With the mention of an intimate Arizona elopement, dreams of the desert chic variety come to mind. A world full of perfectly worn in leather sandals mixed with the prettiest flowing white dress and topped off with an elopement, boho style. Alea Lovely Fine Art Photographer + Film Maker, the double threat image capturer and film maker, shot this duo and their gorgeous paired down nuptials. It’s desert, love, and so many beautiful moments in-between along with vows that literally brought me to tears. See it all here. And if you are all on board with intimate weddings built for two, be sure to read up on this recent NY Times article discussing all things elopement.

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From Alea of Alea Lovely Fine Art Photographer + Film MakerWhat a great story. I posted on my Facebook page that if anyone wanted to get eloped, I had a great idea for shooting it. Little did I know that my dear friends Josh and Kelsey were on the cusp of eloping themselves, and they allowed me to be a part of the process. Their wedding was so fun and unlike any wedding I had ever been to because it was so “fly by the seat of your pants.” There were no concrete plans (in a great way!), and it was just so intimate. Their vows just blew me away with how special and personal they were to each of them. There were so many inside jokes and things that were meaningful to them — I loved how they didn’t stick with tradition. They like to make furniture, so Josh made the altar they stood at and the table they ate at. They also handmade plates for their guests for the dinner they would have by the fire. It was southwest-themed, so the couple, who live in Texas, traveled to Phoenix for the affair, near where Josh’s dad, the officiant, lived. It was really a treat to be able to be there with them. I wish every wedding could be so intimate and focused on love and the couple.

From the Bride & Groom… Josh and I are black belts in winging it. We live by, “Why not?” We like to tinker with big, dangerous ideas and are surprised and delighted when we actually pull them off.  For our wedding, though, we’d always thought small … as small as possible. At first we thought soon, because we knew we were ready. Then soon became now, and why not? I’m a graphic designer, so I could whip up a few invitations. Josh is an all-purpose genius, he could do anything. We had wonderfully talented and adventurous friends who just happened to be professional photographers and cinematographers — they were in. And to cap it off, Josh’s dad is an ordained pastor in Phoenix, Arizona, and the desert is beautiful in March. We picked a date. I rush ordered a white dress and added a piece of lace hiding in the back of my closet. It was perfect. One week in advance, we shipped off vintage suitcases to our closest friends and family wrapped with a call to arms: “Pack your bags. We’re getting married in seven days.” Then we hopped a plane from Dallas to Phoenix, and the real fun began.

We were inspired by the desert and the Native American influence in Phoenix. We knew what we wanted, but our time to hunt for the perfect items was short. Did your mom ever say, “It’s easier for me to do it than to tell you how?” Our moms did, and if our wedding planning style is any indicator of our parenting style, then we will too. Rather than waste time explaining what we were looking for and hoping it existed, we spent our days making EVERYTHING. The rug we stood on, we painted. The rope walls we stood in front of, we built. We strapped the table together from scrap wood. We baked and painted the plates and bowls. The place mats, floor cushions, napkins, napkin rings, straight down to the vows—all made by us in the last few days before the wedding. What we couldn’t make, we thrifted. Phoenix has more thrift stores than a hipster could shake a scarf at, and we plundered them all of southwestern blankets for the cold desert night. We got to spend a full week brainstorming, creating and spending time with each other and with our Phoenix family. It was a wild luxury. Then at the end of the week, everyone showed up. Everything went up. And the people who watched us grow up got to watch us become man and wife. Then we wrapped ourselves in blankets, sat down by the fire and celebrated with the people we love the very most. It was intimate and beautiful, and we were surprised and delighted.

Wedding Photography + Cinematography: Alea Lovely Fine Art Photographer + Film Maker / Venue: Lake Pleasant Campground in Phoenix, Arizona / Floral Design: Victorian Gardens / Wedding Dress: Ann Taylor + Lace from the Bride’s Closet / Bride’s Zigzag Wrist Cuff + Earrings: An Outdoor Market / Bride’s Other Jewelry: Fossil / Bride’s Shoes: Crown Vintage via DSW / Hair: Carla Calderon / Makeup: Jen Bernhardt

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