Real Weddings: A Tuscan-Inspired Wedding
About the Couple: Brittany and Chris met during their freshman year of college. When the happy couple decided to tie the knot, they knew an outdoor ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona, would be perfect. With most of their 140 guests traveling from out of state, they wanted to make the experience one long celebration.
For her bouquet, Brittany wanted an arrangement of fluffy white flowers paired with lots of greenery. She wanted to keep the look as natural as possible, without any sparkles or glitter. Brady's Floral Design created this simple and classy bouquet of crisp white peonies and roses, wrapped in plain white ribbon.
Popped the Question
After heading to San Diego on a "work trip," Chris surprised Brittany by proposing after a sunset cruise. As Chris kneeled before Brittany, she was so excited that she jumped up, accidentally kneeing him in the face. The ring was also a surprise; the side stones are diamonds from Brittany's grandmother's wedding band.
The Perfect Dress
When Brittany, her mother, and sister went wedding gown shopping, they visited every bridal boutique in Phoenix but none of the dresses fit her dream of a classic, simple gown. So they headed to Los Angeles in hopes to find the perfect dress. Brittany finally found her dress in the shop of wedding dress designer Jenny Lee -- it was only one of two she had left in the store for purchase. To make the experience even better, Jenny Lee herself did the alterations, added more buttons, and added a detachable train.
Bride's Tip: Don't settle for a less-than-perfect dress just because you're tired of shopping and think you won't ever find "the dress."
Simple but Elegant Updo
Because of the Arizona heat, Brittany wanted her hair up and loose so she chose this simple updo. Jenny Lee's (her dress designer) mother even created a flower out of her wedding gown fabric to wear in her hair.
The garter Brittany wore was also worn by her mother and grandmother on their wedding days. It was 55 years old and covered both her "something old" and "something blue." Her "something new" was her shoes. And her "something borrowed" was her wedding day earrings.
Brittany wanted an ornate bracelet to help dress up her simple gown.
Get the Look: Don't be afraid to go bold with your jewelry, although remember to just stick to one chunky piece. You don't want to overdo it.
Brittany's elegant shoes were from Ann Taylor and were similar to her bridesmaids'.
Cute and Comfy
By the end of the night, Brittany had ditched her heels for theses adorable flip-flops given to her by a family member. Available in different colors and letters, this white pair was just perfect.
Soft Green + Pops of Orange
These Ann Taylor bridesmaid dresses were the first thing Brittany chose for the wedding. She wanted something they could wear again and the shape was flattering to all the girls' figures. This shade of green is her favorite color and, when paired with vibrant orange, fit in with the Tuscan-feel of her venue.
The bridesmaids' bouquets were one way to incorporate the orange accent color. Brittany chose this mix of bold orange roses and tulips.
In keeping with the simple and classy theme, Chris's boutonniere was a single orchid. The groomsmen wore a simple orange rose to coordinate with the bridesmaids' bouquets.
Set the Tone with Stationery
When this save-the-date is folded up it looks like a perfect square. The cactus logo was also incorporated in the travel information packet, which contained a list of restaurants, suggestions of things to do, and a schedule of events.
Bride's Tip: Don't be afraid to change your wedding colors while you are planning. The yellow touches on some of the wedding stationery allude to a time when the weddings colors were green and yellow. Your guests won't notice the difference if you change your colors from the Save the Date.
Very Elegant Invites
Brittany and her mother thought it would be fun to send the formal wedding invitations in boxes because guests wouldn't know what they were at first. The big green bows were a beautiful touch and the RSVP cards were also attached to the box lid with a ribbon. The wedding programs were also formal and matched the invitations.
A Warm Welcome
Since most guests arrived several days before the wedding for this four-day wedding extravaganza, Brittany's mom made creative welcome baskets for the guests. She filled a cowboy hat with local wine, chips and salsa, sunscreen, and Arizona iced tea and then tucked in the travel information packets such as this bridal shower invite and activities guide.
