Tucson:Say”Yes”to the Destination Wedding!

Okay, so maybe I’m a little biased. I was born and raised in Tucson. I grew up swimming in our backyard pool from March through November. Flip flops, shorts and a sweatshirt (which I normally ditched by noon) were my cold weather outfit. Hiking to Seven Falls with a backpack full of my Humanities homework was my weekend hangout as I attended Salpointe Catholic High School(GO LANCERS!) Many days were spent in the glorious sunshine on the U of A mall, writing scripts and honing my camera skills…and possibly checking out the Rugby team (BEAR DOWN ARIZONA!). Tucson is a very special place to me…it’s my hometown.

After graduation, I left Tucson. I couldn’t wait to leave. Bright lights, big city…LA, San Francisco, cable tv shows, studio services, feature films…it was fun. But it was hard. Feast or famine. So I came back. I couldn’t wait to get back. The mountains, the monsoons, the Mexican food, oh, and my family that I missed terribly. I met my hunky English hubby, started Black Sheep Filmworks, rescued an Australian Shepherd, a brown tabby cat and an Australian Cattle Dog. I also gave birth to two of the finest human beings you will ever meet, Alexa and Aidan. Okay, so maybe I’m a little biased.  Tucson is the place that chose me from the get-go. And the place I chose to call home when I had a choice.

YOU have a choice as well, where to hold your wedding. That most ahhhmazing day with your dearly beloved(s)….why choose Tucson for a Destination wedding?  Here are my top five reasons:

1. The Scenery. Search  “Tucson, Arizona”  in google images and you get choices: Mountains, Skyline, Sunset, Downtown and University of Arizona, all of which are spectacular, especially the mountains and the sunsets. All sunsets with high wispy clouds are pretty, but when you have a sunset with gorgeous color AND a huge saguaro in the background, that’s ICONIC.

2. The Venues. From The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain to  Skyline Country Club to Hacienda del Sol to Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tucson is full of  world class resorts, spas and inns that want to pamper you and your guests with loads of Tucson hospitality. The views, the food, the pools, the golf…just basking in the warm Tucson sun, it’s AHHHmazing!

3. Margaritas. From prickly pear to mango habañero, you won’t find a better specialty cocktail. Enough said.

4. The Wedding Professionals. Or the Wedding Vendors, or “Friendors” as my friend Brie Dumais of Brie Dumais Designs likes to call us;) Hands down, some of the most talented, creative, fun, hard working, kick a** individuals you will ever have the pleasure of being around. From florists to photographers, event planners to filmmakers (!) Tucson’s talent is extraordinary. And we all like each other. We will scramble up a hill loaded with cacti and maybe a gopher snake or two (don’t worry, they’re non-venomous ;)) to get that dream shot of you and your beloved. We are used to this 100+ degree “dry” heat. We don’t over direct and under produce. Golf carts, Quarter horses and dirt bikes were probably our first mode of transportation, or our most recent, so we’ve got you covered. We know Tucson, we love it, and we want to share it with you and your besties.

5. The Feel. No place in the world feels like Tucson. It’s a sprawling city (over 227 square miles!) in the middle of four mountain ranges under a huge sunny sky 350 days a year, but it still feels like a small town. When I meet a new client, somewhere in my portfolio, you will know someone. 6 degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon? It’s about 2 to 3 degrees of separation in Tucson. From The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum to the Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson is full of natural beauty, wildlife, and history. And really nice people. Come to Tucson for your Big day, home of the best sunsets, warm sunshine, spas, saguaros…oh, I could go on and on. Okay, maybe I’m a little biased…

Want to see a destination:Tucson styled shoot in all its glory? The incomparable Rackel Gehlsen of Rackel Gehlsen Weddings and Events, otherwise known as the planner with the mostest, brought together a dream team of incredible wedding “friendors” at the Tanque Verde Ranch for a desert ranch glam inspired wedding shoot.

While we all channeled our inner Ralph Lauren and sipped some fabulous prickly pear margaritas, some true Tucson wedding magic occurred…check out this behind the scenes video to see this styled shoot in all it’s glory!
Cheers to this dream team, and to Destination: Tucson weddings …and ENJOY!!!

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A day to remember at the Ritz

I was recently asked to create a mission statement for black sheep filmworks. You know, a cool one like Warby Parker’s “Do Good” or an inspiring one like Nike’s “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” After much thoughtful soul searching and a good glass of Pinot Noir, I pumped my fist in the air and loudly proclaimed “To create kick ass films and have a great time doing so.”

