What do we adore about this real wedding? Much easier to ask us what we don't adore ... which is NOTHING! The bride's purple succulent bouquet is perfection, the venue is breathtakingly beautiful, and the tablescape details are sweet and stunning. Love it all (including an interview with the bride) below!
I realized soon after the engagement that our wedding would be a rustic farm-like theme. One thing that was important to me was that I found a theme and stuck with it to the end. Since I've always loved mason jars, fireflies, and things of that nature, the theme fell into place. John and I have enjoyed country music together and my mother was raised on a farm in North Dakota, both things that I think had an influence on our rustic idea. My dad actually used salvaged wood from a barn in North Dakota to make the "dinner, dancing, wedding" sign. I think the hay bales, vintage luggage, twine, and the old door tied our theme in nicely as well.
We were both born and raised in Arizona and I wanted our venue to really display Arizona at its finest. I wanted a venue that had desert landscape, unlike the many golf course weddings you see in Arizona. El Chorro Lodge has the most beautifully groomed, fresh, gorgeous desert surroundings. But the real beauty is the Camelback Mountain backdrop - one of Arizona's most popular landmarks. Another added bonus was Mummy Mountain in the opposite direction. How lucky was I to have a mountainous backdrop throughout the whole wedding? We saw mountains almost every way we turned in addition to the desert blooms and cacti. We went and viewed El Chorro during happy hour when the sun was setting, I didn't need to see any other venues.
Also, another quirky part of our venue choice that we found out after choosing it, was that my mother worked at El Chorro Lodge when she was pregnant with me. I knew she had worked there long ago doing accounting, when she and my dad moved here from North Dakota, but it wasn't until we told her we booked the location that she told me she was actually pregnant with me when she worked there! What a crazy coincidence.
White Haute Photography was one of the first decisions we made. I got extremely lucky as my sister-in-law, Jacqueline (John's younger sister) was engaged to be married in Los Angeles, California in November. She was in the middle of deciding between two photographers from California, one of them which was White Haute. She had me look at the two websites to help her decide and I was in love with White Haute instantly. I sent Chris an email that night inquiring into (what I thought) was the slim chance they would come to Arizona to do our shoot. Chris and Erinn were more than happy to do our shoot in Arizona and even more excited to do the shoot in Sedona! They asked if we should meet via Skype or fly to California to see their portfolio and decide if we wanted to use them. I didn't need to meet them, I knew right away. I couldn't be happier with all of our photos and it was one of the best decisions I made for our wedding. Not only are the pictures incredible, they were so nice and easy to work with that I honestly felt like we had made new friends afterwards.
My florist was The Garage by Ivy. I did LOVE my flowers. Ivy followed my vision closely but also added her expert touch. She took care of the door for me; found it, painted it, and decorated it with flowers. She also did a wonderful job arranging flowers in the mason jars, owls and old suitcases. We had burlap and rhinestones wrapped around our bouquets and also burlap was used for the boutonnieres. Because I wanted Arizona and the desert to be a big part of the wedding, I chose purple succulents as the main flower for the bouquets. How extrememly wonderful that turned out. They are the best bouquets I've ever seen. Ivy was so wonderful, warm, and fun to be around which was an added bonus. She was literally the only florist I liked in Arizona from my research. I got really lucky.
I loved my cake. It was simple - three white tiers with one large purple bow on each tier. It was baked by Classic Cakes and Confections. I had found a picture I liked prior to the wedding and it came out looking exactly the same. Our cake tasting was one of the most fun parts of wedding planning.
Deciding to hire a wedding coordinator was the best decision I made for the wedding. We had Cara from A Day to Cherish Weddings and Celebrations. She was fabulous. I think I sent her 100 emails a week (ok, maybe a day), and she always responded within minutes. She made it possible for me to relax, sip champagne, and enjoy my day. She took care of every little tiny detail. She picked up all the DIY items a week before the wedding, and had them packed back up in my dad's car after the wedding. She arranged our reception just how I wanted it and made sure I ate that day, it's the little and the big things that count.
Two pieces of advice, in this order: 1) Hire a wedding planner! Day-of planners are not that expensive and worth every penny. I actually think it was the best money we spent that day. 2) In order to have a great wedding, you have to pick a theme that reflects you, as a couple, in some way, and go with that theme from the save the dates to the thank you cards. If you want it to be classy, pick classy colors and linens, a classic wedding dress, etc. It is when a wedding is not a good reflection of the couple, and when items, decor, and dress do not flow together that the wedding does not flow, and people in turn have less fun. This does not necessarily mean spend more money. You could have a fabulous backyard BBQ, just make sure the dress, decor, invitations, and ambiance match that theme.
Photographer: White Haute Photography
Venue: El Chorro Lodge
Flowers: The Garage by Ivy
Catering: El Chorro Lodge
Wedding Coordinator: A Day to Cherish Weddings and Celebrations
Beauty: Gina Schroeder Creations
Wedding Cake: Classic Cakes and Confections
Bride's Dress: Vera Wang
Bridesmaid Dresses: Watters
Reception Music: The Walkens
Officiant: Pastor Jeff Mugford