“Love is being stupid together.” - Paul Valery
“Love is being stupid together.” - Paul Valery
Aubree and Derek found a breathtaking venue for their Arizona wedding, and filled it with colorful DIY details for a playful, joyful wedding day. From the mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses to the thoughtful ceremony to the pie-only food truck, it was a fun and meaningful celebration.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? It was important to us to have our wedding outside in a beautiful, relaxed, and rustic location. We chose Saguaro Lake Ranch because it felt like a hidden treasure, an oasis, in the middle of the desert and it was green, which is a big deal in southern Arizona. I dreamed of finding a rustic barn in the mountains of Colorado to get married in, but I really fell in love with this location and even embraced the desert elements through incorporating succulents into the theme of my wedding. After all, I am a born- and raised- Arizonan and this venue captured the beauty of the desert in the most wonderful way. We also loved the fact that we could rent out the whole ranch for the weekend. Our family and close friends were able to stay with us for the weekend, which made the whole experience feel more relaxed and meaningful. We were even able to use the location for our rehearsal dinner the night before. It was like a summer camp for adults with all of our favorite people. We ate breakfast together in the mornings and then people relaxed around the grounds, went fishing at a nearby lake, hiked, sat on porches and talked, and generally enjoyed being with each other. It was like a family reunion and wedding all in one.
“I wanted the surroundings of our ceremony to be a place where we felt inspired to worship God through the beauty of His creation, and it was very important to us that our ceremony not simply be about us and our love for each other. Being followers of Jesus, we wanted our wedding to reflect the relationship that God has with his people, one of sacrificial love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We understand that we love because God first loved us and that marriage is an opportunity to demonstrate and live out a Christ-like love for one another. Our desire is that our marriage be rooted in these truths, so we wanted to start our marriage with a declaration of God’s perfect love rather than a celebration of our imperfect love.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, Jesus-centered, joy-filled.
Who officiated your ceremony? Our pastor, Chris Gonzales, officiated our ceremony. We are both very connected with our church community and have walked through our entire relationship with the support of this church. In fact, we even met there. It was obvious to us that we wanted to have someone who knew our story and who shared our values and perspective on marriage to marry us. We completely trusted Chris and knew he would choose just the right words to convey the message we wanted for our ceremony. We didn’t even know what he was going to say before the ceremony, which made it all the more meaningful and exciting.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We really cherished the opportunity that we had to wash each other’s feet, a Christian tradition that represents an attitude of humble servitude. It was a beautiful picture of the way that we want to live in service to each other in our marriage, to kneel down, in our finery, humble ourselves and get our hands dirty, to demonstrate a servant’s heart to each other. Many people afterwards remarked to us that this was the most meaningful and touching part of our ceremony.
What was your ceremony music? We chose songs that were meaningful to us and reflected the spirit of our ceremony either in word or in melody. For the processional, we chose three songs: “Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman, “Better than Wine” by Derek Webb, and I walked down the aisle to the instrumental intro of “Sodom, South Georgia” by Iron and Wine that my friend looped for me. During communion and feet washing a couple from our church led a few hymns: “Be Thou My Vision” and “Rock of Ages.” Our recessional was to “Not A Bad Thing” by Justin Timberlake. We chose songs that were meaningful but also had a joyful spirit to their sound.
What were your vows like? We chose to write our own vows. Traditional vows seemed to fall flat and didn’t have the personal and intimate feeling that we wanted. We wrote our vows separately and didn’t share them with each other beforehand. It was incredibly special to share with each other these deeply personal, honest, and heartfelt words that we crafted to express the promises we wanted to make.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? We really loved our whole ceremony. I loved walking down the aisle and seeing all the faces of people who we have been so blessed to have as a part of our lives. It felt incredibly humbling to know that these friends and family members were there just for us, to root us on, and commit their support to our relationship. It was wonderful to look out as a couple on these faces as well and see all the joy and emotion that was expressed on their faces as we shared our vows.
“My favorite part of the reception was getting to celebrate alongside my friends and family and to see them enjoy all the hard work we had put into making the day perfect. I loved our canopy of lights and how magical they made the space feel. I loved having a live band and dancing with my new husband. I loved the pie truck and all our vast amounts of desserts. Most of all, I just loved being on the other side of the ceremony and being able to joyfully let the idea that I was married to my best friend set in while enjoying the company and friendship of those dearest to me.”
