Weddings of Our Own: Matt & Jason

Palm Desert, March 26, 2016

Photography by Robert Paetz

NAMES Jason Gaffney & Matt Gorlick.
LIVE IN Los Angeles.
OCCUPATIONS Jason is an actor, producer, and writer; Matt is in university administration.
HOW THEY GOT ENGAGED Jason created a video using favorite songs to describe their relationship history, interpreting each using American Sign Language (this is one of his passions), and ending the video with a marriage proposal. Afterward, Jason lured Matt out of their apartment so that their parents could sneak in and throw a surprise proposal party.
BACHELOR PARTIES Jason had a low-key celebration—it included hiking and board games—with a few friends and family members. Matt shared a fancy meal of wine, steak, and shellfish with his brother.
REHEARSAL DINNER They invited wedding guests to the main lobby of the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, where they enjoyed food and drinks, and guests shared their thoughts during an open mic session. Adds Matt: “It was also a great way for everyone to get to know each other before the actual wedding. And, as a bonus, we didn’t have any speeches at the actual wedding reception,” which allowed everyone more time to party and have fun.
WEDDING-DAY WEATHER Sunny, calm, and clear.
Latte, olive green, and steel blue.
THEME Nature and life.
FLOWERS Jason and Matt chose to decorate with live, drought-tolerant plants, including many succulents. Matt: “We’re huge fans of plants, and it was icing on the cake that plants were way cheaper than flowers (and much more long-lasting).” In fact, many guests were able to take the plants home with them.
DIY HIGHLIGHTS All the decorations were DIY. They potted the live plants themselves, and they created activity packets for those guests more inclined to sit at the table than dance.
THE MENU Befitting the desert setting, they served cactus salad, tri-tip steak with pineapple salsa, stuffed chicken, and roasted potatoes. They also offered fruit-infused water along with beer, water, and sodas, and served everything using eco-friendly, biodegradable tableware.
DESSERT The two aren’t big fans of cake. Instead, they provided a dessert buffet of ice cream and stuffed churros. For the cake-cutting tradition, the grooms enacted “a Lady and the Tramp–style churro-eating moment,” says Matt.
MUSIC They kicked off the celebrating and dancing by playing “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams, and chose Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally” for their first slow dance.
IF THEY HAD TO DO IT OVER They would have relaxed a bit more during the lead-up to the big day. “Being a little more mentally relaxed might have helped us sleep a little easier,” says Jason. “Post-wedding, we slept like babies.”
FAVORITE DETAIL The actual nuptials. The couple operated under the principle, “If it doesn’t make us happy or isn’t supportive of our love, we’re not doing it,” says Matt. Having the opportunity to express their love and commitment in front of family and friends, they say, is what made the wedding special. As they jointly expressed it, “Two people go in; one couple comes out.”
UNIQUE ELEMENTS OF THE DAY Animals! The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens outreach program allowed wedding guests to view and even touch a tortoise, an owl, a hedgehog, a singing dog, and a porcupine.
UNEXPECTED EVENT Shortly before the wedding, while touring the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, Jason and Matt were allowed to enter the giraffe enclosure and feed the friendly creatures (which made for quite a photo op, as the men were decked out in tuxedos).
ADVICE FOR OTHERS Decide what makes you happy, and make sure all the elements of your wedding stay true to your happiness. And make sure to eat all that great food—you paid for it!
THE DAY IN THREE WORDS Joyful, romantic, “Jason-and-Matt-esque.”

Being a little more mentally relaxed might have helped us sleep a little easier.

Vendor List

CEREMONY & RECEPTION Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, Palm Desert

CATERING Taste of the Wild Catering


OFFICIANT Ed Gaffney (groom’s father)

PHOTOGRAPHY Robert Paetz Photography



MUSIC Joshua Greenberg


HONEYMOON DESTINATION Vancouver, BC, followed by Disney Cruise to Alaska