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Desert Engagement Inspiration in Hues of Blue

After poring over the images from Brett Heidebrecht, I’m thoroughly convinced that all engagement shoots should be captured in a desert. There’s something about that dreamy red rock landscape that photographs impeccably. And with the cool blue styling by Kylie Swanson paired with king protea florals by Poppy Lane Design and the prettiest hand lettered save the date courtesy of Lindsay Letters, you’ll probably agree that this inspiration is one for the books.

From Brett HeidebrechtThe desert can be a scary place. Ragged rocks for days with not much life other than cactus sprouting up and scorching sun. But there is a lot of beauty in the desert as well. I teamed up with Kylie to produce this beautiful engagement session inspiration and the team she put together as the creative director and stylist was over the top. What better way to cool down the desert landscape than with hues of blue… so Kylie reached out to the folks at Neiman Marcus about outfitting our couple and we were blown away that they obliged to provide the wardrobe from head to toe along with some beautiful jewelry. My favorite had to be the light blue and very form fitting Victoria Beckham dress. It was such a nice contrast against the desert colors. We knew we wanted to add some floral elements but we didn’t want to forget that we were in the desert so we kept it as simple as possible and Poppy Lane Design really came through in a big way. Lastly we had the amazingly talented Juliet Grace and Lindsay Letters produce a map of the desert as well as a save the date to tie everything together. With all the details taken care of by Kylie, all that was left to me to do was shoot this beautiful and in love couple as they enjoyed some time gallivanting around in the desert.

Photography: Brett Heidebrecht | Floral Design: Poppy Lane Design | Creative Director / Stylist: Kylie Swanson | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Paper / Calligraphy: Lindsay Letters | Paper / Calligraphy: Juliet Grace Designs | Venue: Phoenix Desert Mountains | Wardrobe: Neiman Marcus

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Arizona Biltmore Wedding

When two seventh grade sweeties grow up and tie the knot, we get all sorts of giddy. But when that wedding just so happens to be shot through the lens of Callaway Gable? Well, you know we’re in for a serious treat. Get lost in every inch of pretty in the full gallery right here.


From the Bride… Only in hindsight have I truly come to appreciate our wedding. Looking back, I marvel at how everything came together. I’m happy to share the story of our wedding not because we did everything right, but because in the end, by focusing on our love and our loved ones, with a little luck and a lot of help, we enjoyed a day more beautiful than we ever imagined.

I guess you could say we fell in love in seventh grade. (I decided in English class that he was the nicest boy I had ever met, and he said I was the prettiest). After more than a decade spent side-by-side, after high school and college, studying abroad and traveling to 36 countries together, we knew we would be together until the end. Dan consulted my father, who was a luxury jeweler for many years, and they designed the most beautiful vintage engagement ring. Needless to say, I said yes!

Wedding planning coincided with my stress of applying to Ph.D. programs, determining on which side of the country to live, and some difficult family circumstances. At first, I insisted on being married in Los Angeles near the beach. After booking our vendors and spending six months preparing for a Southern California wedding, we re-evaluated what was important to us. We realized that we wanted our wedding to be more about our families and friends than about a particular destination. So we started over and re-planned our entire wedding to be in Phoenix, where we both grew up, near all of our family and friends. Fortunately, our dream photographers, the insanely talented Callaway Gable, agreed to relocate with us!

Every summer throughout my childhood my dad took my siblings and me to stay at the Arizona Biltmore for a kind of local stay-cation. When we decided to be married in Phoenix, my dad finally admitted to me that he had always dreamed of seeing his little girl marry in the same place we shared so many childhood memories. Not only did the Biltmore’s art deco style fit our elegant vintage theme, but it was such a special place for the whole family. We were thrilled to use the opportunity of our wedding to host a four-day, Fourth-of-July wedding party for all 200 of our guests. From a private fireworks show, to a speakeasy rehearsal party, an elegant reception to a day-after pool party, we enjoyed a celebration of a lifetime.

Initially, I was worried that by choosing a resort as our venue, we were destined to have a cookie-cutter wedding. As a result, we were inspired to infuse every element of our wedding with our personalities and interests. We love books, travel, wine, and all things art deco. We chose our colors (seafoam, blush, eucalyptus, and gold) from Botticelli’s Venus on the Half Shell, one of our favorite works of art from our time in Florence. With the help of our families, we collected antique books – one for each guest – to create unique invitation suites, which doubled as keepsake gifts. Dan gave antique pocket watches to each of his groomsmen as gifts, which they wore on our wedding day. Instead of a ring pillow, we used my great-great grandmother’s Bible and tied our rings to it with lace. We turned our wine cork collection into a giant logo of our initials for the cocktail hour bar. Instead of a guest book, we asked our loved ones to sign an awesome globe, which has become a central feature in our new home together. For our cigar bar, we made custom matchboxes from old bullet casings. And my father surprised us and spent months designing custom Frank Lloyd Wright Arizona Biltmore keepsake boxes as a gift for each guest.

Our wedding would have been nothing without our incredible team of vendors, many of whom have since become our friends. After showing him our invitations, John at Flora Bella immediately understood our vintage vision and brought it to life in a way we could only imagine with candelabra, babies breath, and more books. Ella from Classic Cakes created a lovely dessert table, complete with my favorite French macarons; the Hamptons Band segued from jazz standards into a 12-piece dance party band to keep our guests on the floor all night. And Callaway Gable captured all of the memories we will pass on to our children and their children and their children so that they too will believe in love.

