Arizona Real Weddings


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Kathy and Doug
Venue: Hilton Garden Inn
Photographer: Jon & Karyne Photography
Officiant: Matt Dobyns, Desert Cross
Wedding cake: Pixy Cakes
Wedding gown: David’s Bridal
Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse
DJ: Tony Alvarez, DJTA Productions, Lenexa, Kansas
Hair stylist and makeup: Regina’s Hair Studio, Ahwatukee

How did you two meet and how did he propose?
We met on! Our proposal: I had been traveling for work and he missed me so he set up a very romantic dinner at Elements at the Sanctuary. He arranged with the restaurant the entire proposal. We were seated at a booth that overlooked the city lights and he had arranged to have my favorite flowers delivered and set on the table. We had an awesome dinner and after dinner the waiter delivered two cupcakes (my favorite) and two glasses of proseco with my engagement ring tied to my glass. He untied the ring and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The entire restaurant was silent and they all clapped afterwards. Of course, I said yes and when I think about it, I still tear up because it was so sweet and he put so much thought in to it.

Tell us about your venue.
Our wedding was at the Hilton Garden Inn, Avondale and it was perfect. This facility is about 5 miles from my house so it was easy to get our large family to the site for rehearsal and then the ceremony. Most of the people in attendance live on the west side of town so this location was convenient for them and there is easy access off of the freeway. The hotel is fairly new, very clean, and modern and the layout is perfect for a ceremony and a reception-the fountains are gorgeous. We were married outside on the patio with the fireplace going and the patio leads right in to the reception area. We had use of the patio for the entire evening which was nice for taking a break. I frequently travel for work and quite often stay at a Hilton Garden Inn. They are all set up similarly and I think about my wedding every time I walk in to a Hilton Garden Inn. I cried when I walked in and saw the room being set up – Tracy and her team were pulling everything together and it was even better than I had imagined.

Describe the theme or color scheme of your wedding, and what you chose for your table setting at the reception?
I let my daughter pick the color so she felt included because I really had no preference – it’s really about the marriage not the ceremony so this gave her a say in the ceremony. We picked a Caribbean Blue and I set it against black tablecloths to make it feel elegant. I used aqua colored candle holders and flameless candles at the bridal table because I love candles. These candle holders are in my living room now and I get to look at them every day and remember the ceremony. I chose orange/peach colored roses to contrast against the blue for the bridesmaid bouquets and centerpieces; my bouquet was white and orange roses because I love white roses. The tuxes were simple, black tuxedos – my husband wanted a bow tie and the groomsmen all had standard black ties. I let each bridesmaid select her own dress because no one dress looks good on everyone and this gave them a say in how they looked – I only asked that the color be the same Caribbean Blue. All of the bridesmaid and groomsman were our children and my maid of honor was my best friend of 35 years.

I didn’t really have a theme other than romance and family unity. My husband and I have 8 children between the two of us and I really wanted them to all come together and feel our love and commitment to each other and to them. In our ceremony, we included a vow to accept each other’s children and they vowed to accept each other. I thought it was absolutely beautiful and out kids were amazing – they are all adults and it made the ceremony very special to have them included.

We chose a buffet style dinner to get people up and moving and allow people to have as much or little as they wanted and we selected to host the bar. The food was incredible – when we went for our tastings of the menu choices I could not believe how good the food was and was not disappointed at the reception. Tracy had snacks and champagne for our toast waiting for us when our ceremony was done so that our bridal party could have a moment to toast and celebrate in a private moment. The Hilton Garden Inn provided a dessert buffet in addition to our cupcakes we had brought in for the wedding. Our guests had plenty of choices for sweets after dinner and the cannoli was a big hit.

What piece of advice would you give other brides planning their big day?
Remember, it’s only a day. The focus should be on the marriage and not the wedding. Things might go wrong and it’s ok – if things don’t go the way you plan, the only one that’s going to know is you. I would like to add that being flexible and easy to work with makes it so much easier for everyone and reduces stress for yourself.

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