Break down the design components of this Arizona fete and you’ll find a day planned to total perfection. Inspired by the spirit of the Southwest, this nature-loving couple teamed up with IMONI Events to craft a wedding that blended seamlessly with the open sky, sprawling desert landscape. And if you ask me, I say “mission accomplished.” See the whole day unfold through Amaranth Wedding Photography’s captures right over here.
From the Bride…The colors of the landscape informed our color palette immediately. The sky’s warm sunset tones brought a blush feminine side and the steely blue volcanic rock added the masculine. It was easy to blend the soft and hard in this environment. Big Mesa also inspired a graphic element that would be a common thread throughout our wedding’s design. We took the USGS map of the Mesa and created a line drawing that was incorporated into our wedding invitation and paper suite. We also took the artwork into a 3D program to create a sculpture of the Mesa cast in bronze for each guest to take home. Since we are both artists + sculptors it was incredibly important to create a visceral object for our loved ones. Another gift for family only was a full-color printed book of our life in pictures. It was a wonderful take on the age old reception dinner slide show that people could take home to enjoy. Plus, it saved us some public embarrassment. We also commissioned Tiger’s Food Press in Portland to create a custom sketchbook that doubled as our guest book. Each guest left a note or a drawing on the pages which folded out accordion style to create one long composition.
Charles’ Grandparents had an enormous appreciation for architecture which shined as they planned their mid-century dream home on the ranch. Their home was designed by Californian architect Richard Jessup, and his design was heavily influenced by the movement coming out of Palm Springs. We were inspired by the lines and details of the architecture for our ceremony arch, which Charles built a couple of weeks before the ceremony. We wanted to create a unique and visually light object for the ceremony space. The final form came quickly in a bronze model with staggered wooden platforms and 3 bronze arches. When we enlarged it, the form had an incredible presence. I used the arcing lines from the ceremony platform as inspiration for my wedding dress. Making an element of my dress was very important. I wanted to create a ceremonial garment that would symbolize the authenticity of our union. Many ideas came to mind but the concept of metamorphosis was dominant. I started researching images and became obsessed with the idea of a cocoon, which translated into a cape that would double as a train for my dress. I was also reading Catherine the Great: A portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie during our wedding planning. Many portraits were painted of Catherine during her reign, especially when dressed for coronation. She wore her hair in a beautiful updo with braids and pearls strung in all directions. The pearls are a symbol of purity, spiritual transformation, charity, honesty, wisdom, and integrity. The braids represented strength and are used universally throughout mythology and iconography. All of these symbols resonated with me and the choice to wear them represented my next step as a woman. Executing the idea was more difficult than hatching the concept. I ended up having the pearls sewn into my hair with fishing line, weaved through the braids. This gave each pearl the look and feeling of weightlessness while the braiding added mass.
Charles and I both garden and love to be outdoors. It made sense to keep everything from the ceremony, cocktail hour, and the reception in nature. This led us to an open tent design where we could string lights but leave the sky as our canopy. We also wanted to have as many native and seasonal plants as possible. Keeping with the lines of the ceremony arch, we designed a planter with a stone like finish that would serpentine the length of our reception tables. Each planter would be full of succulents, fall flowers, bulbs, and leaves with long stem candles to create dimension and texture. Our floral designer integrated beautiful arrangements into the ceremony arch and the fountain of the cocktail area as well.
Another big focus was our cocktail and reception menus. We love Mexican food but we’re also health conscious. Finding a caterer to bridge this gap wasn’t easy! We finally found Santa Barbra Catering a month before the wedding. They understood our concept right away and prepared the perfect menu, which included Orme Ranch grass fed beef. It was very rewarding to bring something grown on the ranch to the table for our guests. We also selected Arizona Beer and wine to be served, which were delicious! To complete dinner, we requested that the caterer replicate one of our favorite desserts from Blue Ribbon in New York, the Bruno. This is the most amazing espresso laced flourless chocolate cake either of us had ever had. Santa Barbra recreated this perfectly in portions big enough for each guest. We skipped the wedding cake. Our guests came to Arizona from all over the world, from Morocco to Seattle to Sweden! But many of our guests were from New York and they had never traveled to the western part of America. It was a joy to introduce them to the beauty of the big open sky and desert landscape of Arizona. The entire event was marvelous and we had an incredible time celebrating with our friends and family!
Photography: Amaranth Wedding Photography | Floral Design: Petal Pusher | Event Design: Bride + Groom | Event Planning: IMONI Events | Officiant: Don Arey (Chequamegon’s Grand Father) | Ceremony + Reception Location: Orme Ranch | Catering: Santa Barbra Catering | Linens: La Tavola Linen | DJ: Alexis Moran | Invitations: Ralph’s Grocery | Program, Map, Signs, Place Cards: Celebrations in Paper | Guest Book: Tiger’s Food Press | Make-up: Linda Wagner | Hair: Jessica Lawson | Wedding Dress: Donna Karan | Cape: Chequemegon Bollinger | Seamstress for Cape: Mrs. Tinkler’s Eveningwear | Shoes: Céline | Bride’s Wedding Ring: Khadijah Lawrence-Fulton of White Space Jewelry