Our Wedding: The Reception

You can sigh with relief if you’re tired of all the wedding-related blog posts since today I bring you the last installment of them. The last thing to cover about it is our reception, which wasn’t your typical reception party and more of a celebratory dinner.

Like I’ve mentioned before, we decided to keep things simple and somewhat low-key. Even though we were all dressed up, the vibe throughout the whole day was laid-back and relaxed; I felt like I was just hanging out with my favorite people, enjoying every second of it. For family photos we even did some silly shots that ended up being my favorite compared to the classic serious family portraits (which granted we also did). Though the  atmosphere was laid-back, we did have a formal dinner with amazing food and plenty of wine to go with it; however no dance floor, band or DJ (my playlist played thru the sound system) were involved, not even a wedding cake.

Family, friends and food were all we needed. Our guest list consisted of 35 of our closest and dearest. There were a lot of extended family and friends that we would’ve loved to have invited if we would’ve gone the huge wedding route, but because we wanted to keep things small and intimate, we only invited those people that in some way or another have been a big part of our journey as a couple. That included our parents and siblings, and a few friends.

Of course being a foodie, food was very important to me and I wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner. Arcadia Farms, with their mostly local and organic ingredients as well as wonderful chef and recipes, didn’t disappoint. Everyone commented on how amazing every course was.

Right after the ceremony, we all walked next door to the private dining room where dinner was held. We had a cocktail hour, with red wine sangrias, champagne, red and white wine, and passed hors d’oeuvres. Then came a 3 course dinner which included the following: a strawberry salad with strawberries, toasted almonds, mixed baby greens and a poppyseed vinaigrette; for an entrée, guests had a choice between butternut squash ravioli in a walnut sage cream sauce (my personal favorite!) or seared salmon with sweet corn, shiitake mushrooms and spinach with a Pinot Noir butter sauce; and finally for dessert, in lieu of a wedding cake everyone was served their own individual baby cake, which they could pick among dark chocolate raspberry, tuxedo (another favorite of mine!) or red velvet cake. If you ask me, it wasn’t only a memorable occasion, it was also a memorable meal!

 As usual, I leave some photos here for you to enjoy.

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 Photos by Steven Toupin



Our Wedding: The Ceremony

Yes, I still have more wedding photos and stories to share. Today’s post is dedicated to our ceremony, which was the most important thing of all to me. When it comes to weddings we often get caught up in the details, the dress, the party, the flowers, the reception, and forget what this is really supposed to be about… two people standing before each other professing their love and commitment out loud in front of their loved ones. Of course, this ritual usually involves a legal contract and its signing. But this wasn’t the case at our wedding. Why? Because we had already been legally married for 5 years.

We had a justice of the peace ceremony back in November 2008, just the two of us, a couple witnesses and the judge. No fuss, no muss. We had a lovely dinner after to celebrate and an overnight stay at a luxurious resort, but that was it. We didn’t even have wedding rings…heck, I didn’t even have an engagement ring yet. It was less than romantic circumstances that took us to get legally married at the time (if you’ve read Liz Gilbert’s Committed, well it was something along those lines), so when the decision was made and my man asked me if we should get an engagement ring and all, I said no.

I didn’t want those less than romantic circumstances to be the main reason we got married and we weren’t yet truly ready to mean the “Til death do us part” aspect of marriage, but we also didn’t want to risk not being able to have a life together in the future if we ever decided we were finally ready. So we agreed that we would get legally married but he would save the proposal and the wedding for a time when we really felt we were ready to say our vows from the bottom of our hearts and not just because of legal matters.

So we signed our marriage certificate in 2008, he proposed to me on Christmas Eve 2009, and after years of fussing about wedding details, we finally decided to keep it simple and walked down the isle on our 5th anniversary of being legally married. A non-traditional way of doing things, but that’s just us! We’ve never really been the traditional kind.

We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen, there was no real tossing of the bouquet or garter, there was no religious minister involved. However, the most important tradition of all,  reciting both traditional vows as well as our own, was the thing we cared about the most. It was a very emotional moment for both us to finally face each other, pouring our hearts out with our closest family and friends as witnesses.

Also, we may have started a new tradition of our own with our wedding rings. We did finally exchange wedding rings and they are a very special set. They were the rings my in-laws exchanged when they got married 44 years ago (they upgraded rings 20 years into their marriage, and after decades of being kept in a safe box, the original bands were generously given to us as a gift ). A beautiful set of identical thick gold bands with a line of 5 small diamonds in the middle. Of course not only do I love their vintage beauty, but the sentimental value and meaning of them is what I love the most. Hopefully, they’ll also function as lucky charms so our marriage is as long and happy as my in-laws’ has been. Then we will pass them on to our own child, and I think that will be a nice new family tradition.

Whether you like to follow old traditions or create new ones on your wedding ceremony, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, because one thing is for sure, it’s a precious but very short moment in life. Luckily we can hold on to it forever in our memory. Here I leave you with the images of such special moment.

 _DSC5230-2 _DSC5237-3 _DSC5269-2 _DSC5280 _DSC5274 _DSC5342-2 _DSC5459-2 _DSC5476-2 _DSC5515 _DSC5523 _DSC5529 _DSC5575 _DSC5622 _DSC5629-2 _DSC5225IMG_8189Photos by Steven Toupin, except the last one which is by Robin Palethorpe



Our Wedding: The Venue

For a long time, one of the decisions I struggled with the most whenever I thought about having our wedding was deciding the location…and I’m not even talking about picking a venue, I’m merely referring to the geographic location!! I went back and forth for literally years about whether to have our wedding in my beloved home country, Mexico, or in my current home, USA.

Then all of the sudden, we decided it was time to stop fretting and just do it, and all the decisions became so easy. It’s amazing the clarity we can achieve when we really eliminate all the “if” and focus on what really matters…and to us that was having the least amount of stress so we could focus on enjoying the moment and the true meaning of this wedding ritual.

So having our wedding here in Arizona was the most practical choice because it made the wedding planning that much easier for me. I couldn’t even have imagined how easy! It turned out finding the perfect venue for us truly was a piece of cake. For years I had looked at hundreds of venues online and in magazines, and I don’t even remember now how I came up with the idea of Arcadia Farms, but after deciding we would have an itty bitty wedding, I somehow knew that was the first place I had to check out personally. And that was it! First place I visited, and it was perfection.

Growing up, whenever I would picture my wedding, I always had a vision of standing in a luscious green garden, which it’s funny because 99% of weddings in Mexico happen inside a church so I don’t even know where I first got the idea of a garden wedding. Even funnier is that I didn’t know Arcadia Farms could offer the choice of a garden. I knew it was a charming little restaurant, with a cute patio, but it was until I was there talking to the the event coordinator that she mentioned that across the street from the restaurant lived the owner and that she had a lovely courtyard/garden she would occasionally rent out for events. I immediately asked to check it out and as soon as she opened the gate and I walked in, I felt my vision of a garden wedding come to life.

It was so lusciously green and full of flowers, with big trees towering over the whole space and a fountain to add to the ambiance. It also had touches of Spanish style tile all around, which it’s a kind of tile very common in Mexico, so I felt it had a bit of a Mexican touch which made me even happier. It felt like a little oasis in the middle of the desert, like an almost secret garden I never would’ve guessed was there. The whole thing was just a dream come true. But why don’t I let these gorgeous pictures do the talking instead?



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