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Mountain Wedding in Arizona with Handmade Details

Andrea + Sam
March 09, 2013

This sweet handmade wedding is full of fabulous details. In this small, intimate ceremony overlooking a mountain, guests stood. Purple and green were infused throughout the site, and wooden table runners  and burlap details lend a rustic feel to the day. And here’s a real piece of advice you should never for get. Have a Plan B for weather! Even in Arizona :-) Read Andrea’s story about the weather and other hindsight advice below…

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Why a Mountain Wedding?

Having an outdoor wedding with an emphasis on the beauty of Arizona was very important to us. We were lucky enough to have a family friend offer their home to us for the wedding location. They have a beautiful courtyard over- looking the Phoenix valley and mountain preserves. We were able to use this amazing venue as inspiration for the rest of our wedding planning.
Where did you find your inspiration? – (a little back story) Sam and I were introduced very casually by a mutual friend. We spent a month of talking back and forth before deciding to meet for a casual drink after work, which turned into a 5 hour long conversation, which we both agreed sealed the deal for the two of us. Three months into our relationship, Sam was offered a job which required continuous travel. Although it was very difficult being apart, we continued to fall deeper and deeper in love through hours of conversation, managing time zones and the occasional trip. We were able to visit many new places together, and we ended up getting engaged as Sam’s job was coming to a close, on his birthday, in Savannah, Georgia. I have a passion for thrift shopping and making old things new and exciting again and Sam and I have spent many hours scouring antique shops, garage sales and thrift stores in search of the right find. Our love of travel and “treasure hunting” was the driving force in picking our theme for the wedding. We decided to have an all outdoor vintage, eclectic wedding that limited our impact on the environment. The color pallet was chosen to honor the end of winter, beginning of spring and the start of our lives together: plum purple, kelly green, yellow ivory and gold.

What were some personal details you incorporated?

All decorations were bought second hand and repurposed and/or up cycled to fit our vision. It was important to us to remain focused on our environmental impact while providing our guests with a detailed and unique experience that fit our personalities. Our guests got a first glimpse with our invitations that were printed on a single page of plantable and seeded paper, in a recycled envelope adorned with vintage stamps and a wax seal with our monogram. In honor of our love of travel, we used vintage National Geographic maps from a local antique store to display our “love is love, no matter the language” table plaques. We picked up the escort door and bar menu mirror from a local thrift shop and painted and stained it to fit our vision. We scoured thrift shops, yard sales, and antique stores to find 130 vintage tea cups of all patterns and turned them into candles and planted succulents for our wedding guests party favors. Vintage plates were carefully glued, stacked, taken apart and re-glued and stacked to create the cupcake stands, and we printed our own ceremony programs using recycled paper we found on the internet to make scrolls complete with twine and vintage buttons. These details helped us create a cohesive look in the entire event space.

Your favorite moment of the day

Seeing Sam during our first look and the group sing along to American Pie (see below).
Three things you’re glad you did. — We devoted our limited budget to the key pieces that were the most important to us. Photography, the bar and the music were quickly agreed on to be of utmost importance for our party. Pictures to commemorate the beginning of our lives together, and to capture the special day we put together over a year and half were something we decided we could not live without. Along with the traditional pictures of the wedding part and families, our photographer was able to catch the special impromptu movements to portray the feeling of the day. We decided to do a first look and to take our pictures before the ceremony, and it was so special to see Sam during the reveal when it was just the two of us, and allowed us to get to the fun immediately following the ceremony. The bar and music were very important to us because, as we all know, great music and libations will keep a partying going. We had a limited but open bar, with two signatures drinks that represented our tastes and personalities as well as beer and red and white wine. Doing it this way allowed us to maintain our budget but keep the open bar that was important to us. Since that fateful night in Georgia we kept a list of our favorite songs and made sure to have them included in the DJ’s playlist, and our DJ took requests to ensure that people were able to hear what they liked (although we did add a few to the DO NOT PLAY LIST… sorry, Electric Slide). We stuck to classic rock and old school hip hop and R&B. Our day was perfect for the two of us, right down to the end which included a group sing-along of our favorite song, American Pie.

Anything you wish you hadn’t done?

We did not have a back- up plan for weather emergencies. It’s Arizona…. why would you need that? The weather leading up to the wedding was the standard, beautiful Arizona weather. The weather turned on the Friday before the wedding and into Saturday. The temperature dropped drastically and we had heavy showers off and on. Luckily the rain cleared up Saturday afternoon (just hours before the completely outdoor wedding) and our wedding planner saved the day and was able to rent us 8 umbrella heaters.

What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?

Sit back and enjoy the day because it fly’s by.

What piece of wedding planning advice do you wish you followed?

The wedding advice I wish we had followed was to have a back-up plan for changes in weather and to write your guest list with the expectation that everyone will come. Those out-of-town relatives WILL come if they can.

Anything you wish you hadn’t worried about?

I am a planner and a worry wart. So I worried about just about every piece of the wedding planning. When I found myself worrying about something I would talk it out with my fiancé, friends and family and they would assist in alleviating my stress. I would also worry about things because I did not understand how it worked (i.e. the ceremony processional, invitation etiquette, etc.). With the help of the internet and my day of coordinator I was able to overcome these as well.

How did you choose your vendors?

Recommendations from family and friends and a lot of research online. We were also very lucky to have friends and family that could help with some of our vendor needs: cupcakes were made by a close friend, one of my bridesmaids did my hair, etc.

Your very best advice to other mountain brides?

Don’t lose track of the end goal. You are getting married to the person you love. All the little stresses of planning the wedding don’t hold a flame to that. Be sure to remember that it is your day and you can create something really special and unique that represents you as a couple. Stick to your vision and think outside of the box. Everyone will have an opinion and it is important to keep reminding yourself that these things are the most important – and enjoy the view!

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