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Golden Bohemian Affair in Arizona

I am a self-confessed gold junkie through and through so the second I spotted this boho bride and her glamorous “goldie” dress from Sarah Seven, I was hooked. And the day behind that sparkling gown is equally as fab. It’s a beautiful mix of modern art gallery meets floral halos by Butterfly Petals and glam details planned by Hello Gem. Head to the gallery captured by Elizabeth McDonnell for so much more.


From the Bride… When you marry into the surname Gold, you are basically hand-fed the perfect wedding theme. From there, it was simple: Sarah Seven “Goldie” wedding gown, chunky ByAMT classic gold wedding bands, a neon “Stay Golden” sign, and gold foil invitations. We wanted our wedding to be like our relationship: deeply intimate, frolicsome, and unorthodox. Originally when our creative backbone/day-of-coordinators Hello Gem asked what I envisioned, I told them I wanted our wedding to look like Juliet’s bedroom in Baz Luhrmann’s take on Romeo & Juliet.

A Golden Affair was structured around the idea of throwing a modern, industrial bohemian party in the desert. We chose the Icehouse as our venue for it’s exposed brick walls and ceiling ducts. Our florist Butterfly Petals, assembled a bougainvillea trellis to serve as an alter piece, and we lined the open-ceiling ceremony space with an ombré runner, candles, and wooden pews to create the illusion of an old, deconstructed cathedral. The white column room allowed us the creative space to hang a light installation that pooled onto the concrete flooring and suspend hand crafted, dimly lit clouds from the ceiling beams. White geodes and terrariums were collected to create the centerpieces. The head table was lined with forty Louis chairs to seat our bridal party and their respective dates and faced the dance floor, naturally delineated by family-style wooden picnic tables, adorned with wildflowers and candles.

Perhaps our favorite element of the wedding was the ceremony. I walked down the aisle under a cotton candy-colored Arizona sky to “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence + the Machine live at the Royal Albert Hall. The ceremony itself, inspired by a traditional Buddhist wedding, incorporated mindfulness and a collection of readings we felt captured the intellectual spirit of our meeting and union. We chose Chito’s cousin, Tara Martell, a yoga instructor and a close friend, to officiate our wedding, for her positive energy and free-spirit. We wrote our vows together, based on the virtues we believe make for a blessed and happy union. In the beginning we collectively settled on three components which we believe make a wedding enjoyable for others: good beats, toothsome food, and a limitless open-bar stocked with the holy trinity of booze-whiskey, tequila, and champagne. By far the most difficult task for us was finding a DJ; we wanted Erykah Badu meets Adventure Club. We ended up flying out DJ Smiles Davis from Los Angeles and were enamored with her beauty, energy, and ability. Our very talented and close friend, chef, and restaurateur Aaron May of BLTconcepts designed a menu of gourmet comfort food items served buffet style. In lieu of a wedding cake, we opted for a dessert table of our favorite confections including: lemon meringue tartlets, doughnuts, strawberry rhubarb pies, and très leches.

I wore “the Goldie” dress by Sarah Seven from Lovely Bride in New York City; a headpiece of purple peonies; Olcay Gulsen lavender suede scalloped pumps with gold piping; a favorite vintage gold cross my deceased mother purchased in Santorini, Greece one summer during my childhood, as well as her gold Rolex watch, paired with a Cartier love bracelet that was a wedding present from my father and his current wife. Chito, the groom, wore a midnight blue tuxedo made-to-order from Brooklyn Tailors in Williamsburg, and Dsquared2 patent shoes. Each of the ten bridesmaids wore a unique white dress, because, honestly, what is sexier than a woman in a sundress? The maid-of-honor, my sister, wore a vintage floral kimono from our parent’s wedding in the 1970’s. Half of the bridesmaids wore floral headpieces, and the other half metal headpieces made by Pamela Love and Jacquie Aiche. Our friend Alexis, owner of Avenue Boutique, in Tucson, gifted each bridesmaid a unique necklace, bracelet, or set of earrings. Each girl carried a simple bundle of lavender, cabbage, or wildflower. The flower girls wore apron dresses, caftans, and rompers by Tutu du Monde with floral headpieces. Former brides always give you terrific advice for the day-of: take time to eat something, don’t get too hammered, embrace the madness, etc. At the end of the day, we really felt like we put such a tremendous effort into creating this gathering of our most beloved and intimate kin, and we made a pact to be present in the moment and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We sat down and ate together, had conversations with the people we love, danced, and sipped champagne. Afterwards we sat and discussed our favorite moments: His was our un-choreographed, puerile first dance to the Montmartre remix of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” because he said it was the only time he felt alone with me; mine was him sprinting outside insisting that I come dance because Smiles Davis was playing “Flawless” by Beyoncé (do you see why I married him?).

