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I'M A FULL TIME DESTINATION WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, 100% IN LOVE WITH ADVENTUROUS ELOPEMENTS + SMALL WEDDINGS.

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Desert Botanical Garden Intimate Wedding | Phoenix, Arizona | Phoenix Wedding Photographer

Tess and Darren’s Desert Botanical Garden intimate wedding day was absolutely filled to the brim with all the feels. These two have the sweetest story, and I want you to hear it straight from them. Here’s their story:

How They Met:

“We actually met at a job interview.. as in he was on my interview panel. My sister had actually connected me with a job opening in her CTO group at her company so I flew from Portland to Santa Clara, CA for the interview. Darren was one of the folks that met with me.. and actually, he was the only one who told them not to hire me. HAHA! He was worried I was too smart for the job and would be bored in 6 months. Turned out to be the case.. so I got a raise, a promotion, and eventually a whole new job out of it at the same company.”

The Proposal:

“Darren took me on a surprise Christmas date to a place called Fioli Gardens. We’d actually skipped out on a Christmas party the night before (it was cold, rainy, and PJs/snuggle time was calling) so he said he would take me somewhere the next night so I could wear my dress I’d gotten for the event (smooth!). Thinking that just meant we’d go downtown to the local street for a nice dinner, I was getting dolled up and he told me to be pick shoes where I could go “off roading”. Umm… what does that mean, sir? He said we might be walking on uneven ground so that was the first clue something was up.  

Turns out this amazing property/garden/mansion is only 15 minutes from his house which I had no idea even existed! He’d let me whine a little earlier that day about how I felt like the holidays were passing us by and that I wasn’t in the Christmas spirit yet. He turned on some Christmas music and when ‘Walking in a Winter wonderland” came on, he asked if I wanted to walk in one. At that point, I was like ‘WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME?” 

We pulled up to this gorgeously lit mansion and grounds – full of christmas carolers and decor. Each room in the mansion was decorated in a different theme/style. Then we headed out to the gardens and walked around out there. Each portion of the gardens had different lights, some of which hung down from the trees like snow, some were colored.. all amazing.
We wandered for a bit and enjoyed the sights and stopped for some warm drinks. After a while, he said he wanted to go check out a section we’d missed. We walked over to this dark section of the garden and he led me inside. Bless that man, he knows how I feel about public proposals so he wanted to make sure we were alone.

That’s where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He said the Fioli gardens reminded him of me – full of light, music, and was old fashioned. My goodness- this guy.
Afterwards we had a delicious dinner and champagne at a local restaurant overlooking the lights of the bay area. Perfect.”

This is why they chose to have a small, intimate wedding instead of a large one: “We wanted the day to be focused on our commitment rather than an event. It was important to us to really keep our intentions and focus on our promises to one another.”

What They Love to Do:

“We’ve had so many I cannot choose! We’ve gone to multiple national parks (like 10) including hiking the Grand Canyon, Observation point in Zion, and Bryce. We’ve done multiple big hikes in Yosemite and Sequoia… We ate the most delicious scones in the world in Port Angeles. We’ve visited Germany and Oktoberfest and I got named the ‘best wife in the whole tent’ by a VERY intoxicated German man. We’ve been to Hawaii and enjoyed some Mai Tai’s on the gorgeous beach of Maui. And so many others… I CAN’T CHOOSE ONE!”

Yep – I told you their story was the sweetest. Here’s to the new Mr. and Mrs.!

Cheers!

Allison

Want to book with me for your Desert Botanical Garden Intimate Wedding OR your proposal, engagement or elopement? Click here to read all about my pricing and collections!

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Photographer: Allison Slater Photography @allisonslater

Wedding Gown: Avancy Bridal, by Maggie Sottero @avancybridal

Hair/Makeup: Primp and Blow @primpandblow

Ceremony/Reception: Desert Botanical Garden  @dbgphx

Cake: 21 Cakes @21cakes
Catering: Arizona Taste @arizonataste

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