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This Couple Said Their Vows in the Desert of Joshua Tree National Park

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Rad + In Love

Tresha and Eric Paarman first met while working as co-workers at an Apple Store in San Diego. Three-and-a-half years of dating later, the couple voyaged on a springtime trip to Tokyo. On their second day, they traveled via train to the Nakameguro neighborhood, where they walked underneath the famous cherry blossoms and strolled along the river.

Surrounded by the blooming pink and white trees, Eric got down on one knee and proposed. “Our friend Surla happened to be staying in Tokyo at that time and was able to photograph the proposal after coordinating with Eric,” Tresha explains. Surla captured the whole magical memory, leaving the newly engaged couple to celebrate with the “best ramen bowls” they ever had in their lives.

The couple began planning a November 2020 micro-wedding at the Santa Barbara courthouse. As the months bore on, however, the global COVID-19 crisis worsened. Combining the variables of the pandemic with the headache-inducing logistics of cutting down a guest list, Eric and Tresha embraced their secret dream of eloping. Tresha elaborates and says, “We saw it as an opportunity to do things our way which is what we valued more instead of having a big, traditional wedding.”

“We rescheduled our wedding for October 23, 2020—exactly one month short of our fifth anniversary,” Tresha explains. The following replanning process was markedly stress-free for the couple. Every conversation was able to happen digitally over FaceTime, iMessage, and email. Ultimately, they chose Joshua Tree as their new venue for sentimental reasons. The national park was the location of one of their first dates and a recurring site for their many camping excursions.

When envisioning her bridal look, Tresha thought of one word: “chic.” Her simplistically elegant off-the-shoulder Park & Fifth Co dress with crepe sleeves and train embodied this aesthetic. With no time to spare, she booked a virtual fitting and implored the talented production team to meet her fastly approaching wedding date. Tresha intertwined luxury vintage accents into her outfit as well. Her vintage gold Chanel pearl drop earrings were a particular dazzling statement. Tresha kept her beauty understated and natural, styling her own hair and applying her own makeup.

Tresha completed the ensemble with a bespoke veil by Lauren Mizon. Mizon embroidered a portrait of the couple’s late dog Cody. “We always planned for him to be in our wedding, but he unexpectedly passed away one year earlier,” Tresha explains. “This was my way of honoring him on our special day.” Tresha kept this detail of wedding planning secret from Eric, so when he saw the delicate image of Cody on the veil, he was left speechless and touched.

Eric wore a tailored suit from Indochino. “They were able to provide a nice, modern cut that didn’t take away from my bride,” he notes wryly. He brought flair to his groom look with a bowtie, which he learned to tie the day of the wedding, and a silk pocket square from Drake’s. “I wanted to add some color and personality to my outfit, and I’ve always been a fan of the timeless designs that Drake’s incorporates into their classic dress wear.”

Just before sunset, the couple arrived at Joshua Tree National Park and met their photographer Michelle. With the lighting and rugged backdrop in place, the ceremony began. Tresha recalls the order of events, “Our officiant and best friend Mehdi started the pronouncement, Eric said his vows, I said mine, and we all shared some tears and laughs along the way. It was over as fast as it had started.”

The pop of the Dom Perignon champagne bottle concluded the ceremony. By now, the sun had set, and Tresha tossed her pastel-colored Heaven’s Market bouquet to their only witness, the couple’s friend, Kaitlyn. The newlyweds quickly snapped photos and Super 8 footage in the park before driving off into the sunset with the car stereo on full blast. “Spontaneously, we pulled over to the side of the road, cracked open some beers, and had our first dance—it might’ve been to our unofficial wedding song ‘Baby’ by Ariel Pink or ‘This Must Be the Place” by Talking Heads,” Tresha muses. “It’s still up for debate.”

When thinking of their micro-wedding, Eric and Tresha echo each other’s gratitude for this special day in Joshua Tree National Park. Eric states that they are both “absolutely thrilled” and have “zero regrets.” Tresha agrees, “We’re happy to have found each other and happy that we truly got to have our wedding our way.”