After meeting Matthew Messmer on the driving range of a private country club in Indian Wells, California, Brittany Karlen found herself so completely mesmerized that she went home and asked her parents if they believed in love at first sight. The couple’s instant connection developed into a romantic courtship that culminated in a dreamy proposal over Valentine’s Day weekend seven years after they met.
Brittany began the planning process by seeking out a wedding consultant that had a down-to-earth personality as well as creative ingenuity. “We feel that [utilizing] a wedding planner was one of the best investments we made, because it narrowed down the decision-making process, and really gave us time to enjoy that special time in our lives,” reveals the bride. After considering various locations, the couple settled on a spot close to their hearts – the very same club where the pair had first met. “We knew it was the perfect place for our extraordinary wedding weekend,” says Brittany. “You could even see the driving range where we met from the dance floor in the ballroom!” Camellias surrounded the location as well as the site of the couple’s engagement photo shoot, and the flower was eventually threaded throughout the event as the pair’s signature theme.
A traditional nuptial mass was held at a nearby Catholic church bedecked with gorgeous floral arrangements. Flowers surrounded the altar, and the aisle was lined with tall glass vases filled with white calla lilies, orchids, and hydrangeas. Bridesmaids dressed in stylish silver gowns carried nosegays made of monochromatic blossoms, while the bride held a bouquet formed to replicate a single large camellia. Brittany dazzled guests with her entrance in an intricately tiered chiffon gown that fit her flawlessly. “I can vividly recall seeing her for the first time,” remembers Matthew. “As she began walking [down the aisle], I remember how graceful she was and all the guests gasping at her beauty.” The ceremony included a glorious performance from a choir that sang “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli, as well as “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole. “The musicians were incredibly gifted, and our family and friends were really touched by the uplifting music,” adds Brittany.
A traditional receiving line took place outside of the church where attendees were offered scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and refreshing glasses of iced tea or lemonade. “We loved that the receiving line gave us an opportunity to formally greet and thank our friends and family for attending,” says Brittany. Guests were then shuttled to the reception where the ballroom was transformed for the occasion. Tables were draped in satin ivory linens and decorated with multiple arrangements of orchids, hydrangeas, roses, and calla lilies that varied in height. Hundreds of ribbons adorned with camellias and sparkling crystals were strung overhead, making the room appear even more magical amid the masses of florals incorporated into the details of the décor. Each guest was gifted with an iPod Shuffle dubbed an “iDo” that featured the couple’s signature camellia engraved on the back. “They were darling and a huge success,” affirms Brittany of the couple’s unique favors.
Guests enjoyed a formal sit-down dinner that included a special nod to the event’s desert location: The delicious main course consisted of Chilean sea bass and filet mignon in a port date sauce. “Since the area where the wedding took place is well known for its date farming, we decided to add a date flair to the menu,” explains Brittany. “After all, it all started with a ‘date!’” Dessert consisted of a beautifully decorated wedding cake that boasted a vegan tier so that the bride’s allergies wouldn’t prohibit her from enjoying the confection along with guests. “If there was anything I was truly involved in, it was the cake testing,” boasts the groom. “With Brittany and the planners watching, I meticulously ate every sample and made the final selection. It was certainly my time to shine.”
At the conclusion of the dinner service, the bride’s parents surprised the couple with a performance by the University of Southern California marching band. “My father, brothers, and I attended USC, and in order for Matt to gain the approval of my father, he attended graduate school there,” laughs Brittany. The band that followed continued the exuberance of the evening and kept the crowd entertained until a fireworks show concluded the reception. A trail of sparklers led guests to an outdoor area set up for an after-party complete with brightly colored accents, a spectacular DJ, and loads of comfort food. “We wanted an event that would exude formality, elegance, and an incredible amount of joy, love, and laughter,” says Brittany. Matthew agrees. “We have an incredible love for each other, our families, and our friends – and we feel like our wedding truly reflected that.”