A Palm Springs Wedding Full of Laid-Back Luxury

“We knew we wanted a weekend wedding rather than just a night, so we were dead set on finding a small hotel that we could take over for a full destination weekend bonanza,” says Jacob “Jake” Goren of he and Derek Klamerus's Palm Springs wedding. “Family and friends are central to our lives.”

The couple landed on the Colony Palms Hotel, a boutique property in the desert that fit their “laid-back luxury” vibe with one important detail: a central pool that became the hangout spot throughout the weekend celebration. Working with Allie Mossler of Always Fun Events, the pair threw a continuous party for three days in October 2019 that included a white party at the pool and a farewell brunch. They prioritized small and local vendors for their team, many of whom put sustainability in the forefront of their businesses, and who would go along with the couple’s sometimes non-traditional approach to the wedding day. 

Having our closest friends and family all together for a long weekend felt like the best vacation you could ever ask for.

By the end of the weekend, everyone, including Derek’s mom, had hopped into the pool fully clothed. “Having our closest friends and family all together for a long weekend felt like the best vacation you could ever ask for,” Jake says. “When else will everyone you love and care about be in the same place at the same time? It was simply magic.”

Read on for all the details of Jake and Derek’s fun-filled Palm Springs wedding, planned by Always Fun Events and photographed by Logan Cole Weddings

Derek and Jake brought a lot of personality to their day, beginning with their invitations. Greenwich Letterpress created the wedding suite, which set the tone for a chic yet playful weekend full of events in Palm Springs.

The weekend commenced with a white party, where “surprisingly everyone followed the dress code,” the couple says. Derek and Jake wore white swim trunks that were customized with their names and a heart.

With a background of live music, guests sipped skinny margaritas, ate tacos, and played lawn games. Earlier in the day, the guests all lounged by the pool.

Both grooms wore made-to-measure P. Johnson tuxedos, but with their own flair. Derek’s featured a navy shawl collar and Jake’s had a midnight blue peak lapel. They added cufflinks that were gifted from a friend.

We didn’t have much of a theme other than the idea of simple luxury.

Derek and Jake met in New York City on a blind date over pizza at Motorino. The rest, they say, is history. After spending years traveling together—including one contentious cross-country road trip—the pair got “#en-gay-ged” over fresh pancakes in their apartment. 

The couple worked with The Bloomin Gypsy to create three distinct moods with flowers throughout the weekend, all inspired by the surrounding landscape, but with a twist: to reuse as many arrangements and stems as possible.

The grooms admit that blending their non-traditional approach with the requests from family to honor tradition was a challenge. But they found ways to meld the two, by incorporating some of Jake’s Jewish heritage with customs such as the signing of the ketubah.

Friends and family signed Jenga blocks instead of a customary guest book. Now, the couple can read messages from their loved ones any time they play the game.

The focal point of the outdoor ceremony was the modern chuppah, which featured wild grasses, white orchids, and palm fronds along with a metal frame. On top lay Jake’s grandfather’s tallit. “The property as so beautiful and lush that we didn’t want to detract from that, instead of utilizing and emphasizing the natural beauty of the space,” Derek says. 

For us, having our parents watch us get married was important, so we had them stand opposite us.

Both Derek and Jake were escorted in by their families, all wearing black or navy outfits. “For us, having our parents watch us get married was important, so we had them stand opposite us,” Jake says. “Watching our parents cry only made each of us cry throughout the ceremony.”

"The ceremony was surprisingly meaningful and personal to us," explains the couple. "We continue to have friends talk to us about how special it felt, and we couldn’t agree more! Some friends have sent our video to their officiants to take inspiration."

The ceremony was surprisingly meaningful and personal to us. We continue to have friends talk to us about how special it felt, and we couldn’t agree more!

Derek and Jake shared their own vows, which they crafted as a play on the seven blessings traditional at Jewish ceremonies. “Coincidentally, we both mentioned the idea of 1+1=3 with this quote having been said by Jake early in our relationship,” Derek says. “Put simply, Jake held firm that he was always looking for a relationship where the joint entity is greater than the sum of either part. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.”

“It was by far the best moment of the whole weekend,” Jake says of the ceremony, as they exited to a guitarist’s cover of “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates.

The couple served two signature cocktails for passed apps by the pool: a spin on the Negroni called the "GoKlamGoNi," a play on their last names, and an Aperol Spritz they dubbed the "D&J Spritz."

Guests found their seat assignments on simple white cards, which were attached to a plain whiteboard framed by more pampas grass, palm fronds, and orchids.

The reception took place surrounding the property’s pool, where guests sat at tables under bistro lights. The décor mixed modern elements, like black chairs, with simple white plates and low, minimalist arrangements of pink and white flowers. 

The couple knew they wanted the reception to feel like a dinner party in their backyard. Some tables were even placed below a black-and-white tent (hello, cabana vibes!). "The décor felt very magical at night with sparkles of light everywhere and heavy candles throughout the property," adds the couple.

The couple’s guitarist played “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes for their first dance—which actually took place in the pool!

The family-style meal featured dishes they may cook at home: short ribs in a red wine reduction with mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts in a balsamic glaze, and a roasted baby beet and goat cheese salad. After dinner, a saxophonist surprised guests to play alongside their DJ. The inspiration came from their days living in New York City. “Derek was on the Subway one afternoon coming home from work and a saxophonist walked into his car playing Drake,” Jake says. “It was a ‘must-have’ after that.”

The newlyweds cut into a four-tier Milk Bar birthday-flavored cake. But it wasn’t the only food served post-dinner. Jake’s mother surprised the crowd with an after-party menu of fried cheese curds—a nod to Derek’s childhood home in Wisconsin—and platters of Panda Express, Jake’s favorite guilty pleasure. 

“Pick what makes you happy and what matters most to you, and stick to it,” the couple says. “Let everything else go. If you do this, everyone will see how the day reflects you and what you care about.”

Wedding Team

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