How would you describe your reception? Rustic, natural, earthy, vintage, DIY, magical, intimate, relaxed.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I was very close to my grandmother, and she was the original DIY-er, flea market and antique picker. She took great pride in decorating and creating a home that was unique and full of interesting and beautiful antique and vintage finds, and as I was planning my wedding, I knew that I wanted to incorporate many of her things into the day, as well as channel some of her creativity and craftiness in creating some of my own décor. Vases, vintage cake plates, candy dishes… in the end, we weren’t even able to use all of the beautiful things of hers we’d found! I really feel like my wedding honored her memory and reflected how important she was in my life. Even if she could not be there, it was so wonderful to look around and see her in every aspect of the day.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? My maid of honor created the chalk painted antique window that we used for a ceremony program, and all of the succulents were hand planted and arranged by myself and a team of my friends. And our wedding would not have been possible without the tireless creativity and hard work of my mom. She made everything from our burlap table runners to the swag that hung on the backs of our chairs at the reception. She even made 150 jars of Colorado peach jam for our favors! Not to mention the desserts she baked for the dessert table. I can’t say enough about all the love-filled work my mom put into making my day as wonderful as it was.
Any other details to share? Every summer when my family would go to visit my grandparents, my grandma would always go out of her way to make our time there feel so special. One of the things that she did was have a large mason jar (like the ones used as pickle barrels) filled with small toys and candies. Each night we would get to choose two things from the jar. The toys were just inexpensive ones from the dollar store, but I thought they were the most wonderful things. This is one of my favorite memories from childhood and a tradition that I hope to continue with my children and grandchildren. We had this jar at the reception and filled it with toys and goodies for kids that attended the wedding to take as a favor. It was something small, but really neat to have as a part of the day.
First dance song: “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” by Louis Armstrong. My husband is a big fan of jazz from the 1930’s and 40’s and this song captured a sweet and touching sentiment.
Father/daughter song: “Aubrey” by Bread. This was the song that I was named after, by a favorite band of my dad.
Mother/son song: “How Sweet It is (To Be Loved by You)” by James Taylor
What was your wedding menu? We had delicious BBQ from a caterer called BBQ Daddy. Pulled pork, brisket, grilled chicken, potato salad, beans, grilled veggies, etc. A good friend of ours made a simple, small cake for us to cut and share, but we had a plethora of other desserts as well. My mom and aunt made various desserts from scratch that we set out on vintage cake plates, including almond sugar cookies shaped like birds, miniature Bundt cakes, cheesecake bars, macaroons, etc. We also had a food truck come that only serves pie and coffee as our main dessert. We had ten different miniature pies to choose from.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received was to stop and look around and take in the all the various elements of the day. I made a point to walk around at my reception and look at all the little DIY details that my mom had worked so hard to put together and that we got so much joy out of dreaming up. I ate a full plate of food and two pies. I danced to the songs I wanted to dance to. I filled up a bag of candy at the candy table. I looked around at the beautiful place that I was blessed to have my wedding at and marveled at how gorgeous it was. I was a guest at my own wedding. I didn’t want to be one of those brides who say that they don’t remember anything about the details of the day – many people had worked hard to make my wedding personal and meaningful and I wanted to soak up all that meaning and appreciate it.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner! I had the best one ever, and I cannot imagine having to do a wedding at a venue like ours without one. Our venue was beautiful and absolutely perfect – they allowed us to have full reign of the grounds and pretty much decide how we wanted things – but doing a wedding like this required us to plan for everything. Lighting, additional power, sound systems, stage, dance floor, trash pick-up and removal, set up and tear down, etc. With all the additional arrangements we had to make, I was overjoyed to have a planner by my side handling all our vendors and providing much needed professional advice and guidance. I felt so relaxed on my wedding day and even the week leading up to it. I didn’t have to fuss about details or worry about if the caterer was going to show up on time. All I had to do was be present and enjoy the day. I also liked that my family was not over-burdened with responsibilities and were able to enjoy themselves.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I don’t think there is anything I would have done differently. It’s not that our wedding was perfect or that there wasn’t a little hiccup here or there, but I really couldn’t imagine it any other way. I am still astounded when I look at my pictures and wonder to myself, “This was MY wedding?” It was so incredibly stunning and meaningful!
