THE EVENT-INDUSTRY LEADER
Jes Gordon, JesGordon/ProperFun, Los Angeles, CA
"After deciding to host the wedding on the West Coast—where I had recently moved to be with Bill—and figuring out our budget, the next step was picking a venue. Being from New York, I never envisioned myself having a California wedding, and at the time I wasn't as familiar with the venues there. I wanted a raw space that I would be able to put my personal touch on, but not so raw that we would have to pay to bring everything in. So I started looking at lofts in downtown LA.
"But as I began envisioning my mother and my tipsy friends trying to navigate the area, I realized I would need to invest in transportation for everyone, and that would cost too much. My fiancé suggested checking out Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. My first reaction was, 'No way! I'm not getting married in some hotel ballroom.' But I agreed to check it out, and even though I hated to admit it, it was dope! I loved the hotel's classic-meets contemporary style, and the fact that our guests could stay on the grounds and wouldn't have to drive anywhere.
"Our budget ruled out some of our choices—for example, I knew we wouldn't be able to afford things like a 15-piece band or a formal sit-down dinner. Instead, we did a cocktail party menu, which is a format I love because it gives guests a sense of freedom. As for the flowers, I just went to the market and picked out what I liked. I added peacock feathers to the arrangements, and used animal-print throws and rugs for a rock 'n' roll touch, but kept the classic vibe going with candles and amber-colored lighting. We had a few cute details, like tins of custom M&M's featuring our dogs' faces, but I didn't want to go crazy because the fact is, most guests just want to have fun and feel good. If the details are going to make you crazy, it's better to let them go and concentrate on making sure people have a good time. I caught myself thinking about doing all these little touches, but then I would remind myself that it wasn't realistic for me to take those projects on, since I work full time. I also found it easy to second-guess myself—for example, I decided to wear a black dress for the ceremony, then had moments of, 'Is this okay?' But planning my own wedding helped reinforce my belief that as long as I was being myself, then my guests would be okay with it."
Photos: André Maier Photography