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Kari and Charlie
Back in 2009, Kari Froehlich and Charlie Escobar both decided to go to the same houseboat party on Lake Powell at the last minute. Neither went with hopes of meeting someone, but both lucked out and hit it off. On the drive back to Phoenix with her friends, Kari was asked if they’d continue to see each other, at which point she smiled and thought that she’d never been more sure of anything in her life. They’ve talked to or have seen each other every day since, and after three-and-a-half years together decided to tie the knot.
Initially, a big wedding was in the cards for this duo, but then plans shifted to a more intimate affair. Venues kept falling through, but when Kari’s mom told that to a friend, everything aligned when the friend offered her home as the location. The only kicker? Time constraints meant the I Dos had to be exchanged within the next four weeks. And so, on May 4, 2013, Kari and Charlie got hitched, just one month after picking the perfect spot to start the rest of their lives together.
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The Stationery Suite
Alchemy Fine Events and Invitations designed everything from the invitation all the way through to the aesthetic of the wedding. Since Kari and Charlie love everything about the beach but live in the desert, they merged the two to create the overall theme of the event. The stationery had a mix of hand-drawn elements, with each piece boasting some version of a cactus or jellyfish.
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“My two sisters supported us so much throughout the process,” Kari said of her matron and maid of honor. “They are my absolute bet friends and role models in life. I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
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The Bridal Bouquet
Arrangements Floral & Party Design crafted a bouquet of coral charm peonies, king proteas, ranunculus, astilbe, and tulips. Wrapped in gold sequined trim, the finishing touch was a skeleton leaf.
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A Bridesmaid Bouquet
Kari’s sister Lori carried a clutch of coral charm peonies, king protea, yellow roses, brunia, and dusty miller.
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Another Beautiful Bouquet
Kari’s other sister Susan’s bouquet was comprised of a king protea surrounded by white roses, brunia, dusty miller, and coral charm peonies.
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Kari worked with stylist Alex Evjen of Ave Styles to create her stunning ensemble. After trying on the blush pink Monique Lhuillier “Candy” dress at Destiny’s Bride in Scottsdale, Arizona, Kari knew it was her gown. A custom sash, veil, and earrings by Paris were added to the ensemble, which was rounded out with nude Jimmy Choo pumps.
Charlie sported a gray Savvi tuxedo by Mr. Formal.
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Boutonnieres were made with ivory roses, brunia, and dusty miller—a heart-shaped charm once belonging to Charlie’s late mother was attached to his as a special way of honoring her memory.
The matron of honor and best man carried seashells housing the wedding bands.
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The Warm Weather
Since it’s always hot in Arizona in May, fans at the ceremony were a must. These were customized with a pop of teal.
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Kari walked down the aisle to the traditional “Canon in D” and joined Charlie in front of a mirrored structure that reflected the desert surroundings in a modern fashion. Once declared husband and wife, the duo recessed up the aisle to “All You Need is Love” performed by the Simply Three Trio. The song was a nod to one of their favorite movies, Love Actually.
“It was perfect,” Kari said of the wedding. “It allowed us to encounter God and our relationship in a new way, and gave us an opportunity to focus on each other and express our commitment to one another in front of the most important people in our lives: our families.”
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Kari and Charlie chose Gina Meola to document the day. “Words can’t describe how thankful I am to Gina for capturing it so spectacularly,” Kari explained.
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Jellyfish lights found by designer Vanessa Van Wieren hung behind the lounge area against a sheer wall of drapery offset with twinkle lights. One now hangs in Kari and Charlie’s dining room at home.
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“You can’t have a deserted ocean-themed wedding and not serve seafood,” said Kari, who actually doesn’t eat seafood. “People huddled next to the oyster table until they were all gone.”
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“I wanted to create a beautiful tablescape that seemingly floated in our modern mirrored structure so that you saw nothing but the desert around you,” Vanessa said of the reception, which was actually set up in the home’s driveway. The open structure built around the long feasting-style table allowed for showcasing the landscape, while adding drama and romance with candles hanging overhead on white-washed wood shelves also filled with floral arrangements and gnarled grapewood. Constructed with help from a framing contractor, mirror acrylic panels were added to created the illusion of a disappearing structure.
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Trailing down the middle of each table was a collection of oceanic elements, including ceramic sea urchin votives, air plants, and aqua sea glass.
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The Place Settings
Ombré napkins tied with leather cord and sea urchins topped geometric plates and silvery placemats.
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The Dinner Menu
RendezVous Catering prepared the menu, putting a unique, desert-spin on some of the items, including rosemary “tumbleweed” Brussell sprouts and prickly pear cactus margaritas. On the back of the menu card itself was a quiz with fun facts about Kari and Charlie.
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Instead of a traditional guestbook, Vanessa designed a “Message in a Bottle” table. Each of the 25 guests wrote a note on a small scroll and put it into a glass bottle and tossed it into the infinity pool. Kari and Charlie plan to open and read one message each anniversary.
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The First Dance
One song that always reminds Kari and Charlie of one another is “Knee Deep” by the Zac Brown Band. The duo dreams of one day retiring to a beach and this song’s lyrics of being “knee deep in the water somewhere, got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair” rings true, and also worked for the deserted-ocean theme of the wedding.
The couple showed the results of a few years of lessons at Fred Astaire Dance Studio with a choreographed routine.
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The petite cake, by Classic Cakes and Confections, was inspired by the bride’s gown.
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Mirrored boxes filled with candies doubled as favors and table décor.
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Photography: Gina Meola
Event Design and Planning, Stationery, and Napkins: Alchemy Fine Events & Invitations
Catering: RendezVous Catering
Flowers, Lighting, & Draping: Arrangements Floral & Party Design
Cake: Classic Cakes & Confections
Music: [string trio] Simply Three; [Flamenco guitarist] Miguel Rodriguez from Jim May Productions
Rentals: [furniture] Pacific Event Productions; [linens] La Tavola; [china and glassware] Classic Party Rentals
Hair and makeup: TEAM Hair & Makeup
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