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Real Wedding: Shannon & Jody

Visions of vintage hollywood style and the serenading voices of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra influenced Shannon Huston and Jody Rouse’s swanky Palm Springs wedding. The sun-loving couple spent years vacationing in Palm Springs and knew that it would be a cool destination-wedding location, especially for San Diego friends and family who could easily make the two-hour trek.

San Diego is where the two lovebirds initially laid eyes on one another. Both attended Point Loma Nazarene University and met during sophomore year in a biology 101 class.  Jody reveals, “Within the first week of class we slowly started choosing seats closer and closer to each other. The next day we chose lab partners and guess who was mine?”

Happy to have finally met his future bride, Jody planned a surprise proposal at the BlueFire Grill at La Costa Resort where a friend hid in the bushes to photograph him on his knee asking for her hand. Shannon was completely stunned when the friend darted out from the shrubs with a camera in hand, but adores the photographic mementos to this day.

Immediately, Shannon purchased every bridal magazine on the newsstands. Being a certified wedding planner, her vision of a simple, elegant wedding was crystal clear. However, her first task was to choose a wedding venue that reflected the couple’s youthful, hip vibe. Coincidently, months prior, the two toured the ultramodern, Art Deco Parker Hotel in Palm Springs and started daydreaming about getting married there one day.

Well, that day arrived a few months later when Shannon and Jody stood under a sumptuous olive tree at the Parker Hotel. In front of friends and family, the couple exchanged traditional vows in a “secret garden,” as Shannon refers to it. Secluded from hotel guests behind 30-foot high hedges and lush foliage, the ceremony was remarkably intimate and private.

Freshly-squeezed lemonade served on a vintage yellow three-wheel bicycle welcomed guests. “We wanted a wedding that felt timeless,” asserted Shannon, who created a clean, modern look with vintage details. Amazingly, for such a sophisticated affair, Shannon seamlessly blended in many DIY elements. The first DIY project was a gray and yellow hand-stitched aisle runner that hung from white modern chairs for the ceremony. The second was budget-friendly place cards and menus—Shannon purchased fashionable templates from Green Apple Paperie on The bride also had European café lights strung across the lawn to create a festive atmosphere for the reception. All of the DIY details merged exquisitely with an array of yellow contemporary floral centerpieces, floating candles, and white crisp linens.

Against convention, the bride and groom chose to have their “first-look” before walking down the aisle. The two met privately hours before the ceremony where their photographer caught their first glimpses. Afterwards the couple toured the property, stealing away precious moments while seizing some of the best photos of the day. It was an idea that Shannon initially resisted but was happy that she embraced. Jody admits he would do it again in a heartbeat.

The reception kicked off with the newlywed couple toasting from their sweetheart table. While guests enjoyed a California cuisine-inspired menu, sounds of Ole Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, played in the background. The party revved up when modern dance music got everyone out of their seats and onto the floor. The couple’s signature cocktail, muddled lemonade, was a huge hit of the evening. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, a dessert bar featured lemon cupcakes, fruit tarts, and Italian cannolis.

At the end of the evening, Kobe beef sliders and coned French fries provided further fuel for a non-stop dancing crowd. Then, as the evening concluded, guests were given wedding sparklers to create a dazzling finish. Shannon reveals, “I always wanted to have a dreamy memorable exit.” And that’s exactly what the couple got: a scintillating send-off on that romantic night in the desert.

—Autumn Millhouse

The Parker Palm Springs, Photography by Jasmine Star

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