Real Wedding | Donna & Garrett

I love the stylish vibe of this wedding.  The modern venue, glamorous dress and simple, chic decor all make it so fabulous. And the bride did so much herself…effortlessly!

Donna & Garrett | September 18, 2009 | Los Angeles, California

How he proposed
He planned on proposing to me in Big Bear on Christmas Eve, but we got snowed out. So he found an amazing hotel called Hotel Casa 425 in Claremont, CA. We were able to make late dinner reservations at a restaurant near by. So while I was showering he sprinkled rose petals all over, lit candles, opened a bottle of wine that we had been saving for over a year, and he had an amazing display of truffles and caviar. He drew me a bath and poured me some wine and brought me over some of the delicacies he had prepared. Next thing I see is my love dressed in a tuxedo jacket adorned with a white boutonniere. He gets down on one knee and takes my hand, asks for my hand in marriage and then the tears started flowing. Of course I accepted!  It was the best Christmas Eve of my life. We were with our families the following day and celebrated with our loved ones.

The ceremony
It  was very simple but elegant. Our ceremony and reception were held at the same venue. The ceremony took place outside. We were surrounded by lush greenery and succulents. I dressed up the altar with preserved manzanita trees which were painted white, then I hand made crystal ornaments and yellow flower balls. I had stage lights set on the floor to uplight the trees and cascade beautiful shadows and accentuate the crystal ornaments. Our colors were gray and yellow. My bridesmaids wore gray tea length dresses and held yellow hand tied calla lily bouquets. I did all my own flowers! The groomsmen wore black tuxedos with gray skinny ties, a gray and yellow handkerchief in the top pocket and a yellow boutonniere. I held a white calla lily bouquet hand tied with rhinestone ribbon. My husband wore a white boutonniere as well.

The reception
We had a cocktail and hors des oeuvres reception. The venue had cool eclectic furniture set up in different lounge type settings. Inside we had a few tables set up for people to sit if they wanted. We had over 200 candles set up all over the venue. Single long stem white calla lilies were set on the tables. The venue itself has so much character that we were able to get away with very little decorations.

The walls are covered from top to bottom with succulents. There is dramatic lighting highlighting the natural details of the venue. We had provided open bar for our guests. We had white cupcakes with yellow sprinkles sitting in shiny silver cups.

The venue provided a huge projection screen. During our first dance I had made a a slideshow of our travels and experience together over the past 4 years. During the mother/son and father/daughter dances I made slideshows of us growing up. Helped take the eyes off of the performers 🙂

We had a photo booth set up by the dance floor to act as guest book and favors.

The hors d’oeuvres were amazing! Such delicacies. We loved our caterer. Never once did we have to worry about any detail. Our guests were satisfied; no one left hungry.

The moment Donna will never forget
The moment we’ll never forget was the speech my brother in law gave. It was so hilarious! Words will never describe that moment….

Wedding DIY
What didn’t I do?! I made my own cupcake tower and dressed up in our wedding colors. Like I said earlier, I did all my own flowers. Saved so much money there! My bouquets and arrangements were so simple it seemed silly to pay someone to do something so simple. I made the groomsmen their handkerchiefs by buying the material and cutting it to the appropriate size then roll hemming the edges. I made my own veil. Tulle is so inexpensive and rhinestones aren’t pricey when their as small as the one that go on wedding veils. So, I bought tulle to match the shade of my dress and cut it to fingertip length, added the crystal detailing around the edge and attached it to the tooth comb. Voila! Wedding veil for under $20! I made my own earrings by changing out the drop crystals to a beige color that matched my dress. I made the crystal ornaments for the trees on the altar. I made the flower balls as well.

How she knew her wedding dress was “The One”
I tried on over 20 dresses in total. I had to fly to New York to try my dress on. There are boutiques here in LA who carry Jenny Packham gowns but they didn’t have the Carmen. I had seen it in a magazine and fell in love with it! So I tried on at least 10 Jenny Packham gown in NYC but the Carmen just felt right. It wasn’t too flashy or too simple. It accentuates the natural waist line and has a beautiful back. I just knew it was the dress for me!

Her advice for other brides
My advice for other brides is simple. When you wake up on your wedding day, don’t stress. Things are going to go wrong. You probably won’t like your hair or make up but who cares. The man you’re about to marry loves you regardless of hair and make up. So relax and enjoy your day! You’ll never forget it.

Donna’s Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham Carmen / Photography: Joel Eckman with Studio EMP