Sandra and Christopher started planning a wedding for 150 guests, but soon realized that something more intimate felt more true to them and their relationship. 45 guests joined them at their beautiful boho chic wedding on a Dallas rooftop. Details we love? The Persian rugs, the bridesmaid dresses, the simple centerpieces, just to name a few!
Sandra made her own bridal bouquet! I also love this special detail from Sandra’s bridal ensemble: “My childhood best friend let me use her diamond studs as my something borrowed.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? One of the first things I pinned on my “official” wedding board was Doloris Petunia’s Lucy headband. It pulled at my heartstrings and really was the inspiration behind our overall feel of “Black-tie-Bohemian.” A month before the wedding, Courtney Prince, the designer behind Doloris Petunia, hosted a contest on Twitter for none other but the Lucy. My heart stopped at the chance! Together with my bridesmaids we won the beautiful headpiece and it was the perfect final touch that went perfectly with my Katie May gown! It was a rush to win and my bridesmaids and I now share a very special memory, and many laughs from the experience. If Courtney Prince’s gift isn’t give further evidence that I truly am the luckiest bride then I don’t know what does!
“Our ceremony was held on the Rockefeller Sky Garden on the 12th floor of the Harwood International Building right next door to Saint Ann. It was a dream! I had wanted to incorporate a Persian runner and the setting worked perfectly for it. We were married facing the Dallas skyline between two trees. Trees on a rooftop! It could not have been more magical!”
Your ceremony in three words. Peaceful, sentimental, organic.
How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony? We wanted to keep our ceremony simple. It was just our pastor, Chris, and me at the altar. Our daughter, Emily joined us for part of our union ceremony as well.
Who officiated your ceremony? Gabriel Andrade, our Pastor at Tree of Life Church, officiated our wedding. Our church is all about true relationships and family so it was beautiful to have someone speak life into our marriage, someone who knew us personally and who we both look up to. Pastor Gabe’s mom was one of my childhood Sunday school teachers and was the first to tell me to pray for my spouse, no matter how young I was – and to be specific with my requests. Just how she had been with Pastor Gabe’s dad who was also my Pastor and passed away about ten years ago. Chris is that answer to my prayer and so much more. I shared this during my vows and it was so special to see how the three of us at the altar were connected.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? I’d like to think that Chris and I march to the beat of our own drum. I think our ceremony was traditional in the sense that it’s traditional to have a ceremony, but we really stripped it down to the essentials of what a ceremony is meant to be.
Processional: Ellie Golding’s version of Elton John’s “Your Song”
Recessional: “Music to Bowery” by Local Natives
What were your ceremony readings? We watered an olive tree for our unity ceremony and our pastor said the following words during the ceremony:
“The olive tree thrives under great heat and is known for its tenacity. They live, grow and bear fruit in any and every condition: hot, cold, dry, wet, fertile, rocky, or sandy; on terraced hills or in valleys. It is said that you can never kill an olive tree. Even when cut down or burned, new shoots will emerge from its roots. Like the olive tree we pray that Chris’ and Sandra’s marriage will withstand anything. Let this tree be a reminder that no matter what the conditions, they will remain steadfast in the presence of God – faithful, thriving, and bearing fruit.”
What were your vows like? We did a combination of traditional vows with our pastor and our own. It was important for us to write personal vows to each other. Chris spoke from his heart during his, and being the planner I am, I wrote mine down but half way through it seemed more natural to just speak from my heart as well.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Groom: Seeing my girls walk down the aisle. Emily was the perfect flower girl! Twirling and throwing her flowers! Being a photographer I’ve watched many brides walk down the aisle so I thought I knew what to expect. It wasn’t until I saw Sandra in her dress that I was like “WOW! You look beautiful in your wedding dress!” and those words were new, unique to her, and I truly knew what they meant. // Bride: I have so many! Our olive tree, for what it represented. Seeing Chris for the first time waiting for me at the altar, and the moment Chris and Emily shared when he gave her a promise ring. It was such a sweet and raw moment seeing both of them get emotional.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Keeping with the intimate feel of our wedding we kindly asked our guests to not take pictures during the ceremony. As photographers we understand the importance of capturing those special moments but we both agreed that we wanted everyone to unplug and be present. Especially our moms. It was an important small detail and our guests gave us so many compliments on our choice afterwards!
