Not many people really wish for rain on their wedding day (although it can be equally as dreamy!). But a perfect sunset? Always a welcomed guest. With a dramatic desert landscape in Phoenix, rich florals from Carte Blanche Design and one seriously gorgeous duo, this destination fete features a golden hour like no other. Want more sun-soaked goodness? See it all captured by Rachel Solomon in The Vault!
From the Bride… Ryan and I began as colleagues, quickly became friends and not long after that, became an office romance. Since the day we became more than just friends we have almost not spent one day apart. We work in the entertainment industry and get to support each other in our work and come home to each other at night. We quickly built our own traditions – including spending the holidays with one another’s families. On Christmas Eve of 2015, Ryan proposed and the next day we began dreaming up our ideal wedding. I was never the girl who grew up dreaming about my wedding, so once I got engaged I had no secret bridal manual to whip out and pull plans from. We started from scratch. What we did know was that we wanted the wedding to reflect us as a couple and exude FUN! I grew up in Arizona, Ryan is originally from Chicago, and we both have been living in Los Angeles for many years. We quickly realized that the majority of our guests weren’t familiar with the dramatic desert landscape that we love so much. Hosting our wedding in Arizona felt like an easily accessible location that would be a destination to most of our guests and we knew it was an incredible place to have a good time.
Once we decided on the location, our biggest priority was to feature the spectacular sunsets you can only find in Arizona. We almost immediately locked in the Sanctuary Camelback Resort as our venue. We loved that it is an iconic property in the Phoenix area that sits on the renowned Camelback Mountain and has views that can’t be beat. Further, it is nestled a few hundred feet away from where I attended elementary school, giving it a beautiful sense of nostalgia. We chose a luxurious and dramatic palette of oxblood, blush, green, and ivory to enhance the natural colors of the desert and honor the fall season. We then selected velvet fabrics, brass metals and tons of candlelight to infuse romance and warmth into the black tie optional affair.
Upon arrival, our guests were greeted by the sounds of a string quartet playing some of our favorite modern love songs. The aisle was lined with floral-adorned lanterns leading to a magnificent view of the valley. I chose an elegant, structured, crisp white Vera Wang gown and Ryan was suited up in a gorgeous midnight blue Burberry tuxedo. Through tears, we read the vows we wrote for one another and honored our parents by including them in part of the ceremony. Following the ceremony, guests were invited to enjoy cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres and – in another attempt to honor the southwestern ambiance – the sounds of a Spanish guitarist. All under a stunning Arizona sunset, something most of our guests were seeing for the very first time.
The formal plated dinner consisted of an Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad, Hunan Braised Short Ribs and Chinese Crusted Mustard Salmon. We also offered wedding cake and a dessert bar full of our favorite sweets: chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries, éclairs, fresh fruit tarts, and mini mousse cakes. And, since I’m such a pizza lover, we provided each guest with a personal pizza at the end of the night. After dinner, the party got rowdy and guests were bouncing between the high energy dance floor and the hilariously entertaining photobooth – which resulted in all sorts of props and costumes on the dancefloor! Post reception, we moved the party to the hotel bar and shut it down with our closest friends and family before retiring to our honeymoon suite for the night – which had been decorated with candles, flower pedals, champagne and gifts by our best friends.
Photography: Rachel Solomon Photography | Videography: Amore Films | Event Planning: Ashley Gain Weddings and Events | Floral Design: Carte Blanche Design | Gown: Vera Wang | Cake: Classic Cakes And Confections | Invitations: Goodheart Design | Reception Venue: Sanctuary on Camelback | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Makeup: Michael Franco | Hair: Joey's Hair Couture | DJ: Desert House Productions | Groom's Attire: Burberry | Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein | Calligraphy & Signage: Autumn Matney | Day of Paper: Song & Pen | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Photo Booth: The Live Photobooth | Strings: Sweetwater Strings