For me this gorgeous Arizona wedding can be summed up in one word – joy.  From the beaming faces of the bride and groom to the elegant, desert-inspired details that In Awe Weddings and Events helped them put together, every piece of this pretty puzzle is filled with joyful beauty.  I love that with each detail comes a sweet, sentimental story whether it be the whoopie pie favors or the paper goods that gave a fun nod to these New York City-dwelling lovebirds.  See the entire event unfold in the full gallery!

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And speaking of joy, there is so much of it to be found in this lovely film by I Do Films!

From the Bride… Brian and I met nine years before our wedding in September of 2002 — we sat next to one another in our first class (English 101), on the first day of our freshman year at Penn State University. We were great friends but did not become a couple until after graduation when we lived in New York City. After many memorable Penn State tailgates and New York City adventures, we got engaged on the 4th of July 2010 under fireworks in front of dear friends and family. We immediately began thinking of a wedding that would be intimate, fun and full of little details that represented the story of our relationship. Brian grew up in Pennsylvania, I grew up in Arizona, we lived in New York City and we had family and friends located all over the country. We knew that no matter where we had our wedding, our guests would need to travel. The one central tenet of the wedding for us was that we wanted a weekend to spend with those that meant the most to us that was very representative of our relationship. We recognized that Paradise Valley, Arizona would be the perfect destination for the personal weekend we wanted.

Planning an Arizona wedding from New York City can be challenging for anyone but we welcomed the task and had great vendors who made the process very easy and family and friends in Arizona that were always willing to help. When we first met with Sandy from In Awe Weddings, she asked us to describe what we envisioned for our special day and we used the words, “warm environment, rustic elegance, picturesque, fun, large dance floor, love, laughter, sentimental and personal” to explain our vision. We wanted to honor the natural beauty of the wedding location and picked a color palette that reminded us of the desert and Arizona sunsets; this theme carried into our amazing floral arrangements as well, which were designed by Karen from Avant Garden. In an effort to make everything feel personal, we thought about ways to tie in our life in New York City, our time at Penn State and our pasts. We started this process by working on our paper products with Kelsey from Flossy Stylish Design. Our save-the-dates introduced the rustic Arizona location, the invitations gave our guests a glimpse of our life in New York City and programs allowed the guests to follow along with the ceremony we created together. The tables were named after New York City locations and the escort cards had a taxi and a photo from our NYC engagement session asking guests, “Please hail a cab to your New York City destination.”

We honored our parents and grandparents’ long marriages with photos from their wedding and used a suitcase given to me by my great-grandma to collect cards. In order to highlight our love for Penn State, our signature drink, a Nittini Lion, was named after the school’s beloved mascot, the Nittany Lion. We gave “Whoopie Pies” as a favor for our guests since they are a favorite Pennsylvania dessert and had guests provide photos from our photo booth in a book with a note instead of using a traditional guestbook. After planning for more than a year and carefully selecting our vendors, Brian and I were able to enjoy every fabulous part of our wedding day. It truly was a magical weekend, full of love and joy.

Wedding Photography: Jennifer Bowen Photography / Wedding Venue: Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley, Arizona / Wedding Planning: Sandy Walker of In Awe Weddings and Events / Floral Design: Karen of Avant Garden Flowers / Wedding Cinematography: I Do Films / Wedding Invitations + Paper Products: Kelsey Murrietta of Flossy Stylish Design / Officiant: Scott Swanson / Photo Booth: The Arizona Photobooth Company / Wedding Dress: Martina Liana via Mariee Gallery / Hair + Makeup: Allison Pynn + Antoinette DiCarlo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew (Color: Newport Navy) / Groom’s Tuxedo: Alton Lane

J.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.