Profanity aside, I liked it. But then I stumbled upon the Ritz-Carlton mission statement, a part of which declares “The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.” WOW! That’s what I strive for, especially fulfilling the unexpressed wishes of my clients. So in creating this wedding film for Jeneca and Ryan, I really wanted to surpass their expectations, even if they didn’t know what to expect. Wedding films are mysterious like that. Even if you’ve watched loads of them, yours will be different. And probably, hopefully, yours will be SO MUCH BETTER. Because it’s yours, and because the black sheep knows how to surpass your expectations.

Speaking of kick ass wedding films…you’ve already seen Jeneca and Ryan’s preview. Please watch their “Behind the scenes” and see why we have a great time doing what we do. 😉


Many thanks to the wedding superstars who lived up to the Ritz credo:

Venue: Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain
Coordinator: Lori Cajimat
Photography: Chris Richards photography
Filmmaker: Black Sheep Filmworks
Floral Design: LaFleur Plantscapes+Fresh Flora–Collen LaFleur
Entertainment/Lighting: Saytr Entertainment-Andy DePew

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Destination weddings-have sheep will travel…

Andrea & James by Chris Richards

Andrea & James just sent this out, and I received it last week. I’m having major craft envy.

Andrea & James’ save the date

save the date

It’s a “Save the Date” for their wedding next September, with a “ticket” with all of their wedding info. SO CUTE! They are getting married on the Colorado river, on the border of Bullhead city, AZ and Laughlin, NV.  They have a beach theme, and Andrea’s dad is planning a flotilla on the river to honor the bride and groom! I can’t wait!  I got to know them at Andrea’s sister Brie’s wedding here in Tucson in June of 2009.  Brie and Jon’s wedding was gorgeous, with one of the many highlights being the Same Day Edit we showed to family & friends during the reception. We laughed & cried, and ended the eve to applause and “Bravo!”  AND WE GET TO DO IT AGAIN! Chris Richards, who took the AMAZING pics of Brie & Jon’s big day, is also traveling from Tucson to shoot Andrea & James nuptials. The “dream team” will be on the river!  We are honored and super excited to be the filmmakers for Andrea & James…BRAVO!!  Just for fun, here are the out-takes from Brie and Jon’s wedding. This should give you some idea why we are SO excited to grab this same crew, and  take this show on the road!


As I titled this “have sheep will travel”, we also had the privilege of flying to Jackson, WY to film Dana & Adam’s wedding in July. I had never been to the Grand Teton National Forest, and it’s so majestic, I kept asking myself “Am I doing this justice?” I think we all feel like that when trying to capture the scope of something so grand. We want the viewer to not only see what we see, but to feel what we feel. This is one of the reasons that weddings are my biggest joy, and my biggest challenge. I want to capture what is the most special to the client, but also all the details which make the story rich and real.  The anticipation and wonder in the air at Dana & Adam’s wedding was almost palpable–and one of the things I love about destination weddings. Once you get there, you and your loved ones are on vacation. You can relax, go for a hike, get a massage, hang out with family…it’s a great way to get mentally and physically prepared for the “big day.” Like Dana/Adam and Andrea/James you have to be uber organized, and be able to let go of the little things. I was told having us along also helped ease the stress, relieving the “fear of the unknown.”  Dana & Adam knew how we worked, and they didn’t have to “babysit” us. We knew where to be and when, and filmed all of those little moments that are so easy to forget. We even got to go on a float trip down the Snake river with our bride and groom and family. The bald eagles were fishing and even took a few rapids. How many couples get to have something like that professionally filmed?  It also helps to hire professionals like Carrie Patterson of Carrie Patterson Photography. She photographed Dana & Adam’s wedding with so much style and calm creative energy. She made us feel at home and was a joy to work with. AND her photographs are STUNNING! The ceremony and reception were held at Couloir Restaurant at the top of the mountain. Amazing views as we took the Bridger gondola to the summit. The ceremony was breathtaking, with the Long family singers left not a dry eye in the house with their renditions of “Love me tender” and “Here, there and everywhere”.  As is the case with Derickson weddings, it rained…no, it poured, but this time the rain held off until just after the ceremony. We even had a rainbow! The food was fabulous, the dancing-fierce, and S’mores instead of cake. It was incredible—so glad we got to capture it in all it’s glory! We also have the honor of filming sister Darcy’s marriage to Anthony in Feb. 2011…I hear it has a baseball theme…let’s just hope the rain holds off.  And if not, we may get some more stunning “kissing in the rain” footage!  Here is Dana and Adam’s preview-Enjoy!


Yes, I shoot video with my Canon 7

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