A Colorful Desert Wedding in Scottsdale
Adia and Alex
As a kindergartner in Minnesota, young Alex Gundry befriended another little boy—Sam Benson. The two would have play dates, and often their little sisters tagged along. The fun-loving foursome's friendship blossomed until the Bensons moved away. But thanks to the boys, that wouldn't be the last time Alex and Sam's kid sister Adia would cross paths.
Years later, Sam and Alex both ended up at Connecticut College. Over a few weekends during their freshmen year, they visited Adia and her friends, who were seniors in boarding school. The friendship was rekindled and upon their college graduations, Alex moved to Los Angeles to work in banking while Adia went to France for culinary school. A number of years passed before Adia was invited to be part of the opening team for a new restaurant in Beverly Hills, just miles from where Alex was living. The pair reconnected and that was when "the magic began to stir," says Adia. "I truly believe that this third coincidence, this strike of fate, is something rare. Our deep-rooted friendship, memories of childhood, college and more, blossomed into a love-filled relationship."
Seven years later, Adia and Alex had built a home together in Lake Forest, Illinois. Adia, a chef and executive producer at a publishing company, and Alex, who works in brand management, were also the proud parents of a puppy named Paisley. It was over Labor Day weekend in 2015 when Adia noticed that Paisley had a new toy. As she kneeled down to see what it was, "Alex said he got me something too, and inside this giant orange fuzzy fox was a ring box," recalls Adia. "Alex knew that our home was so important to me and he wanted to propose in it. He also knew that I would want Paisley there. It was perfect."
When deciding on a wedding locale, Scottsdale was a no-brainer. For two people who had moved around quite a bit, Alex's parents' Arizona house was like a home for the couple as well. "Arizona became a special oasis to escape to, as it was always filled with love and laughter, and of course margaritas," says Adia. On October 22, 2016, the duo tied the knot at Desert Mountain, a private club in North Scottsdale, while 175 guests looked on. This colorful event on a beautiful Arizona evening was one to remember.
To kick off the Southwestern wedding weekend, a Thursday night barbeque and a Friday night rehearsal dinner were both held at Alex's parents' home. Kate Lemish Design created colorful invitations featuring cacti motifs, a theme that would reappear throughout the wedding weekend. Here, the invites for the rehearsal dinner, a 70-person affair, were paired with a list of Adia and Alex's favorite spots around Scottsdale.
The Bridesmaid Bags
Adia's bridesmaids were gifted these glittery cacti-print muslin bags filled with mini bottles of champagne, lip gloss, makeup remover wipes, flip-flops, chocolate bars, and mints.
Keeping with the Southwestern theme, Adia and her ten bridesmaids wore embroidered Mexican dresses by Liliana Cruz and flip-flops before putting on their dresses.
The Signature Drink
The bridal party sipped prickly pear margaritas, the wedding's signature cocktail, as they got ready. Simultaneously, guests arrived at the venue for a pre-ceremony champagne reception.
The Wedding Shoes
"I knew I wanted a bit of sparkle in my shoes, and a sensible heel to walk gracefully down the flight of stairs onto the terrace for our ceremony," the bride explains. "I found these silver Manolo Blahniks and just fell in love! The brooch design on the toe reminds me of one my grandmother wore."
The Bridal Bouquet
Fiori Floral Design created a bright bouquet of ranunculus, poppies, Mokara orchids, Cymbidium orchids, coxcomb, peonies, pincushion protea, and succulents. A piece of Adia's gown was tied around the stems of the flowers.
The Bridal Party
In contrast to the "cowboy cocktail casual" dress code of the barbeque and rehearsal dinner, guests dressed in black-tie for the big day. Bridesmaids wore Jenny Yoo dresses in navy—a color chosen for its classic nature and because it's still formal but a bit warmer than black.
The Bridesmaid Bouquets
The bridesmaid bouquets featured pincushion protea and Mokara orchids, flowers indigenous to Arizona. Navy dresses allowed their vibrant bouquets to really pop.
The Bride's Entrance
Adia descended the stairs into the courtyard at Chiricahua, one of the clubhouses at Desert Mountain, to begin the ceremony. A trumpet, piano, and violin played "Here Comes the Bride" as she entered.
Alex cites Adia's entrance as his favorite moment of the day. They joined together on a patio with sweeping views for them and their loved ones.
The couple worked with their pastor to write the program. "One thing that stands out, and many people commented on liking, was in the main message Pastor Mike read: 'Thankful in anything. Prayerful in everything. Anxious in Nothing,'" says Adia.
The Cocktail Hour
The Reception Details
Mini succulents and cacti served as centerpieces on the reception tables. "I wanted them to feel like they could live in the desert," says Adia of the flowers used throughout the wedding.
The First Dance
The bride changed into an Adrianna Papell dress for the reception, where the newlyweds danced to "Loving You Easy" by Zac Brown Band. Big fans of country music, the pair wanted one of their favorite upbeat country songs for their first dance. The ten-piece band kept everyone dancing until midnight.
Addie Cakes garnished this vanilla confection, the bride's favorite flavor, with flowers and cacti to match the wedding décor. A donut bar was also set up for dessert.
Photography, Tamara Gruner Photography
Location and Catering, Desert Mountain Club
Event design, Metta Events
Day-of coordination, Sip and Twirl (day of coordination)
Flowers, Fiori Floral Design
Stationery, Kate Lemish Design
Calligraphy, Sharon Morgera
Cake, Addie Cakes
Music, Lucky Devils Band
Groom's suit, Judd Frost Custom Clothier
Menswear, Combatant Gentlemen
Transportation, Desert Rose
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Continental Diamond