Photography by: Aria Isadora & Carly Otness for BFAweddings.com
When Bethanie asked Billy, a nightlife photographer, to train with her for a half marathon, he agreed even though he hates running. He figured he’d flirt with her as they ticked off the miles and, soon, they’d be more than training partners.
But even after he gave her a Valentine’s gift of Emergen-C and daffodils, Bethanie didn’t want to date. But Billy kept running with her and, a month later, she changed her mind. (They never did do the half marathon together — Bethanie got a stomach flu the night before.)
Three years later, at Billy’s family’s lakeside camp in Vermont, he persuaded Bethanie to go for a kayak ride and faked getting capsized. She paddled over to help, but instead of grabbing her hand for support, he grabbed it and asked her to marry him. As family and friends looked on from shore, he presented her with a Malcolm Betts hammered platinum engagement ring.
When Bethanie started looking for where to have the wedding what she really wanted was a commune, she jokes. “I have a slight obsession with them,” she says. “I wanted a place where our friends and family could all be together on a compound for three days.”
After months of researching locations from Brazil to India, Bethanie discovered Korakia Pensione, a 28-room bed-and-breakfast in Palm Springs with Moroccan and Mediterranean-style villas. When they went to check it out, their friend, artist Randy Polumbo invited the couple to stay at his house in Joshua Tree.
While there they learned he was expanding his property, Spikehorn, to include two more buildings, art installations, and several refurbished vintage trailers on the desert landscape. “Suddenly the vision was coming together,” remembers Bethanie. “Even though the construction hadn’t started, we knew that whatever Randy created would be incredible and unique and we wanted to be part of it.”
The couple planned a weekend full of celebratory events across both properties: a bridal shower, pool party, rehearsal dinner, and ceremony at Korakia Pensione, followed by a reception dinner and desert moon party at Spikehorn.
With the venues in place, Bethanie focused on the rest of the details, but she found it hard to find exactly what she was looking for. “The best aesthetic description I was able to come up with was: Chiquita Banana’s futuristic desert moon party circa 1970, Marrakech,” she says. So with that in mind, Bethanie went about making and searching for their wedding details finding vintage pieces and spending the weeks before the big day painting and crafting. “It was all a combination of DIY and vintage components, both found and rented, and Randy’s creative brilliance at Spikehorn.”
The wedding weekend kicked off on Thursday with a welcome cocktail party at Korakia Pensione in the property’s Moroccan Villa. On Friday, the bride’s and groom’s moms and sisters hosted a bridal shower, also at Korakia Pensione, followed by a kaftan-themed pool party at the B & B. “From the beginning whenever I pictured our wedding all I could see were our guests just lounging around in colorful kaftans the whole weekend,” Bethanie says. After the pool party everyone gathered for the rehearsal dinner, a paella party, held in the Mediterranean Courtyard of Korakia Pensione, where the bride wore a custom silver lame kaftan.
For the reception, Bethanie had envisioned an other-worldly environment with glowing orbs of different sizes scattered around the desert landscape, Moroccan seating areas, fire pits, colorful place settings in vibrant hues of blue, purples and pinks mixed with silver, bronze and copper. The reception centerpieces, made by Bethanie, included brightly colored and painted fruit —fuchsia pomegranates, turquoise pears, purple grapes, copper and silver pineapples — in silver pedestal bowls.
“The big picture vision lived in my head, so I didn’t see it all come together in a cohesive layout until game time, which made me slightly nervous,” the bride says, “but the combination of the environment and decor came together beautifully to create a magical, mystical, and surreal experience.”