Bohemian Cactus Farm Wedding in Palm Springs

Courtney and Sanford met at work ten years ago when Sanford came in to cover a shift. They were both wearing the same black women’s jeans and spent the whole time shamelessly flirting and laughing together. During their decade long romance they lived in different places (him in Arizona and her in Southern California) so would often meet up halfway in Palm Springs. When they came to planning their wedding they knew it had to happen there. Their theme was a groovy Palm Springs, classic rock, boho and Halloween mash up!

They had a budget of $14,000. “We definitely had a vision from the start,” began Courtney. “It’s challenging working with a tight budget in Southern California but we both have an eye for good design and details, and with that we were able to be really creative and resourceful! More than anything we wanted it to be warm, fun and very us!”

“We have six awesome and very different parents and we wanted them all to feel a warm welcome and be included in our big day even though they are not necessarily best friends. We also wanted activities like our photo booth bus and tour of the cactus garden to give our guests ways to connect with and get to know each other. We included our dog Kingsley (complete with his own chambray shirt) in the ceremony and included our friends in as many elements as we could. We also encouraged them to wear jeans and we skipped most of the traditional elements of what society says a wedding needs to be.”

Their ceremony was short and sweet, to the point, and funny! “My best friend Jill officiated for us (we met on the first day of high school with the same skate shoes and backpack!). She wore a dress with a cape on it and made everyone laugh and cry. I walked down the aisle with both of my parents to the Beatles In My Life …I’ll never forget it! We wrote our own vows together before the wedding, so they naturally had lots of Lord of The Rings references!”

As their wedding was held in a beautiful cactus garden, they were able to limit the amount of décor they needed. “Although we didn’t need as much décor, we were still both suckers for good details like custom signage and flamingos in the pond! From the mini donuts, to the hotel keychain party favors, to the music playlist, to the reception seating set up being on the same space as the ceremony, it took a village to pull off all the DIY action that took place!”

Courtney’s favourite part of the wedding was saying their vows together, while Sanford’s was the moments they had together after having their photos taken. “My favourite moments include Sanford and I saying our vows, being completely overwhelmed by everyone who was there with us, and seeing my parents sharing a hug before I walked down the bridal suite to meet them. Sanford really loved the moments after we took our photos where we got to just sit in the photo booth bus for a second and take it all in!”

Their biggest expenses were their photographer and the food truck. “It was so cute that we thought we could cheat the system and have this wildly inexpensive DIY wedding”, she said. “We were frugal in some elements but we really had to have our amazing photographer Jackie Wonders and the In N Out truck… Amazingly good junk food and photos made the day! Neither were very expensive, but they were definitely our top expenses.”

“Also our weekly In N Out Burger ‘catering’ taste testing soon became one of the best part about wedding planning for us! We managed to save money in other ways; by purchasing wholesale flowers and buying table linens in the fashion district in LA instead of renting them. Our incredible friends also hooked us up with ‘friends and family’ deals like our amazing wedding planner, Chin Up Donuts creating custom flavors, and Citizen HD making our signs!”

“Wedding planning is truly a full time job!” she laughed. “I thought that after planning many events in my life I thought I would just swoop in and have it done overnight. Many nightmares about music and rentals and being so stressed about wanting to look amazing in a wedding dress and then being so stressed you just want to eat pizza and drink beer the months leading up to it. C’est la vie! Saying that, getting to utilise all our friends businesses for the most part and seeing our love fest really come to life after dreaming about it for so long was amazing.”

“Our advice for future brides and grooms is to remember everyone always says it’s about the marriage not the event and that is so true. When people offer you help, take them up on it! And don’t sweat the silly stuff, only you will remember if it goes differently than you planned.”