This Southwestern-inspired celebration featured vibrant geometric shapes, plenty of out-of-the-box photo ops, and tons of personality.
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Aubrey and Austin
Aubrey, a wedding coordinator at Details, Darling and Austin, the sales manager of an energy construction company, are the true embodiment of, "love at first sight". The couple, who now live in San Diego, met on their first day of college at Chapman University. Sitting across the room from each other in a Greek life meeting, Aubrey caught her future husband's smile and it was kismet. A few weeks into school, Aubrey called her mother and said that Austin "feels so much like home." Aubrey and Austin tried dating during their first month of school, but decided that the timing was wrong. They ended up being best friends throughout their four years of college and during the last two months of senior year, fate played its part and everything finally fell into place—it was time to pick up from the first day they laid eyes on each other.
After two and a half years of dating, Austin gave his other half a proposal to remember. He told Aubrey that they were going to a nice dinner by the Santa Monica pier, since it was one of their last nights in the city before he moved to San Diego for work. While walking along the beach to dinner, Austin surprised her with a bench, set up with sunflowers, pillows, and champagne, where he asked for her hand in marriage. Then, Aubrey turned around to find both their families, hiding nearby. But the surprise didn't end there—after the families jumped out, a party bus pulled up on the side of the street and 25 of their closest friends (and future wedding party) came running out! Everyone then took the bus to Malibu Café to celebrate, where Austin had a private area set up with flowers, drinks, food, and music.
When searching for a wedding location, Aubrey initially envisioned a winery wedding but after visiting El Chorro in Paradise Valley, Arizona, during her trip home for Christmas, she knew she had found her dream spot. The bride adored the mountains and cactus backdrop and loved that the locale was just five minutes from her childhood home. El Chorro's Spanish-influenced architecture acted as the perfect foundation for the couple's desert-inspired fête, which had a sunny, fun vibe and bold color scheme with geometric elements. They only started planning their wedding four months before the big day but everything worked out seamlessly. On April 30, 2016, with 275 friends and family bearing witness, the couple became husband and wife.
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The Getting Ready
Aubrey got ready in her childhood home, which was very sentimental for her. "There was something really special about waking up in my own room and then having my parents, siblings, and best friends from kindergarten to college there," she recalls. AZ Flower Cottage (the mother of one of her high school friends) added ranunculus, spray roses, and wax flowers to the bride's hair, which acted as a great compliment to her bright bouquet of roses, tree peonies, ranunculus, and eucalyptus by Flora Bella.
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The bride was very set on what her wedding dress would be—a lace, bohemian-style number, cut low in the back, without a long train, and with absolutely no beads. However, when she tried on a Reem Acra gown, Aubrey recalls that everyone started crying and she knew it was the one. Funnily enough, it wasn't low cut and was fully beaded on the top. She topped off her look with a short, simple veil.
Similarly, Austin's light blue Hugo Boss suit was the first one he saw when he started shopping and after two months of searching, he went back for his first choice.
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The Special Moment
Austin always envisioned seeing his bride for the first time coming down the aisle. So, instead of the traditional "first look," the couple shared a special moment together, standing behind a door and praying with one another for a few minutes. "It allowed us to hold hands and connect before the ceremony, without ruining that once-in-a-lifetime moment," he explains.
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The Bridal Party
Aubrey's bridal party, dressed in vibrant coral J.Crew gowns, ranged from elementary school pals to high school best friends and sorority sisters, with her two sisters as the maids of honor. The entire bridal party wore jewelry by Morra Designs (Austin's aunt's company), which was gifted to them prior to the big day.
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The Furry Friend
A special family member, Aubrey's family dog, also got to be part of the day's festivities. The rescue puppy, which the family adopted a year prior obediently posed for a few photos.
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The Ceremony Location
The bride never imagined herself getting married in a church because she knew she wanted to be outside in the sunshine. Together with their wedding planner, Hallie Slade of LB Events, they created the feeling of a church on the El Chorro lawn by bringing in benches and a cross for the altar. Hallie also placed large cacti at the beginning of the aisle, creating a more dramatic entrance.
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"The free-standing cross belonged to a family friend and was the most amazing backdrop to our couple whose relationship grew strong through their faith," Hallie explains of incorporating the structure that was decorated with roses, peonies, and trailing greenery.
