From the moment now-husband Tim Rosenman proposed to Whitney Port in late 2013 (for the second time, his boss having inadvertently forced a first, impromptu ask when he brought up Rosenman's plans for an elaborate proposal in Australia's Sydney Harbor within earshot of Port), the MTV reality star was certain she knew just what she wanted.
An alum of Teen Vogue and Diane von Fürstenberg, who'd launched her first fashion line, Whitney Eve, four years earlier, the designer envisioned beach vows and a no-frills gown similar to the John Galliano lace shift Cindy Crawford had purchased off-the-rack for her own 1998 vows.
"When I first pictured myself as a bride, really simple, silk, something strapless or spaghetti straps, kind of like a slip dress," she explained to E! News of her dream dress mere days ahead of her Nov. 7, 2015, wedding. "As the planning process went on, I decided, 'You know I think I want to do something a little more elaborate, a little more special.'"
A little more...completely totally different than what she'd initially imagined.
Because just over two weeks later, Port walked down a grass aisle at Colony 29—the estate in the mountains of Palm Springs, Calif., deemed the venue victor after she rejected some 150 other spots. (As her sister Ashley Port, who planned the affair with her company BK Events, joked to Us Weekly, "It was a labor of love.")
The theme they'd landed on was a mix of art deco, desert chic with a tropical flair and Port's gown, an elaborate high-low lace design covered in silver embroidery and pearls that she dreamt up with Ashi Studio based off a chandelier she'd spied in Venice, was anything but simple. "The dress has a lot of detail," she admitted to E! News. "It's pretty full-on."
Score one for second thoughts.
Because when asked three years later what she would change about her big day, now-36-year-old Port struggled to pinpoint a single regret, telling The Knot that maybe she'd "have a few more heaters" to combat the November chill.
Other than that, she said, the affair was a dream, a night she dubbed "personalized, fun and different."
For starters, Port nixed a wedding mainstay, declaring that the only florals she wanted was her bouquet of blushing brides. So Sticks and Stones florist was tasked with nailing the desert chic portion of the vibe, filling the outdoor ceremony space with ferns and an elaborate arch made of palm fronds.
It was there that now-40-year-old Rosenman—a producer on Port's NYC-based Hills spinoff, The City—waited for the girl who'd made that first move a couple years after their series wrapped in 2010. "I got his phone number and made up some excuse why I needed to reach him for something," Port explained to the Daily Mail. "I know, because of our jobs—because I was the talent and he was the producer—he wasn't going to cross that line. It had to be me, you know."
And it had to be him.
Port, truthfully, had been dreading walking down the aisle with mom Vicki Port nearly three years after her father Jeffrey Port had passed away from kidney cancer. "I thought I was going to be hysterical because when you dream of this day, that's the moment when your father is walking you down," she explained to Us Weekly. "Leading up to the wedding, that's what I was most scared of and how I was going to feel and if I was going to be able to hold it together."
Then she spied her groom. "Honestly, I think I was just so surrounded by love," Port said, "and I saw so many smiling, loving faces and then Tim at the end, that trumped all of the sadness."
From there it was pure joy as future brother-in-law Ben led a 30-minute ceremony that saw Port vow to "kiss you every night before we go to sleep and every morning before I get out of bed," and Rosenman gush of his bride, "You are my family. You are my entire life, and I promise to spend the rest of mine making sure you know that you have nothing to ever worry about again."
When it came time to seal their union with a kiss in front of their 200 guests, "I was really shaky," Port told Us Weekly. "It wasn't nerves, but I think it was that adrenaline."
And pure, unadulterated bliss. "I felt like I was floating," she summed up. "It was by far the best moment of the night."
Perhaps the most conventional, as well.
The deeper she got into planning, the more certain Port was that she wanted a "modern take" on a more traditional affair, she told E! News. That meant leaning into a few quirky choices (their rehearsal dinner, for instance, was at a bowling alley, she told Green Wedding Shoes, "because Timmy loves to bowl!"), using social media to find a wedding photographer ("I was looking for someone with a different eye and posted about it on my Insta," Port told The Knot of selecting Southern California-based Hannah Costello) and breaking from some long-established, but ultimately unnecessary, wedding rules.
They opted out of having a cake, ordering bread pudding with brioche from Gjusta instead. Guests were asked to wear either black or, yes, even white to fully embrace the art deco of it all, she told The Knot, "and there was no sit-down dinner."
Rather than break up the momentum with a long, drawn-out meal, guests noshed on branzino, oysters, snow crab claws and choice picks from the couple's bread bar and sipped from fresh coconuts and signature cocktails like the Martini & Rossi Prosecco and peach framboise "Little Whitty" at eight boho-style lounge vignettes.
"We found these amazing women down in San Diego who own a company called Pow Wow," Port explained to The Knot. "We drove down to their warehouse and were able to select each and every piece of furniture to create all the different seating 'lounges' around the dance floor." Design company Hostess Haven was then tasked with topping the tables with black-and-white linens, tapered candles, copper and gold pieces and the pineapple decor chosen because it represents hospitality.
"The whole vibe of it," Port explained ahead of time to E! News, "is just going to be one big, fun party!"
So they spent the entire two years of their engagement crafting the perfect playlist, sharing a first dance to Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line", getting lifted into chairs during the horah and just living on the dance floor, Port having ditched her meter-long train for a fringed Marchesa mini.
Then it was off to their honeymoon in Fiji and a happily-ever-after-type forever that included the July 2017 arrival of Sonny Sanford Rosenman and the type of partnership that can endure through good times and tougher stretches.
Ahead of their vows, Port told E! News, she knew she'd found her guy in Rosenman long before she truly admitted it to herself. "I know this sounds super cheesy, but I feel like the night that I met him, as soon as I met him, I just knew I loved him," she explained. "I know it sounds crazy, but I feel like you can just meet someone, and feel their energy and get to know their personality that fast. I have really strong gut reactions, so I just knew right away. He makes me laugh so much that for me if I'm laughing this much for the rest of my life, I'm a happy girl!"
Six years on, little has changed. "Timmy, you make me laugh the most and make me feel the most loved," Port wrote in a recent Instagram tribute. "I feel at home with you and I am honored we get to build our dream lives together."