Culpepper Wedding | JW Marriott Desert Ridge + Hope Barn and Gardens Reception
“Who’s ever heard of a good blind date?”, words written on Kendra and Ryan’s Wedding Website describing how they met. Four years later, Kendra and Ryan celebrated their Wedding Day! Romantic, Classic and Elegant. Kendra and Ryan began their day getting ready at the gorgeous JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona.
Every moment of Kendra and Ryan’s Wedding day was intentional. So well thought out, and full of meaning for them. Kendra used to work with the JW Marriott Desert Ridge. She and her bridesmaids got ready in the gorgeous presidential suite overlooking spectacular mountain views! The day was bright, clear and sunny! There was truly a feeling of joy surrounding us!
Once hair and makeup was done, Kendra gave gifts to her bridesmaids out on the balcony. They had the cutest matching robes on, and Kendra had a monogrammed Bride’s robe with her soon to be new initials! All the girls had to remind themselves to keep it together, and not cry all their beautiful makeup off! Before getting into her dress, Kendra took some time alone to read her heartfelt letter that she wrote to her future Husband. In a beautiful vow book she took her time and imagined the life they will lead together, and where they’ve been so far.
Kendra and Ryan met through a mutual work friend. During the speeches, he talked about how he knew them both separately, and one day, it dawned on him that they were perfect for each other. After asking Kendra’s permission, he gave her number to Ryan. Ryan, being the gentleman he is, called her… you know… like on the real phone! And asked her for a date!!! They went on their first date in December of 2016, they got to talking and soon realized it had already been 3 hours! I think that’s the best blind date story I have ever heard!!
Kendra soon moved to Yuma, to be closer to Ryan. After living there just over a year, they decided to build a house closer to where Kendra grew up and closer to her family! In July of 2020, Ryan proposed to Kendra! They were enjoying the amazing Arizona sunset, listening to an old record and Ryan said it just felt like the perfect moment. Kendra, of course, said yes!!
Beginning their day at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge was perfect! The bridesmaids hadn’t seen Kendra in her dress before. With her mom’s help she got fully ready and did the cutest bridesmaids dress reveal! There were lots of squeals, smiles, and hugs! Kendra looked absolutely stunning in her Eve of Milday gown from Forever Bridal. Perfecting her bridal look she wore a Dareth Colburn headpiece, and topped the whole look off with a veil that her mother hand made her. Cue the tears!!!
Kendra knew all the dreamy hidden gem’s on the property, and we took our time exploring and photographing her Bridals! The bridesmaids joined us in the Desert botanical garden on property, where we got some glowy light, and had so much fun dancing and signing as they celebrated the Bride! One of my favorite bridals was taken on the way back to her room. A hidden spiral staircase. Huge windows letting in beautiful light. Her train cascading down the stairs. It was so stunning and classic. She truly took my breath away. Adding to the elegance and classic vibe, every choice Kendra and Ryan made for their day was timeless.
They chose to get married in their absolutely stunning Catholic Church, St. Thomas More in Glendale, Arizona. When we arrived, Kendra had a first look with her Father in a beautiful stained glass filled room. I have no doubt that her dad Rex thought she looked absolutely perfect! He smiled so big when he turned and saw his baby girl. She embraced him in a huge hug, and kissed his cheek. The overwhelm of love was palpable, and my favorite little moment was when she gently wiped her lipstick off his cheek, as he stared lovingly at her. They went into hiding, and prepared for him to give her away to her soon-to-be husband.
The ceremony was so beautiful. The large fountain was adorned with gorgeous white florals, the soothing sounds of trickling water gave us all a feeling of peace. Ryan waited patiently at the altar, and when he caught a glimpse of Kendra, he had a HUGE smile on his face! They said their vows, and the cutest moment happened. The Priest didn’t say he could kiss her yet- so they quickly bumped elbows, nudging each other with excitement that they were married!! The Priest smiled as he watched them, and told him he could kiss his bride!
