TALI TOLTZIS & MICHAEL COHEN
NOVEMBER 16, 2014 | RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA
ince its heyday in the 1940s and ’50s as a haven for privacy-seeking Hollywood stars, California’s resort-dotted Coachella Valley has symbolized escape. But for Washington, D.C., residents Tali Toltzis and Michael Cohen, hosting their wedding in Rancho Mirage wasn’t a retreat but a return. “My grandparents have spent part of the year in nearby Palm Springs for 30 years; I’ve gone there on vacation all my life,” Michael says.
Family has been important to the couple from the start. In 2010, Tali, the founder of a gift and hospitality box company, and Michael, who works in real estate development, were set up by their two younger sisters, college buddies who discovered that their older siblings lived within 10 blocks of each other. “Neither of us had been on a blind date before, so it was lucky we both agreed to it,” Tali says. Much to the sisters’ delight, the two hit it off immediately, and by October 2013 they were engaged.
Tali and Michael’s connections to both people and place informed nearly every detail of the wedding weekend, from the citrus-filled escort-card display (a nod to the fruit Michael’s grandparents grow and often ship to the couple) to the Coachella music festival–themed after-party, complete with flower crowns and “Cohenchella” wristbands, which recalled the concerts the two had attended. Tali’s family rabbi flew in from Cleveland to officiate the Jewish ceremony before 250 loved ones, and the couple exchanged vows under a chuppah sewn by Tali’s grandmother and embroidered with the names of her cousins who had wed beneath it.
Cocktails were served poolside to the strains of a Frank Sinatra tribute singer before everyone moved to the ballroom for a California twist on a kosher feast, including a choice of loup de mer or salmon, and agnolotti with truffled sage butter. Music and dancing followed, and when the Cohenchella after-party kicked off, in front of a backdrop of the festival’s iconic Ferris wheel, it was like coming, well, full circle. “The best part was being in a place so special to my grandparents, and to us,” says Michael. A place that now has one more amazing memory. —Valerie Rains SOURCES Location The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage Event planning and design Shannon Leahy Events Catering Savore Cuisine & Events Flowers and event design Mindy Rice Design Photography Jose Villa Videography Blue Kite Cinema Stationery Swiss Cottage Designs Calligraphy Hardink Calligraphy Cake Charm City Cakes West Music West Coast Music; Luca Ellis Duo; Mike Goldfarb aka DJ Sherpa Bride’s gown Monique Lhuillier Bride’s accessories Marisa Perry (engagement ring); Jimmy Choo (shoes) Groom’s suit, shirt, and tie J.Mueser See The Guide for more vendor sources