Golf course wedding ceremony overlooking mountains in Indian Wells, California

Italy Inspired Wedding in the Palm Desert


November 16, 2023
Words by Marisol Acosta
Photos courtesy of Matthew David Studio

In the breathtaking landscape of California’s Palm Desert, Alannah and Michael marry, turning a beautiful page in their love story.

Bride gets ready for her wedding. Accessories for wedding arranged together.

Sometimes the person who will forever change your life is the one who has been right under your nose the entire time. Growing up, Alannah and Michael lived mere blocks away from each other. They attended the same school and at times had the same classes. It was not until Grade 10 that they began to know each other. On Alannah’s 16th birthday, he asked her to become his girlfriend. From then on, the two not only grew together as a couple but as individuals strengthening a bond that will live on for years to come.

Groom gets ready for wedding with boutonniere. Bride on Palm Desert street with bridesmaids posing for pictures.

For fifteen years, the two blissfully continued their love with no expectation of a trip to the altar. One day, as they were headed to what Alannah thought was a dinner with her sister and brother-in-law. Michael quickly got down on one knee and asked Alannah to be his wife. The surprises kept coming as it was revealed that one of Alannah’s photographer friends was there to capture the moment. The happy party then met up with their friends and family who waited nearby on a yacht, ready to celebrate the newly engaged couple!

The wedding planning kicked into high gear beginning with the exciting choice of where to gather their friends and loved ones for their celebration. Knowing that a destination wedding would be a wonderful opportunity for a multi-day vacation, the couple’s first thoughts were of Italy. However, having spent much time at her family’s home in Palm Springs, the landscape and the fond memories called to them. “I am a sunny gal at heart,” says the bride. “And, wanted to up my chances of having a beautiful day by going to the destination that is known for sun all year round.”

Outdoor wedding ceremony between two palm trees in Palm Desert, California

As the couple toured many venues in search of the very aesthetic they were looking for, the bride’s dream of having a Tuscan-inspired event came to fruition when they set their eyes on the beautiful grounds of Toscana Country Club. With a gorgeous view of the Santa Rosa mountains standing tall on the Palm Desert horizon, the grounds give way to a grove of olive trees among the Italian-inspired architecture of the property. The couple were blown away by the breathtaking views and were thrilled to be able to have an outdoor dinner party and dancing beneath a blanket of desert stars.

Bride and groom toast during wedding ceremony surrounded by their wedding party.

The ceremony was set against the Palm Desert backdrop of the immaculately kept grounds of the club. Under a canopy of palm trees, the walkway led up to an assortment of roses arranged in a semi-circle at the top of the aisle perfectly framing the couple and their bridal party. The bride’s bouquet of array roses and eucalyptus went perfectly with her stunning Ines di Santo gown. The groom’s boutonniere is highlighted with an Anemone flower laid smartly against his Italian suit.

Bride and groom holding hands in Palm Desert during a sunset.

The Palm Desert ceremony had some special touches included. A string trio serenaded the groom and his groomsmen. The theme of Rocky “Gonna Fly Now”, a film near and dear to Michael’s heart, played as they walked down the aisle. The strains of the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” filled the air as the bridesmaids made their way to the altar. Having the wedding party in attendance was very special to both Michael and Alannah as most of them had grown up with them and even forged their own happily ever afters. For an officiant, they didn’t have to look far. Alannah’s uncle, Steve, proudly took on the task of joining them in marriage. He shared some memorable moments the couple have had through the years and even added some great quips that had the guests laughing. After sharing personalized vows that both ended in their favorite saying, “It’s me and you against the world,” the couple shared their first kiss as husband and wife.

Collage of photos. First panel is table assignments for a wedding reception etched onto mirrors, second photo is a bride and groom posing beside a classic car. Third photo is a bride and groom kissing inside of a retro car.

Wanting to maximize the party time for all of the wonderful guests who traveled from afar, the event went straight into the cocktail hour.  Aperol spritzes and Negroni Spagliato’s awaited the guests. A neon sign read “Young Love”, a nod to their beginnings as High School sweethearts.

The reception was straight out of a Tuscan dream. As the sun retired for the day, the stringed lights made for a very romantic setting. Their illumination highlighted the wooden farm tables accented by splashes of baby’s breath floating against the rustic palette of copper and earth tones. As the night carried on, the black and white checkered dance floor was filled with guests shaking it up and having the best time. As the bride and groom made their way down the runway of sparklers at the end of the night, a vintage pink Cadillac awaited them to whisk them away.

Outdoor wedding reception set up inspired by the Tuscan region of Italy

The wedding went off without a hitch and Alannah attributes its success to their amazing planners at COJ Events. When asked to pass on some tips learned along the way, the couple has this to say: “What I learned early on is that there is a checklist,” says the bride. “If your wedding planner doesn’t provide you with one, ask for it. Stick to the checklist and commit to getting things done on time.”

Bride and groom dance their First Dance on a checkered black and white dance floor. Bride and groom our a champagne tower and cut their wedding pastry together. Bride and groom pose on a classic pink Cadillac

Vendors: Photographer: Matthew David Studio; Wedding Planner: COJ Events; Venue: Toscana Country Club ; Florist: Luna Design Studios; Stationery: Invitations: Bed of Letters; Day-of-Stationery: Tasha Rae Designs; Cake: French Corner Cafe; Makeup: KG Hair and Makeup; Hair: AV2 Hair; Gown Designer: Ines di Santo; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Canali; Videography: Sunbeat Films; Rentals: Archive RentalsSignature Party Rentals; Lighting: Perfect Touch; Strings: Cindy Brogans; Entertainment: Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment; Transportation: Coachella Valley Classic Cars

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