A Fresh Take on Pastels in the Arizona Desert
May 4, 2017
Southwest
RomanticEvent VenueEstate Weddings
Carly and Chris knew they wanted a destination wedding in the Arizona desert right from the get-go. But long distance planning proved to be a little easier said than done. Luckily, they had an incredible vision and brought on just the right vendors to bring their effortlessly pretty celebration to life. From the color palette to the florals to the cactus motif and more, Elyse Hall didn't miss a moment and we're thoroughly swooning every last image.
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From the Bride... Chris and I were both born and raised in Pennsylvania, but always fantasized about the intimate guest list, and possibly more predictable weather, of a destination wedding.  My mother and stepfather moved to Arizona 13 years ago, and ever since it has become more of a second home to me than anything else.  Lucky for me, my hubby-to-be also loves it there, so when the idea came up to host our special day in the desert, it immediately felt right.  

I can’t quite remember if we chose Arizona generally first, or if the venue sealed the deal. Either way, I will never forget the first time I saw a photo online of El Chorro’s gorgeous ceremony lawn - it made my heart skip a beat. Much like the groom, the venue too was love at first sight. My advice on venues: Go with your gut. And, pick a place where you love their contact person. You will talk to them about everything, and often!

For our wedding vibe, I wanted our wedding to feel romantically effortless and magical. While scrolling through the vaults of SMP, I found myself gravitating toward "styled shoot weddings". This was kind of ridiculous because not only are they not real, but they're also designed to be perfect. This inspiration made me pay lots of attention to detail. I think I was also drawn to the small-scale size of the styled shoots, knowing our guest list would be around 60 and my ideas would be doable.

For our style and colors, I originally loved what you’d probably call “rustic chic blush/neutral weddings,” but was quickly bored by their popularity. So I went for an updated version with more of a dusty rose hue of pink and dressed up the rustic theme with some fancy velvet. For the flowers, we used mauve-toned quicksand and amnesia roses, with subtle touches of lavender and gray on a white and green background. It was still very neutral but not as predictable.

One major element of DIY for me was the invitations. Chris really wanted a cactus on our invites to showcase the desert destination.  It’s impossible to find a classy cactus, so I designed the suite myself and had them printed by a local letterpress printer in Pennsylvania. I printed the envelopes myself and added details to dress them up.  

I hired a wedding planner (Caitlin at Outstanding Occasions) for final prep items, who was an incredible resource for recommendations, not to mention she ran the show on our wedding day. Because of her and my catering manager’s recommendations, I really had the best wedding team in Arizona. I could never have done this from a distance without these two ladies!  Before any planning began, even before our destination was chosen, I always knew I had to have an amazing photographer. After all, the photos are the one thing that will last forever! Elyse did an unbelievable job capturing our day.

Everyone warned me “on your day, there will be surprises.” And as if on cue, the train of my dress ripped 2 minutes before I walked down the aisle, literally.  Despite this little hiccup (my mother came prepared with pre-threaded needles), I was still so beyond happy on my wedding day. I think this was as much of a very real feeling as it was my conscious effort to be emotionally present.  The love I had for my new husband, and for every single guest, was exploding from my heart.  I think our excitement on our day was actually contagious because everyone seemed equally giddy. 

After months of planning and hundreds of selections, it was hard for me to envision what the final result was going to look like. I made so many big decisions without any real design experience and just hoped the result would look somewhere close to how I pictured it in my head. When our big day came, I was speechless when I saw everything come together. I feel so lucky and so blessed to have been the bride on that special day.