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Exclusive: Trading Spaces’s Genevieve Gorder on Her Wedding in Morocco

genevieve gorderTV personality Genevieve Gorder attends the Vivi Zubedi front row during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Industria Studios on February 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Vivi Zubedi)

For her extravagant Moroccan wedding in September, Genevieve Gorder wanted to ensure that, above all else, the day shared with beau Christian Dunbar was uniquely, unmistakably, “them.”

As such, the Trading Spaces star revolved their celebration around positive energy and vibrant colors, and whittled down their wants to a few basic needs. “I think you have to first ask yourself, ‘Where are we doing this?’” she tells The Knot of how they began their wedding planning for the over-the-top desert fete. “Whether it’s in New Jersey or in Alaska, you have to look at that landscape. Is this something that’s really formal? Is this something in a backyard? Just because it’s formal doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. You just have to play with the colors that are surrounding you.”

 

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Hey love… . . . #cdgg #morocco @andrewsherman

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#CDGG Tribe.

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Given that the desert colors that Gorder, 44, and Dunbar were surrounded by were multi-toned, they opted to use fruit and other edible goods to decorate the space in what turned out to be quite the beautiful display of plenty.

“Use food as a decoration,” she says. “I do this whether it’s Thanksgiving or an incredible dinner party across the world. Food is stunning. It is nature. Half the time, it is a flower, but then you can eat it too.” (Gorder tells us that she chose to skip out on the more traditional flower arrangements in order to stay true to the surroundings.)

In terms of where most of her wedding funds went, the designer, who recently partnered with T.J. Maxx as part of The Maxx You Project How To, tells us that she spent the most where it meant the most.

“I would splurge on the venue and the music,” she says. “I would save on the tablescaping, and that’s exactly what I did. Those are things that you can get at T.J. Maxx. My wedding was in Morocco, however, so [it] was not there.”

 

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Magical table scape by the master himself @matthewrobbinsdesign @kitulamarrakech #cdgg #marrakesh #riad #wanderlust

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Instead of flowers, she decorated with “big, bold spices, with rows and rows of big beads, feathers, all candle-lit. … No one complained that there were no lilies.”

Morocco has long been a favorite spot of Gorder’s, having spent much time there when she was getting her start as a professional designer. “It’s a treasure chest of color,” she says. “A castle of ancient, handmade things.” So when Dunbar asked her where she might want to get married, Gorder knew the answer right away.

 

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Color feasts. Spices = Table Decor. By @matthewrobbinsdesign . . . #cdgg #morocco @melanienashan

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“Morocco always felt like home to me,” she says. “I don’t know why. I can’t explain that. There’s something inherent about that culture that’s in me. So when you go to my house in Manhattan, you’ll see hand-carved doors from southern Morocco that are 400 years old. They make me happy. And [for the wedding], as soon as my friends showed up there, they were like, ‘Oh my god. This is you! I get it.’”

Gorder and Dunbar and their friends (they celebrated their nuptials with their families in a separate ceremony) partied for several days in the desert, pausing only for lavish meals that were indeed served at a long table decorated with bowls of oranges and spices.

 

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just hangin’ #cdgg and of course @johngidding is camel whispering

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Guests included Trading Spaces designer Hildi Santo Tomas, as well as new Trading Spaces designer John Gidding and What Not to Wear makeup artist Carmindy.

“I think who you invite and how you can behave at this event is uniquely up to you, so I really invited all the friends who are also givers,” Gorder says. “We all have friends who are just takers too, and we love them, but this wasn’t that moment. This was about all the nurturers. And when we all get together, we’re all so unbelievably nurtured that we walk away having a bit of a life change. And when you put it in a beautiful setting, people float off that for a long time. It wasn’t just a wedding, it was a thing. It was an experience that had some impact.”

 

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Pure Magic! The power and beauty that happened here are what dreams are made of. #cdgg Wedding Tribe/ Riad Rumblers/Team Essaouira/Love Salon

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Stuck in rainy Boston and thinking about this magical desert wedding. Sun, rain, wind and wolves.#cdgg

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During the main ceremony itself, Gorder says, everyone was rained upon as she and Dunbar were exchanging their personalized vows. A white wolf also ran by the ceremony proceedings at one point. All of which, Gorder points out, emphasizes the importance of preparing for the unpreparedness of wedding days.

“We didn’t do anything remotely traditional but our vows, and the vows were written by us and said by us in the middle of a lightning storm in the Sahara,” she says. “The skies opened up and I think we had some backup from the ancestors. It was pretty monumental. You couldn’t script it. You couldn’t plan it.”

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