A Slice Of Paradise

These couples found perfection in this picturesque desert destination.

Cimmaròn’s golf course in Cathedral City provided a dramatic setting for lush, crimson red flower arrangements at the Hildebrand-Thompson wedding.

Photo by Vanessa Preziose

Jamie Lyn Guralnick and Patrick Anderson

Classic Club in Palm Desert
Photography by Chris Miller

Though they met in college at Cal State Long Beach, it wasn’t long before Jamie Lyn Guralnick lured Patrick Anderson from Orange County and back to her native Coachella Valley. “We only looked at wedding locations in the desert,” says Jamie Lyn, who moved with Patrick to La Quinta in June 2006. “It’s close enough to Patrick’s home of El Segundo that his whole family could attend, along with all my co-workers. But mostly, I just wanted to be married in my hometown.” In finding the Classic Club, they knew they’d found something special. “The clubhouse is beautiful,” offers the bride. We wanted everything to take place outside, and those pine trees and views were spectacular.” For Jamie Lyn, hair and makeup were no problem; she had legions of co-workers from J. Russell Salon in Palm Desert to do the job. Classic Club’s award-winning Rattlesnake restaurant catered, earning rave reviews for the organic cuisine. “It was a big, fun, 125-person party — a perfect union of all of our friends and family,” the bride says. “The day was perfect.”

Amber Avey and Daniel Tuccinardi

O’Donnell House in Palm Springs
Photography by Dan Shalaby

“Palm Springs has always been a part of our lives,” says Amber Avey of Los Angeles. “It seemed natural to be married here. Our families have been coming to the desert my whole life.” Amber’s childhood memories of hikes in the Indian Canyons influenced the couple’s venue choice, as did the small-but-valued bit of Native American lineage both she and husband Danny possess. “Our goal was to use the natural canvas of the O’Donnell House and incorporate the beauty of the desert and Native American culture.”

Guests were whisked up the scenic drive in golf carts, arriving to Native American flute music. Natural decoration prevailed, and gift bags from Hadley’s Fruit Orchards later sent guests away with a delicious piece of local history. Amber chose a native flute song for her walk down the aisle, where Officiant Julie Tumamait, a Chumash elder, united the couple. Woven into the ceremony were Native American traditions from a blanket ceremony to the “wedding vase” from which Amber and Danny drank together without spilling a drop. Barry Manilow, albeit unknowingly, supplied the perfect coda to the evening. As the couple lingered on the floor for their final dance, a fireworks display (intended for Manilow’s charity concert simultaneously taking place on the golf course below) lit the sky, illuminating the newlyweds. Thanks, Barry!

Shelby Hildebrand and Josh Thompson

Cimmaròn Golf Resort in Cathedral City
Photography by Vanessa Preziose

It’s rare that a wedding goes off without a hitch — rarer still when that wedding is planned in only eight weeks. But Shelby and Josh, two desert natives now living in Yucca Valley, proved that feat possible in Palm Springs. The couple eschews convention, though perhaps that could be expected of a pair who met racing dirt bikes. (Shelby won a race; imagine Josh’s surprise when she removed her helmet to reveal that the winner was a woman.) “We haven’t been apart a single day since then,” Shelby reveals. After a month-long engagement and with no wedding date set, Shelby and Josh wanted to accelerate their plans. Shelby turned to her mother and aunt (a former wedding planner), who delivered in a big way, creating a stunning event. “We were so lucky that Cimmaròn could accommodate us,” Shelby says. “They went out of their way to make the day a perfect one. It was the best day of my life. And the views — the setting was absolutely breathtaking.” Other family members and friends contributed, too. The Harris family, close friends and owners of Sherman’s Deli & Bakery in Palm Springs and Palm Desert, catered — including the signature cupcakes. Josh’s father built the arbor under which the ceremony took place, and Shelby’s dad secretly restored a 1965 Shelby Mustang, the car after which his daughter was named, and in which the couple drove off into the desert sunset.

Lucinda Pace and Joshua Webb

The Horizon Hotel in Palm Springs
Photography by Daniel James Ryan

“We didn’t find any locations in L.A. that knocked our socks off,” say Lucinda and Joshua, two former Philadelphians who married in Palm Springs, though they met (and reside) in Los Angeles. For the bride, who works in architecture, the city’s style beckoned, as did its kitschy, playful vibe. With large out-of-state contingents on both sides of the aisle, a hotel wedding made the most sense, and Lucinda was quickly taken with The Horizon Hotel. “I loved the openness, the bungalow style, and the space to express ourselves,” she says. “We’re both creative, and The Horizon gave us the canvas to do things our own way.” That included photos of famous Palm Springs residents like Tony Curtis and Frank Sinatra in place of table numbers and a black-and-white photo booth so guests could take home some Palm Springs nostalgia of their own. An appearance by Bad Girl, the couple’s French bulldog, capped the evening, which ended with a group swim in the hotel pool. The couple’s recipe for a blissful wedding: “Spend every minute of the day together if you can,” says Lucinda. “The time flies by; enjoy it with the one you love.”

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