Just over a year after getting engaged, Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert are officially husband and wife! The pair were married yesterday, August 26, 2023, People exclusively announced, at Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel, California. Now, they’re sharing all of the details of the big day—photographed by Amy and Stuart Photography and planned by Troy Williams of Simply Troy Lifestyle + Weddings—exclusively with People and Brides.
The theme of the day? “Regal redwoods,” Troy tells Brides. The couple worked closely with Troy and his team, who planned their June 2022 proposal alongside Derek, to bring their vision to life. “We trusted Troy to plan the wedding, but I was very much so a Type A bride and spearheaded a lot myself,” Hayley says. “I have a hard time letting go of control.” The first key detail planning trio crossed off their to-do list? Choosing the venue. Santa Lucia Preserve emerged as the perfect spot for Derek and Hayley to say “I do,” as it afforded the couple multiple different spaces to use to create an immersive, detail-heavy event. In the end, they invited 106 guests to join them for a ceremony in the redwood grove, the garden for dinner, and an antique barn for dancing.
“The feeling of the entire day was just joy, celebration, and love,” Derek says. “It was so special to see everybody there for us and realizing what a beautiful group of people, family and friends, we have in our lives. And, for me at least, there was such a clear sense of future. This was really just the beginning for us as a couple.”
Ahead, every special detail of their intimate, meaningful day in California.
The couple invited their loved ones to the celebration with a custom invitation suite by Minted. The design featured a watercolor tree motif, vellum overlay, and monogrammed belly band.
Hayley worked with beloved bridal designer Georgina Chapman of Marchesa on her wedding dress and veil, ultimately choosing a duchess satin number with off-the-shoulder sleeves for her walk down the aisle. “I tried on so many different styles, silhouettes, and fabrics, and I went to Marchesa with my vision of my dream dress,” Hayley explains of the process. “Georgina and the team were so lovely to work with and made my vision come to life.” She also wore a long Marchesa veil for the occasion.
For her beauty look, Hayley knew she wanted something clean, simple, and minimalist. “I wanted a natural beauty look, but enhanced,” she says. Hairstylist Jill Buck coiffed her hair into a low, slicked-back bun (“I always love a sleek hairstyle and I knew Derek would want my hair out of my face,” Hayley laughs) while Emma Willis played up her natural beauty with understated, dewey makeup. An ombré French manicure rounded out her look.
To prep her skin for the big day, Hayley says she made time for weekly facials during the month leading up to the wedding. As a finishing touch, she spritzed on a limited edition Creed perfume. “This has always been a special scent to Derek and me,” Hayley adds.
Hayley’s maid of honor, Kristy Sowin, wore a custom blush silk Marchesa dress for the ceremony. “All the bridesmaids wore custom Marchesa silk dresses. I wanted them to be sleek and simple, yet still beautiful,” the bride explains. “I had one bridesman who wore a custom Marchesa silk two piece that was to die for. I knew I didn’t want him to be in the typical suit in a matching color as the women so I came up with this design to have him be a little more sleek and cohesive with the other bridesmaids.”
The bride and her wedding party all carried bouquets of white and pink flowers, including ranunculus and roses, studded with greenery.
Derek donned a classic black Tom Ford tuxedo for the wedding ceremony, which he accessorized with a black bow tie. His secret to glowing wedding-day skin? Using his now-wife’s skincare products (particularly, her go-to face masks) every night for a few weeks leading up to the wedding.
Derek’s best man, Dancing With the Stars’ Mark Ballas, looked dapper in a Brooks Brothers tuxedo alongside the rest of the wedding party in matching attire. Instead of a traditional boutonnière, Derek accessorized with a floral pocket square created by the couple’s florist, Jimmy Hartman of In Blume Flowers.
The pair shared a first look ahead of the ceremony, something that was extremely important to both Derek and Hayley. “I’m one of those girls that have dreamt of my wedding for as long as I can remember, and it’s funny because I never thought I would do a first look because I thought I’d want my husband to see me walking down the aisle for the very first time,” Hayley explains. “But as we got closer and closer to our own wedding, I realized that a first look was actually extremely, extremely important to me.” In the end, she says she’s “so happy” that they made time for it. “It was a moment that was literally just for the two of us, and we didn’t get a lot of those moments throughout the entire wedding weekend really. It was a chance for the two of us to be together and recognize that this was really what we were doing. We were committing to each other, and it was the start of our beautiful life together.”
For his part, Derek had a very practical reason for wanting that first look: “I knew I’d be so emotional seeing her for the first time, so I wanted a buffer between when I saw her and when she walked down the aisle,” he explains. And emotional is exactly what he was. “That’s when it all hit me. In that moment, it became real that it was actually happening and that were were going to be marrying each other. It was amazing.”
