Panda meets Lego Wedding at Millwick in DTLA
A story of joy, acceptance, and universal love, Bono and Joel bring their unique personalities and combined interests to this one-of-a-kind, Panda meets Lego wedding celebration at Millwick in downtown Los Angeles.
Photos: Todd Danforth Photography
Both hailing from the Philippines, they are professionals and self-proclaimed “adorkable” guys. On top of being incredibly smart and driven, Joel is a Lego champion and Bono is a Panda fanatic. Creating a wedding celebration that “felt like them” in their current home of Los Angeles, welcoming family and friends from around the globe, was incredibly important to this quirky and kind couple. Sadly, LGBTQ+ people in the Philippines face some legal challenges not faced by their hetero counterparts, so LA seemed like a welcoming place to showcase their long-time love to their nearest and dearest.
Their wedding party was made up of close friends and family who all traveled into LA, some internationally, to celebrate the couple and their decade+ union. To stick with the Mondrian color scheme, reminiscent of primary colors found in Legos, both Bono and Joel each wore semi-custom suits from Indochino that showcased their individual flare and style. Their wedding party sported black and white ensembles with leather accents that paid homage and respect to their LGBTQ+ community. While in many weddings, we see the couple in black and white, Bono and Joel flipped the script and made their own wedding way.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after their ceremony vows conducted by Professor and friend, Bliss. An appropriate name for an officiant with so much love to share.
Millwick, a modern and industrial yet historical (originally built as a livery) event venue in downtown Los Angeles set as the backdrop for their colorful ceremony which featured an intimate guest count including some special, furry friends.
Bono and Joel’s Collection of stuffed pandas acted as special guests pre-seated at the ceremony. R to L: Sal, Chummy, Munchy, Winnie, Robert, and Ike. Not one panda objected to their nuptials.
Their “Ring Panda”, Porthos, the first panda in their collection, acted as Ring Bearer, holding one ring on each of his tiny arms.
The design was a mix of Mondrian print, featuring the primary colors red, blue, and yellow, created famous by the Dutch artist and art theoretician, Piet Mondrian, as well as Lego bricks and Panda elements. Showcasing Joel’s passion for Legos and Bono’s love for panda bears was important to the couple.
And you better believe I had an outfit to go with this theme. It’s the Anything But Gray Events way!
This Panda meets Lego Wedding at Millwick in DTLA was full of textures, patterns, shapes, and colorful pops of untraditional elements like glass, wood, metal, ceramic, marble, and fabric. It felt fresh and modern with a tongue-in-cheek playfulness not seen often enough in wedding celebrations!
You might be asking if the couple came to me specifically asking for a Panda & Lego wedding. Nope, actually, I went back to their original inquiry to see what they shared and it was this; “We’re looking at “modern and industrial venues w/ a touch of preppy/whimsy” venues (so says a random survey we took, which we agree with!). As part of our full-service planning and design process, we help clients to explore what their wedding could be with some creativity, outside-the-box thinking, and incorporation of the neat traits that make them who they are. It’s in the exploration that we find the wedding answers.
One of the hidden-in-plain-sight features of this wedding was the Lego floral installations by Winston and Main, incorporating real florals with Lego elements constructed by groom, Joel. Guests marveled at the seamless continuation of where legos ended and florals began. Large ceremony installations flanked the couple during the ceremony then were moved and transitioned into being a backdrop for the sweetheart table. Small Lego “flowers” were added to the tablescapes and were favors to the guests at the end of the night. How cool is that?
A fun fact I learned from Joel is that all the Lego pieces of the flowers were made from Lego pieces used for other purposes in other kits. For example, the petals on the red roses are actually supposed to be car hoods in another kit! You would never know looking at it that is wasn’t supposed to be a flower petal.
Queer-influenced signage from Roseville Designs showcased Cocktail Hour “Cocktales” for the two grooms while FeteFone served as a recorded guest book for guests to share well wishes to the couple through a vintage-style payphone. While the space itself is not huge, the specific signage and areas created interest and experiences for the guests.
Fundamental Catering wowed guests with an Asian-inspired, Family-style menu. Including dishes like, Lechon Bao (made with Mang Tomas all-purpose sauce), Sesame Balls, Spring Rolls, Citrus Ginger Salmon, Thai Massman Braised Beef Short Ribs, Kale and Shitake mushroom fried rice, and Ube Mango Sticky Rice for dessert.
And JUST in case they were hungry at the end of the night, (P)B&J (get it? Bono and Joel) half sandwiches made on white bread were passed out to soak up the night’s libations.
Guests received a color-coated (red, yellow, or blue) Lego person at their place setting which they could decorate and personalize with a wide variety of Lego accessories within the Panda Lounge.
Hailing from a Craigslist post for the “largest panda ever” in Irvine, this zaftig queen of all pandas is named Mama Ru. She reigned supreme as the matriarch of the Panda Lounge and served as a photo moment throughout the evening for guests to enjoy. Long live the queen, Mama Ru!
DJ Dazzler kept guests, 80% of which traveled to LA for this wedding, from England, Canada, and Asia, hot on the dance floor all night. This was only after a surprise gift from Joel to Bono- a taped performance by Bono’s favorite panda performance group out of the Philippines, The Naughty Pandas. This Panda meets Lego Wedding at Millwick in DTLA was pure joy from start to finish for two deserving grooms who truly define why love is so important, everywhere.
Video Credit: The Candi Project
Want more? Check out this wedding featured on Love Inc Mag!