Welcome to Real Wedding Spotlight, where we feature our favorite nuptials that have happened in real life.
A Black-Tie Affair in Palm Springs
How did you two meet?
Charlie: We met at a friend’s cookie baking Christmas party on December 17, 2010. We both thought the other wasn’t interested, but Yohannes asked me out the next day and, as they say, the rest was history!
Yohannes: I was on my way to France for vacation, but the night before I left we met up for drinks (which became dinner) and have spoken every day since, no matter where we each are on the planet.
How did you get engaged?
Charlie: Yohannes had been talking about wanting to get married for a while, but I was kind of non-committal about it. Then one day he told me that he’d realized we didn’t really need to get married because we had a good thing going and, you know, there really wasn’t a need to change our relationship. So then, of course, as soon as he told this I was like, “I need to seal the deal.” I proposed on a vacation to Cabo a few weeks later.
What was the vision for your wedding?
Yohannes: Our friends and families are from different parts of the country, so we wanted a weekend away where everyone could take time to get to know one another. Our wedding was black tie but we also wanted our guests to relax and enjoy the beauty of the desert (my husband’s favorite place
What was your favorite part of wedding planning?
Charlie: The invitations! We picked amazing letterpress invitations with an elegant gold embossed starburst logo evocative of a Kelly Wearstler Hollywood Regency design. It took months to get the right effect, but the work paid off.
Yohannes: It’s hard to select one favorite thing about wedding planning. We spent a lot of time selecting the venue, choosing the flowers, customizing our wedding invitations and planning the music. It was great to meet so many people who wanted to help us create our special day. We wanted each detail to convey what makes each of us unique and what brought us together.
What personalized wedding details still stand out from the big day?
Yohannes: We were getting married in the desert, so we didn’t use any flowers. Instead we had succulent plants and these beautiful kale bouquets. When you see kale as an entire plant, it actually makes a very nice bouquet that we gave to Charlie’s mom and for my sister. We are two men getting married so we didn’t want to do anything that felt girly, or not honestly “us.”
Charlie: We had a pretty simple, non-religious ceremony inspired by a friend’s French wedding we had attended. In France they have a religious ceremony and a civil ceremony. Everyone goes to the town hall during the day to watch the civil ceremony where they sign the marriage certificate, then the religious ceremony and the party come later. Because gay marriage had just become legal in California, we thought it would be a nice touch to make the actual signing of the certificate a part of the ceremony, and really celebrate that.
Yohannes: Also, I picked out all the music for the entire evening because I love music. That was really, really important. I made sure every song was about love or family and friends coming together. I am a big fan of Janet Jackson, so we named all the tables after her albums. People loved that.
What are some of your favorite wedding memories?
Yohannes: We had amazing coordinators for our wedding and they were adamant that we shouldn’t see eachother before we were dressed. At first we thought that sounded hokey and corny. Like, what is the purpose of this? We live together! But we did do that, and I loved it. I just got to spend time getting dressed and hanging out with my friends and groomsmen beforehand. It just felt so fun and relaxed and everyone was so upbeat and in such a good mood, everyone was smiling, you could just feel the energy and excitement. It gave me butterflies in my stomach!
Charlie: I’ll never forget our grand entrance. We did it to “Firework” by Katy Perry. We walked in and dinner was in an outdoor courtyard with string lights and beautiful tables with lots of candles. Everyone was in tuxedo, and it was just all the people we loved in the world. To walk in to a great song, holding Yohannes’ hand while everyone cheered was so amazing.
What’s one thing you registered for that you use all the time now?
Yohannes: Water glasses.
Charlie: Coffee mugs.
Any wedding registry advice for other couples?
Charlie: Getting married and registering is different than it was for our parents’ generation. We already lived together, we had all of the essentials, so we just wanted to register for timeless, classic things that would stay with us for the rest of our lives. Also, try to pick a variety of price points so there is something for everyone who is buying.
Yohannes: For me it was about choosing something with a pop of color. We registered for things that would really catch the eye. I also wanted things that were nice but that you could use on a regular basis as opposed to something you buy and put on a shelf or a cabinet somewhere and just kind of look at. It was a balance of being practical and being stylish.
Charlie: My favorite part was thinking about how these beautiful things will be with us through the rest of our married lives—family dinners, holidays, dinner parties with friends.
Right now, we’re also running our Win Your Registry Sweepstakes. Simply create your own registry in one of our stores or online, and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win your entire registry! See more details here.