Officially Mr+Mrs Culpepper!!! They left the church in a gorgeous and classic, Chevy Bel Air by Roscoe + Louie. We went to a nearby desert location to capture their Husband and Wife portraits!
The dreamy desert glow did not disappoint us (does it ever?!). The bridal party cheered them on as they kissed! They toasted to the new couple. The excitement and love poured out of all of them! The groomsmen wore sun glasses with their black tux’s, and the bridesmaids wore gorgeous rose gold sequined gowns by Shop Revelry. It was the most beautiful color palette on the desert backdrop! After the bridal party, Kendra and Ryan took some time alone together to enjoy the day. They danced in the desert like no one was watching. They didn’t even need music… just each other. They shared newlywed kisses. They giggled. and they had SO much fun!
We took some beautiful portraits with the Chevy Bel Air, as they were escorted to their Reception space!
A Hope Barn and Gardens Reception
Nestled between beautiful mountain views in Phoenix, Arizona, sits Hope Barn and Gardens Reception space. A modern Barn design, with wide open spaces, adorable bridal cottage, and lush lawns. Upon entering the indoor space, sentimental Wedding Portraits of generations of family members welcomed guests. It was so beautiful to see the legacy of love both sides of their family’s have worked hard to instill; a value on marriage, and the commitment to your spouse. One of my favorite elements of their reception!
Kendra and Ryan planned an intimate reception with their closest friends and cherished family members. Soft and Romantic decorations adorned the tables, and beautiful candlelit glow filled the room. Behind Kendra and Ryan’s sweetheart table were stunning mountain views, with a sunset glow. The Barn doors were opened, giving the room a feel of al fresco dining. Twinkle lights hung outdoors lighting the elegantly tented space for the appetizers, and bar and beverage.
Kendra and Ryan’s grand entrance was full of fun and cheers from their guests, they had their first dance and gave a heartfelt thank you to their guests and family for not only being there today, but for supporting them as their relationship has evolved. They have such a wonderful group of loved one’s cheering them on as they begin their live’s as Husband and Wife.
Kendra had a little surprise for her new Husband on their Wedding day… She had the mic, cued the music and sang him a song!!! Kendra has sang a song at all of her family member’s wedding’s…so it was only right that she took center stage and Sang to her new Husband on their Wedding day, too! The guests surrounded them, sang along, and cheered Kendra on! This Bride can SING!!!
One of my favorite heartfelt parts of a wedding day are the father daughter and mother son dances! I always get so emotional, especially now as a mother. I imagine having the feeling of your babies live’s going so fast, and being there soaking in the moment of dancing with your child as you celebrate their journey to adulthood, and to finding the love of their lives. These truly special moments; where every single guest is captivated by the love, too.
The newlywed couple took some time to greet all of their guests and mingle- truly enjoying their cocktail hour! They celebrated with their family, took fun photo’s at their photobooth with their friends, and just soaked in the moments they planned for over the last year. I love seeing the couple during these moments. It’s like all the hard work you put into the day is finally here. Your vision has come to life. And you get to enjoy it, hand in hand as Husband and Wife!
A Personal Thank You
Kendra and Ryan. I will never be able to put into words how thankful I am to have been there with you during your Wedding day. When I picked up my camera 4 years ago, Kendra- your family was the first to believe in me. Capturing your family’s photo’s year after year is always a highlight in my Fall season! Getting to be there for your Engagement session was truly an honor. I absolutely loved getting to see you and Ryan together. The way you two are so joyful and caring with one another. You are a perfect balance to each other. Arriving on your Wedding day was surreal. All of the plans you talked about over the last year, your vision- it all came together so perfectly. You two chose your vendors so thoughtfully, and I felt absolutely honored to work with such amazing people! If I could pick a few words to describe your day from an “outsiders” point of view they would be this:
Intentional. Joyful. Classic. Romantic.
It was the perfect day to begin the rest of your lives as HUSBAND and WIFE!!!
AND I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU TWO!!!!!