We’ve got an especially delicious wedding for you today… And when we mean delicious, we’re not kidding! You’ll be salivating over all the mouthwatering details: bursts of vibrant colors, flavors from around the globe, elaborate dishes, and an abundance of Champagne all at the dreamy Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs. That’s what you get when two foodies fall in love!! Enter in the perfect pairing: Heather + John. They first bonded over food — she was an editor of a food publication (she’s now opening a restaurant + publication in LA – Botanica); he had been cooking fantastic meals since the day his mother let him hold a knife. She won a second date by giving him a roll of homemade fruit leather; he earned a third by coming over to help her make fresh pasta. When they started to plan their wedding with the help of Green Ribbon Parties, they knew that food must play an integral role!
The couple shares Gathering friends + family around our table is one of our greatest joys, so we wanted our wedding to feel like a dinner party at our house. We couldn’t manage 110 guests in our home, so our solution was to gather the group as many times as possible (we threw three other events, in addition to the wedding) and added personal touches to every aspect…. The food + the vows were the elements we cared most about. After looking at menu proposals and feeling underwhelmed, John came up with the genius idea of having a caterer cook our recipes instead! I’m in the process of launching a restaurant/publication in LA – Botanica – and our final wedding menu was a true representation of a night at our house: a mix of Botanica staples and things we love to cook together, plus a few family favorites – like my grandmother’s classic brown sugar bars + my mother-in-law’s grape leaves. True to dinner at our house, we skipped cocktails and forced everyone to drink Champagne instead.
Ready to dig in? Let’s see all the sweet moments + decadent details captured by Studio Castillero!
The bride is clearly a creative, as she designed the save-the date, wedding menus, wedding info packs and place cards… And painted the table numbers with watercolors!
*Major HEART EYES*
The couple started the weekend by giving guests a bag stocked with their favorite snacks, the things they’d find in the cabinet if they were staying with them: dates, mandarins and peanuts from the Hollywood farmers market, a bar of our favorite chocolate, Persian fruit leather, Haribo gummies, etc. (plus wedding weekend essentials: Altoids, Emergen-C, tissues and Advil).
How gorgeous is this venue? We’re loving the Moroccan-style courtyard + all the bougainvillea! To add to the atmosphere of the day, Heather + John had Ame Kora, a Senegal based Kora band, play throughout the day. Amadou Fall played the Kora (which is a 21 stringed instrument of fishing line, wood, Calabash (Gourd) and cow skin – similar to a harp) solo during the ceremony and was joined by a guitarist + drummer for the cocktail hour.
We got married in peak citrus season, and Korakia is covered with orange and lemon trees. Every single one of them was loaded with flowers – turns out it’s known as a “super bloom” (and is super rare). That intoxicating scent wafting across the whole place was an unreal wedding surprise. As for an actual moment, it would have to be our vows: we stood on a rug from our home while exchanging multiple symbolic gifts, like a taste of honey and a sip of Champagne, each of which represented a promise to each other. The final gifts were the rings.
A little tip from Heather: Make a list of the people or things you want to make sure your photographers capture! In hindsight, we should have ID’d our closest family and friends to be sure we got extra shots of them throughout the night. And despite our total obsession with the food, we forgot to ask them to take pictures of all of it! (Go figure.)
Heather shares The dinner soundtrack was what we play at home: lots of West African music mixed with soul and blues. Our florist, Moon Canyon, did a phenomenal job with the tables, loading them with artichokes, greenery, herbs and citrus in a variety of wooden bowls. I did all the graphic design (stickers for gift bag packages, info packs, menus, etc.), and my business partner baked like mad so we could put jars of Botanica granola out at Korakia all weekend long for breakfast and for snacking.
H + J pointed Hungry Bear, the caterers, in the the direction of their favorite ingredients to use for Heather’s recipes – the best ground lamb for the kabobs, and local yogurt to use for the yogurt sauce. Such a brilliant idea for a foodie wedding!
How gorgeous are those pops of grapefruit + kumquats?
Think about the things that you prioritize in your life together, as a couple, and figure out how to incorporate them – even in little ways – into the event. There are easy ways to incorporate personal, creative touches that take far less time and effort… Like having friends or family read poems/passages during your ceremony, asking a friend who’s handy with the drinks to create a special cocktail, or sending people home with your favorite snacks at the end of the night. Also - get your printing done a week in advance so that there’s time to recover from snafus! I had our escort cards printed two days before the wedding, a printer error ruined the text, and we didn’t catch it until too late. Thankfully they were double-sided, and a friend with great handwriting saved the day.
Heather shares Instead of a first dance, we decided to surprise everyone with a first song. We did Crazy Love by Van Morrison, with John playing guitar and me singing. It’s something we do at home and every time we get together with John’s dad; for us, it felt more personal than a dance. (At our 10-year vow renewal party, we’re totally doing a Bollywood-style dance instead. John just doesn’t know it yet.)
Congratulations, Heather + John!! From the team at GWS, best wishes + bon appétit!
photography: Studio Castillero // venue name: Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs, California, USA // planning: Green Ribbon Parties // florals: Moon Canyon // wedding dress: Eavis and Brown // wedding dress boutique: Les Habitudes // bride's shoes: J.Crew // hair stylist: Bethany Johnson Studio // makeup artist: Bethany Johnson Studio // groom attire: Tom Ford // paper goods: Bride-designed // catering: Hungry Bear // tabletop rentals: Signature // furniture rentals: Planks and Patina // linen rentals: Hostess Haven // music: Ame Kora and The We Theory