Joshua Smith and David Bacci were both working at the USC Marshall School of Business when they first met. David was a lecturer and Joshua was a professional development trainer and coach. When Joshua needed an actor for one of the professional development trainings he created, David volunteered to play the role of an employee with a “difficult communication style.” For David, it was love at first sight; but it took eight months and a dozen-plus coffee dates for their relationship to officially begin.
When David decided to propose, he made sure their engagement took place in Florence, Italy – Josh’s favorite city. Josh had mentioned how the Ponte Santa Trinita on the Arno River is his favorite spot on earth, so David took him to the famous bridge one evening to pop the question while singing their song, “Moon River.”
"THE ORIGINAL INSPIRATION BEHIND OUR DAY WAS THE JUXTAPOSITION OF TWO VERSIONS OF ‘MOON RIVER’."
Ever since the early days of their relationship, Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” had been Josh and David’s song. “We wanted it to influence the style and feel of our wedding day,” says the couple. “The original inspiration behind our day was the juxtaposition of two versions of ‘Moon River’ – the original version performed by Audrey Hepburn in the film ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ and Frank Ocean’s 2018 cover.
We decided that we would play the two versions of the song back to back for our ceremony processional. We soon fell in love with the idea of more broadly exploring and playing with the ‘timeless, nostalgic, and traditional’ and the ‘modern, whimsical, and surprising.’ We thought this interplay would be especially appropriate and fun, given the fact that the event would be for many of our friends and family their first same-sex wedding, the perfect time to become creative and flexible with cultural and gender norms.”
During the wedding planning process, the grooms-to-be looked for subtle ways to play with the traditional wedding format. This included hosting the cocktail hour before the ceremony, which allowed guests to unwind and mingle with the grooms. The grooms also walked each other down the aisle and recited a combination of traditional vows and readings from the wedding party. These readings included a Shakespearean sonnet and a passage from “The Velveteen Rabbit,” highlighting the unique personalities of their closest friends.
A beautiful reception followed, held in a room filled with potted flowers, trees, candles, and lights reminiscent of an intimate European dinner party. “We were adamant about not wanting the space to have a banquet room feel,” explain the grooms. “We wanted magic with a very relaxed, warm vibe. The effect was a garden, where the florals and plants transformed the entire space instead of functioning as centerpieces. Most of the décor was not DIY, but we worked with our wedding planner to source and tweak the design of many elements.”
More than anything, both David and Josh looked forward to seeing their family and friends come together for the celebration. “We were excited not only to have them celebrate with us,” they say, “but to gift them with a thoughtful experience that we hoped would be a fond memory in years to come. Our favorite moments were watching guests arrive and take in the beauty of the Ebell, mingling with guests during cocktail hour, and opening up the Ebell to them more and more throughout the evening.”
Photography: Michael Segal Photography, Santa Monica, CA