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Blogger Bride A Dash of Details’ Arizona Engagement

Ali here from A Dash of Details continuing the fun with my blogger bride series. I’m so excited about today’s post because I not only get to introduce you to my soon-to-be hubby, but also our amazing wedding photographer, Elyse Hall. Photography is so important to us on our big day, so being able to find JUST the right someone to capture the beautiful moments was a win in our book.

When it comes to engagement pictures, it was so important to the two of us to try to capture our personalities in the photos. After dating for almost 7 years, Patrick and I surprisingly do not have very many pictures together. Before our session, Elyse and I chatted about some ways to get the most out of our e-sesh she’s breaking down the details below.

From Elyse Hall Photography


The first thing when planning your engagement session is to determine the location. When it comes to engagement pictures, location dictates almost everything about the shoot – from the feel and vibe, outfits and message to the sentiments the couple are trying to convey. My first questions to every couple are “What are you envisioning?” or “Do you have a look you are going for?” The location to be about the couple and not the photographer.  I always suggest two locations. I think it is fun to do something different and maybe even contrasting. For this engagement sessions,  I loved the idea of shooting somewhere soft like El Chorro and then heading to the Sanctuary Resort to get a pop of color.

I also recommend picking at least one location that is super special to the couple. I have photographed where couples ate during their first date, their favorite coffee shop, their first homes together, or even at the spot where they got engaged. In other words, any place that is special to the couple – that is my absolute favorite. 


When it comes to choosing out outfits, my best tip is to dress for the location and wear something you feel AMAZING in. Pick colors, patterns and styles that fit the look you are going for. I also love working with juxtaposition; I love the idea of a really elegant dress against a desert backdrop or farm field. Another tip for all you brides out there is to have your hair and make up trials done on the day of your e-session. Its a great way to test out your pre-wedding look.

From Ali… Any brides out there that are struggling on picking locations, my tip is to make sure it feels like you (as a couple). Choose something that will be timeless, pick outfits that you think you will like in 10 years, and find something or somewhere that means something to the two of you as a couple. The photographer will do the rest to capture your love for each other. Until next time! xoxo

Photography: Elyse Hall Photography | Shoes: Cole Hann | Shoes: Vince | Shoes: Vans for J.Crew | Shoes : Paul Smith | Ali's Look 1: : Nordstrom Pink Dress | Ali's Look 2: : Joie Dress | Ali's Look 3: : Heidi Merrick Drake Tee | Ali's Look 4:: Heidi Merrick Dress | Ali's Look 5: : Heidi Merrick Spring 2015 Collection | Belt: KC Co. | Black Jeans: 'Verdugo' Ultra Skinny | Engagement Shoot Location: El Chorro | Hat: KC Hat | Heels: Steven by Steve Madden | Heels: Zara | Jeans: Baldwin Denim | Pants: Baldwin Camo Pants | Patrick's Look 1:: Nordstrom Shirt | Patrick's Look 2:: J.Crew Shirt | Patrick's Look 2: : Baldwin Polo | Patrick's Look 3:: Suit Supply Jacket | Patrick's Look 4:: Suit Supply Blazer | Resort: Sanctuary On Camelback | Shirt: J.Crew | Sunglasses: Celine | Wardrobe and Styling: A Dash of Details

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5 Budget-Friendly Secrets from a Wedding Planner

Hi SMP Brides, it’s Ali from A Dash of Details back to talk all things wedding planning. When it comes to organizing the chaos, a wedding planner is a MUST to make sure your big day goes off without a hitch. So without further ado, I want to introduce all of you to my amazing planner, Jen from Imoni Events. Finding someone who truly understands your style, vision and of course, budget is so important. For me, that’s Jen!

Since we’re planning our destination wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona and I’m currently living in Dallas, being organized and having someone keep me on track have been essentials to our zero-stress planning process. We have nailed down all the big details for the day, like the date (that’s a big one!), the venue, the band, and our amazing photographer, Elyse Hall

Jen and I are working to create my dream wedding and wanted to share some top tips and tricks on how you can create your dream wedding without breaking the bank. We stopped by Butterfly Petals to take a look at a few of the creative details and pick Jen’s brain along the way!


