Broadway takes Hollywood-Gabrielle & Jeffrey Gambrell Tie The Knot

William Utley


Full name of both parties: Gabrielle Natalie Simpson & Jeffrey Michael Gambrell

Wedding date: 9.9.18 (9+9=18 ….our good luck charm )

Location of the wedding: Marriot Marina Del Rey, CA — Rooftop of Hotel overlooking a 360 view of Los Angeles


William Utley


Tell us your love story:

It was a usual college Saturday, which meant a simple house party. Gabrielle at the time was 21 years old and finishing her master’s degree, and Jeffrey, was a year younger completing his bachelors. Gabrielle has never been shy, so she proceeded to hit on Jeffrey at the party.

Over the course of several years, they fell in love over common interests such as the great Los Angeles Lakers & Kobe Bryant, mutual love for California, sunshine, and a beach, as well as common values of family, growth, prosperity and most importantly God. And all of these themes were uniquely evident at the wedding.

If you know Jeff, you’ll know whenever he’s asked about his initial encounter to Gabby, his initial response is “she hit on me.” Hers in return is “I’m so glad I did!”




Cultural Background:

Bride – Gabrielle Natalie Simpson: Gabrielle’s maternal grandmother is Jewish, Russian and German. Her paternal grandmother is Cherokee Indian, French Canadian and African-American. Gabrielle’s maternal grandfather is West Indian/Caribbean (Black). Her paternal grandfather is African American. Gabrielle identifies as Black.



William Utley



Groom – Jeffrey Michael Gambrell is Black (African American) and identifies as such.

Occupation: Gabrielle: Vice President & Head of Communications at Barnard College and Graduate Adjunct Professor at New York University

Jeffrey: Asset Manager/Senior Associate, New York City Economic Development Corporation




What does love mean to you? Gabrielle: God is love…true love treats you like God would – protects, provides, is not envious, never fails. It’s truly 1: Corinthians 13 through and through.

Jeffrey: Love is family, loyalty, and faithfulness. When I think of love, I think of the biblical Angel Gabriel, who is known as the angel of strength and is God’s messenger, visionary, and storyteller. This reminds me of the role that my wife plays – she’s my strength.






What does family mean to you? Gabrielle: Family to me is “unconditional.” Regardless of the circumstances, you must always be there for the family.

Jeffrey: Family to me means legacy. Family is love, real love. Family is Everything.

William Utley




What was the most important thing to you both when planning your wedding?

Jeffrey: The most important thing about the wedding, was me seeing my bride happy. I wanted to make sure that the day was perfect for my love, and everything that she’s always dreamt of.

Gabrielle: I’ve dreamt about my wedding day ever since I can remember. My parents were married on the beach in Malibu, and their photos to this day still the most gorgeous wedding photos that I’ve ever seen. I wanted to compete with my parents, so through our wedding ceremony was on a rooftop overlooking all of LA (again, bringing in a NYC element – one of the best locations to party, hang, and commemorate in NYC is a rooftop overlooking the stunning city skyline), we took photos at the beach as you can see. Our wedding had a phenomenal view of all of LA, from Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Downtown Los Angeles and beyond – the view was exceptional.







We incorporated our personal culture by:

  • Our wedding invitation looked like a ticket to a Broadway Show.
  • Our wedding theme was “Broadway Takes Hollywood,” inspired by our hometowns of New York (Jeffrey) and Los Angeles (Gabrielle).
  • The ceremony opened with a live praise dance, gospel performances, as well as R&B  and POP performances. We both truly love music and the performing arts and we wanted to put on a show for our guests.
  • Though, we had an open bar, we still had unique and fun signature drinks — I LOVE NY, LAKE SHOW (for the Los Angeles Lakers) and CALIFORNIA LOVE (photo provided), which each paying homage to our personalities and hometowns, and we must say the guests truly loved the signature drinks – biggest hit of the night.
  • Instead of a traditional guest book, we had two wood pieces – one of the State of California and the other of the state of New York. That was a hit as well and we’re planning to hang that up in our home.
  • Our ice sculpture design is based on a popular NYC tourist attraction, a statue in Midtown, Manhattan, that reads “LOVE.” And just as tourists often visit the LOVE statue in NYC, our wedding guests took photos with the ice sculpture bringing their NYC flavor to LA.
  • We also had very detailed lighting with our NY to LA branding and matching the LOVE design as well. One of our favorite touches included the great lighting designs, that were visible inside and outside the reception.





What bit of advice would you give couples planning their wedding and marriage?

Stay on budget, marriage is much more than just one day and one big party.


Photo: Will Utley Photography
Video: Peter Ascalon

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