wedding thoughts

Destination: Tucson

wedding donkeySaguaro...where else would I put your wedding rings?Oh, that Tucson Sun!patron bottle

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:

5. 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.

4. The Venues. From The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain to the Arizona Inn to Hacienda del Sol, just to name a few, 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.

2. 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.

1. 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 wedding in all its glory? Alison and Jelani, otherwise known as ALizona and Uncle Jeli ;), brought everyone out from Houston and beyond for an incredible wedding at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain. From some gorgeous royal blue Badgley Mischkas, to lobster mac n’ cheese, to sparklers, to some truly epic dance moves, THIS was a night to remember!
Thanks Alison & Jelani…and ENJOY!!!


Many thanks to the following wedding rockstars:
Venue: The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain  Event Coordinator: Madison St.Clair
Photographer: David Sanders  Filmmaker: Black Sheep Filmworks  Florist: Posh Petals  DJ/ Band/ Musicians: Simply Three & DJ Andrew  Photo booth:Clear Choice Photo Booth

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Should your wedding “go to the dogs”?

Canines, canines…everywhere! And I as the wedding filmmaker and loyal Australian Cattle Dog mama, LOVE IT! In  22 years of capturing my lovelies’ best days, some of the most resonant moments have come from my four legged friends. They have acted as ring dog, flower grrrl, bride’s pups etc… Dogs wear their hearts on their furry sleeves, and they keep it real.

Here are a few tips for making your wedding a happy day for you and your fur baby:

1. Make sure they have a handler that they are comfortable with, who knows the dog. This should not be the bride or groom.

2. Keep their time at the wedding short. They can walk or be carried down the aisle, and then be seated with said handler. Some dogs can handle being at the altar, but some will desperately try to get front and center with their pack. A whining, jumping, drooling pup can be quite a distraction, not to mention hell on tulle.

3. Tucson’s warmth can be difficult for non-desert dogs. Our British Bulldog and bride’s grrrl, Savannah, was driven to Tucson (from New Jersey!) by her Mom (our bride Gretchen) because they knew she had to be “climate controlled” for her journey. Their wedding was at the gorgeous Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain in late December, and the weather was a sunny  and mild 70 degrees. Perfect for a dog that is known to overheat.

4.  Bring treats! Especially if you have a “food motivated” pup (and who doesn’t?!). This will also keep the begging and eating of non-canine approved foods to a minimum. Remember, those hors d’oeuvres will be very tasty, but can cause quite a bit of tummy upset in your dog. THAT is NOT something you want to deal with on your wedding night…

5. ETSY! Find a cute orange bow tie like Spike had at Gina and William’s INCREDIBLE Arizona Inn wedding.

Or contact your florist, and get a great pearl and flower ensemble like Savannah had at Gretchen and Eric’s Ritzy nuptials, courtesy of the AHHHmazing Colleen LaFleur (LaFleur Plantscapes +Fresh Flora).

Having a wedding with some spicy, latin flair? Well then, YES, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel can be carried down the aisle in a sombrero.spaniel in sombrero Be creative, have fun with it…just try on the wedding flair and make sure the sombrero fits at the rehearsal, leaving some time for adjustments before the “big day.”

6. If you have too big of a pack to bring, consider having them on your cake. As a cake topper! Tonya and Dan are the proud owners of too many to mention rescued dogs, including a Siberian Husky and a few pit bulls. They couldn’t bring them all, so they had cake toppers made of their pups. ALSO, one of the best uses of table numbers I have ever seen was at this uber incredible day at Reflections at the Buttes. Each table number had a photograph of a dog from a local shelter, and their name was your table. The best part? All of the dogs were waiting to be adopeted! I know at least a few dogs found homes that night.  As the Mom of a shelter dog and cat, I LOVE that idea.
dog cake toppersrescue dogs table numbers

7. Any dog who is nervous, a “nipper”,  doesn’t like a lot of people, kids etc…should probably not be at your wedding. He will be happier at home, with a sitter. He can watch your wedding film later. I’ll send dog treats along with the flash drives 😉

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98 Percent of Brides Regret this Choice after their Weddings

Re-printed from Huffington Post Weddings by Ariane Fisher

Not getting a wedding planner was my biggest regret. Nope, second biggest.
Like most brides, I looked forward to my wedding for 4 reasons:

• I was marrying a man better than I ever could have dreamed for myself
• The Big Day was a creative outlet for my DIY dreams
• Friends and Family were coming together from all across the country
• Biggest. Party. Ever.

After the wedding, here is what I had to show for it:

• Gorgeous photos
• A preserved wedding gown
• Stories from friends and family about it being the best party, not just wedding, they had ever attended

Cue the regret. Like most brides, I budgeted for photos, but not wedding video. Like 98 percent of brides who make that decision, I regretted not getting a wedding video.

The photos bring back great memories, but let’s talk first dance. My fiancé surprised me with dance lessons soon after we were engaged. We spent months with a choreographer learning our first dance. We were in our own world on that dance floor. It was like the whole world melted away as we waltzed to Louis Armstrong.
In my mind, we were going to dance it again every year on our anniversary. We would never forget the steps. Our first anniversary, I was away on a business trip. Our second anniversary was the due date of our first baby. By the third anniversary, the steps were long forgotten.

Now let’s talk family and friends. Big family. Lots of friends. About 200 people flying in from all over the country. The award goes to Australia. It was the last family gathering for both of our grandmothers. The last one. No one wants to think about it, but it’s real.

It was also one of the last times we were to see one of my husband’s good friends. He died just a couple of years later in a snowmobile accident. We partied with him til 1am that night. Good times.

Lastly, the party. Oh the party. The live bar band. The Jack Daniels, for which I took so much crap in my last post. Yes, I drank at my wedding. Yes, I drank a lot. So did all the guests. Except the kids. They were running around with straws up their noses. It was a blast. We all had a great time.

And photos just aren’t enough to hold on to years later.

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