It was well over 100 degrees when I met with Matt and Emily to shoot their engagement session at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale. We were in a bit of a time-crunch pickle as Matt was only in town briefly, and was headed back to Texas the following day.
Usually, I really push for engagement shoots to be outdoors. The lighting is so much kinder to the skin, the backgrounds are muted and natural looking, and you don’t have to worry about the weird shadows that bad fluorescent tubes or can lights throw onto your subject’s face. But the Phoenician is gorgeous and Greg Wirth, the catering manager there, was gracious enough to let us hide from the heat in beautiful hotel, so we made it work!
We got some really unique and beautiful shots in the little café, then headed to the marble staircase and down to the phenomenal chandeliers I have become a bit obsessed with. ;)
During the shoot, I got to know Matt and Emily a little better. I learned that he was a state trooper in Texas and that he and Emily would be making their life together in the lone star state after the wedding, which I would be shooting in the coming winter at the Desert Foothills in North Scottsdale.
The love between the two of them was really easy to capture :) I thought I saw a few tears in Emily’s eyes when she talked about Matt leaving the next day. And as we walked around the resort, Matt couldn’t take his eyes of his bride-to-be. They were both such troopers too! (pardon the pun). Once the sun began to set, we braved the sweltering heat and captured some wonderful shots in the desert terrain surrounding the resort and at the staircase and fountain at the entrance to the main lobby.
Flash forward a few months: I arrived at a fun little southwest resort in North Scottsdale to meet with the couple and their families on the big day. Emily, her mother Janet, and the rest of the ladies got ready in a suite not far from Matt and his boys. Emily was calm, quiet and just beamed during the whole prep stage.
Matt was a little more nervous :) I could see the quarterback in him as he planned and walked through each step of the day in his head. After a little liquid courage, I walked him to a quiet alcove where we planned their first look. I promised him that all the nerves would calm down once he saw her, and he told me later that I was so right!
The ceremony and reception at Desert Foothills was magically romantic. The desert setting was the be-all-end-all of a country-chic wedding. The great barn was filled with thousands of white lights and sparkling chandeliers. Not to mention the handcrafted table settings and sweet, personalized décor.
Matt’s brother, the talented Mr. Ryan Bexley, played an acoustic guitar and sang a hauntingly beautiful song during the procession.
After the “I do’s” I whisked the couple around the grounds to snap some brilliant desert sunset shots while the guests were treated to a cocktail hour with Mija, the beer burro!
While everything up to this point was beyond fantastic, it’s the reception of this wedding that really stands out in my mind. Not only was the interior of the barn perfectly elegant, chic, and rustic, all at the same time, but it was the family and friends that all came together to wish Emily & Matt a happy future that really made it a remarkable event to be a part of.
Janet, and several other ladies from the Fredrick Clan, composed and preformed a song using the melody of Rufus Wainwright’s “Hallelujah.” But instead of using that for the song’s main refrain, they used Matt’s last name…Skorupka! I don’t need to tell you the talent those ladies showed was epic!
There were so many touching speeches and stories told by both families, that I really did have to hide a few tears as I shot the best man’s toast and the sweet poem written by the bride’s sisters.
The evening was capped off with a sparkler send off and a big thank you hug from this incredible sweet couple. Matt and Emily have since made a home in Texas, but I love keeping up with them on social media and seeing all the hearts that Emily finds in everyday, ordinary places, and the amazing smile her husband is always flashing in the candid shots they share. Their wedding is easily one of my favorites from last year. Not just because of the beautiful images I was honored to capture, but because of the beautiful people they and the amazing families they joined together. Hope all is well with these two stars in the lone star state!