A few weeks ago, I married my husband. I mean, he wasn’t my husband before, but he is now. I now want a career in wedding and event planning and styling, like 83% of other brides with a modicum of taste and organizational skills. But I can specialize in vintage style weddings maybe? Anyway, when we first started planning, we knew that we wanted the whole thing to feel like a swanky 1930s cocktail party, with live jazz, liquor, decadent food and yes, resplendent 1930s fashion. I think we pretty much nailed it.
The foyer of the house is where most of the action took place.
The venue we chose is The Maxwell House (aka Western Justice Center) in Pasadena. After looking at a few historic venues in Los Angeles, we quickly realized we couldn’t afford any of them. Our budget for a venue was $3000 at most and we needed to bring in our own catering, and this eliminated places like Castle Green, The Langham Huntington, The Oviatt Penthouse, The Cicada Club, et cetera. The Maxwell House fit all our requirements: small but able to accommodate 120 guests, outside catering okay, tables and chairs provided, historic venue, within budget, and so beautiful that we didn’t really need to do much in the way of decorations.
The house was built by George and Carrie Maxwell in 1929, a wealthy Boston couple who used the Mediterranean-style vacation home as a winter respite and entertaining space. Today, it serves as the offices for the Western Justice Center as well as an entertaining space – they maintain offices upstairs and rent out the restored first floor for weddings and parties. They were extremely easy to work with, and it was the perfect venue for us.
The band that played: The Icy Hot Club. If you can check these guys out live and you’re at all interested in gypsy jazz, do it. They were fantastic. We also went to go see them at Dapper Day two weeks before the wedding so we could actually get some dancing in. Worth it. So good.
Speaking of dancing, it was really important to us (okay, me) to do a rad first dance. It didn’t end up being our first dance, because we took some time before and during the wedding to practice. But it ended up being the best dance, and the best we’d ever done it. In fact, we’d never been able to make it successfully through the song without stopping until we did it for real. To learn what the hell we were doing, we took two months of private lessons from Dax Hock of the Lindy Loft. Not only are Dax and his wife Sarah incredible dancers, but incredible teachers as well. The group classes are fun, and the social dancing is fun, but what we really valued a ton were the one hour lessons we took each week, not only because we learned to dance (which we did) and we had fun (again, check) but because it was scheduled together time where we had to communicate, solve problems, and build skills together. Another thing that was so worth it and so good.
I spent basically the whole year of our engagement collecting pieces of metal and glass for the tables. A lot of brass and glass, plus some special copper pieces, for florals and candles to line these tables and to serve as centerpieces for the large round tables in the indoor dining area. The flowers we bought at the downtown LA flower market – we did 26 table arrangements, plus the bar and buffet area, for about $340. Each table also had a few vintage Pasadena postcards for guests to leave us notes, and many did.
I collected vintage postcards of the area to serve as a sort of guestbook, and designed a custom stamp for these little tent cards.
Next time, the fashion.