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Head-turning fashion, scene-making color, and permission to go small and casual

Colony Palms Hotel

Mi Belle Photography

Colors That Sizzle: Orange With a Dash of Pink

The tall, slender double doors that open into Parker Palm Springs burn the memory in a color so striking that it has become synonymous with desert weddings. Anyone who has spent even a moment at “The Parker” recalls that juicy, happy, bright orange. (Hotel designer Jonathan Adler knew what he was doing with that paint swatch!) Eye-catching cakes, aisle petals, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, fans, parasols, and bridesmaids dresses in this vibrant hue continue to charm couples, often paired with pink accents that together cast a sunset-inspired palette over any event. A luscious and playful combination, orange and pink complement the retro vibe found in the local midcentury architecture and “work their magic in the surrounding desert landscape,” says Joey Lizotte of Artisan Event Floral Décor. “Couples here are especially drawn to the way this vivid scheme comes to life against the rugged backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains. I used this combination for Lauren and Devon’s wedding at The Parker, where the colors spring up from the bright green lawn of the Gene Autry House. Even Lulu, their French bulldog, sported a pink tutu. Talk about fun!”

Size We Love: Small Is Sexy

Across Palm Springs and the surrounding cities, intimately sized weddings are one big deal. Couples can take over a restaurant’s garden courtyard for the evening, a ’60s-inspired boutique hotel for the weekend, or a private estate for a whole week of conversation, laughter, and blender-whirled cocktails by the pool. “This is the perfect location for smaller weddings,” says Cathy O’Connell of Celebrations of Joy. “The natural beauty and tranquility of the desert combined with the fabulous weather relaxes guests and offers a variety of activities for everyone. Most of our couples wish to create not just an event, but a longer, more meaningful experience. Renting a private home or taking over a small venue allows couples to have more than an afternoon with friends and family, but real quality time together while taking a break from their busy lives. By the wedding day, everyone has had lots of fun, and the ceremony is richer thanks to the connectedness of the group.” Intimate weddings make sense economically, too, she says. “The budget goes farther with a smaller guest list and leaves more wiggle room to add extra touches. We’ve had clients offer private yoga classes, docent-led hikes through the canyons, golf and tennis tournaments, Cirque du Soleil-style performers in the pool, and wine tasting dinners with a celebrity chef. The sky is the limit!”

The Current Vibe: Laid back and informal

Casual is king in this warm desert, where kick-back celebrations wind down with an optional pool party. From barefoot brides with their toes in the grass to whimsical floral arrangements, unfussy finger foods, moustaches on a stick, and spontaneous jumps in the pool, couples are urging guests to relax and enjoy. Shorter wedding gowns and grooms in their favorite pair of sneakers are right at home alongside open seating and baskets of flip flops for bridesmaids who want to ditch those heels. Next to the outdoor dance floor, glowing fire pits light up the night as guests toast marshmallows to golden perfection. Who doesn’t love a gourmet s’mores station?

Photo Ops

Top local photographers out to capture emotion as it unfolds agree: The sweetest moments are not always during the vows. Pre-game love — like breakfast for two on your private patio — and post-game canoodling as the newlyweds head back to their swanky suite are all part of the fun. Photographer Vanessa Preziose says affectionate, late-night images make a poignant last shot for the wedding album, and her Palm Springs-based boudoir photo sessions are more popular than ever. “They make a great gift for Hubby, but more (secretly) important, they document a time in the bride’s life when she looks and feels her best. The album or fine art prints celebrate the woman she is today by capturing her sensitivity, strength, bravery, confidence, and femininity — all which make a woman, and even a bride, so sexy.” Preziose recently holed up at the sultry, Moroccan-inspired Korakia Pensione for a boudoir session with both indoor and outdoor shots plus a video element. “If a bride books her boudoir session at the same venue as her desert wedding, she can get acquainted with the hotel prior to the big day, as well as getting to know the staff, their customer service, and the property amenities.”

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