This Couple Hosted a Modern Wedding with Timeless Touches in a California Olive Grove

A color palette of onyx, ivory, and gray set a timeless tone for this couple's nuptials.

bride and groom kissing under flower arch
Photo: Christine Skari Photography

In November 2020, five years after meeting at Pepperdine Law School, Cassidy and Nicholas were living in Utah and celebrating their anniversary at the St. Regis Deer Valley—but Nicholas had his eye on the future. "Nicholas said, 'Let's go outside to take a photograph,' and it was setup with roses, a sign, and lots of candles," says Cassidy of his proposal. "It was pretty dreamy, as it had snowed all day the day before—a true winter wonderland moment."

After their engagement in the snow, the couple dreamed of a warm-weather wedding, choosing the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, California. "Nicholas grew up in La Quinta, which borders Indian Wells, and his parents still live in the desert. We spend a lot of time there," says Cassidy. "It just made sense for us to get married there." The rest of their family and friends flew in from across the United States for a ceremony and reception in the venue's pretty olive grove. The couple chose a modern, minimalist aesthetic, complete with white flowers, black accents, shades of gray, and glass details. "The vision was timeless and classic with small modern touches," explains Cassidy.

They added personal touches, too: a Utah Jazz-themed groom's cake, a monogrammed dance floor, and a raucous after-party at the resort's night club. Even when some elements didn't go as planned—the couple's ring bearer, their toddler nephew, slept through the ceremony; high winds threatened their ceremony—they kept their attention on the big picture. "Don't sweat the small stuff," says Cassidy. "If you stay focused on the fact that the day is about you and your spouse getting married, then everything else becomes ancillary."

black-and-white invitation suite
Christine Skari Photography

Timeless and Elegant

A monochromatic invitation suite from A Fabulous Fete combined printing and calligraphy for a "clean and modern" look. A custom monogram with the couple's first initials appeared on a tag tied around the invitation; Cassidy and Nicholas used the same logo on the dance floor and cocktail napkins during their reception. "Both of us love black, gray, and white and we stayed true to ourselves with our color palette," says Cassidy. "We wanted to be able to look back in 15 years and not regret our design."

illustrated champagne bottle
Christine Skari Photography

Pass the Champagne

Cassidy and her attendants popped an illustrated bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the bridal suite; the artwork featured the pair's big-day date and previewed the event's neutral floral palette.

bride wearing white robe
Christine Skari Photography

Getting Ready

The bride posed for a few portraits in a floor-length silk robe before stepping into her wedding dress.

bride in strapless wedding dress
Christine Skari Photography

Love at First Sight

When Cassidy spotted her Leah De Glora gown while casually scrolling through her Instagram feed, she knew it was the one. She called the California bridal salon that had posted the dress as an advertisement for a weekend trunk show and secured the only remaining appointment. "I then called my mom and told her I was flying in from Utah for 24 hours to go try on this dress," says Cassidy. "The sample size hardly fit, but I just knew and purchased it." The fitted bodice and cascading train of tiered organza ruffles were the perfect combination of elements she wanted for her wedding: "Minimalist, but also dramatic."

blue manolo blahnik heels
Christine Skari Photography

Something Blue

Embellished Manolo Blahnik heels peeked out from below Cassidy's ruffled skirt; she also wore diamond jewelry and a cathedral-length veil.

bridesmaids wearing gray dresses
Christine Skari Photography

Gray Ladies

Cassidy chose seven different gown styles in silver and gray from Fame and Partners for her bridesmaids. "I thought it would be a good way to tie in the gray since I had already selected a lot of black and white," she says. Each woman carried a different bouquet of white flowers: long-stemmed garden roses for the bride, and roses, majolica, sprays, ranunculus, or lisianthus for the bridesmaids.

groomsmen in a group
Christine Skari Photography


Nicholas and his groomsmen chose traditional formal attire from The Black Tux, with the groom adding Christian Louboutin suede loafers and a Carl F. Bucherer watch. Lily Roden Floral Studio provided ivory ranunculus for the boutonnières.

