Wednesday, January 20, 2010
the most rad Arizona horse ranch wedding
Our little Brie is all growed up. Seems like only yesterday she was emailing me in a panic because Kiwi wanted to get married in a custom tuxedo with electric blue piping. You see what happens when you stay out of their way? No electric blue in sight.
Anyhoo, here's the wrap-up from Brie:
Why was our wedding the most rad ever? I guess it all started when Kiwi and I got engaged in New Zealand, almost exactly one year ago! We couldn’t wait to get home and get the planning going. Instinctively we knew that a hotel or church venue wasn’t the right fit for us… We were far more drawn to the outdoor setting. My parents have a horse ranch here in Arizona that backs to a mountain preserve and we thought it would be the perfect place to have our wedding. Little did we know, getting the site ready would involve hours of planting trees, renting tractors and general manual labor!
In the end, everything came together perfectly. My girlfriends and I built the backdrop for the ceremony after seeing a feature about wood staining on HGTV. I collected saint candles from a local church to use as décor for the reception and old bottles of patron tequila to serve as vases for the flowers. Really, the only other decorations were luminarias we placed around the property to light the path of the guests. We wanted to focus on the natural beauty of the mountains.
(Editor's note: I had to sneak in a couple of the detail shots Brie's friend Kathryn took with a Fuji Instax.)
Before the ceremony started we passed out champagne cocktails for the guests. Weddings hardly ever start on time and we wanted everyone to enjoy themselves while they waited. Kiwi looked so handsome as I practically sprinted down the aisle to him… He custom ordered his suit through Hillcrest & Hamilton, the menswear company he owns with his brother. Our ceremony was officiated by a very dear family friend that I’ve known since childhood. The crowd burst out laughing when he told the story of how Kiwi and I met when we were both playing rugby. Definitely not your typical courtship story! The ceremony ended just as the sun was starting to set and it couldn’t have been more beautiful.
(p.s. That's her great-grandmother's mantilla.)
We took most of our photos beforehand so we could get right to the party! We made a quick stop by the photo booth (the pictures doubled as guestbook entries) and then it was off to the reception. My friends and I had made a giant batch of sangria the night before and it was gone almost immediately. Luckily, Kiwi had stocked up on Dos Equis, Corona and Sol. I made sure we had Coca Cola in glass bottles for the kiddos, made with real cane sugar, none of this high fructose corn syrup business. Dinner was catered buffet style, by a local restaurant called Blue Adobe. They served chicken empanadas, green chile pork tenderloin and an amazing shrimp and lobster dip. When Kiwi and I were walking around I saw people forgoing the tortilla chips altogether and just eating it with a spoon! We served everything on these awesome compostable dinner plates made from fallen leaves. I actually found them through a wedding featured on ESB, thanks Joy! For dessert we served lemon bars from The Deli, a restaurant in town that specializes in local and organic ingredients. Kiwi and I decided to skip the typical wedding cake and we cut into a sweet little Bundt number we topped with extra flowers from the reception. It was the perfect end to a delicious meal.
The reception was an absolute blast. We had family fly in from Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Add our respective rugby teams to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a party. My Puerto Rican grandma taught everyone to Salsa and a few of the rugby girls showed us how to do the worm. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I can’t stress how important it is to just stop and enjoy your own wedding. Kiwi and I had an amazing time eating, drinking and dancing with our family and friends. At the end of the day, you’re married to your best friend… and that is the most wonderful feeling of all.
Photos by Brittany Strebeck (and her husband Jordan, who assisted)