amore in mesa


The first thing I remember thinking when sipping my tea, waiting to meet Gino and Kirsten to talk about becoming their wedding photographer, was his name : ) Gino Donofrio. I remember thinking, “Wow! Can you get any more Italian than that!?” Gino actually contacted me first via email, to discuss my photography, and then I met both of them in person about a month before the big day, just to go over details.

Gino and Kirsten are just a perfect couple. I’m sure a lot of people say that about a lot of couples planning their wedding, but there was just an ease about them that I felt right from the beginning. They just fit together. Like they had been this on love for a while : )

She was sweet and soft spoken…oh, and gorgeous! Beautiful high cheekbones, piercing eyes, and waves of soft blond hair. Gino was a modern, chic dude. Square glasses, a lot like the ones I wear when I’m post-processing, and some heavy script ink on his forearm. I remember him holding her hand, or rubbing her shoulder as we talked, assuring her everything would be great. And she softly smiling and nodding along as I explained my plan for the big day.

Gino and Kirsten got married here in Mesa, on a gorgeous property in the central, north part of the city. The massive house where they wed was decked out for the Christmas holiday. The decorations were amazing, and the setting was lovely, but I worried that Kirsten might not be ok with having such dramatic backdrops for her wedding images. “


Oh, of course! No worries, I love Christmas and it will make for beautiful holiday cards!” How do I keep lucking out with these amazing go-with-the-flow brides?

While Kirsten told me she wasn’t super comfortable in front of the camera, you’d never know it. Her face loves the lens and it loves her right back!


Gino had a natural feel for it as well. His are still some of my favorite groom-pics to date.


​When we were walking back to the room upstairs where I needed to hide him away to take Kirsten’s shots, I asked him if he had any little details, any special items he was carrying with him that day that he wanted me to be sure to photograph. He smiled but his eyes misted up a bit. He showed me a watch and pulled a laminated picture out of his pocket; it had one grandma on each side. Since they weren’t at the wedding, he didn’t need to explain any further. I now ask all of my grooms this question as these details are really what make the day. As a wedding photographer, it’s my job to capture them.


The ceremony was held on the lawn and the sun was setting just as we were taking the formal family shots. A beautiful brick building on the back of the property made a phenomenal backdrop for some of the couple’s shots and the front of the house added a super festive feel to our final shots.




Gino and Kirsten are now expecting their first little Donofrio in a few months and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them. Thanks so much you to, for inviting me to capture the amore of your wedding. Tanta felicita!


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  • Rachel Leintz
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