bride and groom sharing first look
Christine Skari Photography

The Look of Love

Symbolic trees in the property's natural olive grove surrounded the couple during their first look. "Both of us felt a little nervous beforehand," says the couple. "It was super windy—30 miles per hour—during our first look, so we were also a little overwhelmed about the wind and its impact on the day. But we really just tried to focus on each other and soak in the moment."

bride in front of flower arch
Christine Skari Photography

High Contrast

A minimalist black frame structure offered a modern complement to the lush white flowers and greenery that made up the couple's altar backdrop.

ceremony aisle flowers
Christine Skari Photography

Chic Seating

Sophisticated black cane chairs, set with white cushions, were accented by oversized green-and-white floral arrangements that lined the aisle.

string quartet at wedding
Christine Skari Photography

String Processional

Organic String Quartet performed Lana Del Ray's "Young and Beautiful" for the bridal party and groom's processional, and "Can't Help Falling in Love" as Cassidy's father escorted her down the aisle.

bride and groom during recessional
Christine Skari Photography

The New Mr. and Mrs.

A friend of the couple officiated the Christian ceremony, during which Cassidy and Nicholas exchanged traditional vows before existing the space as newlyweds to Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do." "It was a really special moment to be married by one of our closest friends—and the wind cooperated!" says Cassidy.

wedding seating chart with black panels
Christine Skari Photography

Their Favorite People

Wild House Ink created the couple's alphabetical escort display, keeping to the black, gray, and white color palette. Delicate floral outlines and sweeping calligraphy softened the block text and muted tones.

wedding reception table
Christine Skari Photography

Under the Stars

Though creating a tent that gave the couple the "dinner under the stars" feeling they wanted was one of the most complicated parts of the planning process, the end result was worth it: The black frame structure with a clear roof, white draped accents, and delicate overhead greenery embodied the couple's "modern elegance" theme.

place settings with clear chargers
Christine Skari Photography

Clear Winners

Cassidy and Nicholas chose white centerpieces, clear chargers, black napkins, and floral-embellished menus to create their "timeless and classic" atmosphere. As the sun set, white lights accenting the ceiling of the tent recreated a glittering sky. The property's chefs prepared a meal of wedge salad with ranch dressing, stuffed chicken breast, and filet mignon. For late-night snacks, the couple served their favorite foods: mozzarella sticks, hot wings, sliders, and donuts.

bride and groom sharing first dance
Christine Skari Photography

On the Dance Floor

The couple's white dance floor displayed their monogram in crisp black. After their first dance as husband and wife, Cassidy and her father danced to Tim McGraw's "My Little Girl" and Nicholas and his mother took the floor to Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life."

One of the couple's favorite parts of their day was "having our family and friends from all over the United States come celebrate us," says Cassidy. "We had people from Pennsylvania, Texas, Missouri, Washington D.C., and northern, central, and southern California. It was amazing to see all of our loved ones in one place."

bride and groom during reception
Christine Skari Photography


Photography, Christine Skari Photography
Venue and catering, Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa, Indian Wells
Event planning, My Beloved Events
Flowers, Lily Roden Floral Studio
Videography, Anna LordStudio
Stationery, Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete
Cake, Exquisite Desserts
Music, Organic String Quartet (ceremony and reception); Visions Entertainment (reception)
Rentals, BBJ La Tavola; Bedazzle My Events;Bright Event Rentals; MTB Event Rentals
Bride's gown, Leah Da Gloria
Bride's shoes, Manolo Blahnik
Hair and makeup, Meghan Valerie Hair and Makeup Artistry
Makeup, Devynne Johnson
Bridesmaids' dresses, Fame and Partners
Groom's attire and menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's accessories, Christian Louboutin shoes; Carl F. Bucherer watch
Escort display, Wild House Ink
Guest book, After the Tone
Photo booth, Pixster Photo Booth

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles