper-aware of every moment,” she remembers. On November 28, 2015, they ventured back to the photo booth, going through three strips of pictures before Christian wiggled Chanelle’s custom engagement ring out of his pocket. “It was one of the most magical moments I’ve ever experienced,” says Chanelle—who of course said yes!
On April 7th, 2017, they invited 135 guests to join them at the Thatcher Estate in Bermuda Dunes, California. “We went to a party at the estate during Coachella and fell in love. It was a blank canvas, but still had the Palm Springs vibe we really wanted,” says Chanelle. The couple kept the design super minimal, using a palette of white, black, and gold with pops of kelly green, and focused on a fabulous party. With DIY touches, sleek and stylish details, and a vibe that is the epitome of Valley High, Chanelle and Christian’s Palm Springs bash (photographed by Christopher Velasco) is one you won’t want to miss!
By the time Chanelle and Christian walked down the aisle, they’d been together for 13 years, which served as the perfect inspiration of their invitation suite!
Along with her bridesmaids, Chanelle spent the morning getting ready with the couple’s pups. The bride welcomed her squad with stuffed bags stuffed with goodies, from Vans sneakers to Pre-Heels spray and masks from Philosophy. And instead of matching dresses, she had each gal don a black cocktail dress and heels, then slip on the letter jacket she gifted them when she popped the "Will you be my bridesmaid?" question. As they headed down the aisle, “I wanted them to look uniform while still having their own style,” the bride explains.
Her own dress was a totally stunning Houghton NYC style from LOHO Bride, with a simple silhouette paired with an off-the-shoulder cape detail. “I tried it on first, then tried on 13 other styles. Once I put the first dress back on, I didn’t take it off for another half an hour!” Chanelle remembers. And of course the fashion-forward bride had killer accessories! Her necklace and hair piece were made by one of Valley High’s consultants, and her block-heeled sandals were Jeffery Campbell designs. “I knew I wanted shoes that would be comfortable all night – especially because I was pregnant during our wedding—and the clear straps and flowers were just what I wanted,” says Chanelle.
Is there anything cuter than a pregnant bride? Chanelle was absolutely glowing, and she and Christian were even able to include their little one in their wedding day in a few sweet ways. As guests arrived, they were able to cast their vote on whether they thought the bride and groom were having a baby boy or girl. “We did a gender reveal during the reception—and it’s a boy!” says the bride.
The couple skipped flowers, except for Chanelle’s white anemone bouquet. “We really wanted to spend our budget elsewhere. Flowers are gorgeous, but they die so fast and we would have had to throw them away at the end of the night, so we used our budget to enhance our guests’ experience instead.” That pair of little vans will belong to the couple’s son once he arrives!
Christian and Chanelle had a ceremony in the round, exchanging vows beneath a pyramid built by Christian’s sister’s boyfriend. “We really love the energy that the shape creates,” Chanelle explains.
The couple wrote their own vows, and Chanelle’s included something extra special for Christian. “He always tells me about the moment he fell in love with me, and I could never quite remember when I fell in love with him,” she says. “When I finally did remember, I promised myself I’d tell him about it on our wedding day. My vows were the first time he heard the story!”
“We knew from the moment we got engaged that we’d have In-N-Out cater our wedding,” says the bride. “It really reflects who we are as a couple—and who doesn’t want a burger for dinner at a wedding?”
Later in the evening, Chanelle swapped her wedding gown for a white cocktail dress and star freckles around her eyes. “I wanted something I would be comfortable dancing in,” she says of the change. She didn’t plan for any sort of entrance after she changed, but when Christian and Chanelle walked back out to the reception, the guests parted to let them through. “As soon as we got on the dance floor, ‘Bonita Applebum’ by Tribe Called Quest came on and everyone circled around us as we danced! We felt like royalty all night.”
The couple treated their guests to a killer dance party, with three friends DJing throughout the evening. “One of our guests told us it was the first wedding they’d been to with a DJ line-up, which we loved!” says the bride. The couple shared their first dance to “Prototype” by Outkast, then their parents joined them on the dance floor for a dance to “Sleepwalk” by Santo & Johnny.
“When it comes to your wedding, make sure it reflects you as a couple. It will mean so much more when it’s happening,” Chanelle says. “And if you can, keep it simple! It’s so much less stressful that way.”
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Thatcher Estate
Bride's Dresses: Houghton NYC; Tobi
Bride's Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell
Bride's Jewelry: Bagtazo
Hair: Nikki Ricardez
Makeup: Marlena Robbins
Wedding Planner: Fearon May Events
Invitations: Paprika Press
Music: Daniel T.
Catering: In-N-Out; Pabst Blue Ribbon; The Taco Bar
Dessert: Bart's Bakery
Rentals: Signature Party Rentals
Bartenders: Mint Bartending
Photography: Christopher Velasco
Videography: Machete Bang Bang