“We started with a guest list of 150. With all the weddings we have worked at, and so much inspiration out there, it was a bit overwhelming trying to create something that felt like us. We re-started from scratch and decided what was truly important for us. That meant hosting something intimate, a true celebration with our closest friends and family. It was no easy task because we are blessed with so many great people in our lives, but in the end we were able to host a celebration that was true to us. And that was all worth it.”
How would you describe your reception? We wanted to host a reception that felt like a big family celebration! We opted for long kings tables instead of rounds and chose to sit with our guests instead of a sweetheart table for this reason. We took a huge risk by planning to have our wedding outdoors in Texas but the weather was perfectly breezy that day!
Why did you choose this location for your reception? Saint Ann was a gem that we bumped into on our venue search. We ruled out traditional ballrooms from the start – we wanted something fresh and different, with character! The history behind Saint Ann and its architecture just won our hearts over: Saint Ann was originally the first schoolhouse built for Hispanic children back in 1927. Its beautiful brick building was renovated into a wonderful urban oasis and hosts the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum on its second floor. This combination of art and history really gave us something exciting to work with. Saint Ann has an awesome vibe and I like to think that I found the only venue in Dallas that has palm trees – a little homage to my hometown, Pasadena, California.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Chris: Being able to finally announce Sandra and Emily as my family to the whole world! // Sandra: Our first dance and having our siblings and best friends give speeches at the end of the reception. It was a good walk down memory lane to have friends that I have known for 15+ years share thoughts and encouragement from Chris’s and my courtship.
First dance song: “By Your Side” by Sade
Please tell us about any special details from your reception. We really wanted to have Emily be part of the wedding. She loves animals so one of our DIY’s was to place little gold woodland creatures through out our tables. Emily also likes to collect rocks so we used smooth stones as name place “cards.” I have two younger siblings, so I wanted to have an area where they could all have fun! Chris built the cutest lace tent and we even added a little Persian rug at the entrance! // One thing we did not have to worry about was the photo booth at our reception! Our photography business, House of Boston Photo offers a photo booth, so that was probably the first item off our checklist! Our guest had so much fun! I picked up a sketch book from Anthropologie and had guests get creative with the props, their photo strips, cute tape and sharpies! It was a great alternative to having a guest book. The second night at our hotel we brought it out and just had a ball going through everyone’s silly pictures and comments!
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? My whole wedding was DIY! My bouquets was one of my favorite because it felt so me. I started collecting the candelabras from antique stores a few months before the wedding, and found the antlers at a great antique store in Austin. I have a super talented husband who put together a last minute graphic timeline for our wedding programs. I was lucky enough to have day of-coordinators that took care of setting up the decorations and helped guide our guests through out the evening. Although I was very involved in the planning, I didn’t get to see everything until I was there during the celebration and Chris and I were both in awe of how beautiful everything looked. We didn’t have to worry about a thing the day of and we felt like guests at our own wedding!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Don’t sweat the small stuff. The weeks leading to the wedding and even that day, there were things that we had to change. Some worked out for the better and some not so much but there was no point in stressing out about it. The day of, my makeup artist was in awe of how calm I was! The only thing that got me emotional was the thought of not having our olive tree for the ceremony, but that worked out at the end as well. We had a perfect wedding!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? At the end of the day the most important thing is the commitment you are making to your spouse. I think a lot of people disregard the ceremony and focus a lot on the party planning and I think you have to remember why it is that you are standing in front of the people you love and sharing this special day with them. Invest in things that are important to you. Oh, and absolutely remember to have FUN!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I think we would have invested in a videographer. At the end of the reception Chris and I gave thank you speeches and Emily asked me for the microphone. Instead of addressing the crowd she took a deep breath and proceeded to thank Chris and me for being the best parents to her and said that she wouldn’t pick anyone else in the world to be her mommy and daddy. It was the sweetest thing ever, and so Emily! It’s those unplanned moments that you wish to replay over. I’m so grateful that we invested in a photographer that Chris and I both loved. At the end the pictures are what will decorated our home with and have as a coffee book for any visitors to look at! Most definitely a timeless investment!