The ceremony took place in Santa Lucia Preserve’s redwood grove. There, wooden chairs were arranged facing a lush floral altar; the aisle was lined with grounded arrangements of pink roses, white delphinium, and ferns. Derek and the wedding party processed to “Imagine” by Ben Platt. Hayley began her walk down the aisle on her own before being joined by two important men in her life, her father and step father, all to the tune of “Unconditional” by Richard Walters, which the artist re-recorded specifically for the bride and groom. “The music for our entire wedding was amazing,” Derek says. “Some of the lyrics to the original version of Hayley’s entrance song weren’t the best fit for a wedding, so I reached out to Richard before the wedding and he was gracious enough to re-record the song with different lyrics just for us. I cried every time I heard it.”
The pair exchanged vows they wrote themselves during the ceremony, which was officiated by Derek’s brother-in-law, Michael Poole. Custom vow books that read “Grow as We Go” held their meaningful words.
After being pronounced husband and wife, the duo shared the first kiss while white confetti floated around them, then recessed back up the aisle to the sound of “I Love You Always Forever” by Mike Mains & the Branches.
Everyone moved over to the property’s “Hacienda Garden” for dinner where a custom-made iron sign that read “The Hough Garden” was on full display at the entrance. “That was my favorite detail,” Derek says. “I think it’ll end up being a sort of family heirloom we pass down. It was such a simple detail, but I loved that it was something we got to keep from the day.”
The couple arrived in a vintage convertible, and Hayley debuted her second look of the night: a fitted dress with spaghetti straps and a tulle train from Ines Di Santo.
Long tables topped with taupe linens were arranged down the center of the garden. Overhead, chandeliers and twinkle lights lent a warm glow to the space as the sun went down. Place settings included white chargers, mauve napkins, and gold-and-white flatware. A mix of centerpieces in varying heights kept everything visually interesting.
Organizing the seating for the reception was one detail Hayley says she found surprisingly tricky. “I really wanted everyone to have a great experience, so creating the seating chart was difficult,” she admits. “We had so many amazing people coming, so I knew that everyone would get along with anyone they were seated with, but I wanted our guests to be as comfortable as possible.” And once she nailed down that perfect seating chart, Derek snuck in to throw a quick wrench in her plans. “We have friends that have a rule that when they go out to dinner, they won’t sit with their spouses, so I thought we’d try that for the reception. So, I changed everything,” Derek says with a laugh. “But then when I really looked at it, I realized, ‘Oh, maybe this doesn’t make sense.’ And then we changed it back.”
To fuel the event, Derek and Hayley chose three signature cocktails made with Casamigos tequila. Derek’s drink, “The Spicy Big D,” was a tequila-based cocktail with watermelon, lime, basil, and jalapeño; Hayley’s cocktail of choice, dubbed “Hayley’s Mint to Be Hough,” was a tequila-forward sip with grapefruit, lime, ginger, and mint; and the duo’s shared cocktail, “Lavender Lemonade,” was a tequila-infused lemonade with lavender bitters and simple syrup.
For dinner, guests enjoyed steak, salmon, and vegetarian options.
Then, the party moved to the venue’s “Old Barn” for the reception, where more chandeliers Signature Chandeliers and twinkle lights lit up the space. White lounges were set up around the dance floor to ensure that guests had an opportunity to unwind when not dancing.
“I was so excited to see our reception décor in real life,” Hayley shares. “It took place in a century old barn, and it was decorated with these gorgeous chandeliers. Our lighting vendor had sent us amazing renderings of the entire thing, so we had the perfect vision of what it would look like, but seeing it all come together in real life was such a wow moment.”
It was in that space that Derek and Hayley shared their first dance, but as two expert performers, they knew that newlywed spin needed to be a bit more unexpected. “We did it differently than most couples,” Hayley explains of the special moment, which was set to the tune of “Fall Into Me” by Forest Blakk. “Instead of getting called out onto the dance floor, we started dancing and then the doors to the barn opened, so it was the first time guests saw the space but also the first time they saw us dancing.”
Derek also used this as an opportunity to show off his second look of the night: a white jacket and black pants from Brooks Brothers. The groom also accessorized with a handmade brooch by Mindy Lam. “She custom made it to signify mine and Hayley’s love story over the years,” Derek explains
For dessert, the couple served a five-tiered wedding cake filled with white chocolate lavender huckleberry cake. “We chose large fondant ruffles on the bottom three tiers and white birchwood texture on the top three tiers, and had blackberry branches and large open peonies going all the way up the cake,” Hayley explains. “Each flower, branch, and blackberry was handcrafted in sugar by Kelly Gray.” Choosing that cake, Hayley says, was one of the easiest parts of the entire process. “That was super fun!” she laughs.
An array of other desserts were also on display for guests to enjoy.
Unsurprisingly, the dance floor was packed all night, and guets enjoyed entertainment provided by Jordan Kahn Music Company and DJ Derek.
Derek’s best piece of advice for anyone nearing their own wedding day? “Give yourself time to get primed, so to speak, for the wedding,” he says. “We went to the venue a day early to see everything, relax, and immerse ourselves in the space where everything happened. It helped us remember what the day was going to be all about.”