Dreamy Desert Dance Party Wedding – Sydney & Jon
Sydney and Jon met in the insurance industry in Chicago, at a happy hour. They had known each other for a while before they started dating, and eventually, the timing was just right! Jon proposed in Zambia. They were visiting Victoria Falls, and had just gotten back from an incredible day of exploring the falls. They had a little patio attached to their hotel room, overlooking the Zambezi river. They went outside to look at the stars and reflect on the day, and that’s when he proposed! Sydney says “it was perfect – just the two of us – which is exactly how we wanted it. We had about a week of traveling overland in Zimbabwe after the proposal, before we could tell all of our family and friends, which was so fun because we could really soak it in!”
When Sydney and Jon decided on Joshua Tree for their destination wedding, they took a chance on a brand new venue, Love/Love at The Desert Lily B &B. Turns out, it was the perfect location for their dreamy desert dance party wedding!
Sydney and Jon live in Chicago, but love the great outdoors, so the desert was a natural fit for this wedding weekend. They relished in showing off the amazing landscape to all of their friends and family who came from near and far to witness this special time. Speaking of friends, you aren’t seeing things. Sydney really did have 13 bridesmaids. Talk about an epic wedding crew!
Both the ceremony and reception took place outside, overlooking an amazing, open expanse of desert. They wanted their guests to feel the magic of the desert – from the incredible painted sunset to the bright starry sky – so they chose decor, florals, and colours that they felt emulated that vibe. They also felt really strongly that the day reflect their values and all of the things they love, so they designed their own ceremony, and added touches throughout the reception that brought in the things they love to do together. As an example, they love to travel, so their guest book was an atlas, and they had their guests sign in their favourite spots with a piece of travel advice. They had the best time reading through them post-wedding!
Jon’s father is Greek, so they incorporated the traditional stefana crowning ceremony within their wedding ceremony, and they also wrote their own vows as well. When the sky got dark and the string lights went on at their reception, Sydney says “it was truly a dream. Some of our favorite memories from the night were dancing under the starry night sky with all of our friends and family.”
The wedding ceremony, performed by JP Reynolds, was a perfect mix of heartfelt and lighthearted. When Sydney walked down the aisle to meet Jon to “Here Comes the Sun” as the sun set over the horizon, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Once they exchanged vows, the newlyweds practically danced down the aisle to “Feels Like Home” by Edwina Haves.
They felt that their venue stood on its own in a lot of ways. Carrie Yeager, owner of the Desert Lily, has poured her heart and soul into the space, and there are so many special touches already incorporated that Sydney and Jon didn’t feel that they needed to go over the top with the decor. She created this beautiful, comfy boho lounge with tons of fun pillows and rugs, she hand painted moroccan tiles on part of the concrete, and the space is filled with eclectic items she has collected over the years. Sydney says that she thinks her favourite part though, is the string lighting hung throughout the space – “it just gave the whole venue such a magical feel when it started getting dark. As far as table-scapes and other decor, we opted for greenery (eucalyptus garland on the altar and behind the chairs at the ceremony), lots of succulents, and natural looking vases. Our main colour was sage, and that was definitely a common thread throughout.”
We wanted to keep the wedding design organic to the surroundings, so the tablescape of sage green, gold, and grey really complimented the pastel hues of the desert, especially at sunset. The Blooming Gypsy spun her usual magic, making succulents and geometrics look as new and fresh as this amazing new venue.
“Since we were in the desert, we wanted to use a lot of succulents. All of the bridesmaid bouquets used a variety of succulents and blue thistle, and they were just so beautiful. The boutonnières were single succulents as well, which we loved. All of the tables had a variety of succulents and air plants, and rather than opt for a single centrepiece, Veronica pulled together a variety of eclectic vases, succulents, and other greenery for the tables. We also had beautiful eucalyptus garland on the altar and behind the back row of chairs at the wedding. I would argue that the florals were really the center of the overall aesthetic style of the wedding. Also, have to give a shout-out to my wonderful father who grew about 15 different kinds of succulents in my parents’ backyard leading up to our wedding. We ultimately used them as centrepieces on the cocktail tables, which was so special!”
Sydney and Jon chose a food truck for dinner – tacos were the main course! They also had an amazing DJ who kept the dance floor lively all night long, which was the main goal of the evening. “I’m biased, but his playlist may have been my favourite ever from a wedding. He knew how to read the room, and because of that, I think a lot of our favourite wedding moments were on the dance floor! And, we can’t forget the moment after we were pronounced husband and wife – that feeling of euphoria as we walked back down the aisle, in one of our favourite corners of the world, with all of our favourite people, was truly unforgettable.”
When it came to their attire choices, Sydney wanted a dress that fit the style/aesthetic of their wedding day. Their wedding definitely wasn’t formal, so she was looking for a dress that was flowy and light. Comfort was the most important part for her – she wanted to be able to dance! She ended up with the perfect dress from BHLDN. It was actually the third dress she tried on – she went to a couple of other stores, but she ultimately went back and bought the dress the same day, on her first shopping trip! “My mom, my MOH and I knew it was the one the second I put it on. I also got my veil from BHLDN. It was medium length, and very simple with a lacy edge that complemented my dress. As far as shoes, I had a pair of simple nude sandals that I wore for some of the photos, but I spent the majority of the day in lacy white Toms. I was so happy with my choice to wear Toms, because the desert is dusty and there is lots of uneven ground. I got Toms for all of my bridesmaids as well!”
Jon’s overall look could be described as classic and understated with a few personal touches. “There’s a great men’s clothing store right near our apartment, and I got a custom suit made there. I went with a light navy blue with a custom lining, embroidered with my initials and our wedding date. Have to give credit to ESQ Clothing – they did an incredible job.”
Photography: Julie Shuford Photography // Venue: The Desert Lily B&B // Event Planner: Moxie Bright Events // Cinema & Video: The Quail and The Dove // Caterer: The Lime Truck // Floral Designer: The Bloomin’ Gypsy // DJ: Hey Mister DJ // Cake Designer: Over The Rainbow Desserts // Hair Stylist: Tanya Marie // Officiant: Rev JP Reynolds // Dress Store: BHLDN // Calligrapher: Occasion to Celebrate // Equipment Rentals: Signature Party Rentals // Other: Night and Day Productions & Sunseri’s Bartending