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“When preparing to climb a mountain – pack a light heart. “

-Dan May

No place on Earth is quite like Mount Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona. A forest of thousands of Saguaro cacti inhabit the base and as you climb, the foliage transitions into Manzanita as you reach sheer rock formations and cliffs, until you reach it’s Alpine summit. The rocks ravaged by wind and erosion stretch out in all directions creating a sensation that if one reached enough momentum, they could launch into flight. The ominous clouds of the seasonal monsoon filtered the sun to cast the most ethereal light, as they rumbled with thunder around the lookout point. As dusk settled, the luminaries created glowing towers to light the way.

We styled minimally and soft to juxtapose the hard rock and jutting edges. Her bouquet was soft, yet tough, much like the landscape. The colors were kept light to blend with the otherworldly landscape.The unique natural beauty was our inspiration for this elopement shoot.

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photo:brushfire photography, dress: jenny packham from the dress theory san diego, menswear: j crew, coordination: kdp events,  hair and makeup: jessica fierro, calligraphy: jenny sanders of grace line art, models: hannah & matt  featured on OnceWed

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“The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”

― Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump

This wedding inspiration shoot was truly a fun and memorable experience. It’s always a joy to work on a shoot with Brushfire Photography and Kdp Events, but it was even more amazing because it took place in our backyard in the San Tan Mountains. Every day I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful and unique place. I look at these mountains daily and it was a treat to create there. Joe and Kathleen from JoPhoto joined us all the way from Tenessee. Our models Kelsey & Adam were also amazing to work with and they really kept the whole shoot relaxed and so enjoyable!

We really wanted to showcase unique Arizona desert landscape and citrus, which is grown allover this area in nearby orchards. The greenery of lemon leaf and eucalyptus in the florals are also trees that are widely planted in landscapes in this area.  The color palette inspiration was taken from the vibrant colors of all varieties of citrus. It was also poppy season, I always love to be able to use them in design. We all felt it would create a beautiful juxtaposition between with the pale, neutral colors of the desert. We also decided on dark, bare wood and the fruitwood chivari chairs provided by Classic Party Rentals added a touch of elegance. I really wanted to push the envelope with non traditional colors for the florals and the limited edition Frou Frou chic was a pretty compliment to them. The soft, backless lace gown by Allure Bridals provided by Wedding Belles boutique was so light and the delicate headband from Lacielle Roselle was the perfect finishing piece.

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photos by brushfire photography, gown by allure bridals from wedding belles bridal boutique, coordination kdp events, headpiece lacielle roselle, chairs and dining ware provided by classic party rentals, models kelsey groetken & adam wallis via the agency, bouquet ribbon froufrouchic, featured in issue 7 of magnolia rouge magazine

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

-Anais Nin

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I came across this quote today and it really resonated with me. There have been so many moments in my own life where I was projected into change, often  without a choice.  Although it was scary and filled with uncertainty, those moments were the ones that made me blossom and grow. I know many people that are deathly afraid of change and will do anything within their power to prevent it. They are too afraid of the risk of branching out and making lasting changes. That is not what is meant for us. We are meant to change, evolve, grow. Preventing it causes pain and fear. Most of the time that fear is very imaginary and if they took the leap of faith required to make the much needed improvement in their lives, they would be astounded at what can be.

That is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about weddings. It’s two souls taking a risk, not knowing what the future holds. My blessing to them is that they are unafraid to blossom together and experience all the wonders that God has planned for us as we are meant to, together.

A single gal until my mid-thirties, I was terrified of marriage. I convinced myself that my single life was fabulous and that sharing it with another person would never be as great as the freedom I had. I met the love of my life and and all of that changed. I can’t imagine life now without him, our boy, our dogs, our home. My life is way richer with them in it. Knowing that marriage and commitment is such an amazing blessing, I think that weddings are the bud set to blossom into something that’s very beautiful and often breathtaking, much like a flower or a giant tree.

When I made the decision to quit my job at which I remember clearly saying, ” I felt like I was dying inside”, I was so scared. Starting Sarah’s Garden meant many unknowns. Had it not been for my amazing, supportive husband cheering me on, I may have let that fear prevent me from the incredible growth and happiness that I have today. I mean, I woke up this morning, had the time to make a delicious and healthy breakfast, took these photos of florals that I have in my cooler ( sorry about my photography) to share with you lovely people. I feel lucky every day and I don’t take my blessings for granted. Many the gifts and treasures that are in my life are due to having faith and working very hard maintain what is important to me, even when I’m afraid of the unknown and the change. My hope is to inspire any of you that come across this to imagine what you could have if you stopped being afraid?Go ahead, blossom! Just think of what kind of flower will you become?

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florals: silver dollar eucalyptus, pink snowberry, pink ranunculus  ribbon: frou frou chic 

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“A desert is a place without expectation.”

-Nadine Gordimer

Some may say that the desert is a strange place to get married. I beg to differ. Like the quote above, a wedding and a marriage truly are at their best when they are void of expectation, but full of hope, love, unconditional giving and adaptability. I believe it to be a very beautiful and unique location to hold a wedding. Just the soft & dusty colors alone are very inspiring.  A desert wedding is warm and full of light, most of the year without the chance of rain. The tall and old Saguaro cacti and giant Agave are symbols of strength, survival and steadfastness in a harsh environment, which are amazing qualities in a marriage. For many people, the desert evokes images of the Old West: cowboys & tumbleweeds, etc.. As you can see on the inspiration board below, it really can be quite elegant. Clean and simple. 

Desert Inspiration

 from top left: gown by rue de seine, mint photo, josevilla , carolinetran, bottom center: kristinjoy

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“There’s a big difference between falling in love with someone and falling in love with someone and getting married. Usually, after you get married, you fall in love with the person even more.”
Dave Grohl

Happiness washed over me when I received the email from Carrie and Josh Estes with a link of their wedding photos by Luke/Mallory Photography. I am always filled with gratitude and honor that I got to be a part of this special and joyous time in a couples’ life. These two sweethearts decided on a small and intimate wedding at the Windmill Winery Waterfront that was coordinated by the amazing Karen Podrasky of Kdp Events. I loved that Carrie chose an all white and cream bouquet full of Peonies, Patience Garden Roses, Stock, Ranunculus and Seeded Eucalyptus. It was so very bridal and classic, with a bit of rustic. Her bridesmaids clutched colorful Coral Charm Peonies, Dahlias, and Juliet Garden Roses that popped on their soft grey dresses.

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Carrie Pulis flowers

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