JEN: Without a doubt, the first thing I ask my couples is, “Tell me what’s going on?” This usually relates to why they scheduled the meeting, what they are looking for in a planner and what they envision for their dream wedding. I quickly move on to the more detailed about the couple. How did they meet? What did they do on their first date? How did he propose? What do they do for fun? Really, anything to give me insight as to who they are as individuals and as a couple. It really helps me to know who it is I am working with and how I will relate to them during one the most special months of their life. Most importantly, I am able to use those stories and interactions to create details that we can wrap into the entire wedding design that shares the couples love story.


JEN: As you know the first question when it comes to venue is budget. Most couples do look at style of venue before really considering their overall bottom line. The look of the venue is important, yes, but if you look at venue without establishing a good working budget then most brides either blow their imaginary budget, or go venue poor and can’t really do anything else at a high level. It is so important to establish an estimated number of guests and how much you want to spend. Once the number is set, we look at venues that fit the style the couple is going for, within budget, and can accommodate the guest count. This is quite the puzzle. But once you figure it out, everything else falls into place nicely.


JEN: First of all, I think everyone should feel pictures and video are worth spending on. When it is all said they’re all you have left. That being said, you really need to ask your planner for great people within your price point. I have been doing this for twelve years and I have not had one year go by where there wasn’t an amazing photographer that is priced in the “budget range.” For whatever reason, the photographer may be starting out, or they made a conscience choice to keep their prices low, you can always find talented photographers at every price point. This also takes a planner who really keep a pulse on the market, AND can recognize good work.


Jen: I try to look at the things that we know we are going to spend on anyway. For example, this past weekend I had a groom whose mom passed away and she grew her favorite flower in their gardens back home. He wanted to use this flower in the wedding, but they were nowhere near in season or available. Instead I had a watercolor made and included it on the invitations, menus, cake, and other details that we were making anyway. To the family that attended the wedding, it meant so much to see that flower everywhere. If there is something meaningful, try and look at what you know you have to have and make those items mean something.


JEN: Well some couples see a picture and just can’t imagine anything else except what is right in front of them. So it is hard to bring them into a more budget friendly flower arena, if you are not careful. It’s important to create a style board or design plan that incorporates a specific style, color palette and overall feel of the wedding. Once that happens the actual flowers are irrelevant. We can tweak little things here and there to give the same feel with a different flower or various sizes and scales of such arrangements. Ultimately “the style” of the wedding comes through, not the specifics. This is very similar to style trends in the fashion world. You can create a specific look with many different pieces as long as the colors, style and overall feel are the same. Be open-minded and trust your designer. And if you have all the money in the world, spend it on flowers. It’s worth it!

I hope you these tips and tricks help as you plan you big day! The special details are what make your wedding unique, but remember that your dream wedding does not have to burst your budget. Thanks for following along!

xoxo, Ali

Photography: Elyse Hall Photography | Wedding Planner: Imoni Events | Florist: Butterfly Petals | Florist: Butterfly Petals | Engagement Ring: Tivol | Hair and Makeup: BeGlammed | Black Jeans: Paige Denim | Blogger: A Dash of Details | Bracelets: J.Crew | Heels: Steven by Steve Madden | Heels: Manolo Blahnik | Linens: La Tavola | Outfit 1: White Top: Heidi Merrick | Outfit 2- Sweater Dress: Intermix | Paper And Design Studio: Page And Mason | Paper and Design Studio: Page and Mason | Watch: Michele

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Arizona Desert Chic Spring Wedding

I can’t say I’ve ever dreamed of a desert-set wedding, but one look at this Scottsdale stunner from Jasmine Star and I instantly changed my tune. It’s a day where cactus mingles with delicate white florals and “rustic chic” is reinvented with an industrial-style spin. Pop to the gallery and don’t dare miss the film below from Serendipity Cinematography.


From Jasmine StarColleen and Mark wanted an intimate destination wedding and chose the perfect location in the gorgeous Pinnacle Peak Mountains of Arizona. The reception was held at the Proof restaurant at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Colleen wanted something fun & modern but comfortable with the southwest twist. This antique industrial decorated restaurant already went perfectly witch what Colleen was looking for, all she had to do was add her own personal elegant style. Colleen and Mark recited their vows under a large tree with hanging antique light bulbs to add to the vintage atmosphere. At the end of the ceremony was a mix of antique and desert inspiration. Rustic & elegant wood boxes with the white floral were wrapped in burlap with touches of succulents for the desert look. The antique look was shown through vintage lanterns.

