A Destination Wedding at The Lautner Compound

Nicholas and Stephen had the getaway wedding of their dreams without the overseas travel.

Emily Chavous Foster LGBTQ+, Weddings

Nicholas & Stephen waited years for their perfect destination wedding. 

A friend who recently passed away and couldn’t attend their wedding gave Nicholas and Stephen this advice a week before they walked down the aisle: “As the officiant pronounces you married, and you’re face to face with your friends and family for the first time as a married couple, take a deep breath, walk slow, and soak in the love. Their love will pour on you both in one of your most cherished moments.”

And cherished it was. These Angelenos, together for six years prior to a three-year engagement (extended to wait out the pandemic), chose Greater Palm Springs for its natural beauty and sense of belonging. “It’s a place we feel at home, fully and freely ourselves,” Stephen says. “It wasn’t long ago we weren’t legally allowed to marry.” 

“Investing in and prioritizing a venue that understands weddings and is committed to making the day unforgettable was worth the splurge.” 

The pair sought to host a destination wedding without the overseas price tag. “We wanted our guests to be able to make a vacation out of our wedding and spend a few extra days in the desert,” says Stephen, who popped the question in Los Angeles while out to dinner with their closest friends. 

A storied and scenic venue topped their list of priorities, and The Lautner Compound in Desert Hot Springs delivered. They kicked off the long weekend with a guest reception, providing a welcome opportunity to catch up with guests before the main event. 

After seeing the idea on a wedding blog, they hired a social media manager to capture candid moments throughout the day. 

In the end, the biggest surprise was how easy the celebrations unfolded. “We’re still not sure if anything went wrong because, from our points of view, everything was perfect, exactly how we planned,” Stephen says. “This meant we could focus on each other and our guests. Eight hours didn’t seem long, so we wanted to maximize every minute.”


Planning and design by The Walk Down the Aisle; lighting by SociaLights; rentals by Signature Party Rentals; specialty rentals by Cedar and Pine; catering by Harvest Kitchen; bartending by Snake Oil Cocktails; flowers by Vaso Bello Celebrations; desserts by Over the Rainbow Desserts.