A Quintessentially Palm Springs Wedding
Emily and Adhir
In the summer of 2010, Emily Wilson auditioned to play Adhir Kalyan's girlfriend on the television show Rules of Engagement. He was familiar with her work on a show she was previously on, and thought she was "super cute and really funny." So after the audition he sent her a Facebook message asking if she'd be open to getting together for a cup of tea. But she was dating someone at the time so she didn't respond.
Nine months later, and very much single, Emily reached out to Adhir and asked, "How about that cup of tea?" as though no time had passed at all. And so, within a week they went on their first date, and it's been plain sailing ever since.
During their four years together, Adhir hadn't been able to pull off a surprise. So naturally, Emily thought that, should they ever get engaged, she'd know it was coming. But when they went to the Hotel Bel-Air for a staycation before Adhir had to go to Texas for a month for work, he suggested they'd go for a walk through the gardens just before sunset. "Toward the end he started saying the sweetest things to me. But I thought he was saying them because he was going to miss me so much. Still no clue. I had no idea he was proposing as he was proposing," Emily says. But then he got down on one knee and it hit her—she got so excited she forgot to reply when he asked her to marry him. "He had to ask twice!"
With the surprise successfully executed, the couple took some time to enjoy their betrothed status before starting to plan their big day. Working with planner and designer Angel Swanson of Love & Splendor, they set out to dream up their dream day. From the beginning, Emily and Adhir decided they were okay straying from tradition for the sake of wanting their wedding to reflect who they are, feel like a party, and be really special for everyone in attendance. When they visited Colony 29 in Palm Springs, they knew the property was the exact spot they'd been searching for. The entire wedding party stayed onsite (it's a former artists' colony) for the weekend of events, which culminated with the wedding, on October 1, 2016.
The Los Angeles-based actor/host bride and actor groom, welcomed 110 guests from near and far (including South Africa, from where Adhir hails) for their destination celebration, complete with loads of fun and plenty of palm-leaf print.
The Stationery Suite
At the advice of their wedding planner, the invitation completely exuded the theme and style of the celebration to come. Created by Sue Yang from The Romance Between, it generated a sense of excitement for the fun wedding weekend in the desert. The three-part suite brought the couple's vision to life—with hand-drawn leaves (inspired by Mid-Century banana leaf prints), spot calligraphy by Betty Ling, and gold foil accents. The burnt-orange hue was introduced to tie-in with some of the tones the floral designer would use in the big day's arrangements. The pieces were sent in black envelopes calligraphed in gold ink and mailed with vintage stamps incorporating desert and floral imagery.
Getting Ready in Style
"I basically ordered everything I found with leaf print," Emily says. Here, she and her bridesmaids sport thematic separates, with "sunsets & palm trees" tanks from Asos for everyone, and a "my bridesmaids are cuter than yours" tee from Forever 21 for the bride—a gift from Adhir's sister (far left).
Adhir sported a Saint Laurent "Le Smoking Tuxedo" in black grain de poudre and silk black tie, and a bespoke shirt by Anto Beverly Hills embroidered with "A + E 10.01.16" inside to commemorate the occasion. He accessorized with Christian Louboutin oxford shoes, Frederic Beausoleil glasses, and his rose-gold and silver Omega "Seamaster" watch that was a gift from CBS after the 100th episode of Rules of Engagement.
As for Emily, she's always loved wedding dresses in general, but wasn't sure how she'd choose one for herself. But after a lot of online research about designers and looks she responded to, she came across a Pronovias gown that she loved when visiting Bohimi, in Palm Springs. She tried it on in the company of her mom and sister and immediately said "yes" to the dress.
Emily donned two tennis bracelets—one belonging to her mother, the other to Adhir's—and a few simple rings. To keep things classic, she opted for a light pink manicure, but jazzed it up a bit with palm-printed ring finger nails, courtesy of Pampered Hands, back in Los Angeles.
