Sunny Palm Springs Wedding at the Riviera

Any wedding with a dog in it is perfect in my books. It's always nice seeing couple that want to include their furry friends in their wedding days. I also love the way Mandee Johnson photographed John and Greg amongst the windmills in Palm Springs. This day was full of love and I'm so happy to be sharing it with you all. Scroll down to read about John and Greg's planning and then about how Mandee photographed the day!

Vendor Credits

Photography: Mandee Johnson Photography | Suits: Klein Epstein & ParkerTies: DaziHair: Andrew Wilson Hair | Planner: Matthew Hawkins | Venue + Catering: Riviera Palm Springs

From the Couple

What was the most important thing to you while planning?  

We really wanted our wedding to more about our friends and family than just us. It's because of these people that we met and we are who we are so this is just as much a celebration of them as it is of us. We wanted a wedding that everyone would remember and felt entertained from start to finish.

How did you find your wedding vendors?

Several sources. Mandee (our photographer) did a mutual friend's wedding and we loved her work. Our suits were from Klein Epstein & Parker because they design RuPual (our (favorite show). We chose the Riviera as it's one of our go-to hotels in Palm Springs. Our entertainment (DJ and drag queens) were from our origins - Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Palm Springs.

What creative touches did you use throughout your wedding?

We wanted every moment to mean something to us and our friends. We had friends from Greg's choir sing Simply the Best from our favorite show Schitt's Creek during the ceremony. We had a live 'reading' at our ceremony where friends really let us have it n the style of Paris Burning. We had a 3 drag queens perform at our reception - one from each city we've lived in. A choreographed group dance number where everyone danced to Greg's favorite song - Hey Kitty Girl during the reception. We had an open call for photos before the ceremony. Between some great vignettes and Mandee's eye, we got some epic photos with friends that we'll never forget. We used them for our thank you cards.

Did you forego any of the traditional aspects of weddings?

We didn't know each other's vows or the efficient's as we wanted it all to be as real and meaningful as possible. We didn't have assigned seating at the reception to allow people to sit with who they wanted and enjoy the night.  Most weddings don't have a full drag show but we certainly did.

What was your favorite part of the day?

Honestly, our photo sessions with Mandee are something we'll never forget. Between an 'open-call' session with our friends and the ceremony, we had an awesome time photographing everything. 

From the Photographer

How did you prepare your clients for your style of shooting?

I find my clients gravitate towards me because they connect with my style of shooting. I aim to tell every clients story of their day with a strong documentary + editorial flair. Lighting at weddings keeps you on your toes - it’s always changing and rarely the same even when shooting at the same venue. We’re always working to make sure our clients are in the best light .

What techniques did you use that were out of the norm?

No two weddings are the same - it’s important to get on your clients wavelength so their images are reflective of them as people.

Do you have any advice for other photographers or vendors when it comes to weddings?

Be the champion of your client - allow them the space to ask you questions and don’t force them into anything. Also, it’s important to support your fellow vendors. We’re all working towards the same goal to create and capture a wonderful day.

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