secret garden winter wedding
In the valley of the sun at the base of south mountain, there is a piece of Spanish history. The dream home was built 85 years ago and is owned by Walter Strong and his wife Blythe, they hosted lavish parties and events on their property, and today that tradition still holds true with the breathtaking weddings that take place there. Filled with its historic hand stamped Spanish tiles and architecture, and surrounded by its lush gardens this venue is an escape from the desert without ever leaving Arizona. In a state full of cactus and red rock there is no better way to transport you and your guests out of the traditional Arizona backdrop and into a garden oasis on your wedding day.
Here, on a radiant fall afternoon, Chris and Katie arrived on the day they would finally say “I do”! Filled with so much excitement and anticipation these two set the mood for what would soon be one emotional wedding!
The morning was all celebration and laughter. Elegantly dressed in matching navy robes with their names, the bridesmaids were ready to celebrate Katie, as her makeup and hair were given their final touches. Mimosa toasts and a flurry of dress up fun, Katie and her girls knew it was finally time to get her in the dress. As her mom stood there and helped her zip up her dress, a tear crept in as she took the moment in. Meanwhile, the groom and his groomsmen celebrated in their hotel room just a staircase away, laughing hysterically as they reminisced about their wild times together. As Chris sat on the edge of the bed and stared out the window, he thought long and hard about the moments that were about to lead up to the biggest day of his life. It was time…
The moments before walking down the aisle were perfectly planned. Katie stood there and stared at her gown, lace woven into delicate sections, the buttons paralleling down her back. As Katie stood there and stared in the mirror, tears welled up in her eyes, the day she had been waiting for since she was a little girl, was finally here. With a deep breath she turned around and said “I’m ready” the doors opened wide and out she stepped on the marble tiled stairs that would lead her to the end of the aisle and the beginning of her future. But first it was finally time to see her fiancé before saying “I DO”.
Chris stood there shifting side to side as he was ready to do the first look… with his back to the descending staircase, he stood there waiting for the moment he had been looking forward to all day. The moment to just be with Katie, no eyes on them but the cameras that would capture the first moments of them on their wedding day. No guests, no parents, no wedding party… just Chris and Katie. With his eyes staring out into the garden, we positioned Katie at the top of the stairs, fluffing her gown, and guiding her with eyes closed. We told her it was time … 3, 2, 1 … Chris turned, smiling ear to ear… Katie started to cry… the shock and nerves that had been building up all morning finally were escaping and as Chris ran up the stairs towards Katie he embraced her, kissed her deeply and passionately, then he pulled back and checked out his bride in all her beauty.
With the first look now over, Katie and Chris snuck off to prepare to walk down the aisle. Escorted by her father down the aisle of cobblestone staircase, Katie, in her sophisticated gown and heart stopping tulle and lace cathedral veil, absolutely glowed. And her groom even had to brush away a tear when he saw her! Being the thoughtful planner and organized bride Katie was, she had every detailed planned down to the way they wanted their ceremony to be unique. As the officiant started the ceremony, there wasn’t a dry eye in the garden, as Katie’s dad leaned in and hugged her mom tightly they closed their eyes and you could just see the amount of pride & joy beaming from the creases at the base of their eyes. So elated that this day was finally here and they would say hello to a new son and bye to their baby girl. Having prepared hand written vows for each other and letters of love to open in a years time, the two placed them in a box that was resting at the table under the alter. With laughter, tears, and a lot of smiles the two were announced Husband and Wife, and kissed for the first time after saying “I Do”.
Under the expert guidance of the wedding coordinator, Stephanie, at the Secret Garden Event Center, the talented vendors painted an elegant scene. The romance of the floral arrangements by Fred’s Flowers, was perfectly juxtaposed by edgier, more modern elements, like the r2d2 GLUTEN FREE grooms cake and the main wedding cake which was covered in delicate gold embellishments and tiny mickey mouse heads crafted by Inspired Sugar. The table scape, overflowing with floral arrangements glass table number signs and floral blooms, decorated with glassware and nostalgic custom bottle opener keys that were a sign to find your seats for the guests . Even the custom glass signs made by Katie’s mom, welcoming the guests to the wedding and where to sit, added an elegant embrace at the entrance of the venue.
Back dropped with a romantic scent of rose blooms wafting through the outside terrace , the festivities carried on well into the night. The toasts from the best friend and maid of honor of the bride, and college roommate and best man of the groom were heartfelt and full of laughter. Celebration was added on top of celebration when, after the bride and grooms first dance, there was a big surprise as the DJ welcomed Chris’s mother onto the dance floor to dance with her very own father, Chris’s grandfather as a “first dance” as she just married weekends prior to that day and they weren’t able to have him present. There wasn’t a dry eye as these two got a moment that wouldn’t have really happened otherwise. Chris and Katie invited every table to the inside venue quarter to celebrate and dance the night away with them. After thanking each guest, and taking all the support in they felt it was time to party. The DJ turned up the jams and the lip singing started to surface among the many guests that were making their way to the dance floor.
As the party came to a close, the crowd cheered and the bride and groom sprinted into the tunnel of glittering sparklers. Surrounded by friends and family, their life together as husband and wife began. We are so thrilled we were able to document Chris + Katie’s big day, and we can’t wait to see where life takes them. Check out some of the images from their breathtaking Secret Garden wedding, and let us know which ones you love best in the comments.
the team that made it all possible
Day Of Coordinator: Stephany Hoff from The Secret Garden Event Center
Florals & Decor: Fred’s Flowers | Makeup & Hair: Beauty By Veronica | Paper Goods: Paper Culture | Cake: Inspired Sugar | Officiant: Reverend Nick | Dress: Wedding Belles Bridal Boutique | Grooms Apparel: Men’s Wearhouse | Caterer: Creative Hand Cuisine
tell us about your day!
After we collect a few short details of what you are dreaming up, we will reach out to get everything started. We take on a maximum of 25 wedding per year.
Mon - Fri | 9am - 5pm
Sat | Appointment Only
Sun | Closed