May
26
Weddings by MJ

Andrew & Stephanie -- Sanctuary on Camelback


Andrew and Stephanie don't have a story filled with grand romantic gestures and moments where they knew they had found "the one." Their love is more quiet and content…proving through time their devotion and faithfulness to each other. Their love is found in moments of shared laughter, quiet walks with their dog, dinner out, and shared adventures in home improvement. It is these moments that have deepened their devotion and appreciation for one another.

During their ceremony on Saturday, as they turned around to look at all the people who had traveled from across the country to celebrate their marriage, it was another quiet moment to reflect on their journey together. And throughout the day, laughter was shared and memories were made that continued to solidify Andrew and Stephanie's love story.

It was a true privilege to get to know these two throughout the course of our time working together and to celebrate their union on Saturday! Here are a few favorite photos from their wedding day:


































Thank you so much Andrew & Stephanie for allowing me to be a part of your wedding! What a great day! I'm so happy for you two!

The fabulous vendor team that made this wedding amazing: Wedding Planner: Outstanding Occasions // Ceremony Venue: Desert Hills Presbyterian Church // Reception Venue: Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain // Florist/Decor: Petal Pusher // Bride, Groom & Bridal Party Attire: J Crew // Hair & Makeup: Andrea & Priscilla with Glam Lounge Artists // Stationery: Idieh Design // DJ: Desert House Productions // Rentals: Cre8ive Event Rentals // Linens: Wildflower Linen // Drapes: Quest Drape // Strings: Allegro Quartet // Cake: Classic Cakes and Confections // Videographer: Bernadette Moreno // Video Booth: The Slow Motion Booth // Transportation: Driver Provider

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Equipment used for this wedding: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT speedlights // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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Apr
07
Weddings by MJ

Sean & Tiffany - Desert Botanical Gardens


Sean proposed to Tiffany by taking her back to where they first met.

Now, I know this in and of itself is not unheard of... however, there is just something about their story that makes the part of me that adores old, high-school romantic comedies so happy.

The place where Sean first met Tiffany? A middle school!
No. They did not meet IN middle school...
They met TEACHING middle school!

They were going back to see their "first class of students" graduate, and Sean suggested they take a quick detour over to the middle school building. You know, to see how it had changed in the 5 years since they had been there. They walked the halls lined with lockers to Tiffany's old classroom and then over to Sean's. Sean trailed behind her as they approached the door and when she turned around, Sean was down on one knee.

With the unique echo that only middle school hallways have, Sean told her that this was the very first place he ever saw her - and would she marry him.

Not even GLEE can write a scene that good!

Sean and Tiffany have moved on together and are currently teaching overseas in China at an International School -- she, 3rd grade, and he, elementary music. They are intelligent, goofy and fun -- everything you would want in a teacher. And I had SO MUCH FUN getting to know them and photographing their wedding day. They only had one week in the states for all of the festivities, and not wanting to be too jet-lagged, they decided to have their wedding in the middle of the week -- on a Wednesday. Only 50-some family and friends came, most from out of state, so it was an intimate affair.

The day started quietly with Tiffany getting ready in her hotel room with her mother:



I adored the flowers by Butterfly Petals, complete with succulents befitting their desert-themed wedding:


Tiffany made a gorgeous bride:





Sean couldn't stop kissing Tiffany when he saw her for their first look:



Sean and Tiffany made sure to let me know that they love the Chihuly Sculptures on display at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens right now, so I made sure to incorporate some of them into their portraits:




There was a looming gray cloud over us most of the day, but the sun would occasionally pop out to say hello. This was one of those divine moments:


I also love this angle that my 2nd shooter, Janelle got:


Moments later, the clouds spilled on us and thankfully Victoria Canada was ready with some umbrellas! It always seems a bit magical to me when it is sunny and raining simultaneously and I love this image we got. What a fun memory!


Sean wore cufflinks that were a fun nod to his beloved profession:


And I couldn't get enough of these cute flower girls!



To begin the ceremony, Sean walked his parents down the aisle then awaited his bride:





Thank goodness the rain stopped in time for the ceremony. We only had a bit of wind and cold to deal with, but no amount of weather could dampen this celebration.




