Curtis + Paul: A Romantic Coachella Valley Wedding
The grooms had an simple yet elegant wedding that overlooked the mountains in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, highlighted by delicate yellow and blue floral arrangements that added a touch of tropical flare.
Curtis and Paul never expected to be able to get married. This all changed when the state of California declared Proposition 8 a violation of civil rights and made same-sex marriage legal. The grooms had an simple yet elegant wedding that overlooked the mountains in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, highlighted by delicate yellow and blue floral arrangements that added a touch of tropical flare.
From Brian, their photographer:
Curtis and Paul are extremely genuine people, and it was a pleasure to photograph them. Their wedding took place at the infamous Spencer’s Restaurant set against the mountain overlooking the scenic Coachella Valley. The picturesque venue served as the old stomping grounds for the Rat Pack and Ms. Marilyn Monroe. Needless to say, Spencer’s lends itself to the glamorous. Fittingly, the grooms arrived, looking dapper in their tuxedos, ready to say ‘I do.’
From Curtis and Paul:
We never expected to have the right to marry in our lifetime. When you’ve been told all your life that you’re not worthy of marriage, being able to marry becomes very important, and we wanted to celebrate ours with friends and family and coworkers. Of course, neither of us has ever planned a wedding. We read all we could about it and we had many laughs over how some people approach it. The whole thing seems to be geared toward making a very young bride spend a lot of money reenacting a wedding that her mother always wanted. We decided to use the traditions that make sense and to disregard the ones that didn’t. For example, we decided to not have anyone give either of us away—we are two relatively successful men in our 50s. Instead, we walked one another down the aisle, to symbolize that we approach our marriage like we approach everything else: as two men who choose to be together. We used the rings we bought one another many years ago—they were good enough then and they’re good enough now. We did not use the traditional “Here Comes the Bride” music, because there was no bride. Instead, we selected music befitting the occasion, as husband and husband.
From the very beginning, our goals were to have a fun celebration with music and laughter, with good food and good company. We chose the venue because we wanted something intimate and beautiful. Our home is in Palm Springs, which is a small town—it’s basically a sophisticated Mayberry RFD. The ceremony included our brothers, their wives and girlfriends, and Curtis’s 84-year-old mother. Friends came from all over the country. On the night before the wedding celebration, close friends hosted a cocktail party for all the out-of-town guests. The color scheme (deep blue and yellow) are our favorite colors (plus, I’m red/green color blind, so I see blue and yellow more vividly). We chose to wear tuxedos because it seems that formal to us, but we asked our guests to be comfortable: no ties required. We chose the music for the pre-dinner cocktail party and for the dinner so that people could talk comfortably. For the first dance, we asked everyone to join us on the dance floor in a slow dance. Afterwards, the music was faster and with a good beat, so people could start moving. We didn’t do any of the other traditional things such as the removal of the garter or the throwing of the bouquet. Instead, we wanted a night to remember with friends and family to celebrate our happiness at being married.