Jon and Erin’s “dead skeleton, roaming cow, mariachi fun, beating heart” wedding!

The first time Jon and Erin flew down from Oregon and met with us about possibly using Radiant for their wedding photography, we totally forgot that we were in a meeting!  There we were sitting on the porch at Starbucks enjoying the sun (since Erin craves the rays while living in the cloudy northwest!), sipping our lattes and hanging out.  Oh wait, what?  We’re supposed to be talking about business?!  We were friends with them from the start!

We always blabber on about how important relationships with our couples are and how much that affects the quality of their wedding photos, so not to bore you with that again… but really it is so true and this wedding is a great example of that!

We decided to not let the distance between Oregon and Arizona force us to act distant with each other!  When you connect with people that quickly, you’d have to try hard to NOT let that connection show through in the many phone calls and emails that were sent back and forth as we planned for their big day!

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far in the blog and haven’t even mentioned where their wedding was at!  Ever heard of Tubac, AZ?  Yeah, me neither.  But it’s there!

Down South near Nogales, there’s  little strip of town called Tubac and while it doesn’t seem like much initially, just wait until you go down into the valley near the river… that’s quite a beautiful, pleasant little surprise!

Tubac Golf Resort is down in that area and oh WOW, we were stunned when we arrived there (not just because they had cows hanging out all over the place either)!

We felt really bad for all these people who flew down expecting a sunny southwest wedding because it was an unusually cold and rainy day!

We always tell our brides not to be too upset if it rains on their wedding day because as long as it stops long enough for us to run outside for photos, those are the days when the sky is the most spectacular!

Jon and Erin’s goal was to spend as much time with their guests as possibly since everyone flew in from all over the United States (I think we figured out that Alaska was the farthest location that people came from).  So to make the flow of their day go a little smoother and allow them the maximum amount of time with their loved ones, Jon and Erin chose to do a “reveal moment”.

When we describe a reveal moment to most brides, the immediate reaction we often receive is a mix of horror and confusion.  After all, when most little girls dream of their wedding they imagine walking down the aisle with a veil shielding their face and having their fiance see them for the first time when he lifts the veil in front of everyone.  While we never push anyone to break that tradition if it is very important to them, we do educate couples about the value of doing the “reveal moment”.  First of all it’s not like you are just going to casually pass each other throughout the day, hi-fiving as you cross paths!  We still keep the bride hidden until the right time, the only difference is that the right time is a private one instead of a public one.  We bring the bride up behind the groom…

…and then we capture shots from afar as he turns around and sees his beautiful bride for the first time.

The biggest benefit to doing it this way is that they actually get a few minutes alone on their wedding day. The rest of the day is a whirlwind and they’re surrounded by people the entire time.  This way they get the privacy to laugh, cry, kiss…

…and in Jon and Erin’s case, pray.

After they see each other, couples tend to relax and feel more ready to face the many things that they were previously nervous or worried about.  We think reveal moments are some of the best moments of wedding days!  As you can see, I think Jon and Erin might agree with that.:-)

(There are more photos of this beautiful moment if you click here to see the rest of the photos from the wedding).

Tubac Golf Resort turned out to be the perfect location for this wedding (despite the rain)!

Jon and Erin decided to play up the whole Southwestern desert feel, but in a way very different than I’m used to… and trust me, being an Arizona native, I am definitely used to the typical Southwestern themes!  Jon and Erin played up the Hispanic aspect of some of it and it was PERFECT!  For one thing, they got married in an old Mission style church that was on the property of Tubac Golf Resort…

… and it was beautiful!

I have to say that my favorite unique Southwestern style thing that they added in was the Mariachi band! They were AMAZING!  And Jon and Erin, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this when you first told us that you were walking down the aisle to Mariachi music!  But I will eat my words several times over because it was freaking awesome!  The high energy feel that the band brought to the wedding was incredible!  In all my weddings, I’ve truley never seen a better recessional!

Jon and Erin ran out of the church and the band threw their hands in the air yelling and cheering and then burst into a loud, boisterous celebration with super fun music to accompany it!

Then the band led a little parade of the guests over the reception area where they played throughout the cocktail hour while guests mingled and maintained the high energy feel of celebration until we got over there (which was hardly any time thanks to that reveal moment we had early that let us get pics out of the way before the ceremony).

I was seriously laughing out loud this whole time because I just couldn’t help it, it was so so fun and it felt like such a great party (or Fiesta I guess I should say).  Great choice on that one guys! (By the way, the band’s name is Mariachi Plata out of Nogales if anyone is interested!)

Another cool Southwest aspect they did that I didn’t quite catch the vision for until I saw it with my own eyes was their decision to play up the whole dead skeleton thing, Dia De Los Muertos style.

I can say with confidence that I’ve definitely never seen a wedding with skeletons used as decorations!  But the whole thing was done with such class and such unique style that they not only pulled it off but made it elegant and incredibly memorable.

(The skeletons along with mini versions of their dogs were the cake toppers and the Beer Can Chicken were the favors for all their guests to take home).

When I heard they were highlighting the old west theme I was thinking Kokopellis, purple coyotes, and turquoise bolo ties, but that was not the feel at all.  They focused more on the worn wood look with a rustic, old (or dead in the case of the skeletons) vintage feel that carried throughout the wedding.

