Rich jewel tones pop against the tranquil desert landscape in this flirty Palm Springs wedding. With a venue this attractive, they were bound to have a beautiful wedding, but this couple wanted their wedding to be extra special, extra THEM! Rodney and Jaz worked together with their team to infuse little pieces of their story into every aspect of their wedding, including a larger-than-life custom Monopoly board! Can you spot all of the hidden details (You'll have to look really close)?
Mackenzie Swift listened to this couple and their love story and created a truly custom celebration. Having the area's only rooftop space, Omni Rancho Las Palmas was the perfect venue for Rodney and Jaz's dream wedding! Shindig Chic created the beautiful florals that carried the lush color palette throughout this entire event. The vibrant colors really pop in these photos by Eliza Jane Photography and Amari Productions was there to film to make sure they didn't miss one moment of this special day! You can see all the images in the full gallery. Read on to hear more from the bride, Jaz, about how she and Rodney fell in love and everything else that led up to this beautiful day!
RODNEY & JAZ...GOOGLE THEM
Rodney is Haitian-American from Miami and Jaz is Ugandan-American from the Hudson Valley, New York. Both work at Google (Rodney in software engineering for Chrome and Jaz is a marketing lead at YouTube). They met in New York City when Rodney was Jaz's GMAT tutor as she prepared to go to business school. They got engaged in February 2020 in Jaz's last year of business school right before the world shut down. They now live in Los Angeles.
A FASHION FUSION
Some of our favorite travel destinations are in the Mediterranean and I loved the softness of lace and particularly a lace mantilla veil. The reception dress was a nod to the traditional Ugandan celebratory gown, the Gomesi, with a modern twist. The ceremony dress was the 'Clo' gown in Ivory and 'Frederike' veil by Grace Loves Lace. My reception dress was the 'Ciara' sequin kimono by Asos. Rodney wanted to align the bold color aesthetic with a blue suit from Indochino, shoes from Johnston and Murphy, cufflinks from Kasun London, and a tie from Wild Ties. The tie had small white math equations as a nod to Rodney tutoring me for business school!
A DESERT OASIS
Omni Rancho Las Palmas was a dream. We love Palm Springs and both had never been to a desert wedding. We even had our engagement shoot in the Moroccan Afaghay desert as a nod. They have the only rooftop wedding venue in Palm Springs and were an amazing one-stop-shop for so many of our wedding needs. The desert symbolism became even more apparent once COVID hit. We wanted our wedding to bring a sense of normalcy, calm, and comfort just like our gorgeous, lush venue in the middle of the desert. Our first dance song, "Best Part" by Daniel Ceasar and H.E.R. had the lyrics "you're my water when I'm stuck in the desert". We got to leverage different sites of the venue: sunset terrace for the welcome reception/rehearsal dinner, Las Palmas Lawn for our garden reception, and the Starlight terrace (the true rooftop venue in Palm Springs) for the reception. It felt like a destination wedding and a welcome to our new SoCal life.
We carved out a moment during the ceremony (officiated by one of Rodney's best friends), before ring exchange, to turn to our family and friends and have everyone silently send prayers, well wishes, or good vibes and energy. That picture of smiling, crying faces, will stay with me forever. Instead of doing family photos during cocktail hour, we had a first look alone and knocked out all family pictures before the reception (and allowed them to fully enjoy all of the cocktail hour). We loved getting our alone time and also dedicated time with our core family to shake off all the nerves before the ceremony. Then, after the ceremony, we drove away from the venue and took sunset pictures in the desert for even more alone time during that special "just married" buzz! It was one of our happiest moments of the day.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
Details, Darling dreamed up the seating chart and played off the fact that we are the game night king and queen. They created a giant monopoly board with countries we've visited together. One of the most fun parts of wedding planning was finding a way to blend our Caribbean and African cultures. We worked closely with the awesome head chef, Chef Robert, to come up with amazing appetizers like our hit-fried plantains and pickled peppers. And the band, Hella Fitzgerald, had everyone out of their seats with the Haitian and Ugandan party music that we incorporated in our playlist. We learned that plantains, rice, and drum-heavy beats work across both sides of our tropical family! In New York, Jaz lived on the upper east side and Rodney lived on the upper west side so the signature drink was called "The Central Park" as a nod to our cab rides across the city for date nights and our favorite cocktail from the early courting days, a white Sangria. For the dessert table, we wanted to have more of a family vibe and give people a choice of delicious fall-inspired options (Snickerdoodle was a hit!).
SWITCHING IT UP
I was super torn on my wedding dress up until the morning of. I had two awesome dresses but the Grace Loves Lace one was so feminine and romantic and I knew it would work perfectly for the desert oasis garden backdrop of the ceremony. I had set my mind on wearing it the entire day but got makeup all over it during our desert couple's shoot during cocktail hour. I took that as a sign! I ended up changing to the second sequin dress. The glittery, glam switch-up was a surprise to everyone (including my husband!) and worked perfectly with our rooftop reception entrance to "Diamond" by Rihanna with a ground-up cold sparkler reveal!
ADVICE FROM THE BRIDE
Protect the energy of your bridal suite. I made a clear boundary about keeping the group of people with me small and specific and I only wanted feminine energy. I had the presidential suite with multiple rooms so any stressful conversations happened away from me and I never knew about it. I blasted awesome music, drank mimosas, handed my phone over to my mom for the day, and didn't look at the time ever. I knew I had the best planner you could ask for and an amazing and supportive family and that everything would end up how it was supposed to. My makeup and hair team kept commenting that it was the most positive, fun, relaxed, giddy bridal suite they'd ever seen. It set the tone for an unforgettable day.