Photography: Elizabeth McDonnell Photography | Event Planning: Hello Gem | Floral Design: Butterfly Petals | Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven | Cake: Aaron May | Invitations: Jay Strehlow | Ceremony Venue: Ice House | Reception Venue: Ice House | Catering: LTB Concepts- Aaron May | Make Up: Glam Lounge | Hair: Lisa Fresa Palacios | DJ: Smiles Davis | Bridesmaid Gifts: Avenue Boutique | Photography - Assistance: Kelsey Shirley Photography

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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 | Venue: Phoenix Desert Mountains | Creative Director / Stylist: Kylie Swanson | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Paper / Calligraphy: Lindsay Letters | Paper / Calligraphy: Juliet Grace Designs | Wardrobe: Neiman Marcus

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

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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 | Makeup: Stephanie Neiheisel | Hair: Mercantile Salon/Danielle Hacche | Hair: Keith Smith | Groom's Attire: Brother's Tailors | Accessories: Claudia's Custom Jewelry | Groomsmen Attire: Brother's Tailors | Linens: La Travola Linens | Rentals: Kool. Party Rentals | Rentals: Event Rents

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Phoenix Wedding from Forever Photography Studio

With the giant feast of yummy turkey and delicious sweet potatoes I’m sure you had yesterday, we decided to let you enjoy something a little lighter today. This Phoenix wedding is gorgeous and airy – a perfect day after treat for you. Captured beautifully by Forever Photography Studio, the entire soiree is pleasing on the palate. Click here for even more!

Click here to see the full image gallery!

Isn’t that gorgeous? The perfect after Turkey Day treat for you – super sweet and zero calories!

Photography: Forever Photography Studio / Venue: Boojum Tree Garden

Backyard Phoenix Wedding from Some Like It Classic

There is something so sweet about a vintage chic fête, and when that pretty party just happens to be hosted in the backyard of the Bride’s grandparents – it gets that much more adorable. This wedding, snapped up beautifully by Elyse Hall and edited perfectly by Some Like It Classic, is just the definition of sweet and darling and beautiful and a million other lovely adjectives I could spend the day listing. So I’ll leave you with this gallery of goodness, so you don’t miss a second of the sweetness. See it all here!

From the Bride… When people ask me to tell them my love story I can sum it up in two words…“We met.” Dallas and I (Elle) met on the first night of my freshman year in college. I called my mom that night after Dallas and I spent the evening getting to know each other. I told her that I man I was going to marry. Her response was “Didn’t I just drop you off at school a few hours ago?” After dating for about a year, we decided that we should pick a date to join our lives together forever.

Dallas and I got married on March 10th, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. We decided to get married in my grandparents’ backyard, which is located in the Biltmore Estates. Not only did we choose the venue for its beautiful view of the golf course and the lovely surroundings, but also for the sentimental purpose of getting married in the backyard of my grandparents. It’s also where my parents, as well as my aunt and uncle, were married years ago. One of my favorite parts in regards to planning my wedding was all of the projects that were done by hand. I owe A LOT of thanks to my mom and sister, who slaved away hours a day hand-painting and hot gluing. One of my favorite wedding details were the hand-stenciled burlap tablecloths; Talk about a love hate relationship. The tablecloths were the most difficult and time consuming task that my family and I took on before the wedding. Nevertheless, they turned out to be my very favorite detail of the day.

The wedding day was absolutely a dream come true. Everything turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I will never forget having all of my family and friends gathered together with my husband’s family and friends. I constantly reminded myself to take mental snapshots in my head. If I could give brides one thing to remember on their wedding day, it would be to make sure that you EAT AND DRINK WATER. Also, I would tell them to take in very minute because the day goes by so fast.

Wedding Photography: Elyse Hall Photography / Wedding Venue: The Bride’s Grandparents’ Home at Biltmore Estates in Phoenix, Arizona / Event Design + Planning: Some Like It Classic – Wedding and Event Design / Floral Design: Table Tops, Etc. / Wedding Cinematography: Serendipity Cinematography / Wedding Invitations: PaperCrazy / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden

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