It all looked unbelievable and I was totally impressed! Some of their family members had even made pieces of leather with their wedding logo burned into it.

The logo was a heart (like a REAL heart, not the valentine’s one) because Jon is a cardiologist and Erin’s a nurse (they met at the hospital).

(The seal used on the programs even had the heart shape embedded into it).

There were so many special, little personalized details that I can’t even begin to mention them all! There is one more that I thought was particularly awesome (and thoughtful) and that is that Jon and Erin love cooking together…

(which is why Erin gave her bridesmaids super cute aprons as gifts!)

…and they both enjoy Druid’s Fluid wine, from the Troon Winery in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon.  It’s quite a long story, but as Jon and Erin were falling in love, this wine was present for many special occasions, so they wanted to include it in this one as well!  They brought enough of it special to share with all of their guests! Also due to their love of cooking, they asked guests to bring bottles of their favorite wines in lieu of gifts as well as their favorite recipes that Jon and Erin were going to make into a journal to keep and use for years to come.  As I said, everything had such a personal touch and it all reflected their personalities as well as their relationships with all their loved ones.

By the way, their family and friends were SO cool!  You could tell that this wedding meant almost as much to them as it did to Jon and Erin themselves! You could see little touches all over the place that totally showed the time, energy, and love that their family and friends poured into celebrating this wedding.

(We’ll post some of these pictures on our Facebook page so if you fan us, you can tag yourselves in the photos so they’ll show up on your profiles!)

It was beautiful in every way.

I mentioned earlier that Jon and Erin really wanted to kick back and have a blast with their loved ones who flew in from all over to be with them.  I’m sure you can tell from these pictures that it was a great party and they were totally successful in that!

Jon and Erin,  I’m getting all emotional just trying to even think of how to put in words our thanks for you allowing us to be a part of a wedding that you put your hearts into so much.

I know every little thing in your wedding meant something very meaningful to you both, including the photography, so to say that we are honored that you chose us, is a huge understatement.  Your wedding meant a lot to us and we will always remember it, more as one of our friends weddings that we were able to attend than as a “job”.  Thank you so much for bringing us into your lives the way you did and for being such open, caring people who so obviously spread love to everyone you meet.  We are privileged to be recipients of that love and kindness that not only you shared, but also your family and friends.  So thanks to everyone who was a part of this wedding and who welcomed us to be involved with it as well.  Congratulations to you both!

Click to see the rest of Jon and Erin’s Tubac, AZ wedding photos!  Click to fan our Facebook page so you can tag yourselves in the photos!

March 23, 2010 - 10:48 am

Brian Powell - looks great guys! :) what’s your light setup at receptions and the outdoor twilight?

and did you buy someone’s set of actions? I’m shopping for those right now…

peace,

March 23, 2010 - 12:22 pm

Scottie - Thanks Brian! We use a single Speed light on a light stand on manual power. For a couple twilight shots we added a second speed light behind the couple for rim light and some flare. The only actions we have bought are Totally Rad Actions and they are great.

March 23, 2010 - 1:28 pm

Leah Godfredson - Love, love, love that praying shot. They are ALL fantastic, but that one stopped me in my tracks. BTW, are you going to the Phoenix SMUG on thurs?

March 23, 2010 - 3:58 pm

Breanna - Hi Leah, yes we are going to SMUG but I thought it was on Wednesday. We’ll look for you there in case you go!

March 23, 2010 - 5:35 pm

Jammie Tompkins - WoW! These are amazing! You too compliment each other.

March 23, 2010 - 9:03 pm

Brian Dragoo - Um, how amazing is the Bill Otto dance shot (a few up from the bottom? Eat your heart out 1975.

April 1, 2010 - 12:37 am

Molly Ellison - Guys. Seriously. You have outdone yourselves. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You. Are. Awesome. Photographers.

I love love love these. Breanna – your words and thoughts never fail to make me laugh and touch my heart at the same time.
Scottie – your eye is unbelievable.
You guys are so inspiring to me not only creatively but also because of your heart for your clients. You both are truly servant-hearted (don’t deny it B! there are other ways to serve than doing dishes!)

Can’t wait to see you sometime soon!

Miss you both!
~Molly

December 24, 2010 - 9:27 pm

Erika - Hello, beautiful wedding! I love the rustic theme, and I am also planning my wedding for June of 2011. Is it possible to find out where the couple purchased their day of the dead cake topper?

January 11, 2012 - 7:00 pm

Emily - I would also like to know where they got te day of the deal toppers

January 12, 2012 - 4:37 pm

Breanna - Unfortunately, they got the cake toppers from a street vendor in Mexico that they have no way of tracking down. Sorry! Good luck finding similar ones though!

March 25, 2014 - 6:20 am

Parties R Us - Just wanted to know if you are able to tell me where the wedding cake topper came from. I have a client who loves it so much she wants it for her wedding in October in Australia.

March 26, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Breanna - I wish I could answer that for you but we have had this question many times in the past and the bride and groom have said they got it from a street vendor in Mexico and have no way of tracking him down. So sorry I couldn’t be of more help! Good luck finding a similar one!

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