Modern Tiki Wedding at the SmogShoppe

When it came time to plan our wedding, there was no doubt about one thing: it was going to be tiki-themed. Once we started crunching numbers, we quickly realized that it was also going to have to be as DIY as possible. Since we're both creative people, we embraced our big day as one giant design challenge. In the end, everything came together in one fun, tropical-filled event that we were happy to share with our closest friends and family members. Now, we can't wait to share it with you - check it out! 

All of the florals were for our wedding were DIY. Originally we had planned to have the girls carry pink pineapples but a snafu with the weather led to a shortage around the time of our wedding. Combined with some hiccups at the flower market, we had to come up with a last minute (I'm talking night before) plan. This was one of those true "make it work" moments. Regardless, we were happy that we managed to pull everything together in time! 

We designed our invites, as well as other all graphic elements, ourselves. In the process, we really enjoyed creating our own patterns and designs to set the tiki tone for our wedding. 

Our invites and wedding website encouraged guests to wear tropical or tiki attire but we wanted to make sure there was some extra flair available just in case. Our guests fully took advantage of this display of lei options we created and everyone looked bright and colorful - perfect!  

Our pup, Gatsby, has been a huge part our lives for most of the time we've been together so we had to make sure to include him in our wedding photos. Thanks to the folks at It's The Leash I Can Do for coordinating his arrival & departure! 

For our bar, we premixed four signature drinks for the bartenders to serve. They included "Gossling's Grog" (Dark & Stormy), "Trader Zamo" (Uh Oa!), "Thai the Knot" (Pod Thai), and "Gatsby's Luau Lemonade" (Fitzgerald). We also served some tropical-themed beers (from Maui Brewing Co, Kona Brewing Co, Modern Times, Red Stripe, and Ballast Point Brewing Co) as well as a variety of wines. 

Our escort cards directed our guests to tables that were named after some of our favorite tiki-themed places and events: Tonga Hut, 'Ohana, Latitude 29, Polynesian, Bootlegger Tiki, Enchanted Tiki Room, Tiki Ti, Trader Sams, and Coconut Club. 

Wedding Song Choices 

Processional (Parents): What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Processional (Guys): Can't Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley
Processional (Girls): Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Processional (Bride): Sea of Love - Cat Power
Ceremony Closing: Somewhere Only We Know (Instrumental) - Sons of Serendip
Recessional: For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
First Dance: You Are The Best Thing - Ray LaMontagne
Mother-Son Dance: I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
Father-Daughter Dance: Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) - Billy Joel
Last Dance: XO - Beyoncé

While the SmogShoppe already has lots of interesting objects on their bookshelves, we decided to supplement with some personal touches. Most of our tiki mug collection was on display.  

We wanted our sweetheart chairs to be a little different from the rest of the chairs at the event. We ended up finding these at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. To spruce them up, we added some Ikea cushions, got the bride & groom signs cut through Ponoko, and included some tropical leaves for an extra touch. 

While we we don't have much in terms of photographic evidence to prove it, the folks at Little Lily's Kitchen were absolute rock stars when it came to catering. They did a private tasting at our home, created a custom tropical menu with us, were a pleasure to work with, and served some amazing food for a great price. Our guests are still raving about it! 


Passed Appetizers
Ahi Tuna Poke Spoons
Maui Onion Crostini with Goat Cheese
Tavern Ham and Honey Grilled Pineapple Skewers
Caribbean Root Vegetable and Mushroom Street Tacos

Dinner Buffet
Hawaiian Style Smoked and Braised Pork
BBQ Dry Rubbed Grilled Chicken
Coconut Shrimp
Brown Sugar Sauteed Plantains
Coconut Sticky Rice
Macaroni & Cheese
Greens, Strawberries, and Orange Supremes with Citrus-Honey Vinaigrette
Corn, Avocado, Red Bell Peppers, Green Beans, Jicama, and Walnuts with Soy-Honey Vinaigrette

It's tradition at weddings of Princeton grads to get a picture of all alumni in attendance so we were excited to get this shot! We've made so many great friends through the years! 

Instead of having a traditional guest book, we set up a photo booth with a scrapbook station for our guests to use. We opted for a very simple box booth since the succulent wall at the SmogShoppe provides a great backdrop. With the addition of the tropical props we provided, our guests had a ton of fun! 

Because the SmogShoppe as an otherwise unused pink closet, we decided to turn it into a "Mini-Moon Station." We came up with this idea to add another activity for our guests and because we truly wanted to be surprised by where we might go. We gave everyone four options: San Francisco, the California Coast (Big Sur, Cambria, etc.), Las Vegas, and San Diego. We also had an area on the ballot where guests could write-in destinations for future travel. When we tallied the votes, the California Coast had won! 

Our cake was a basic two-tiered option from Porto's Bakery that we decorated with flowers and pineapples ourselves. Since we love the pastries that Porto's sells, we supplemented the cake with a dessert table filled with other delicious options. 

The guys in Greg's family often smoke cigars on special occasions and our wedding was no exception! This outdoor lounge area was the perfect place for everyone to kick back for a while. 

The SmogShoppe has a projection screen (pictured above) that we used to stream tropical and tiki-related footage throughout the night. 

While we created the playlists mostly ourselves, our friend, Adriana, supplemented with some of her own tunes (and some surprise Disney touches). She did a great job DJing and kept the party going all night! 

After a year of planning, our Modern Tiki Wedding turned out to be quite the success!

We really enjoyed some of the more mellow parts of the day when we got to spend quality time together - notably our ceremony and when we branched off to take photos.

During the cocktail hour, once we had a second to catch our breaths, we were able to finally look around and soak everything in. The tiki music was playing, the SmogShoppe looked absolutely beautiful, everyone was happy and having fun, and what we had envisioned for the day had been accomplished. That moment made all of our tireless prep and planning totally worth it. 

Our favorite part of our wedding (as well as the days leading up to it) was seeing our family and friends really come together in celebration of our marriage. We grew up and went to college on opposite sides of the country so this was a unique opportunity to finally have all of our closest friends and family members gathered in one place. What a time to remember! 


Photography: onelove photography || Venue: SmogShoppe || Event Planning & Design: Modern Tiki Lounge || Day of Coordination: Best Day Ever LA || Wedding Dress: Bella Bridesmaids || Veil & Shoes: Nordstrom || Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal || Bridal Hair: Adriana Rodriguez || Bridal Makeup: Blushington || Groom & Groomsman Tuxes: Friar Tux || Catering: Little Lily's Kitchen || Cake & Desserts: Porto's Bakery || Rentals: La Piñata Party Rentals || Florals: Modern Tiki Lounge || DJ: Adriana Rodriguez || Photo Booth: Mobile Photo Booth || Officiant: Reverend Barbara Laughray