A Romantic Desert Elopement | The Pells
They met in high school, the first day of Freshman year. They had to line up by birthday, and discovered, they share the same birthday. They dated for a year, and then drifted apart… but every year, on their birthday-they reconnected to send well wishes. The invisible string that tied them together… Over a decade later, Brandon + Katie Eloped in the dreamy Arizona Desert. An intimate and Romantic Ceremony with their immediate family and close friends.
When I met with Katie + Brandon for their Wedding consult at a cute little local coffee shop, Katie was just beaming the whole time! She had a customized paper Wedding planner with her, with their Wedding date on the front, 4.3.21… I knew immediately, I was going to love working with them! We sat down and talked about how they got Engaged. They went on a family picnic one night with Katie’s daughter Harper. Brandon turned to Harper, and asked her if he could be part of their family. Once she agreed, he popped the question to Katie! She, of course, said yes!
Katie felt like Brandon immediately fit in with their little family. Harper adores him, so it was the sweetest moments on their Elopement day when Brandon and Harper had a first look together! Harper was so excited, she immediately said “BRANDON!!!”, asking him to turn around before we were all ready. Lucky for us, Brandon waited a few seconds so we could capture their reactions! Brandon presented Harper with bracelets to wear for the Wedding day. Harper was thrilled and was smiling so big!
At their consult, Katie told me that her and Brandon wanted to do something a little different. They didn’t want a huge Wedding day. They wanted to Elope. But they didn’t know where, or how they planned to incorporate family, as that was really important to them! They also wanted to have an intimate Reception with their extended family and friends that wouldn’t be at the Elopement! So, we got to planning!
We found the most beautiful desert Elopement location. Surrounded by mountain views in every direction. A quiet and cozy desert corner, where they could say I do, in privacy with just their loved ones around them!
Katie and Brandon chose to do a first look together. We walked to an intimate location, away from guests, where they had their first look surrounded by open desert. They also chose to exchange their vows, together, just the two of them. Where they could share their innermost thoughts in privacy. Where they could feel all the feels of the moment. It was so sweet! Katie had a huge smile on her face as Brandon told her his vows. When he took out his hand written vows, she giggled and said, “Wow, yours is way longer than mine!!”. Brandon spoke about when he first saw her their freshman year, as a shy boy, he was proud that he spoke to her then. He talked about their birthday’s, the “invisible string that tied us together” all those years. Then it was Katie’s turn. As she said her vows she made Brandon laugh, talked about how much she loves him, and about their birthday, saying how she, too, felt that that was the invisible string that tied them together…
After exchanging vows and soaking in their time alone together, it was time for their ceremony! They rented a beautiful arch adorned with florals, a boho styled rug, with beautiful vases and florals. A burlap runner was placed for them to walk up the aisle to say I do! Katie looked absolutely stunning in her gown, from Ivory Row Bridal. The lace detail and invisible neckline was both dainty and elegant. She chose a classy look for her makeup with Simply Stunning . Her hair styled by Alex, was whimsical and Romantic, the perfect touch to her day.
Their day was filled with all the thoughtful, small details that made it perfectly them! They had a dear friend officiate their ceremony. Their parents and Harper surrounded them, as their immediate family and most treasured friends looked on from either side of the aisle. Their ceremony was full of fun, light hearted laughter, and beautiful moments of love! Once they said I do, their friends and family cheered, and Harper ran down the aisle to her gorgeous mama so excitedly! Their guests headed to the reception area to get the party started, while Katie + Brandon soaked up all the gorgeous golden light for Husband and Wife portraits!
Before we headed to another dreamy desert location for portraits, Katie’s mom bustled her dress for her. Sweet moments of mama and daughter are my favorite! Those in between moments, are always one’s I remember, and love to photograph!
The golden sunshine did not disappoint for their Husband and Wife portraits! Dripping down from every angle, bathing the mountains with light, it was so peaceful and joyful. No one around us. The birds chirping. Time for Katie and Brandon to just soak in the moments together. Their first moments as Husband and Wife. Just after the sun set behind the mountains, we headed to their Reception!
A Firehouse Event Center Reception
Katie and Brandon chose to host their Reception at the Firehouse Event Center, in Peoria, Arizona. The space was once a real firehouse, and it is full of quaint spaces, and a rustic feel! Long farm style seating with a simple and timeless table scape filled the dining room. The Firehouse is adorned with beautiful, large chandeliers casting glowy light. The greenery throughout the reception space carried on the romantic mood of the day. The reception space was kept clear of guests, so that upon arrival, Katie and Brandon could see their vision in real life, undisturbed! They took a few moments together to adore their reception space, and soak in all the months of planning the day of their dreams! We snuck in a sweet photo of them in their empty reception space, and it is one of my favorites!
Katie and Brandon then snuck out the back door to get ready for their grand entrance! The DJ, Shawn, with Event Synergy had their guests all take their seats for the big moment! Katie and Brandon were introduced to their extended family and friends, officially as Mr.&Mrs. Pell! As “Paper Rings”, by Taylor Swift played, their guests cheered loudly as they entered the room. It was so fun to see all their reactions, as most guests there were seeing them for the very first time that day!
If you know Katie in real life, than you already know she’s a Taylor Swift gal! Their guests looked on as they danced their first dance to “Lover”! There were custom decorations with their first song lyrics around the reception space. Written above the bar, on the large chalkboard they had the quote “all along there was an invisible string, tying you to me”-T.Swift. After Katie and Brandon shared their first dance as Husband and Wife, Harper and Brandon shared a first dance, too! It had us ALL IN TEARS. Brandon twirled Harper around like a sweet little princess. She looked up at him beaming the entire time, as “Never Grow Up” played. Cue the tears, am I right?!
Katie and Brandon c0-danced with their dad and mom as “The Best Day” played. It was really fun to see the dynamics during the dance. The sweet daddy daughter moments, where he soaked in his baby girl, now a bride, and looking like the princess she has always been in his heart. Watching Brandon’s mom smiling at him as they danced, her son- now a husband and father. She had the sweetest gleam in her eyes!
After dinner Katie and Brandon cut their Cake! As “Mine” played over the speakers, they nicely shared a bite (No face smearing here!)! Harper ran up to have a taste, too! They had cute, custom made, cupcakes, and DELICIOUS Crumbl cookies at their dessert table too! I don’t think a dessert table could get any better!
Guests sent Katie and Brandon off with a Sparkler Exit, outside the gorgeous rolling Firehouse doors! With twinkle lights in the background, glowing sparklers, and their loved ones all around- they shared a kiss on their Best Night Ever!
Katie and Brandon,
Thank you so much for choosing me to capture your Elopement day. I absolutely adore everything about you two! I love how you made your day, YOU… Doing the things that meant the most to you, and skipping traditions that didn’t. I love how you saw past all the expectations of a traditional Wedding day, and did what you two felt right in your hearts. Eloping. Including your parents and loved ones. Sharing your vows, alone, in the open desert. Having your best friend officiate your ceremony. Choosing your vendors because of the connection you shared with them. The list truly goes on and on. Every single person present during your day could feel all the Love and genuine Joy you two share. I am so happy for you, and thankful for that invisible string. Katie, seeing you and Harper so happy, is just the best. Brandon, you do such a great job of loving them. We can all see how tender hearted you are for Harper, and Katie. Hearing Brandon’s mom talk about the greatest gift of having Harper as their grand daughter, was just so heart warming. You two were meant to be! What a beautiful joining of families and hearts! Thank you for blessing myself, and all your other vendors by allowing us to be part of your day!