Here's a bit of that fun I was talking about:


The guests dined under the open sky with a few heaters for warmth:


And the gorgeous flowers continued to pop up everywhere:



A mariachi band kept the guests company during cocktail hour:



And the celebration of the sweet newlyweds continued into the night:


What a fun wedding! Congratulations Sean & Tiffany! Thank you so much for allowing me the honor of photographing your wedding day!

Vendors who made this event amazing: Preparation Venue: Tempe Mission Palms // Ceremony & Reception Venue: Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens // Wedding Planner: Victoria Canada Weddings + Events // Florist: Butterfly Petals // Glass Artwork: Dale Chihuly // Officiant: Mike Hall // Ceremony Music: Mike Hall Quartet // DJ: James with Ray the DJ // Hair & Make Up: Dolce Salon // Dress: Essense of Australia from Uptown Bridal // Caterer: Atlasta Catering // Cupcakes: Kick Ass Kakes // Mariachi Band: Mariachi Corazon de Phoenix // Photobooth: Shutter Booth

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Equipment used for this wedding: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites // Gary Fong Lightsphere // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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Apr
03
Weddings by MJ

Lucky Strike Bowling Alley Rehearsal Dinner


I just photographed Sean & Tiffany's desert wedding yesterday, and I can't wait to share it with you on Monday! But first -- I wanted to share some photos from their rehearsal dinner at Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in downtown Phoenix. These two are super-fun and goofy together and this was the perfect setting for them to bring their families and friends together to celebrate the night before the big day! I had so much fun shooting the fun and getting to know this great crowd!













What a great night! Stay tuned to see Sean & Tiffany's amazing wedding on Monday!

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Equipment used for this event: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites // Gary Fong Lightsphere // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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Mar
31
Weddings by MJ

Jake & Andrea -- Montelucia Wedding


"Well. That went well." Jacob's tone was thick with sarcasm as he spoke to his roommate just moments after meeting Andrea face-to-face for the first time. She was just as beautiful as he thought she would be, and they had had plenty of successful conversations over text. But that first evening they decided to meet up -- he with his roommate and she with a group of girlfriends -- Andrea barely said a word.

He didn't stand a chance. She wasn't interested. He was sure of it….

He couldn't have been more wrong. Andrea was so nervous to meet him, she froze. She could do little more than smile and nod. She knew in that moment, the very first time she shook his hand, she really liked him. Afterward, in the safety of the car and with the familiar comfort of text, Andrea sent Jacob a message - it was nice to meet him, sorry for being so quiet.

What Jacob mistook for lack of interest, was actually Andrea... completely speechless.

Fortunately, when the time came for Jacob to ask her to be his bride she was able to find the word "YES!"

Saturday this incredibly sweet couple said their lifelong vows in front of family and friends at Montelucia Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. It was a gorgeous day and I KNEW it was going to be fabulous when I saw this stationery by Idieh Design incorporating calligraphy by Moira Ink:


Andrea's father became the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills in 1993 and the team went to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year. He passed away years ago and was dearly missed on Saturday. Andrea carried his Super Bowl ring tied to her bouquet in his honor:



Andrea was completely in the moment all day, and I loved photographing her as she laughed, cried, and looked lovingly into Jake's eyes.



She made such a pretty bride!



Jake is the gentle, easy-going type -- perfect for Andrea in every way.


One of the things that connected this couple from the beginning is their love for the Buffalo Bills. The couple incorporated their team into some of the smaller details of the day:


Andrea and Jake lit up when they were around each other:







More pretty details!



Andrea's godfather Bruce was her dad's best friend, and he holds a special place in her heart. She told him he couldn't talk to her before the ceremony because she knew she would burst into tears -- which she did the second he showed up to take a portrait with her. I love this special moment my 2nd shooter Janelle captured right before Bruce walked Andrea down the aisle:


The ceremony was emotional and touching:


Andrea and Jakes' very first kiss as husband and wife!



After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails out on the lawn and challenged one another to a friendly game of Buffalo Bills Cornhole:



The ballroom at the Montelucia was gorgeous and continued the colorful theme. A big shout out goes to the teams at Outstanding Occasions, Petal Pusher, and Cre8ive Event Rentals for their fabulous work!



SO MANY gorgeous details!!