Photography: Callaway Gable | Florals And Event Design: Flora Bella AZ | Wedding Coordinator: Everything Susie | Wedding Dress: Lillian Lottie Couture | Cake: Classic Cakes And Confections | Ceremony Venue: Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church | Reception Venue: The Arizona Biltmore | Bridesmaids Dresses: Nordstrom | Hair And Makeup: Arizona Biltmore Resort Spa | Band: The Hamptons Band | Grooms Attire: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen Attire: Vera Wang | Paper: Victoria York | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Olive & Ivy

New Year’s Eve Inspiration Shoot

Believe it or not, New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. So before you panic and head to the drawing boards for last minute party planning, have a looksy loo at this elegant 2014 affair brought together by Erica VelascoHouse of Glitter and so many more. It’s an inspiration goldmine, but we’re just getting started. We’ve got lots, lots more right over here!

From House of Glitter… New Year’s Eve is the most celebrated holiday in the world, combine that with the most memorable day in a couple’s life and you have a recipe for an extravagant and memorable party that no guest will ever forget!

Once I had the New Year’s Eve themed wedding in my head, I could only dream of one venue to shoot at- The Ice House- and the most amazing photographer to bring my vision to life-Erica Velasco. There are three completely different rooms in the venue, but what I had dreamt about was the White Column Room. Floor to ceiling white brick, white columns, concrete floors, and an open airy layout. I knew that the perfect complement to the room would be clear acrylic, so I recruited Event Rents for the ghost chairs and ghost chivari chairs, and Kool. Party Rentals for the exquisite acrylic chandeliers. As much as I love a good hanging chandelier, I felt that the ceremony was to be focused on the bride and groom coming together as one, so I decided on placing them around the altar and when the lights are dimmed there would be a soft glow as the couple exchanges intimate vows in front of their loved ones.

How gorgeous does the bride and bridesmaids look? Thanks to the amazingly talented makeup artist, Stephanie Neiheisel, the girls look flawless! Party curls and a giant top knot absolutely complete their look, Keith Smith and Danielle Hacche were just a dream to work with. The bridesmaid attire is from a local designer called Cleo and Clementine. She designs the most unique wedding and party dresses I have ever come across! All I could picture was pure sequins dresses, and she delivered the most perfect ones for a New Year’s Eve themed wedding. The men’s attire is from Brothers Tailoring, the sheen finish on the suits just scream lux! The bride’s dress.. I don’t know if I have ever fallen in love with a short bridal gown the way I have with this particular one. I went into Schaffer’s bridal with a specific look in mind- short, fun, something that would be different and stand out for a New Year’s theme. I think it’s safe to say they nailed it. I can’t take my eyes off of this dress, and the cut out die for! Claudia’s Custom Jewelry accessorized the girls with such beautiful jewels, and I am pretty sure that crystal clutch needs to be in my closet.

With La Tavola Linen’s amazing sequin table cloths and the spray painted gold florals, the paper goods Rene from Celebrations in Paper created truly came to life. Instead of the traditional place cards we worked to create a fun and memorable name card that guests could wear and show off throughout the party. Every party hat is different and really represents the guests’ personalities. Rene did an incredible job in bringing the vision of sparkle, sophistication, and an extravagant New Year’s Eve party to life.

Jay from Kick Ass Kakes created the perfect cake to go along with the sophisticated party atmosphere of the reception. The individual, mini sugar sequins he created perfectly mimicked the bubbles in champagne. For the cake and champagne table I wanted to add my favorite thing, rock candy! It adds another texture to the champagne glass and is absolutely delicious to sip on- try strawberry rock candy with champagne, yum! And of course we had to have sparklers, what’s New Year’s Eve without them!?

The popcorn bar…what can I say, I am now addicted to all sorts of flavored popcorn because of My Popcorn Kitchen! With a party that will continue to be rocking well past midnight, we had to have a good “midnight snack” table. And who doesn’t love popcorn? We chose half to be savory flavors, like the Spicy Buffalo Wing, and half to be sweet and sugary, like the Triple Berry Cheesecake so that every guest’s craving would be satisfied. And how cute is the picture of the bridal party throwing the popcorn in the air like confetti!

To end the reception with a bang we created a silver tinsel photo booth backdrop and gave the bridal party confetti and party horns to play with. The champagne tower was one of my favorite parts of the photo shoot, when the groom popped open the bottle it flew and the bride actually screamed! It was the perfect end to the perfect day, so candid and full of laughter and joy. I want to thank all of the amazing vendors that helped being this vision to life. You are all a dream to work with!

Photography: Erica Velasco Photographers | Event Design: House of Glitter Wedding and Event Planning | Floral Design: House of Glitter Wedding and Event Planning | Wedding Dress: Schaffers Bridal | Cake: Kick Ass Kakes | Invitations: Celebrations in Paper | Bridesmaids Dresses: Cleo And Clementine | Catering: My Popcorn Kitchen | Hair: Keith Smith | Hair: Mercantile Salon/Danielle Hacche | Groom's Attire: Brother's Tailors | Accessories: Claudia's Custom Jewelry | Groomsmen Attire: Brother's Tailors | Linens: La Travola Linens | Makeup: Stephanie Neiheisel | Rentals: Kool. Party Rentals | Rentals: Event Rents

La Tavola Fine Linen Rental is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
La Tavola Fine Linen Rental