Mustard Yellow Is the Star at This Boho Desert Wedding at the Parker in Palm Springs, California
"It was truly love at second sight," Camille Johnson laughs. She first crossed paths with Gary Johnson during their teen years. "Needless to say, that was not the beginning of our story." They reconnected eight years later at a mutual friend's birthday party in Harlem, NY. Gary explains, "We spent the entire night talking and laughing as if we had been friends for years; it was really a special connection." From that evening onwards, they stuck together. "We were pretty much inseparable after that night," Gary remembers.
The engagement was a complete surprise to Camille, who admits she "100% had no idea he was going to propose." The magical moment unfolded at the same restaurant where they had their first date: Negril in the West Village. "She said YES," Gary proclaims. Camille reflects on their journey: "We can both confidently say we've found our soulmate," she says. "Fate kept bringing us together until we were brave enough to pay attention and lean in."
At the outset of planning, the couple initially envisioned a destination wedding. "We were originally going to get married in Morocco," Gary explains. "We fell in love with the minimalistic yet colorful desert design aesthetic." However, fate (again) had other plans, and they redirected their focus to the hidden gems of Palm Springs, California, where they discovered the perfect oasis for their special day. "Our theme for the wedding was simple: let the lush grounds and beauty of Palms Springs do all of the talking with beautiful blush tones and pops of color to complement it," Camille shares.
The bride and groom chose their respective wedding looks to complement their desert location. The groom selected "a tailored tux with a custom white one-button double-breasted jacket" while Camille picked out "a long, strapless crepe gown with custom bridal buttons up the back and neon green Amina Muaddi heels." She mixed things up for her second look, grabbing "a custom hand-stitched mid-length jeweled gown with silver and gold Giuseppe Zanotti platforms," perfect for dancing the night away.
On the morning of their big day, Camille and Gary joined their wedding party members for a vivacious photoshoot around their venue's property, including some fun shots in front of The Parker's real, vintage pharmacy sign reading "DRUGS" on a marquee. Guests gathered on a semi-enclosed lawn for the ceremony, finding seats under bright yellow umbrellas to shield them from the desert sun. The excited couple exchanged vows under the shade of a magnificent 100-year-old tree adorned with "a simple flower altar," symbolizing the start of their new life together. As an African American couple, they wanted to include a few meaningful traditions in their vows. "The practice of jumping the broom is attested as a marriage ceremony for slaves in the Southern United States in the mid-1800s who were often not permitted to wed legally. It symbolizes a new beginning and the joining of two families," Camille says.
During the cocktail hour, the joyous melodies of the violinist created a lovely ambiance as guests mingled. "We had a violinist playing R&B classics while our guests drank Aperol Spritzes and nibbled on crab cakes," Camille recounts, which set the perfect mood. The bride made a quick, surprising decision that delighted everyone: "I changed into my afterparty dress for my reception entrance: The quick decision allowed me to reset my entire vibe and was a pleasant surprise to all my guests." Loved ones reclined in lounge vignettes on the lawn, admiring the bold palette and delicate gold details.
The evening transitioned into a magical dinner on the lawn. Linens in alternating white and orange hues sat beneath taper candles, colorful centerpieces and custom, geometric dinner menus featuring the elegant culinary selections each guest was about to enjoy. Gary describes the reception: "We had a course-course dinner al fresco under the stars with different hints of blushes, yellows and oranges. We had our first dance under the stars and then danced the night away in a private reception hall." In short: romance as an art form.
As the night went on, guests indulged in late-night bites, savoring burgers, chicken sliders and fries: the perfect way to end a night of celebration. Camille and Gary cherished every moment, maximizing their time with loved ones. In hindsight, they advise couples to "be kind to one another. Planning a wedding is stressful and expensive; many difficult topics and conversations can arise. Remember, it’s the two of you in this. It takes a lot to get to the end result, and sitting back and enjoying every moment of the days leading up to the wedding is important."