Artist, curator, and analog astronaut Richelle Gribble and rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, and CEO of Relativity Space Tim Ellis met while giving their respective TEDx Talk. “On the TED stage, Tim shared his love of space and exploration, and I described my deep fascination for the networks – social, ecological, and technical – that connect our home planet,” remembers Richelle. “Let’s just say, we liked each other’s talks and have been together ever since – nine years and counting!” 

“We knew it was a deep, intoxicating, fulfilling, lifelong love and soulful connection,” shares the groom, who proposed to his beloved under a starlit sky on a nighttime hike in Joshua Tree National Park. “Tim led me to a Venn diagram made from sparkling copper lights to represent a convergence of ‘Art + Science = Wonder,’” describes Richelle of the memorable proposal, which influenced their wedding theme. After an emphatic yes, she entered their tent to find wine, flower petals on their sleeping bags, and a photo collage of Maui, as he also surprised her with a celebratory trip to the island the following day. 

When it came time for their nuptials, “We returned to Wailea to retrace our steps and memories from the proposal,” confirms the bride. “Surrounded by wildlife, nature, and otherworldly sites like black lava rock and the nearby Martian-like Haleakalā Crater, we wanted the location to reflect earth and space simultaneously.” Thus, they planned a multi-day island experience for 120 of their dearest loved ones. “We wanted our celebration to be unique and a platform to express who we are as a couple and our main values: wonder, experience, perspective, and presence,” explains the groom. 

Guests found their seats atop Ghost chairs on either side of a winding aisle lined with lush vanilla-toned blossoms for the oceanfront ceremony. The bride made her stunning entrance in the “Odessa” gown by Claire Pettibone adorned with luminous silver and ivory rose details paired with the “Enchanted Moon” cape and carried a bouquet of cascading white orchids to meet her groom in front of two circular arches forming an “Art + Science = Wonder” Venn diagram. Richelle’s “art” side showcased billowing ivory florals, Tim’s “science” side featured wooden elements, and the “wonder” center highlighted a burst of colors, textures, and exotic flowers. 

In addition to a butterfly release, the ceremony incorporated the couple’s handwritten vows. “I was everything I needed to say to make it feel eternal,” starts Tim, who also describes the magical backdrop of Maui behind them. “What I didn’t know, and what made it so memorable, was how looking up occasionally to see Richelle’s smiling, laughing, and definitely crying face with the wind blowing in her hair was one of the most beautiful times of my life. It was heaven, and I will always remember how she looked at me.” 

“From holographic rainbow tables to large-scale starry canopies, we created a journey into earthy tones and textures culminating into an exuberant space-rave celebration.”

During cocktail hour, loved ones enjoyed libations served from a circular bar decorated with jungle-inspired greenery. Even the bar menu fit the theme with cocktail, wine, beer, and spirit options calligraphed on a tropical leaf. The theme song from season one of White Lotus, which was filmed nearby, played as guests took their seats at modern tables with a custom holographic-style top. “They turned out phenomenally – almost a milky blue during the day but once the sun set and our celestial star-portal tent lights went on, the surface transformed and came alive with thousands of rainbow starbursts,” says Tim. 

Modern, translucent chairs surrounded each tablescape, which featured a different-hued centerpiece that spanned the entire color wheel, with some flowers hand-painted to achieve a fluorescent look. The couple’s sweetheart table, however, showcased a rainbow of vibrant blooms that cascaded from the table to the manicured lawn below, and the newlyweds were seated atop rattan peacock chairs for an island feel. “From holographic rainbow tables to large-scale starry canopies, we created a journey into earthy tones and textures culminating into an exuberant space-rave celebration,” affirms the bride. 

“As the wedding day progressed, the vibrancy and complexity increased much like our relationship,” notes the bride. After dinner, hula dancers and fire dancers led everyone down a path to witness the pair’s first dance to “You & Me” by Bassnectar, followed by a festive after-party complete with colorful lights, galactic visuals, and of course, plenty of dancing. 

“Electronic music, music festivals, and concerts are an important part of our love story… For this reason, the experience of the wedding transitioned throughout various types of EDM as the night progressed and intensified,” illustrates Richelle. Her groom adds: “The vibe was celestial, inspirational, hyperspectral, and vibrant.” 

From the start, Richelle and Tim focused on planning a wedding that would be a true representation of their relationship. “Our wedding was a joyous expression of love and creativity, moving from earth to space, and back again,” smiles the bride. Fitting with their earth-meets-space wedding style, “All our guests received a mission patch to reflect the wondrous out-of-this-world journey they experienced with us.”

This real wedding was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

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