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Arizona is notorious for being rain-free but it was just their luck that on the morning of Aubrey and Austin's day, a storm was predicted to pour down during their outdoor nuptials! To be safe, Hallie brought plenty of umbrellas but thankfully, the rain never came down. The couple exchanged their own vows and was married by Austin's high school Bible teacher, under a romantic sky of stormy clouds and lighting, but not a single drop of rain.
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A Photogenic Van
The couple, who call themselves "the A Team," originally wanted to repurpose the old-school VW bus by The Foto Booth Bus to be used as the backdrop for the dessert station. However, their wedding planner suggested teaming it with the vintage lounge area, creating a cohesive throwback look. This allowed guests to utilize the photo booth inside the vehicle while the exterior also doubled as a cool photo-taking backdrop.
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The Wedding Lounge
Aubrey and Austin kept things intimate yet casual with a lounge area that doubled as a great photo opportunity for guests. With styled bohemian pieces by Dang Fine Rentals, the lounge channeled the feel of being in the couple's own home, thanks to the framed photographs of the bride and groom throughout the layout.
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Once used as "Christmas trees" at a previous event, Details, Darling had bought the string art structures from an industry friend and with help from Hallie, they breathed new life into the "trees" by repurposing the them into a desert mountainscape. Hallie added a back wall with foam core "mountains," "sun rays" made out of gold metallic tape, mixed in cacti to the scene, and transformed the "Christmas trees" into "mountains" by painting them in vivid orange and pink hues; tying into the day's vibrant color palette. The string art mountains were also three-dimensional, allowing guests to pose among them for photos.
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The Seating Chart
The couple's love for music was creatively incorporated into their wedding day through their seating chart display. "Hallie is known for her ridiculously awesome escort walls, so I told her I wanted to create a wall inspired by music and she ran with it!" the bride gushes. They created a wall displaying vintage records that had been spray painted white, complete with guests' names and table assignments hand-calligraphed on them by the bride's sister, Kenzie. A vintage record player, a sweet musical quote on the top of the wall, and vintage records that were some of the family's favorite hits completed this unique arrangement.
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Design accents like these potted cacti in handmade woven baskets, finished with pom-poms in the day's striking hues, added a pop of color and kept with the playful, bohemian feel. The colors, which were also picked up by the floral arrangements throughout the wedding, acted as the perfect reflection of the couple's youthful energies.
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The reception took place on El Chorro's lawn space and featured a mix of long and round tables, topped off with eclectic blue-and-orange (a color combination especially requested by the bride) paisley-printed linens. "Blue is a hard color to stylishly incorporate into wedding décor but when this new La Tavola cloth line came out shortly before her wedding, I could only think, 'this is the one'," Hallie explains of the distinct choice. Come nightfall, string lights lit up the dance floor with the stunning Camelback Mountain acting as the backdrop.
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The Sweetheart Table
Inspired by a picture, Aubrey knew what she wanted for her sweetheart table and the team created a set-up that reflected her vision. Dang Fine Rentals built the custom wooden structure that went above the table, which also boasted the couple's favorite worship song lyric, laser cut by Happily Ever Etched. Floral adornments, peacock chairs, candles, and colorful blooms finished off this regal sweetheart table. "Many people said we looked like we were on Game of Thrones!" the bride says.
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The Place Settings
Geometric shapes were a key feature of the day and appeared in all of the couple's stationery and installations. Incorporating that design element into the reception, menus were gold-foiled on hexagon cards, adding a touch of modernity to the more bohemian décor.
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Aubrey personally did not want a cake but the mother of the bride felt it was a vital part of the wedding day. They compromised on a small Ruze House carrot cake that had a modern design on it, decorated with their Happily Ever Etched "The A Team" cake topper and bright posies. The cake stand was actually an upside down basket from Home Goods, adding another graphic touch to the fête.
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The pair wasn't too keen on spending too much on favors as most people forget to take them at the night. Instead, they thought of something small yet useful to gift guests: an orange box of matches customized with the newlyweds' names, wedding date, and a favorite song lyric.
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Photography, Ace & Whim
Location, El Chorro
Flowers, Flora Bella
Videography, Brinton Films
Stationery, Prim & Pixie
Calligraphy, Kenzie Swift of Details, Darling
Cake, Ruze Cake House
Music, MT Sounds
Bride's gown, Reem Acra
Bride's jewelry, Morra Designs
Hair, Jacqueline Villa
Makeup, SN Makeup Artist
Bridesmaids' dresses, J. Crew
Groom's suit, Hugo Boss