Brian and Joe’s Wedding was Simply the Best

A rainbow flag hangs vertically on a corrugated wall over a table with a vase of flowers and a framed cards sign and box.

When these two grooms contacted me with their idea of a “Palm Springs meets Ptown in the Redwoods” wedding, I was immediately intrigued. It was a complete joy to work with them as they were organized, intelligent, and driven, but open to suggestions and solutions to make their vision come to life. Getting to know them, enjoying their quick wit, and appreciating their deep love for each other made producing their incredible wedding a career highlight and a personal delight.

Despite moving in the same circles and having friends in common for years, Joe and Brian officially met just one week before COVID lockdown. Even though Joe was about to move, they started spending time together. In retrospect, as Brian put it, “COVID eliminated so many distractions and gave us time to prioritize the relationship and get to know one another. Remote work helped. Fewer happy hours helped. It was the definition of a silver lining.” Brian orchestrated the proposal in 2022, under the guise of his birthday dinner. They had a private proposal at a favorite restaurant and then went to the bar where they’d had their first date, where they were joined by tons of friends who had arrived for the surprise.

After spending Christmas together in Palm Springs and enjoying great summer weekends in Provincetown, these two DC politico grooms decided to invite everyone to the place that captured both aesthetics: the gayest little resort town in Sonoma County, Guerneville, California. They chose boon hotel + spa, Chef Crista Luedke’s modern oasis in the redwoods, for their celebration due to its ethos, relaxed vibe, and sublime food and drink.

Two grooms in olive and blue suits with white shoes adjust each other’s ties while standing in a redwood forest.
The wedding day began with a hike in the redwoods for the grooms and any guests who wanted to join them, and then some unhurried time for getting ready. Wedding attendants helped get both grooms to the first look photo session in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, and Kayla Lilli, their amazing photographer, started capturing the palpable love and joy in the first look and subsequent family photo sessions.
Guests seated on a lawn surrounded by umbrellas and trees look on at attendants and officiant conducting the ceremony.

A quick trip back to boon got everyone set up for the incredibly sweet ceremony, officiated by one of the grooms’ dearest friends with heartfelt readings by more friends, and capped off by the guests with the most enthusiastic streamer toss, which covered the grooms in their own tickertape parade.

Two grooms kiss under an arbor draped with white chiffon as they are showered with white streamers.

Taking a page from LGBTQ+ history, the grooms chose to change up the traditional schedule by having a tea dance directly after the ceremony. With a nod to David and Patrick of Schitt’s Creek, their first dance was to Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best.” The excellent DJ Whit from Heart of Gold DJs kept the tunes spinning as guests enjoyed bespoke cocktails like the “Ptown Punch” and “Palm Spritz” and passed appetizers by the pool.

A white frame with a bar menu showing three signature cocktails and other beverage options sits on a wood bar.
A man in a white dinner jacket strikes a pose with a large hand fan that reads SHADE.

The design elements we created brought the Palm Springs desert golden and coral touches to the overall look, supported by rentals from Party Tents and Events and florals from Feather Flower Farm. To personalize their day a bit more, the grooms named their long guest tables after their favorite Recording Divas, Broadway Queens, Disney Villains, and Golden Girls.

A closeup of a dinner table card with a Disney castle silhouette icon and the name Ursula in a stylized font sits next to a bouquet of flowers.
Two grooms in blue and olive suits with yellow boutonnieres laugh out loud, surrounded by guests at dinner tables.

Before the family-style dinner on the lawn, friends and family gave touching and hilarious toasts and raised their glasses to the grooms. Then, as the sun began to set, guests tucked in to a fantastic spread by Chef Crista and her team. Eschewing a traditional cake, the grooms chose to serve treats that highlighted their individual backgrounds: potica (a Croatian nut roll) from Joe’s aunt and gooey butter cookies from Brian’s mom, offered with three flavors of ice cream. The guests then moved to cabaret tables where pianist Tom Shaw expertly led them in singing show tunes as if they were in a Ptown piano joint, fueled by espresso martinis from the bar.

Guests raise glasses to toast over four long tables, illuminated by strings of market lights
When the official festivities concluded, guests who were up for more dancing were invited to hop on shuttles to take them to a local bar for “Afters.” It was, as the grooms put it, “Simply the Best.”

Not every review is as eloquent as this one. The grooms shared this about their experience.

“Laura was fabulous. We were planning a large wedding from the other side of the country, and she helped us host an epic, tailored, and unique event that friends and family from all ages and many different backgrounds say was one of the best they’ve been to. We played around with typical formats, and Laura made it happen. Laura brought a perfect mixture of clarity, calm, and cohesion to everything we did. She knew when to jump in and help steer the ship and when to let my husband and I come to a decision on our own. She was patient… and also told us when it was time to make a decision. She was cool under pressure, had meticulous attention to detail, and brought a creative flair that helped bring our visions to life. If you’re considering her for your planner, you’d be silly not to. She’s simply the best.”

Vendor Team

Planning & Design: O Frabjous Day Events

Venue & Catering: boon hotel + spa

Photographer: Kayla Lilli Photo

DJ: Heart of Gold

Pianist: Tom Shaw Entertainment

Rentals: Party Tents & Events

Florist: Feather Flower Farm

Guest Shuttles: Pure Luxury Transportation

Ice Cream: Two Dog Night Creamery

Hair Stylist: Wash & Brushup Co.

Jewelry: Crown Nine

Suits: Todd Snyder

Share this post!

Scroll to Top