The Bridal Bouquet
"For Emily's bouquet we wanted something that felt lush and abundant without overwhelming her petite frame," says floral designer Megan Gray of Honey and Poppies. "So just a few stems of really beautiful orchids and some accents were the way to go—and bonus, they held up in the almost 100-degree heat)." Cymbidium orchids in ivory, butter, and burnt orange tones were blended with soft peach phalaenopsis orchids, and accented with touches of ranunculus, celosia, and pincushion protea to give the bouquet a pop of orange. Umbrella fern, striped calathea, variegated hosta leaves, and jasmine vine finished it off.
Finding a thicker-heeled shoe to keep her steady on the grass and gravel was the hardest piece for Emily to sort out because she also wanted something elegant and unique. "Paul Andrew is one of my favorite shoe designers, and one of his styles was exactly what I was looking for," she says of these lucite-heeled floral-embellished sandals. "But I couldn't find them in my size anywhere! I looked for months until I finally tracked them down. I feel so lucky to have found them!"
When it was time to cut loose on the dance floor, she slipped into floral-leaf-printed espadrilles from Asos.
Their First Look
Emily and Adhir both got emotional when they finally saw each other that day. Adhir hadn't seen her dress and recalls that moment as his favorite of the day. "It was so far beyond what I imagined it to be, and I was floored by how beautiful she looked," he says. "It's difficult to fully encapsulate how I felt when I saw her, because no one adjective feels just. I hope that everyone at some point feels it though, because it was a moment and a memory that I will forever treasure."
Emily's sentiment is similar, noting, "I always think Adhir looks handsome, but boy did he look good on our wedding day!"
The Wedding Rings
Adhir started looking at engagement rings back in September of 2014. After visiting several stores, he realized he would need to have a ring made to truly embody who Emily was. So he went to Neil Lane in the new year and set about working on the custom creation—an oval-shaped diamond set in an 18-karat rose gold ring accented with 106 round-cut diamonds on its three-sides.
Together, Emily and Adhir decided to exchange rose gold Cartier wedding bands. A classic "Love Ring" for him (to match one that Emily wears on her right hand), and a thin, diamond eternity band for her.
Fashionable, Floral Frocks
"I wanted something fun," Emily says of the printed dresses she found on Asos. The girls chose their own cut within the same pattern, paired them with nude shoes, and each carried bouquets by Honey and Poppies that were in slightly subtler tones of the bride's, with ginger and tuberose added in. The group was made up of Emily's childhood buddies, college friends, Los Angeles pals, and Adhir's sister. And her own sister (to the right of the bride) served as maid of honor. "I loved having the most important girls from every stage of my life with me when I got married," she notes.
Adhir's groomsmen wore gray suits and crisp white shirts from The Black Tux. Best man Dan Byrd (second from the left) was the first friend Adhir made when he came over to the States, and the other groomsmen were comprised of the groom's dearest friends from his time in high school, living in England, playing cricket, and since moving to America.
Emily gifted her girls some pampering and fashionable treats, too: A kit from Malin + Goetz and some jewelry to accessorize with that day.
The couple gave their attendants and officiant customized Ray-Ban sunglasses engraved with each of their names inside and the role they played in the wedding, tucked into cases stamped with "A + E" and the wedding date.
The Ceremony Setup
A perfectly Palm Springs backdrop framed the late-afternoon ceremony, which took place on a lawn facing the mountains. With the area naturally beautiful, it didn't need much—just a pair of floral arrangements, some succulents, and candles dotting the aisle.
The Ceremony Structure
Becoming Husband and Wife
Officiated by a dear friend, the ceremony was personalized, as it was the most important part of the entire wedding weekend. Adhir entered to Sleeping At Last's version of "I'm Gonne Be (500 Miles)" and his bride entered to Alison Krauss's "When You Say Nothing At All." The couple wrote a letter to their parents thanking them for being such incredible role models of love and marriage. They also wrote their own vows—leaving it until the wee hours of the night before, as they claim to work best when running out of time. They managed to get through the heartfelt exchange with only a few long pauses to help them avoid getting too choked up. Once officially wed, they recessed up the aisle to Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)."
An Emotional Moment
"The picture of my face as I saw Emily walk down the aisle tells you everything you need to know about how I felt," Adhir says of seeing Emily enter the ceremony.
As a cheeky touch in the dining area, two retro swing chairs, accented with palm-printed pillows, made for an ideal photo spot.
Food and Drink
Though some pre-ceremony refreshments had been served—strawberry agua fresca, horchata, and water to drink, and fruta con chili, bite-sized tostadas and empanadas, jalapeño poppers, and shrimp ceviche on cucumber rounds to nosh on—post ceremony there were more appetizers to enjoy as well as made-to-order guacamole and queso stations.
Three bars in total were set during the fête. This one served up white and red sangria, the couple's favorite wines and beers, and Mexican Coca Cola and Fanta sodas as a nod to the day's Mexican-inspired menu.
A second bar presented a slew of hand-crafted cocktails by Pharmacie. Four classics (a daiquiri, vodka martini, Old Fashioned, and the Bee's Knees) were served up besides four bespoke libations by the mixologists.
As an extra fun twist, a secret margarita bar was tucked away behind a tall fence and under a palapa roof. It surprised guests as they stumbled upon it during the evening, where they left with refreshing classic or mango margaritas—either as is or with spicy tequila. These were served in vintage green goblets, as a way of distinguishing them from the other beverages offered.
Faux Leaves, For Real
Betty Ling calligraphed a mix of die-cut painted paper palm leaves that served as escort cards and kept in the theme of the day.
The Place Settings
Gold-rimmed scalloped plates and fluted glassware were paired with matte gold flatware from Casa de Perrin. Foil-stamped round menus and a small airplant rounded out the place settings.
The tables were a balance between eclectic, playful, and sophisticated. A wide variety of modern white ceramic vessels held flowers and greenery, giving each a slightly different look.
The meal was just as diverse, thanks to Huntington Catering. Kicking off with fresh guacamole and a trio of salsas to share before digging in to the first course—a golden gazpacho with roasted shrimp garnish and a pepita salad with baby greens, Cotija cheese, jicama, and cilantro vinaigrette. Family-style platters of tacos, rice, beans, fajita-style veggies, cheese, cilantro, onion, and lime followed.
Several vases were filled with crushed white glass and huge zerographica airplants, while others housed a mix of tropical orange and gold blooms. Honey and Poppies used over 20 types of foliage, but kept the flowers streamlined to orchids, protea, tulips, and ranunculus.
Salt cellars housed tajin chili lime seasoning and black lava salt, adding color to the table while providing guests the ability to season their dinner to taste.
Sitting at a sweetheart table allowed the newlyweds to take it all in together.
The Family that Dances Together…
Their DJ, Ian Gotler, put together a mashup for the father-daughter dance, as the bride and her dad both love music and there are so many songs that hold special meaning for them. So they started with Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," then went into Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al." Finally, then Emily's mom and sister joined in for a family favorite—"The Twist" by Chubby Checker and the Fat Boys.
Dancing with Mom
Adhir and his mum, Santosh, danced to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which is one of her favorites.
Everybody Dance Now
Though they kicked off the party with their first dance to Ellie Goulding's "How Long Will I Love You," the merriment continued with everyone getting down. With Emily being a self-proclaimed music geek, and Adhir having a lot of favorite tunes, pretty much every song that played was hand-picked, and the dance floor was packed the whole night. "To see everyone having the time of their lives, while Em and I were having the time of ours, brought us more joy than we can express," Adhir says. "It may or may not be the biggest party we'll ever throw, but it was hands down the best we ever will."
"Don't get me wrong, cake is great, but on a warm night in Palm Springs, ice cream sandwiches are better," Adhir states. And since the couple frequents Coolhaus back in Los Angeles, they were stoked to find out the food truck would travel south to the desert to serve dessert. On the menu? Five different ice cream flavors (including whiskey Lucky Charms and Tahitian vanilla bean) and five different cookies (from the traditional chocolate chip or snickerdoodle to peanut butter Captain Crunch or snack food chip)! The edible wrappers that house each treat were customized with the same leaf print used in the invitation suite's envelope liner.