A Chic Destination Wedding in Palm Springs
George and Shawn
George Henderson didn't expect his life to change forever after dining at a Chinese restaurant in New York City's West Village. But the event planner and caterer with Creative Edge Parties was enjoying a relaxing night with friends in the fall of 2011 when he spotted Shawn Lisle. "We were seated at the same table," he says. "Before we sat I remember saying to a friend, 'Who is that?!'" George started seeing Shawn, a graphic designer at Intermix, regularly while meeting with friends. The pair became official in the winter of 2012, and George popped the question five years later.
The Manhattan-based duo jetted off to Palm Springs, California, for a chic destination wedding on March 25, 2017. Close family and friends attended the intimate celebration, including Shawn's relatives from Seattle and George's family from upstate New York. Mid-century modern touches, desert tones, ideal weather, and classic disco music created an unforgettable night at the Dinah Shore Palm Springs Estate (432 Hermosa) for the grooms and their 50 guests.
The Stationery Suite
George and Shawn printed used vintage Palm Springs postcards as their save-the-dates. Shawn then created the invitations to resemble a fashion show invite, complete with tasteful nods to the ceremony aesthetic. A palm tree motif was printed on metallic paper as a nod to some of the day's own glimmering elements. The front of the invite, which featured white ink on black matte paper, also showcased the wedding's clean and modern vibe.
The Welcome Totes
Upon arrival, guests received customized tote bags with the couple's invitation text printed on the front. Contents included a Compartes Chocolates "California Love" chocolate bar, Dardimans California pineapple crisps, an illustrated map of Palm Springs, an itinerary, a bottle of water, Tattly temporary tattoos, and handmade soap from Pelle.
Jetting Off to Palm Springs
When they first started dating, George and Shawn were visiting family in Los Angeles and took a solo trip to Palm Springs. There, they fell in love with each other and the location. The desert city seemed like the ideal location for their nuptials—especially since it has flawless weather in March, when George's work schedule is less busy. "A New York wedding would have felt like work to me," he says. "I wanted to get away and have it be easy and beautiful in winter. Palm Springs was a natural choice."
The couple chose Donald Wexler's Dinah Shore Palm Springs Estate (432 Hermosa) for their ceremony venue. The mid-century modern design of the house inspired the wedding aesthetic, and it's inherent beauty allowed the couple to plan little in terms of décor. Thankfully, the weather remained a comfortable 78 degrees with bright sun aand a slight breeze throughout the day, but there was some pre-wedding worry about the possibility of rain. "Leading up the wedding, Palm Springs was having an unusual amount of rain," says George. "I couldn't believe it. I picked the desert and it could rain." The rain held off for the ceremony, but the abnormal levels of precipitation created a rare "super bloom" in the area, causing the wildflowers to burst with magical colors.
George and Shawn brought an impressive dose of style to Palm Springs. Shawn (left) stood out in an Alexander McQueen suit, Maison Margiela shirt, Dior shoes, and a Lanvin fabric flower on his lapel. George (right) looked handsome in a Givenchy suit, Lanvin shirt, Alexander McQueen tie (in the same pattern as Shawn's suit), Givenchy shoes, and a smaller Lanvin fabric flower as the finishing touch.
Shawn's band, which doubled as his engagement ring, is 18K rose gold with two diamonds and an enamel inlay with the word "Mr." across the surface. "Shawn is a graphic designer, and he likes the graphic element," says George, whose band was also made with 18K rose gold. Nora Kogan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, designed both.
Two hours before the ceremony, George and Shawn drove to the Doug Aitken Installation Mirage to take some portraits. The location was part of Desert X 2017, a temporary art exhibition in the Coachella Valley. Shawn calls the photo session his favorite part of the wedding, since the intimate moments with his soon-to-be husband, surrounded by nature and art, set the tone for the rest of the day.
At 5:30 p.m., George and Shawn tied the knot as the sun dipped behind the San Jacinto Mountains. Their parents, flower girls (George's niece and Shawn's niece), and ring bearer (Shawn's nephew) processed into the ceremony to "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, performed on a piano by Dart Collective. The grooms then entered together while "Imagine" by John Lennon played in the background. They opted for a Episcopal ceremony with traditional vows and readings of 1st Samuel 18:1-4 and Romans 12:9-18. "Turning around during the ceremony and seeing all my friend and family smiling at us—it was powerful," says George.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails in the estate's yard. A pianist from Dart Collective played music by Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and more. Everyone dressed in their finest "chic cocktail" attire (the grooms provided a link to a Pinterest board with inspirational looks before the big day) and that only added to the stylish aesthetic.
Passed Hors d'oeuvres
Shawn and George loved all of their passed appetizers (made by roomforty): liquid-center meatballs with warm Pomodoro and panko crunch; mini beet salad with smoked burrata, housemade granola, Meyer lemon, and cabbage purse; chicken and waffle cone with maple pearls and chipotle remoulade; and bao buns with housemade duck sausage and duck pastrami with a citrus marmalade. They also had a fromage and charcuterie service with assorted Spanish and French cheeses, homemade charcuterie, pickled market vegetables, poached fruit, candied nuts, and artisan breads.
A Furry Friend
The couple's four-year-old Pomeranian, Simon, came dressed in an adorable outfit from DOG & CO.
George's parents, who have been married for 49 years, attended their son's wedding in elegant apparel.
The dinner took place outside, with guests sitting at one long table positioned alongside a glimmering pool. George and Shawn say that elements of their wedding inspired the reception's color palette; blue was drawn from the sky and pool, while rose gold reflected the color of their wedding bands.
The Place Settings
The tabletop featured gold flatware, marble-print plates, delicate pink and coral floral arrangements by Baura New York, and napkins with surged edges. Shawn designed the menu, which outlined the meal of warmed lettuce hearts with cashew cheese, housemade ricotta, and herb vinaigrette; a mid-course of cedar-planked salmon; and a main course of Maple Leaf duck, prepared by roomforty.
The First Dance
Dancing The Night Away
Since Shawn works as a DJ, he created a playlist for dancing, featuring lots of classic disco. "Palm Springs has a 10 p.m. noise ordinance, but we had rented the house for a few days so people could linger," says George. The sparkly geometric backdrop denoted the dance floor and added a decorative touch to the site. Inside the home, Dart Collective played melodies on the piano.
As the night turned chilly, female guests donned pashminas and guests ventured into the house for dessert. The cake, baked by Alana Jones-Mann, featured two flavors: vanilla with pistachio buttercream and vanilla with apple cinnamon buttercream and caramel filling.
Guests also nibbled on cake pops, macarons, s'mores, churros, and marbled white chocolate.
Photography, Ben Christensen
Location, Dinah Shore Estate (432 Hermosa)
Event Planning, Christine V. Tran
Flowers, Baura New York
Stationery, Shawn Lisle
Cake, Alana Jones-Mann
Music, Dart Collective
George's suit, Givenchy
Shawn's suit, Alexander McQueen
George's reception shirt, PLAC
Shawn's reception shirt, Solid Homme.