A "Modern, Masculine" Wedding Overlooking the Pacific Ocean
When Michael Davis moved to Chicago, he had one specific focus in mind: He was completing a fellowship that led to his current career as a retina surgeon. But the time he spent there changed his life in another way, too—during his time in Chicago, he met his future husband, procurement manager Henery Marr. A few years later, the pair moved to Los Angeles, and soon they were talking marriage. Henery took charge of the ring design and engagement plans and, since he "needed Michael to try it on, I wasn't able to do a big surprise," he says. But on an engagement trip to Tokyo and Hong Kong, Henery treated Michael to an unexpected celebratory Champagne toast in their room to celebrate.
The grooms chose Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, as the setting for their wedding weekend, which started with a poolside welcome party and gift bags. About 200 guests joined Henery and Michael for their outdoor ceremony, which overlooked the ocean, on March 30, 2019. "We wanted to make it a weekend that no one would forget," says the couple—and for others with the same goal, Michael has one key piece of advice: "Get a planner, no matter your budget," he says. "It's worth the money and made the process much more manageable."
Looking back on their big day, Michael says, "It really was the best day of my life; smiling seemed effortless." His husband agrees: "It was an incredible weekend!"
Out of the Box
Henery and Michael gave guests their first glimpse of the color palette with a boxed invitation set designed by Lotus & Ash. "Our invitation suite used a range of interesting materials, including handmade paper, plexiglass, and a custom box with our logo on it," says the couple.
The men chose classic gray suits with black ties from Men's Wearhouse, and toasted with Champagne as they dressed in the same room before the ceremony. They describe their wedding's design as "elegant and classic, with white, gray, and black colors with hints of red." Says the couple, "We wanted something with a modern, yet masculine look."
Henery and Michael both wore Christian Louboutin shoes that allowed them to coordinate without matching exactly; the red soles were a nod to the other understated red details throughout the décor.
Matching wedding rings, designed by Henery and custom-made in the Los Angeles Jewelry District, included channel-set baguettes to catch the light.
Party of Two
Michael and Henery kept their bridal party small, with each of them asking one friend to participate. Michael's maid of honor was Stephanie Anderson, a close friend from college, while Henery asked his friend Tommy Brewer II to perform the best man duties. Stephanie accented her black cocktail dress with a slim red belt, previewing a décor accent that reappeared at the reception.
Blue Skies Ahead
"Perfect" weather—sunny with temperatures in the 70s—produced a breathtaking backdrop at the couple's ceremony location. They exchanged vows overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on a custom stage decorated with white flowers, black-and-white fabric, and a dramatic crystal chandelier.
A Family Affair
Both men walked down the aisle with their parents before the ceremony. Michael went first, arm in arm with his parents, John and Judy, who hugged him when they reached the stage.
Mother and Son
Henery and his mother, Rosetta, walked down the aisle next, to the same processional as the Davis family: Beyoncé's "Halo."
The couple asked one of Michael's college roommates to officiate their non-religious ceremony, which included readings from another close friend. They wrote their own vows, which they exchanged through laughter and tears.
Married at Last
After the ceremony, the jubilant newlyweds each hugged their new in-laws before walking back down the aisle as Bruno Mars' "Marry You" played in the background. Along the way, they stopped to greet other guests. "Seeing and knowing all of our family and friends [were] there to support us—the love was palpable," says Michael. Henery agrees that his favorite part of the day, too, was "just knowing everyone made the trip to celebrate with us."
At the outdoor cocktail lounge, a guitarist strummed live music while guests relaxed on shaded chairs and sofas, taking in the views of the ocean.
Black escort cards with white text were mounted on an eye-catching display from Lotus & Ash. The custom-built wall included the couple's logo—a black line drawing that combined their first initials—and a cheerful accent of white balloons and sparkling disco balls.
In the resort's Catalina Ballroom, round tables were dressed with white linens and paired with open-back white chairs, and the entire space was set up around a gleaming white dance floor. Overhead lighting suspended from the wood-beamed ceiling gave the room an intimate feeling as the sun set outside.
Modest centerpieces from efw floral and design spoke to the high-contrast color palette and modern vibe with white blooms organically arranged in low black vases; black-and-white table numbers in acrylic frames recalled the colors and materials of the couple's invitations.
On the Menu
A drink menu at the bar offered guests a choice of cocktails—"Classy," "Dirty," "Fancy," or "Old"—plus wine and beer.
Personalized dinner menus, which were printed with the guest's name and his or her previously chosen entrée, topped each place setting while a thin red cord accented the black card and white napkin. Along with an appetizer of a portobello mushroom ragout beggar's purse and an heirloom beet salad, guests chose a main dish of braised short rib, Meyer lemon-roasted chicken, or espalette pepper-dusted tofu.
Their First Dance
For their first dance as newlyweds, the couple chose an iconic love song: "At Last," by Etta James. "We both really like the song," they say, "and it seemed very appropriate for getting married after 10 years together."
Henery and Michael cut a three-tier cake—two tiers of vegan red velvet, and one vanilla—from Half Baked Co. The pattern on the middle tier matched the couple's save-the-dates, while the red string detail matched the one at the place settings.
An "Unforgettable" Dance
Both men and their mothers took to the dance floor at the same time, sharing a special moment to the tune of "Unforgettable." Henery and Michael hired American Events Network to provide the evening's music: "[They were] an amazing band that had everyone dancing all night long," says the couple.
Photography and Videography, Lucas Rossi
Venue, Terranea Resort
Event planning, Jane Alexandra Events
Flowers, efw floral and design
Stationery, Lotus and Ash
Cake, Half Baked Co.
Music, American Events Network
Rentals and Lighting, Town & Country
Grooms' suits, Men's Wearhouse
Grooms' shoes, Christian Louboutin