Lately, it seems as if more and more couples are opting out of the traditional, cookie-cutter wedding in favor of something that skews more towards the non-traditional. And for good reason. As far as wedding venues go, you have the standard array that most couples typically gravitate towards. From the contemporary hotels to the rustic, refurbished barns, the setting is one that typically tends to dictate the stylistic direction of the wedding itself.
Erica (née Ciccone) and Dave Clancy serve as a prime example of the latter. When it came to settling on a venue for their big day, the duo opted for a locale that would inform the design-fueled and organically-charged aesthetic of the day—Palm Springs.
Now, throwing a wedding in the middle of the desert may not be entirely groundbreaking but what sets this couple apart from the rest lies within the fact that their inspiration for the big day came from a rather unlikely source: their home.
“The foremost thing that inspired the aesthetic was my love of interior design, specifically clean, crisp lines, organic elements, and modern neutrals,” says the bride, Erica Clancy. “I joke that our wedding decor was essentially an extension of our home, and what better place to draw inspiration from.”
So how does one exactly translate their interior style into the decorative body of their wedding? For Erica and her husband Dave, this manifested in the form of Eames-style chairs, woven macrame, bright greenery, and a tonal palette comprised of delicate neutrals and hints of leather—each one being an element one could readily spot in their Venice Beach home.
This, coupled with the iconic Palm Springs landscape, set the decorative tone for the big day. “Nothing is more stunning and natural than the free-flowing shapes of intricate cactus plants and the shades and colors of tumbleweeds and desert fauna,” notes Erica, adding that the scene was a component she and her team continuously pulled inspiration from.
“Our wedding decor was essentially an extension of our home, and what better place to draw inspiration from.”
Clancy enlisted the help of her rockstar team of collaborators—which included Ashley Santora of Botanique NYC for the floral design and event coordination and Layne Kula for style and design—who helped make the make the wedding the success that it was.
Not to be left out of the action, the groom was also involved in the wedding planning process. As a photographer, Dave’s creative eye came in quite handy. For Erica (who happens to be the head of production for a television production company) the entire process was not too far off from her professional responsibilities. “I’ve learned from years of experience there is something quite magical about the right combination of an inspiring location, carefully chosen vendors, attention to detail, a talented support staff and staying true to your vision that lends itself to a memorable event.”
Speaking to the wedding planning, Clancy points out the importance of collaborating with your significant other and the lessons that can be learned for the future. “Compromise, budgeting, and allowing other family members’ needs to be heard are all challenges we encountered,” she recalls. “It’s hard to see that when you’re in the midst of it all, but remembering this was an important life event for the parents and sisters and brothers went a long way.”
Originally from the East Coast, Dave and Erica were both keen on integrating the quintessential elements of their West Coast lifestyle into their big day. As the majority of their guests would be traveling from distant locales for the wedding, finding a setting where lodging was included was key.
“There is something quite magical about the right combination of an inspiring location, carefully chosen vendors, attention to detail, a talented support staff and staying true to your vision that lends itself to a memorable event.”
When it came to settling on the venue, the couple knew that Alcazar Palm Springs was the one the moment they stumbled upon it. The stunning property was theirs for the long weekend, which allowed the duo complete freedom in utilizing every square inch to curate the setting of their dreams. The majority of the aspects of the weekend were meticulously planned out by the couple, beginning with an intimate dinner for close family and friends the first evening to morning yoga classes and various other activities based in and around Palm Springs.
“Because a majority of our weekend events took place right on the property, everyone could simply leave their doors open and walk straight into the action,” recalls Clancy. “Family and friends who had never met chatted over coffee in the courtyard in the mornings, and the kids took last night dips in the pool without having to go very far.”
Veronica Lowe of The Bloomin Gypsy was the mastermind behind the floral arrangements, which beautifully complemented the Bohemian-inspired aesthetic of the day. “A neutral color theme throughout helped keep everything cohesive and on the mark, which is another interior design rule I live by,” notes Erica.
The bridal bouquet was comprised of a clever mix of cream colored roses and lisianthus, explosion grass, white veronica, white anthurium and pops of tropical blooms—a nod to the couples many trips to the Hawaiian islands.
Spencer Falls, the floral designer and artist behind The Unlikely Florist, brought in rich layers of pampas grass and fresh moss to establish the aisle—set on recycled wood planter boxes, the arrangements were later repositioned to set the boundaries for the dance floor for the reception.
In lieu of a traditional altar, the couple opted for a suspended floral display of various tropical greens filtered with king protea, white anthurium, pampas grass, fan palms, monstera leaf, and assorted ferns. The look was replicated for the table runners, which came to resemble a similarly lush effect.
The Table Setting
“I think most people don’t realize what a captivating place setting looks like until they’ve experienced one,” says Clancy in regards to their approach to how the reception tables were set. Finely layered and detailed were two characteristics the couple chose to abide by, opting to forgo traditional linens in favor of making the most of the whitewashed, modern farmhouse tables.
Utilizing the wooden table as the foundation for the setup, the table settings themselves embodied a more delicate feel. “Square marble presentation plates were contrasted with round, ivory white ceramic dinner and salad plates,” recalls Clancy. “Vintage champagne coupes paired with modern wine and water glassware proved to be the perfect mix of old and new.”
It’s not often that the wedding dress informs the theme of a reception—much less the menu—but for this creative duo, such was certainly the case. The stunning dress worn by Erica was designed by Rime Arodaky and featured delicate Parisian silk and laser-cut florals for added texture. This, in turn, inspired the theme of the reception. “The sophistication of the French lifestyle peaked my interest so much, we decided on French family-style dinner service for our reception which, is very non-traditional,” adds Erica.
That said, the couple still wanted the menu to reflect their healthy-approach to dining—one which the two abide by in their day-to-day. This came to fruition by way of an eclectic slew of farm-to-table options, which included homemade cheeses set amidst rich charcuterie platters, assorted olives, hummus, and dried fruit.
For the main course, the couple served roasted chicken with olives, dates, and capers plus an individual salmon en papillote. Roasted cauliflower seasoned with chili flakes and aged Parmesan and Brussels sprouts topped with pecorino cheese comprised the sides.
When it came to the dessert round, the couple decided to opt out of a traditional wedding cake in favor of an eclectic arrangement of sweets. “Choosing authentic Italian desserts over a large wedding cake was something we felt drawn to, and ultimately decided to serve cannolis and tortonis,” Clancy remarks of their decision which stemmed from the desire to pay homage to their Italian roots.
Not to stray too far off from tradition, the couple did have a mini cake to cut “for sake of the wedding tradition,” of course. They promptly stashed the cake away and devoured it, just the two of them, the following morning.
“Pick and choose your inspirational materials carefully and stick to elements and components you surround yourself with in everyday life and you won’t be disappointed.”
Looking back, Clancy was proud of the fact that she never wavered from her original vision for the big day. Given the abundance of inspiration and influences out there, she notes how daunting it can be to get wrapped up in the constant rotation of trends out there. Erica’s parting words of wisdom are simple yet impactful: “Pick and choose your inspirational materials carefully and stick to elements and components you surround yourself with in everyday life and you won’t be disappointed.”
Planning: Ashley Santora | Design: Layne Kula | Food + Beverage / F10 Catering | Photography: Nick Radford Photography | Aerial + Drone PhotographY: Adam Guy | Florals: The Bloomin Gypsy / @thebloomingypsy | Glassware: Hostess Haven / @hostesshaven | Tabletop Rentals: Borrowed Blu / @borrowedblu | Aisle Installation: The Unlikely Florist / @theunlikelyflorist