The couple kicked off the reception with their first dance as husband and wife:



And the guests celebrated the night away!


What an amazing wedding! Thank you so much Andrea and Jake for allowing me to capture your day! It was such an honor!

Vendors: Wedding Planner: Outstanding Occasions // Venue: Montelucia Resort & Spa // Florist/Decor: Petal Pusher // Dress: Maggie Sottero // Bridal Dress Shop: Schaffer's // Bridesmaid Dress Shop: Uptown Bridal // Suits: Men's Wearhouse // Hair & Makeup: Andrea with Glam Lounge Artists // Stationery: Idieh Design // Calligraphy: Moira Ink // DJ: Matt with MT Sounds // Officiant: Reverend Rick Bell // Rentals & Lighting: Cre8ive Event Rentals // Gold Chiavari Chairs: Us 2 You Rentals // Lasercut Wooden Sign: Ten 23 Designs // Linens: La Tavola // Strings: Allegro Quartet // Cake: Let Them Eat Cake // Videographer: Serendipity Cinematography // Photobooth: The Self Portrait Station

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Equipment used for this wedding: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT speedlights // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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Mar
10
Weddings by MJ

Peter & Marie -- Arizona Biltmore Wedding


I ask all of my couples this question: What was the moment you knew he/she was "the one"?

I ask because it's truly fascinating - is there actually a moment? A word, a glance, a gesture that tells you "Yes, this is the person for me... forever."

Most of the time it's hard for people to pin down. Most of the time they tell me that it wasn't a singular moment, but rather a series of moments collected over time. And that makes sense to me... But when I asked Marie this question, she gave me an answer I will remember forever because it was so simple, so beautiful.

"We were grabbing a bite to eat at St. Francis in Phoenix. We sat down, looked at the menu, and like I usually do, I asked Peter what he was getting. He told me he wanted the Iron Skillet Pancakes. He then asked what I was getting and I told him that I was torn between the Pork Chile Verde or the Chorizo Flatbread. The waiter arrived and I picked the Pork Chile Verde. When it was Peter's turn, he ordered the Chorizo Flatbread. I was a little surprised because a minute ago he seemed very set on the pancakes. I asked him what happened and he just said he changed his mind. But I knew he just wanted me to be able to have both and gave up his pancakes for me."

That's how she knew. In that simple choice, in that single gesture, that's how she knew she would love him forever.

And I think that is beautiful.

On Saturday afternoon, as Peter put on his jacket and bow tie, he was SO excited to marry his bride:


I loved how calm the bridal suite at The Arizona Biltmore was. Marie has such a gentle spirit and puts everyone around her at ease.





I am crazy about Marie's veil! I had a lot of fun shooting it in this gorgeous light:



I couldn't get over how stunning Marie looked! She was glowing as she read Peter's hand-written card to her.



Marie & her mom traveled to the church in a 1966 Rolls Royce:




Marie's parents walked her down the long aisle to meet her groom:





Yay! Husband and wife!!




Marie just kept being gorgeous all. day. long.


And it was so much fun to shoot some portraits with these two at the Arizona Biltmore:





The ballroom was regal and elegant:




Peter proposed to Marie in a hot air balloon. And they gave each of their guests a balloon ornament in commemoration:


Peter & Marie waltzed for their first dance:



And the guests celebrated the night away!


What an amazing day! Congratulations Peter & Marie! Thank you so much for allowing me to capture your wedding day!

Vendors who made this event amazing: Getting ready, Portrait & Reception Venue: The Arizona Biltmore // Ceremony Venue: St. Francis Xavier Chapel // Wedding Planner: Samantha Glascock with Imoni Events // Florist: The Flower Studio // Officiant: Father Antonio Rebanal // DJ: Matt with MT Sounds // Hair: Mandy Samford with Spark Studio Salon // Make Up: Sarah Sanmarco // Dress: Brides by Demetrios // Chiavari Chair Rentals: Us2You Rentals // Stationery: Celebrations In Paper // 1966 Rolls Royce: Aires Limo // Videographer: Serendipity Cinematography // Dance Lessons for First Dance: Fred Astaire Dance Studios Scottsdale

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Equipment used for this wedding: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites // Gary Fong Lightsphere // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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