A “Funky Formal” Wedding Full of Color in Los Alamos, California

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Los Alamos, California — a small and charming town about 2 hours north of Los Angeles — is Taryn + Ari’s “happy place.” The couple has spent every anniversary there since they met in 2017. After Ari proposed in Los Alamos in 2021, the couple knew for sure that they wanted their wedding to happen there, too. That way they could honor what an important place it’s been to them AND introduce all their family and friends to their favorite spot at the same time!

The planning process was particularly meaningful for these two. Bride Taryn spent more than a decade as an event designer who specialized in weddings. Now it was her turn to design a wedding for herself! She called on some of her favorite friends and vendors to bring their dream day to life. 

“For the big day, we wanted to encapsulate one word the most: FUN,” says Taryn. With this goal in mind, Taryn + Ari teamed up with planner (and friend!) Krissy at Always Allegra Events and got to work creating a “funky formal” wedding full of color and thoughtful details. “Our relationship has always been filled with lots of laughter, great music, unforgettable meals, and adventurous experiences, so we wanted a wedding that reflected the vibrancy and fun of our time together.” One way these two did that was by asking their guests to stick to a “funky” dress code so that it would be vibrant colors and fun prints as far as the eye could see on the day.

The celebration took over The 1880 Union Hotel, a super-cool historic venue that planner Krissy helped to revamp back in 2016. There were Old West saloon vibes and secret speakeasy rooms for the after party and a beautiful courtyard where the ceremony took place. And photographer Jes Workman was there every step of the way getting beautiful, unposed shots that captured all the joyful, colorful moments of Taryn + Ari’s day.

These vibrant, color-blocked save the dates and invites by Apres Studio were the jumping off point for the whole wedding’s color scheme!

Taryn’s dress hunt got off to a rough start after a “nightmare experience” with a local boutique designer, but she didn’t let it bring her down!! She’d already set her sights on the dreamy off-the-shoulder puff sleeve Willowby by Watters Cameron gown from Anthropologie Weddings as a backup, and it ended up being *the one*!! This gown checks so many boxes: flowy, structured, classic, ethereal. We LOVE the light, textured fabric.

Also, you can’t see them, but Taryn’s got on some of our all-time fave wedding shoes. She added a pop of green with the Emerald Camellia Bow Heel from Loeffler Randall!

The First Look

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union
Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

How fab is Ari’s Velvet Emerald Tuxedo from Indochino! Love that the couple embraced the “funky formal” dress code along with their guests.

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Such a great spot for a first look. Loving the dramatic color of the changing leaves in the ivy-covered walls.

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union
Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Taryn’s loose wavy bob and deep neutral lip were the work of Emily Lynn & Co.

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Florals were the most important design detail to bride Taryn, and Best Day Ever Floral Design pulled out all the stops. Taryn originally described her design vision for the bouquet as color-blocked and “like crazy hair sticking out in all directions,” and florist Annie absolutely NAILED it.

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Peachy anthurium. Baby blue orchids. Dusty orange roses. The variety in the bouquet is blowing our minds.

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Love Ari’s black velvet Bruno Magli slippers!

Taryn + Ari’s guests brought their A-game with the “funky formal” dress code! How great is this mother of the groom look!?

Take a peek at our breakdown of the 30 best mother of the groom looks if you know a mom who might need some outfit inspiration.

We are OBSESSED with this wedding party color palette!! These gorg bridesmaid dresses came from Anthropologie Weddings, and the pastel pinks and blues mix so perfectly with the warm gold and terracotta.

Our lists of our fave terra cotta bridesmaid dresses, fave rose gold bridesmaid dresses, and fave satin wedding dresses could be helpful if you want to steal some inspo from Taryn’s crew!

Also, floral design genius: Such a fun idea to break up the colors of your palette among the bridesmaids rather than having each bouquet contain every color.

Anybody else getting magical Disney Princess vibes from the way these bouquets match each bridesmaid’s dress color?!

The Ceremony

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Loving all the texture in the whimsical floral installation on this gazebo!

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union
Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union
Our Musical Choices

Processional: "Wildfire" by Cautious Clay & "Love Like A Sunset, Pt.2" by Phoenix

Recessional: "Can't Believe The Way We Flow" James Blake

First Dance: "Bulldozer" by Cold War Kids

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union
Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union
Our Favorite Memory From The Wedding

Ari's sister was our officiant, and in her introduction at the beginning of the ceremony, she asked us to take a moment to look out at all our loved ones who were there to support us. We have never felt more loved than in that moment. Exchanging our personal vows was a close second!!

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

A lesson to take from this day’s design? Don’t shy away from pastels at an autumn wedding!! They look amazing alongside more traditional fall colors!

Funky Formal Wedding at 1880 Union

Happy tears!!

The Reception

This fun and fluttery fabric searing chart was the work of Beau Paperie.

Taryn + Ari outfitted their reception banquet tables with linens and decor from Bright Event Rentals, all in their distinctive color palette. Love the light blue taper candles!

Fresh fruit accents in a tablescape make a reception feel like a super-opulent feast.

Crushcakes & Cafe created this colorful shag-rug-inspired wedding cake for Taryn + Ari’s funky festivities.

Our Advice To Those Planning Now

Create YOUR perfect day. Weddings look so different now and there are no rules or traditions you have to follow. Have fun and create a day that perfectly represents you both. For us that meant lots of bright colors, sentimental "easter eggs" throughout our menu and signage that paid homage to our time together, the perfect playlists, and more.

Two newlyweds in their “happy place.” ❤️

Congrats, Taryn + Ari, on your Los Alamos love story!! All the very best from GWS!

photography: Jes Workman Photography // venue name: 1880 Union Hotel, Los Alamos, CA, USA // event design: Bride // planning: Always Allegra // florals: Best Day Ever Design // wedding dress: BHLDN // wedding suit: Custom Indochino Suit // bride's shoes: Emerald Camellia Bow Heels // bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN // hair stylist: Emily Lynn & Co // makeup artist: Emily Lynn & Co // groom's shoes: Bruno Magli // paper goods: Apres Studio // catering: 1880 Union Hotel // cake: Crushed Cakes // desserts: Crushed Cakes // tabletop rentals: Bright Rentals // linen rentals: Bright Rentals // music: Dart Collective // fabric seating chart: Beau Paperie