Elephants, Dinosaurs and a Literal Cheesecake at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles | Lara & Chris

I am so thrilled to finally be able to share this unique, gorgeous, and amazingly fun wedding today! Lara & Chris & I (and the Haddad Family) worked together for about a year to bring this day to life, and it’s one of my faves! I’m so proud of this Natural History Musum of Los Angeles wedding, and I love Lara & Chris & their familes so much. I wish we could go back and do this day all over again!

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles wedding

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Planning a wedding at the fantastic Natural History Museum of Los Angeles was a total bucket-list event for me & my team at MBE. The museum is gorgeous, historic, grand, and a logistical headache. No joke. You know I like to keep it real, you guys. This venue is amazing, but you have to WORK for it.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles wedding

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

That’s a glimpse behind the curtain (literally) of a huge team of people at work. When you only have a 2-hour load-in, you hustle. You hustle with 4x more people than usual. We love a challenge!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

The Ceremony

One of the things that were very important to Lara & Chris when we designed their day was that as much of the dioramas were visible as possible. We didn’t want anything to impede the views if we could help it. To that end, we eschewed a traditional ceremony arch – that would have cut our elephants friends right across their faces, and instead requested a floor floral/tropical arch from Best Day Ever Floral Design that worked hand in hand with the excellent lighting by Lights for Nights. Museums are dark, y’all. Let there be light!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

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What started as a joke at one of our design meetings became a kind of mantra for me as I designed the look of the wedding, “There will be sudden elephants.” Meaning, anything is possible!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Can you see the sudden elephant in the invite design? Cecile’s Paper Co is a paper genius. I love these invites so much!

The Color Story

The color story for this wedding is one of my favorites! Bold red, soft sage and baby blue…on paper it may sound crazy, but in person, it’s in complete harmony with the tones that exist in the museum itself. Instead of designing despite the venue, I like to design FOR the venue. And check out these florals!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Moving into the Reception area, it was important to incorporate the soft blue background of the dioramas, while not losing any of the elegance and pops of floral color. Also, Lights For Nights did an excellent job with their creative market lighting. The transformation of this space was just stunning!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

And don’t sleep on the stage detail. Remember the ceremony floor arch? Well, it got a second act framing the stage for the band! They look like they are playing in a tropical paradise, so cool!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Dinner & Drinks

Lara & Chris and their families are lovers of fine food and drink, so that was a priority from Day One. Also a must-have? Serving Lara’s Dad’s famous homemade hummus! Tres LA was happy to accommodate this request and the hummus was a HUGE hit! It was gone almost as soon as it hit the table!

Fareed's Famous Hummus, photographed by Julie Shuford Photography

Fareed’s Famous Hummus, photographed by Julie Shuford Photography

The night continued with a delish family style dinner and open bar.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Chris is a coffee lover, so it only made sense to have The Cappuccino Man and their fabulous espresso drinks available all night long! Not only were the drinks delicious, but the caffeine kept the dance floor full and the party going all night long. Win-win-win!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Desserts, aka a literal CHEESE “cake” 

If you know Lara, you know she LOVES cheese. Like, LOVES. So it was no surprise at all that Lara & Chris wanted a cheesecake, that is, literal wheels of cheese stacked up like a tiered cake. This is all cheese:

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

For those without a cheese-tooth, there were also cannolis from a local Italian bakery, and cakes from Porto’s, another fave of Lara & Chris.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

The Details

The most important detail wasn’t even a detail at all, it was Lara’s gown. After trying on several new gowns, Lara decided that what she really wanted was to wear her mom, Edie’s gown. Lara worked with The Williamsburg Seamster to bring the garment up to date, and it was a sentimental stunner. You can read more about the history of the dress in the photo below.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

During cocktail hour, Lara & Chris opened up two exhibits for their guests to enjoy. Since the museum is closed to the public, their guests had the run of the place, all to themselves!

Photos by Julie Shuford Photography

Photos by Julie Shuford Photography

The one caveat? No drinks allowed in the exhibits! So, I surprised Lara & Chris with some informative, yet cheeky, custom napkins from For Your Party.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

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Signs, Signs, everywhere a Sign!

Ok, well, that’s an exaggeration. But now you have that song in your head, so you’re welcome. The table number design is one of the best details of the day. Designed by Cecile’s Paper Co with hand-drawn animals by Illustrating Adventures, each table had their own animal mascot.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Also, the escort cards, designed by Cecile’s Paper Co, had our friendly “sudden elephant” featured on them.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

One of the sweetest details of the day is the inscription on Chris’ wedding shoes. I wish every groom would do this, I love it so!

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

What Really Matters

It’s always tricky to write a wedding recap post such as this one because a simple blog post can never do the day justice. The design, the florals, the details, the food…it’s all great, and amazing eye candy, but none of it means anything without the people. The people make the wedding, and these are some top-notch people right here.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Yes, they had a Ring Dino. And yes, he was perfection.

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Photo by Julie Shuford Photography

Even more from this wedding can be found on Zola, click through below! 

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Lara & Chris, Thank you, thank you, thank you for trusting me and allowing me to accompany you on your wedding planning journey! Thank you for not looking at me like I was crazy when I suggested blue napkins, or giant floor ferns, or any of the other out of the box ideas we made a part of your day. I will always be so proud and so grateful that I got to be a small part of your Big Day. See you next year at The Sound of Music sing-a-long!

xoxo

Renee signature. Renée. Moxie Bright Events.

Creative Team

Wedding Planning & Design: Moxie Bright Events Venue: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles Photography: Julie Shuford Photography Florals: Best Day Ever Floral Design Catering & Bar: Tres LA Catering Coffee Bar: Cappuccino Man Ceremony Musician: Wendy Ryan Ceremony Sound: Vox DJs Band: Blue Breeze Band Cake: Portos Cannolis: Eagle Rock Italian Bakery Rentals: Town & Country Event Rentals Lighting: Lights for Nights Stationery & Signage: Cecile’s Paper Co. Hair & Makeup: Betsy DiFrancesca Gown: Heirloom Gown, Redesigned by The Williamsburg Seamster Custom Napkins: For Your Party

Moxie Weddings

Dec 13, 2018

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