Danyel & Elliott: An Outdoor Wedding in Monterey Hills, CA

Danyel and Elliott's wedding was informal but sophisticated, and filled with whimsical touches.  The Bride Danyel Smith The Groom Elliott Wilson The D

Danyel and Elliott's wedding was informal but sophisticated, and filled with whimsical touches. The Bride Danyel Smith The Groom Elliott Wilson The Date June 11 Danyel, 40, and Elliott, 35, are driven, hardworking people. She’s from California, he’s from New York. They’re both accomplished authors and journalists, and they also have a competitive streak. As colleagues at Vibe magazine, they would sometimes argue (“loudly,” Danyel says) about assignments, and they later became rivals when she was promoted to editor-in-chief and he left to be music editor at The Source. Competition eventually turned into chemistry when Danyel called Elliott to get together under the pretense of things “work-related.” Elliott took it further and asked her out for drinks. Drinks turned into dinner. And about a year later, the two got engaged in their New York City apartment one chilly winter night. Danyel admits she had a hunch that Elliott was going to propose, especially after he complained that the guy gets nothing in an engagement. To make things equal, she bought him a silver pendant engraved with their initials on one side, and “Yes.” on the other. When he “surprised” her with the ring, she gave him the pendant, and the former competitors called it a draw.

The Cocktail Hour
In a rare find, Danyel came across her dream gown––an ivory silk number by Paula Varsalona––at an upscale consignment shop in Manhattan. It was sleeveless with a drop waist, covered buttons down the back, and a silk rose at the bottom of her spine. Elliott emanated style in a black suit, white shirt, and silver, white and gray tie by Ermenegildo Zegna.
Danyel and Elliott hosted a whimsical wedding at her parents’ house in Monterey Hills near Pasadena. “The idea of our wedding was informal but sophisticated—a garden party with a picnic supper,” the bride says. They took advantage of the two-level deck on the back of the house, having the ceremony on the lower, smaller level and the reception with a dance floor and bar on the large upper level.
Elliott’s friend –– Justin “Just Blaze” Smith, a New Jersey–based producer for artists Jay-Z and Usher –– was the DJ/MC for the wedding. Danyel and Elliott had their first dance to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”
Prior to the ceremony, the bride and groom had a lively cocktail hour that included a signature drink called the “Danyelliott” (a vodka tonic with grenadine); Brooklyn Dodger dogs from a hot dog rotisserie and California chili Fritos (to symbolize a New York guy and a California girl); and specialty beers and sodas in old-fashioned bottles.
Danyel and Elliott also gave their guests white plastic wedding bell “clappers” with the couple’s names, wedding date, and love song.
I have to say, my mom and I went a little bit crazy with the favors,” Danyel admits. They sent guests home with two kinds of lollipops –– a five-inch-wide “Whirly Pop” and a homemade white-chocolate wedding cake pop.
Guests at Danyel and Elliott's celebration mingled all around the house, taking in the lush surroundings of hydrangeas (Danyel’s favorite flower), roses, calla lilies, gerbera daisies, and miniature lemon and orange trees.