Desert Engagement Photos: Caleb & Hope

I had a wonderful time getting to create some beautiful photos with Hope and Caleb in the desert! Arizona really can be a gorgeous place and these two wonderful people make it even better :) Hope is Greek and Caleb is from Venezuela, which I think will make their wedding at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church next summer even more unique and interesting! Here are some of my favorites from their session.

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Isn’t she stunning??

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Our Wedding Story: Part 1

Even before Teddy proposed to me…we knew we wanted a “different” wedding and beginning to our marriage. This is my 6th year in the business of photographing weddings and I absolutely love them…but I’ve also been to so many that I knew I really wanted to do something unique that I hadn’t experienced before and when I talked to my love about it, he totally agreed and was on board! Here is part one of our unique wedding story:

When we talked about what we wanted out of a marriage celebration, we were torn a bit because we really wanted a fun party/celebration with our friends and family (a.k.a. dance party since we love dancing so much) but the idea of eloping appealed to us on so many levels. We really wanted a super intimate ceremony outside of Arizona and knew we wanted to get married in early September because it worked best for my Fall wedding season. He also requested we get married near a really big tree and my biggest wish was that water would be nearby if possible. Half of my family is from Portland, Oregon and it’s like a second home to me, so narrowing down the area of the country was simple…I knew we could find a spot with both big trees and water there on Monday, September 8th (the date we picked, we both wanted it on a weekday to 1. give it a more casual, laid-back, unique feel and 2. help us avoid crowds during the perfect weather month out in nature.) The challenge came when we knew how much our families and the very closest people to us in the world wanted to come too but the expense of flying everyone up there was too much. Our loved ones wanted to share in this special celebration and witness our huge life event but they wouldn’t be able to if we did it in Portland. We didn’t want to give up our dream ceremony in the woods (more details on this in part two of our wedding story) so it was time to compromise!

We decided to keep our Portland ceremony special and intimate and just have the two of us, two of our closest friends to witness, and our photographer. We were planning on signing our marriage license in Arizona before we left anyway so we wouldn’t have to deal with it in Oregon, which is where our idea for an additional little family ceremony came in! We talked to our loved ones and our pastor and decided to have a little marriage license signing ceremony out in Seven Springs, one of our favorite off-roading date places. It was the perfect plan because the people who got us to where we are in life, our family, could witness us legally become husband and wife before God with a bit more traditional vows and we could still have our relaxing dream ceremony in Portland where we make the vows we wrote for each other. We also decided to have a backyard BBQ reception later in the Fall so we could still celebrate with our friends and that dance party.

When planning our little family ceremony, we really didn’t plan much at all…it kind of came together on it’s own and happened in real time. Teddy’s brother had to move across the country on Sept 1st, so our date pretty much picked itself as August 31st, his last night at home. We thought it wasn’t going to be very emotional and was going to be more of a “going through the motions” thing…but gosh we were wrong and we were so glad. It ended up being such a special, emotional, incredible little sunset ceremony in the desert. I’m pretty sure not a single one of our 14 guests had dry eyes, I know I was bawling. It was so sweet and perfect. We didn’t have a photographer for the day (we hired one for our Oregon ceremony) so I set my camera up to take some timed ceremony shots and hired a videographer because it was important to us to have our family on video (a downside was that I forgot to get even one picture with just the two of us because I was so focused on our family.) My little sister did my hair. I made my own bouquet from some Trader Joe’s flowers. I wore a cream sundress that I already had with my favorite cowboy boots and had Mac do my make up. We really didn’t expect it to be anything special really…we were saving the special for Oregon…but what a blessing that it unfolded differently than we anticipated.

We picked a little spot for the ceremony about 5 minutes before the wedding started and everyone kind of circled up around us in a little clump and it was so relaxed and stress-free and perfect. We had our pastor and good friend, John Lynch, officiate for us.

My dad held my hand and walked me down our little make-shift aisle right after this first photo was taken.

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The sisters all happened to wear black dresses with boots and coincidentally looked like a bridal party!

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His two brothers sure love him…or they’re just characters. ;)

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The night ended with us all having dinner at one of our favorite dancing spots in Cave Creek, the Buffalo Chip where we ate BBQ, got surprised with an open dance floor for a first dance to Angel Eyes by Love and Theft and really just had the most fun night of our whole lives. More of our unique wedding story will be coming later in part two and part three!

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