Colleen & Mark had hints of white floral that added a sophisticated charm to their Wedding. The ceremony had simple but clean floral at each end of the row with tulips hanging in mason jars. At the end of the aisle were large wood boxes filled with white flowers and touches of succulents inspired by the Arizona desert. Colleen’s gorgeous white bouquet was a mix of garden roses, tulips, ranunculus with a burlap ribbon and a touch of lace to add in a rustic appearance. The intimate reception had antique wood boxes with floral including hydrangea, ranunculus and touches of pussy willow. There were some single flower vintage vases with tulips dispersed across the reception. A country band that gave the reception the cherry on top of the sundae for her southwest vision wedding kicked off the party. My absolute favorite part of this whole night was that it was ended with Colleen & Mark dancing alone soaking in every moment of their special day.

Photography: Jasmine Star | Cinematographer: Serendipity Cinematography | Coordination: Victoria Canada Weddings & Events | Florist: Petal Pusher | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Jewelry: Chanel | Makeup: Stephanie Neiheisel | Band: Tennesee Whiskey | Ceremony Music: Sweetwater Strings | Wedding Venue: Four Seasons Scottsdale

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Intimate Arizona Desert Garden Wedding

Accentuating Arizona’s gorgeous landscape, this Desert Botanical Garden affair is stunning to say the least. Lovely details like cacti centerpieces, vibrant Tatum Flowers bouquets, touches of gold, and the gorgeous herb garden perfectly contrast the simplicity of natural terrain. Pinkerton Photography was behind the lens snapping up a gallery that radiates warmth and love, right here!


From Pinkerton PhotographyYesmina & Adam’s Desert Garden wedding was the perfect mix of gorgeous color & the simplicity of the desert – vibrant pinks & yellows set against the glowey green of the Botanical Garden & Herb Garden! Their aim was an intimate gathering for only their closest friends & family, most of whom would travel from afar, so accentuating Arizona’s gorgeous landscape seemed like the perfect idea. The cacti centerpieces, vibrant bouquets, touches of gold, and the gorgeous herb garden make up some of their lovely details. The day itself was as relaxed as can be, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard as I did with this crew. And I certainly have never before had a bride get down on her hands & knees (in her dress) to pick cacti spines out of my foot!! Excited to share this very unique day with you!

Photography: Pinkerton Photography | Wedding Gown: Annasul Y | Cupcakes: Urban Cookie Bake Shop | Bride's Shoes: Bette Mueller | Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Banana Republic | Catering: Arizona Taste | DJ: Ray The DJ | Groom's Shoes: Prada | Cacti Centerpieces: Baker Nursery | Foral Design: Tatum Flowers | Men's Suits: Jos A Bank | Ties & Suspenders: The Tie Bar | Wedding Venue: Desert Botanical Garden Steele Herb Garden

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Brideside + A Discount!

Let’s talk about bridesmaid dress shopping for a moment, shall we?  That weekend when you and your besties bop around trying to find that perfect gown that totally fits your vision AND looks great on every.single.girl in your bridal party.  It starts out as fun, but after the third salon, well, you know how it goes.  Enter Brideside, the online boutique that makes shopping for bridesmaids seriously easy and fun.

With Brideside, that amazing gown is right at your fingertips.  And by “fingertips,” I mean online and ready to be shipped directly to you at home to try on.  Think designers such as Joanna August, Watters, Alfred Angelo, Donna Morgan, Jenny Yoo (and more) in hundreds of gorgeous colors and styles.  That means one happy bridesmaid after another looking completely chic on the big day.  And don’t even get me started on the fabulous customer service.  Your Brideside stylist will work with you and your bridal party to find that dress that is everything you’ve ever wanted and ship the samples to you for a laid-back + totally stress-free girl’s day at home.

So what are you waiting for, loves?  Visit the Brideside website TODAY to get started with your personal stylist.  And don’t forget this exclusive discount for SMP readers: When you buy your bridesmaid dress in February, the first $20 is on Brideside!  Use discount code “SMP20″ at checkout. (Terms & Conditions: Cannot be combined with any past or future promotions. Readers must purchase bridesmaid dress at full price on or before 2/28/15. Offer does not apply to the following designers: Joanna August, Donna Morgan, Jenny Yoo.)