Claire and Christopher had the kind of old-fashioned courtship that’s straight out of a Hollywood movie and Arizona wedding photographer BRITTANY MAHOOD has captured their beautiful wedding at one of our favourite California venues, HOLMAN RANCH. The pair, who met by chance when Christopher was home visiting friends and family, got to know one another by exchanging hand written letters once he returned to Toronto. “It was like our conversation never ended,” Claire says. Some years later, the pair were visiting London, England, and decided to visit Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park before the end of their trip. At the very top of the Ferris Wheel, Christopher got down on one knee and asked Claire to be his wife. She felt on top of the world – literally! For their wedding, they planned a destination celebration in the Carmel Valley at the exquisite Holman Ranch, which brought together Claire’s dreams of a French garden with a laid-back California twist. Says Claire, “Beautiful Parisian gardens have always been an inspiration for me, and Paris was also the first trip overseas we took together, so we landed on an ethereal Parisian garden-themed wedding as our inspiration. Our florist, AMANDA VIDMAR, was amazing – she transformed Holman Ranch into the garden-themed wedding I had dreamed of!

For the well-travelled couple, location was key. “When we visited Big Sur for the very first time, we loved it. It brought back memories of living in Australia and our favourite place, Byron Bay. Holman Ranch offered its own magic. When you first arrive, you are greeted by this enormous oak tree, followed by the beautifully restored 1928 Carmel stone hacienda. It was the perfect venue for us to be close to the ocean and still host an outdoor themed wedding. Our families and bridal party loved staying on the estate and having it all to ourselves the entire weekend.” Claire’s advice for other couples planning a destination wedding? “I highly recommend a day-of coordinator. Rachael from RUBY AND ROSE was the first vendor I hired, and since she was in the region, we were able to ask her questions and trust her opinions to guide us in our planning decisions.

I’m a modernist at heart but with my wedding dress I wanted something timeless, feminine, and ethereal. When I came across the BO & LUCA ‘Manhattan’ dress, the details in the beading were so beautiful and intricate I was totally in love. I ordered the dress via FaceTime from a Canadian retailer and it was perfect in every way.

Thank you so much to Arizona wedding photographer BRITTANY MAHOOD for sharing this magical wedding with us. If you're looking for an Arizona wedding photographer check out more of Brittany's work in our vendor guide

Brittany's approach to photography stems from her years spent living in Phoenix, where those desert tones seeped right into her heart and art. Combining her love of portraiture with the raw and fast pace of weddings, she creates timeless images on her favourite medium format camera. Be sure to check out this stunning shoot that featured on a recent Magnolia Rouge Magazine cover - Serene New Zealand Coastal Wedding Inspiration.