Our friends and longtime sponsors at MagnetStreet might be best known for the magnet calendars and save-the-dates that gave them their name, but did you know they also have a huge collection of wedding invitations! And this week they’re giving away 100 complete pocket invitation suites (including RSVP card, enclosure card, information card, belly band, and seal). That’s an $830 value, and includes free UPS ground shipping to the 48 contiguous United States (or you can choose to apply the $830 to a one time purchase of any MagnetStreet wedding stationery).
Pocket Wedding Invitations are MagnetStreets most popular type of invite, and they’re ideal for keeping wedding day details neat and organized. Everything from your RSVP card to directions just tucks into a little fold-over pocket! And there are hundreds of designs to choose from – just find your favorite design, customize it with your own colors and fonts, and you’ve got the perfect invitation.
Every design is easily personalized with your unique colors – you can even create custom color palettes. And that’s not limited to invitations – you have unlimited color options for save-the-dates and programs!
I think my very favorite part about ordering your invitations from MagnetStreet is that you have the option order just a single copy of your fully personalized design. You don’t have to wonder if the real thing will look as good as it does online – you can feel confident that your design is perfect by seeing your color, photos, and fonts in person.
To enter, just hop on over to MagnetStreet and check out their Pocket Wedding Invitation designs, then leave a comment on this post letting us know which one is your favorite and how you would personalize it with your colors!
Contest begins Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 9:30AM PST, and ends Monday, February 23, 2015 at 11:59PM PST. Winner will be selected by Snippet & Ink and announced on this post. Please note: winner must live in the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec).
This post sponsored by MagnetStreet.
I know I say this almost every time we feature a winter wedding, but I really do have such a special place in my heart for weddings held at that time of year. Kate and Alex tied the knot on December 15th, so they really brought the Christmas spirit into the day with carols, mistletoe, evergreens, and candlelight. Also, I have to say – Polly Alexandre‘s photos of the newlyweds are some of my very favorite wedding photos I’ve ever seen. You can really see how happy and in love they are! Frame-worthy for sure!
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We stayed at Ellenborough Park one weekend just after we got engaged and just fell in love with the Hotel. We thought it would make a perfect location for our winter wedding. We wanted to have a fantastic party with all our family and friends, and by holding the wedding at Ellenborough Park, all our guests could stay for the whole weekend. We had an informal dinner on Friday night, the wedding on Saturday and a brunch on Sunday.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Make sure you leave plenty of time to get ready. That way you can enjoy the process and not be rushed.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Enjoy it! A wedding doesn’t have to be too stressful if you are organized and delegate where possible! You will disagree on things at times but make sure you remember what is really important, and it is just a wedding at the end of the day. Your marriage is far more important.
“We chose a church close nearby in a quaint Cotswold town called Winchcombe for the ceremony, and we had help from the victor of the church in planning it. He gave us a template that he liked to work form. Choosing the hymns was important to us as we both like to sing. We chose Christmas carols to get into the Christmas spirit and so our guests knew the tunes.”
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The hymns, the readings and the beautiful Christmas feel of the church with lots of candles and lights.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We served a shot of sloe gin as people entered the church to warm them up both from the cold and to get them singing.
“There were so many amazing moments throughout the day it is difficult to choose just one favorite. I would say the moment my father first saw me in my wedding dress, made it all feel real for the first time. Holding my new husband’s hand just after we had been officially married. Singing out Christmas carols in the church and just smiling. Capturing a moment alone before we went in to join our guests for dinner.”
Please tell us about any special details from your wedding. My now husband and I were living in Tanzania whilst planning the wedding so we wanted to include an aspect of this life in our wedding. I commissioned a charity for women to create beaded African angels which worked as both favors for the guests and name cards for people to find their tables.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Focus your budget on the important things to you. Perhaps the dress or food, or whatever it is. You can always be creative with the rest. Our biggest expense was the look and feel of the tent. We wanted to have the real wow factor. Oh and my dress and shoes!
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Both our families are quite traditional so we kept to quite a few of the usual wedding traditions such as cutting the cake, the speeches, first dance etc.. Although I forgot to throw the bouquet which I think is a really fun one.