Location, Location, Location
Brittany and Chris chose the Silverleaf Country Club as their wedding location because they fell in love with the Tuscan feel and adored all the beautiful stone on the property. The couple chose to keep the ceremony decor simple to maximize the breathtaking scenery.
Walking on Petals
Brittany and Chris decided a path of flower petals would be the perfect way to add plenty of color to the ceremony. They chose to scatter bright pink, orange, and yellow petals.
Escape the Heat
Brittany's mom anticipated that some guests would appreciate shade during the ceremony under the hot Arizona sun, so she purchased these lovely parasols from Luna Bazaar to place on the chairs.
The parasols matched the aisle flower petals and added another punch of bright color to the ceremony. Brittany and Chris were thrilled that most guests used the parasols because they made for some beautiful photos.
After the ceremony, while Brittany and Chris were taking pictures, guests enjoyed cocktail hour and passed hors d'oeuvres.
Custom Seating Chart
Vases of flowers were on a table during cocktail and served as a unique seating chart. Brittany and her mom printed out guests' names and their table numbers and pinned them to the center of flowers.
Budget Saver: Gerbera daisies are relatively inexpensive flowers that hold up well in high climates.
The large windows and open doors made the reception room feel like part of the beautiful outdoors. Brittany and Chris knew that they wanted long feasting tables, which fit perfectly in this long and narrow space.
Handmade table numbers rested on wrought-iron twig candle holders. To save time, they decided not to number every single seat. Instead, they used East and West to denote on which side of the long table each guest would sit.
Make a Statement
Brittany wanted tall centerpieces to balance the space's high ceilings and allow guests to talk across the tables. Between the tall centerpiece trees orange rose petals were mixed with assorted candles.
Budget Tip: On long tables, choosing to do a few dramatic centerpieces offers big savings over a smaller arrangement that runs the whole length of the table. Fill in the gaps with some flower petals and candles like Brittany did.
To give the reception an outdoorsy feel, these stunning birch tree and willow branch centerpieces, dripping with orchids and candles, sit inside glazed pots. To complete the look, moss is nestled around the base.
Rich green linens and gold chargers created a beautiful place setting for each guest. Brittany and Chris topped each place setting with their favors -- Godiva mint chocolates in gold boxes they wrapped themselves.
Budget Saver: Save big bucks by asking your reception location what color linins they have. Brittany and Chris were able to rent the mossy green linins from the Country Club saving money and the hassle of renting from another vendor.
Rustic touches were incorporated down to the smallest of details -- like these charming wood silverware baskets.
At a friend's wedding the week before, Brittany's sister cut her foot on a piece of broken glass on the dance floor. Brittany's mom knew that people would want to take their shoes off to dance, but wanted to prevent accidents so she bought out an Old Navy store's supply of flip-flops. They provided their guests with two basketsful and by the end of the night they were all gone!
Cut a Rug
In the weeks leading up to their big day, Brittany and Chris attended ballroom dancing lessons. But Brittany explained that it was a real disaster and "so not us!" Instead, they surprised their guests with a choreographed disco dance to Earth, Wind, and Fire's "September." The crowd loved seeing the usually camera shy Brittany cut loose and gave the couple a standing ovation.
Ceremony & Reception: Siverleaf Country Club; 480/515-3200
Photographer: Melissa Jill Photography; www.melissajill.com
Make Up: Linda Wagner; 480/229-9408
Videographer: Media Created 4U; www.mediacreated4u.com
Flowers: Brady's Floral Gallery; 480/945-8776
Ceremony Chairs: Tri City Rentals; 602/232-9900
Parasols: Luna Bazaar; www.lunabazaar.com
Dress: Jenny Lee Bridals; 323/658-6075
Invitations: Pink Paper Designes; www.pinkpaperdesigns.com
Hair: Plush Salon, Lisa; 480/991-2636
Ceremony Music: Allegro Quartet; www.allegroquartet.com
Entertainment: CC Ryder Experss; www.ccryderexpress.com
Bridesmaids Dresses: Ann Taylor; www.anntaylor.com
Brides Bracelet: Carolee; www.carolee.com
Bridal Flip Flops: Tulla Belles; www.tullabelles.com