This amazing Saguaro Buttes wedding in Tucson, Arizona makes me smile as I look back on the stunning moments shared by this bride and groom. Marissa and Austin were one of the most planful couples I’ve had the pleasure of working with as a wedding photographer. They knew exactly what they wanted from every moment, living life on fast forward from the time they got engaged. She graduated nursing school and got a job, he graduated and was hired as a police officer, they bought a house, and they got married. It was one whirlwind after another, but for all the best reasons.
Marissa and Austin started their wedding day getting ready with the bride at her house and the groom at the venue. A friend of the bride did hair and makeup, so it was such a relaxing way to start off her big day. Once I’d spent some time with Marissa, I headed over to Saguaro Buttes to photograph Austin as he was getting ready. Austin and his mother shared an emotional moment when she pinned his boutonniere on. Just like the first look between a father and daughter, this moment when mom sees her little boy all grown up and about to get married is so very precious.
Austin gifted his groomsmen with engraved flasks. It turned out that he had forgotten his flask at home! The groomsmen were able to save the day, though, and they gave him one with a sticky note on it. Problem solved!
While the groomsmen were finishing up with their preparations, there was a touching first look between the bride and her father. The moment a father first sees his little girl all grown up as a bride is so powerful. I was happy to be able to document that moment (and those tears!)
After that, I took some time to capture the set up and details of both the ceremony and reception site. With all the time, love and care the bride and groom poured into these details, I wanted to make sure their vision was captured. Especially the special details, like the amazing candle holders Austin’s mother made for the cocktail hour tables and the cake topper, which was so dear to the bride and groom. It makes me so happy to preserve details like these for my couples for years to come.
The first look between Austin and Marissa took place in the shade and quiet of the back garden of the venue. This first look was so touching and emotionally charged. Austin was brought to tears when he turned to see Marissa. I love when couples have a chance to truly be themselves alone together in a private moment before the ceremony. The way these two connect is effortless, the intimacy they share easy to capture. We did family pictures and bridal party pictures in the garden as well. This bridal party was a riot! I loved how much fun they all had together.
An Autumn Saguaro Buttes Wedding
The ceremony was held with a beautiful view of the hills and Saguaro National Park under arches of gracefully draped tulle. The colors of autumn were prevalent in the colors of this wedding, especially considering Marissa’s love of purple. From the richly hued florals to the plum bridesmaids’ dresses, the colors were deep and vibrant. The couple’s thoughtful planning carried into the ceremony with custom water bottles for the guests. I loved how Austin and Marissa had their guests sign wooden hearts with personalized messages instead of signing a guest book! The couple incorporated a sand ceremony into their vows which I thought was a fun touch!
After a spectacular sunset which acted as an amazing backdrop for portraits of the happy couple, the party really got started! We moved inside for a reception filled with love and joy. Marissa and her father shared a sentimental first dance, her eyes welling up with tears. That father daughter dance is often so emotionally charged.
When night fell, I stole the bride and groom away for some after-dark pictures. The garden was magical with twinkle lights wrapped around the trees reflecting off the water like fireflies. Artistically, I knew exactly what I wanted for those images and was thrilled with how they turned out – there was warmth and light in the reflections, creating a dreamy romantic portrait.
This year, as I expand my business as an Orange County Wedding Photographer, I might see fewer magnificent desert views like this, but I look forward to capturing some of those iconic Southern California beach weddings! Amazing desert weddings like this one remind me of exactly how majestic the desert can be. It was such a beautiful day for Marissa and Austin. I can’t think of a better way for them to start their Forever After!
Dress: David’s Bridal
Cake: Iliana Castiblanco