With it's stunning mountain backdrop EL CHORRO in Paradise Valley, Arizona provided the perfect venue for Melissa and Jesse to hold an outdoor wedding ceremony. Being that it's also a well know high-end restaurant and that the groom is a total foodie it offered the best of both - or rather all - worlds. Scroll down to see the beautiful images captured by ASHLEY RAE PHOTOGRAPHY.
Melissa tells us, "Jesse and I met on a traveling teen tour (basically traveling camp) when we were about 15 years old in 2003. We were just friends for the rest of our high school years and met up our Freshman year of college in San Diego. It was like no time had passed and we immediately had a strong connection. We started a long distance relationship, and years later I moved to New York City, just a couple hours away from Jesse. Our relationship grew and we eventually moved in together, in a tiny 500 square foot New York City apartment.
A few years (and a puppy) later, we moved to my hometown in Scottsdale, Arizona where Jesse finally proposed in the cutest way! He got on the roof and put a light up "MARRY ME" sign in front of our home. I got home, opened the garage, which was decorated with a table, flowers, and balloons all over, and he was playing 'our song' and got down on one knee. It was just the two of us and our two dogs, and it was so magical! I never cry and was totally balling. Once we got engaged, we started wedding planning with MEANT2BE EVENTS. We wanted a true Arizona wedding (which is why EL CHORRO was perfect), that had amazing food and a total romance feel. I also love rose gold, so the colours were naturally rose gold and white with some greenery to add colour."
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS: It's funny, I actually didn't want to go shopping because I was just so happy to be engaged. My twin sister ended up booking a few appointments for me and called me to let me know. I figured it would be a fun girls day with my mom and sister, and we'd have some champagne and try on dresses. I knew I didn't want to bring friends with me because I wanted to surprise everyone with my dress on our wedding day.
The first dress shop we went to had one dress I liked but wasn't certain about. The second shop was Destiny's Bride in Scottsdale. I was immediately drawn to my dress. It was so unique in colour and fit. The second I put it on I felt SO special. To be totally honest, my sister and I have opposite taste, and when we both loved this dress (and so did my mom), I knew that it was special. We took pictures and went to another dress shop, and after three weeks of me staring at the photo, I knew it was the one! I actually made some changes to it. The dress originally had sleeves, so we cut them to make it more my style. Destiny's Bride handled this from start to finish and did an immaculate job! Literally took ONE session to make the dress perfect.
WEDDING FLOWERS: We used minimal flowers. I'm not a flower person, but I did want colour added to the ceremony and centerpieces. El Chorro has such a beautiful setting, I didn't want anything to take away from the mountain background, so we went with simple greenery with some ivory and blush coloured flowers. Chasing Bliss totally understood my vision and brought it to life even better than I could have imagined! All of my bouquets were brooch bouquets, which I handmade. Those were very special to me!
FAVOURITE DETAIL OF THE DAY: Oh gosh, there are SO many!! I think everything came together so seamlessly, it's hard to pick one. One of my favourites was my husband's socks. SO funny, but I ordered him custom socks with our dogs faces on them. We are your average dog obsessed parents, and I wanted to surprise him and incorporate them into our wedding in some way. He was so surprised and excited when he saw I got those for him! Probably one of my favourite details that most people didn't even get to see!
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? 100% my first look! We didn't cry or get overly emotional, but it just felt like pure joy and happiness! We were on the same page, and both just couldn't wait to be married. We spent over 15 years of our lives getting to know each other and it was finally our moment. We're so lucky!