May Bride-O-File: Carly Paoli

Planning a wedding can be intimidating, even for those who are experienced in event planning. There are so many details and people who need appeasing that the most important day of your life can become overwhelming rather quickly!

This new monthly in-depth profile feature will allow you to get to know a past bride or groom and find out how they coped and managed to turn a wedding at the Natural History Museum into the wedding of their dreams!

Meet our debut Bride-O-File: Carly Paoli!

bridal0081Wedding Date: October 12, 2013

Guest Count: 80

Ceremony Location: East Staircase

Dinner and Dancing: Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Hall of African Mammals

Colors: Navy Blue and Lime Green

bridal0138Why did you choose the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for your Special Day?

I wanted a truly unique wedding, but I guess all brides say that right? Mike and I aren’t religious but we still wanted everything about our wedding to be about us and our love.  We saw about 7 other venues but absolutely fell in love with the museum and the dinosaurs – perfect for our geekdom, my science background and the fact that we believe in evolution/are not religious.

carly.mike0384After selecting the Hall of African Mammals for the reception with the highlight of the room being a diorama of elephants, we decided to have the whole wedding be elephant-themed.  This is also due in part to a personal nickname I gave to Mike when we first dating because he’s an animal lover (and a softie!) and told me that elephants are the only mammal besides humans who mourn when their family members die.  Ever since then, he’s been my elefante!

I_1126First look or wait until ceremony?

First look in the Natural History Museum’s Pollinator Garden (Editor’s Note: In full disclosure, I forgot to ask Carly this question, but this photo was so sweet that I couldn’t resist!)

I_0921Tell us about your ceremony!

I’ve been to a ton of weddings and never really been into the ceremony so didn’t really think too much about it when it came to my wedding.  Little did I know, it turned out to be my favorite part of the whole event. My father died in 2004 so I knew he wouldn’t be there to “give me away.”  When he passed way, it was a really rough time for my brother and I since we were so young (me at 23 and my brother at 20) so it seemed most appropriate to have my brother give me away.  He walked me down the aisle and gave me a hug and it meant so much to me!  What also were so emotional and memorable for me were our vows.  It was important to me to write our own vows in addition to doing the traditional ones.


What were some of the personal touches you added?

Luckily, my brother, who is a graphic design student, was so kind as to create a kissing elephant logo for us which we used on all the paper materials for the wedding.  details0032

Mike is a lover of music and has been singing his whole life (from BA in vocal performance to lead singer of a ska band to many roles in musical theater) so we wanted to be sure to focus on all musical aspects of the wedding!  Since Mike works at a music company, we had a lot of access to talent and used it!  One friend played guitar and ukulele (I came into “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole and we exited to “Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros) for our ceremony and another friend played classical guitar at our cocktail reception.

I_0836We could not agree on a first dance song – he wanted “Mario Kart Love Song” by Sam Hart and I wanted “Grown Old With You” by Adam Sandler so we had two!  We had a fantastic DJ who played everything we wanted from Say Anything to Tim Minchin, Tegan & Sara and even Mike’s old ska band STU!


What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The budget was definitely difficult.  Getting married in Los Angeles costs major bucks and even though we had a good amount saved we had to pinch pennies and cut things we had originally wanted.  My family pitched to help: my mom acted as the wedding day coordinator and my step dad handmade both my cupcake stand and my memory board to honor passed relatives.

details0105I cut the flower budget by not having any at the ceremony (my backdrop was the LA Rose garden so that helped) and I promised my bridesmaids they wouldn’t have to pay over $100 for their gowns which we made happen by hiring old college friends who are now fashion designers.  We also used friends to supply the ceremony and cocktail reception music.  And I found a caterer who let me supply my own alcohol so that saved a lot too!


Who else helped make this day possible?

details0110Caterer – TGIS (Thanks Goodness It’s Sophia)

Wedding Photography – Jennifer Roper –

details0050Rentals – Signature Party Rentals

DJ – Scott Norris –

Hair & Makeup for bride – Carla Ross and assistants

details0016Florist – Brad Austin

CropBride’s Gown – Lazaro

Bride’s Shoes – Nine West

Bride’s Necklace  – Judith Jack

Bride’s earrings – My grandma’s

Bridesmaid Dresses – designed and handmade by Amren Tulano

Flower girl skirt – Etsy

Flower girl basket – Etsy

bridal0203Ring bearer vest – Etsy

Origami elephants – Etsy

Cupcakes – Susie Cakes

details0104Cake Topper – Etsy

Placecards – Tradesy Weddings

Table numbers – Etsy

Suits – Men’s Warehouse

Groomsmens’ suspenders – Hot Topic

Wedding Rings – Amazon

Groom’s tie – JC Penny

Custom Napkins – The Stationary Studio

All photos featured here are courtesy of Jennifer Roper


Are you a past Bride or Groom and would like to be featured in our monthly Bride-O-File?

Thinking about having your next event at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles or the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits?

Give us a call at 213-763-3221 or send us an email at and see how we can help make your next event a memorable one!


1 Comment »

  1. Elizabeth Hiatt said

    Beautiful-Great idea💡

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