Published on May 29, 2020

Bryan and Madison Caselli know how to commit to a theme. Their Christmas parties—ski lodge–inspired one year, candy-colored another—and homemade Halloween costumes (including a Renaissance-style Han Solo and Princess Leia) are a testament to how far they’re willing to go to make any kind of celebration feel that much more special. So when it came time to plan their wedding, they knew they wanted a day that felt totally unique to them.

Having both graduated from the California Institute of the Arts—Bryan is an animator and Madison is an interior designer—they already had the creative skills to map out exactly how they wanted their nuptials to go—which led to them creating wood cacti with friends for table decor, spray-painting salvaged palm leaves for their DIY altar, and whipping up so many decorations themselves that they had to rent a small U-Haul to bring it all to their venue, the Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs, for their February wedding. 

Colorful bouquetPin It
Photography by Jenn Emerling

The couple focused their efforts (and their budget) on day-of elements: the band led by the composer of an animated series Bryan had worked on, their white outfits that contrasted with their guests’ colorful apparel, and, of course, the venue itself. A bridal party was deemed unnecessary—instead, their siblings joined them at the altar—and for save-the-dates and invitations, a Burbank printing shop was key to keeping things reasonably priced, about $50 and $150, respectively.

Though Madison had long had her own wedding Pinterest board, the two created a new one together (and another one with dress-code inspiration for their guests), and honed in on the ideas that would make their ceremony and reception reflect who they are as a couple. “You imagine a wedding, but not a husband,” says Madison.“Then once you find your person, you’re like, Oh, this is how things are actually going.” Here, they share the plans that made their special day—weekend, rather—a celebration to remember.

They Let Their Destination Decide Their Theme

Guests at weddingPin It
Photography by Jenn Emerling

When initially dreaming of where to have their wedding, the couple thought of an avocado farm owned by Bryan’s cousin, but upon visiting, they realized the location was a bit too remote to accommodate guests easily. “We wanted a one-stop shop,” says Bryan—a place where the ceremony, reception, and any kind of after-party could take place. They eventually landed on the Saguaro, after realizing the hotel—which they had stayed at for a friend’s wedding—appeared in several of their pinned photos. 

Cacti cutout at tablePin It
Photography by Jenn Emerling

From there they leaned into the boldness of the hotel’s existing color palette, using the same hues in their DIYed decorations and as inspiration for the guests’ “colorful cocktail” dress code—a push against the typically muted wedding colors both Bryan and Madison weren’t drawn to. “We thought, if you’re going to be at the Saguaro, you need to have the same intensity that the rest of the space has,” says Bryan.

The Collaborated on DIYs

Homemade altarPin It
Photography by Jenn Emerling

Most of the couple’s decoration ideas also came from Pinterest—the rainbow fringe chandelier that hung above their table at the reception, the multitone altar made of leaves, and the colorful cacti cutouts that worked as centerpieces, which had a much longer life span than real flowers would (in fact, Bryan and Madison still have most of them scattered around their home because they can’t yet bear to part with them).

Colorful cacti cutoutsPin It
Photography by Jenn Emerling

With all of their assorted projects, collaboration and thriftiness were key. Bryan invited about 12 fellow animator friends to paint cartoon-like patterns on the cacti, eventually using them to color-code the tables at the reception (way more fun than just assigning them numbers, he thought). Madison made the chandelier—one project that she actually drew from her original wedding board, pinned maybe even before she ever met Bryan. And Bryan sourced most of the dried palm leaves for the tables and DIY altar from a local trash bin—only briefly having an awkward moment with the bin’s owner, who was glad to see the foliage go to better use. The rest the couple bought from a flower market. 

They Created Their Own Kind of Traditions

The bridal party wasn’t the only traditional element that Bryan and Madison decided to forgo—they skipped the cake, the garter toss, and pricey gift baskets for guests. Instead of focusing on big bachelor and bachelorette parties, they built in a full weekend: Everyone arrived and enjoyed a cocktail hour on Friday, attended the ceremony and reception on Saturday, and recovered with brunch and a dip in the hotel pool on Sunday. 

But they added in one tongue-in-cheek moment that did, at least, nod to a typical wedding adage. Using a large nautical-style rope, the couple quite literally tied the knot during their ceremony. “The idea is you both tie your own knot, and then the harder you pull, the tighter it gets,” says Bryan. “It’s this beautiful and sweet metaphor for marriage.”

Bryan and Madison CaselliPin It
Photography by Jenn Emerling

Marriage—and the metaphors for it—don’t come without work, though. And so the couple practiced the knot the week before the big day. “Then the morning of, all of our knot-tying skills flew out the window,” says Madison. “We practiced again and again up until the ceremony.” When the moment of truth came, they did it without a hitch—and tied the knot in their own style.

It’s hammer time: Follow @reno_notebook for easy rental updates, clever DIYs, and tips to nail your next project.

Discussion