A romantic garden wedding isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I imagine a wedding in Arizona, but that’s exactly the kind of wedding Ashley and David had at the Whispering Tree Ranch. Here, the beautiful images by Brushfire Photography and Ashley’s thoughtful write-up about the day.
Shares the bride: “On the day of the wedding I hadn’t seen the elements of planning come together until I was walking down the aisle. I remember walking out with my dad to my favorite folk hymn, rounding the corner to the aisle and almost doubling over in joy – I think I actually let out a small laugh! Seeing the flower petals and plants adorning the way for such a symbolic walk to a new life was so beautiful to me. Family and friends bathed in an afternoon glow, seeing the sun gently peeking through the trees, my groom and our bridal party was standing under the chandelier hanging from the large green tree – it was an image I will remember for the rest of my life. All of it would have been meaningless without my now husband and our loved ones there, but those simple natural elements echoed joy to my heart as if the earth was celebrating with us in this holy experience. To me, it was a glimpse of heaven.”
Ashley’s advice for other brides? “Keep things simple, delegate and don’t get so preoccupied in planning that you don’t make time to prepare for love and life together after the wedding. Your wedding day is only one day and it’s a far more beautiful day if you prepare your heart for marriage and not just a wedding.”
Ashley and David stayed on budget by choosing their venue wisely, and by taking on lots of DIY projects: “We included DIY elements to complement our budget and to add personal touches throughout our ceremony and reception (but we also wanted to keep it minimal since such a beautiful natural, outdoor environment needs very little embellishment). We made place cards by tearing squares of heavy weighted paper, watercoloring them and hand writing the names in as fancy of a script as we could muster. I made floral crowns for the flower girls using simple materials from Michael’s (it was too hot in Phoenix for me to make live ones in advance and I didn’t want to be making anything on the day of). Our venue provided beautiful vintage china and I collaborated with the venue owner on simple flower choices and candles to adorn them. The goal was always fresh, natural, and simple with a touch of whimsy. My husband painted our chalk boards for the drink menus and Words of Wisdom table (we provided slips of paper and tiny stamped envelopes for people to write words of encouragement or wisdom on love, marriage and life together).”
Signature Drinks: Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, Lemonade, Fresh Lemons, Muddled Mint
Dessert: Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Filling and Whipped Cocoa Buttercream, made by the groom’s mother // Assortment of 15 Seasonal Pies, by Lux Bakery
Favors: Rose Petal Jam Favors by Boho Farm & Home
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We chose Whispering Tree Ranch because it was a gorgeous, intimate setting that fit our dreams of getting married outdoors surrounded by trees and open air (both rarities when living in a desert city). We fell further in love with the place after meeting the venue owner. She was so easy to work with and worked so hard to help create our perfect wedding within our budget.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our taste is natural with a bit of rustic, vintage influence. We wanted the palette to be soft and simple, and allow natural elements to provide color and texture.
Please tell us about any special details from your wedding. There were a lot of personal touches in our wedding, from the invitation hand painted by my husband to the beautiful cake my mom made for us. Our pastor also provided us with a special gift during the ceremony. He gave us a vintage camera (I’m a photographer) that was mounted on a wooden box he made. Inside a the box was a collection of letters written by our parents and everyone in our bridal party. The idea was that on every anniversary we could pull ONE letter out to read – it will take us at least 13 years to read all of them!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? First, to delegate so that you can truly savor the day. This inspired me to do a little bit of planning and DIY-ing each week during our 5 month engagement, and then as the day drew closer I delegated tasks, allowing me to do nothing but relax on my wedding day – our family and friends were the only reason this was possible. Second, to remember that it is merely one day in the rest of your life together. This meant that we really made time for serious premarital counseling, reading books on marriage, talking about expectations for our life together.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Our budget was very strict. At the beginning of our engagement, my parents helped me by giving me a number of what they could afford and made it lovingly and abundantly clear that that was all they could do. Having those clear expectations in the beginning helped so much. I used a white Moleskine journal for my wedding planning and kept a running budget. We budgeted for the “Must Haves” first and then used what was left over for the smaller, more fun things like decor. If we couldn’t afford something that we loved, we simply made it ourselves or agreed that it wasn’t a necessity. We also really lucked out because our venue offered a variety of upgrades and vendors that were not only optional, but extremely affordable. // A big way to save money is to find one place where you can hold both your wedding and reception, and where you can reuse things like chairs and decorations. We really lucked out because our venue included a bunch of the materials (tables, chairs, place settings, flatware, drinkware) and offered a variety of upgrades and special pricing through preferred vendors.