Kourtney Jackson and Nathaniel Smith celebrate with pure creative expression
“I’d always been the person that she came to when she was breaking up with someone, or when she was starting a new relationship—I’d always been on the sidelines, like a supportive friend,” says artist and graphic designer Nathaniel Smith of his early relationship with his future wife, art director and photographer Kourtney Jackson. It was during a life-changing lunch break in fall 2014 that Nathaniel talked his way out of the friend zone. “I basically told her that I could love her better than those other guys,” he explains. A little over two years later, he lived up to that promise, proposing during a meticulously planned day of activities organized around the theme of inspirational artist couples, which culminated in a picnic on the headlands of Laguna Beach.
The Los Angeles-based pair chose the bride’s family’s Hemet ranch as the site of their spring 2017 nuptials: “I grew up telling my family that I wanted to get married there,” Kourtney says.
They exchanged vows under an arch of their own design, which Nathaniel carved from two pieces of Baltic birch plywood and assembled with his father on a hill Kourtney’s dad leveled with his tractor for the occasion (so that chairs could sit comfortably in full view of the valley vista).
At the reception, guests found their seats for the candlelit alfresco meal with postcards created by Nathaniel, incorporating famous modern artworks on one side and table numbers on the other. A five-piece jazz band played Louis Armstrong’s version of “La Vie en Rose” for the newlyweds’ first dance—a song significant to Kourtney, who grew up learning to speak French with her Cajun grandfather.
While guests danced throughout the night, classic films including Casablanca were projected as a backdrop. As the evening drew to a close, a small group of the couple’s close friends gathered together by a bonfire while Kourtney’s father pointed out the visible constellations, “so we could always remember,” she says.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith embarked on a coastal road trip as a mini-moon directly following their wedding, but celebrated their official honeymoon in September: “We went to the south of France,” Kourtney says, “to see where our favorite modern artists worked and lived.”
PLANNER Love & Splendor FLORIST Of the Flowers ENTERTAINMENT RedShoe SUIT Suitsupply VIDEOGRAPHER Eric Hires of The Wedding Artists Collective CATERING Huntington Catering CAKE Susie Cakes
Photography by SHANNEN NATASHA OF THE WEDDING ARTISTS COLLECTIVE/NORMAN & BLAKE.
Written by MELISSA GOLDSTEIN.