Today’s real bride and groom have perhaps the most adorable ‘how we met’ story ever. It involves a lost puppy and it might encourage you to answer the door to strangers at night (maybe don’t do that, actually!).
And the wedding is as sweet as the bride and groom behind it.
Hannah and Calvin got hitched in a historic private estate in Arizona, with a softly elegant outdoor wedding that was laced in candles, greenery and beautiful details.
And we’re so glad they chose the wildly talented Amy & Jordan Photography to capture their day.
There is a lot of serendipity at play with this wedding. Not only how Hannah & Calvin met, and the venue they chose, but also how Hannah came to find her dream wedding dress (it’s gorgeous and convertible – be sure to read her story behind it.)
But there’s also a lot of hard work at play too. Hannah meticulously collected all the elegant and rustic decor for their big day, which was held in the garden of Calvin’s spectacular family home – this is a backyard wedding with a difference!
From the cutest page boy (like, ever!) to stunning table decor, and beautiful bridesmaid’s dresses (love the mix and match hues!) to the BBQ catering, every inch of this wedding is a balance of refined style and relaxed fun.
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
We lived across the street from one another in Tempe, Arizona. One late night, Calvin found a lost dog and looked around the neighborhood to see if anyone’s light was on to start asking around for the home of the dog.
The only light on was the one in my unit. He walked up and knocked on my door. Seeing as it was late, I hesitantly opened my door to him and this lost pup. He asked if I knew the owners or if I had seen any flyers.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t but I have quite a soft spot for dogs so I offered to keep an eye out. I watched him walk back across the street to his home, and then hopped online. After a few minutes of searching, I found the dogs owners and called the family.
I let Calvin know, and he offered to walk the dog a few blocks over to their home. The owner gave him some cash in thanks, and told him to take that girl she had talked to out to coffee.
A year later, we were engaged!
The first dress I ever pinned on Pinterest was a convertible dress… and this was long before I had ever met who would become my husband.
I had a strong desire to be able to have the princess dress every girl dreams of, but still wanted to be able to be comfortable and party all night with guests.
That being said, while I was dress shopping, I decided to ask on a whim if they had any convertible dresses. To my surprise, they pulled out one, the Tara Keely 2210. It was THE dress I had pinned all those years prior on Pinterest, and I just had to have it.
For my bridesmaids, I loved the matching, but not completely look of the convertible dresses. Each woman was able to wear a style that suited their personality and their body type. That made each one comfortable and able to truly shine.
This venue is a historic home that my husband spent part of his childhood in. It is actually the house that his parent’s still live in today; family memories of all kinds are stored there.
We spent many of our early dates together there planting in the garden, playing Frisbee with our dogs, and having dinner with the family on the porch.
We looked at venues, but kept coming back to the house we consider “home”.
Our Favourite Moments
One of my favorite personal touches was the memorial tree I put together in remembrance of my father. I also had a photo of him on my bouquet, and wore his ring tied around my wrist.
There wasn’t a moment of the day he wasn’t with me.
A favorite moment was the first look. I didn’t let Calvin know anything about the dress, and in return, I wasn’t able to know anything about his suit.
He did it all by himself (with some help from his mom for my piece of mind) and he looked amazing.
My goal for our wedding was to have a fun outdoor bash with our family and friends, while still keeping it classically beautiful.
Lots of greenery, woods, whites, greys and splashes of navy.
The processional and recessional were both the song ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe, played by a string quartet.
Our first dance was to ‘Meet Virginia’ by Train.
We were married by my husband’s Rabbi. The Rabbi made it very personal, and humorous. We decided to write our own vows, but didn’t tell the Rabbi the order we wanted to speak.
The Rabbi asked my husband to go first, and without thinking I blurted out that I wanted to go first. The rabbi made a joke about me not being afraid to speak my mind in the relationship; everyone laughed and I was able to go first.
I was so scared that if he went first, I would be crying too much to make it through mine. Luckily, I made it through but only after interrupting my own wedding ceremony.
My father was a photographer, and passed a few years prior. As such, the photography of the day was top on the list of importance and priorities.
Amy and Jordan are the best in the business, and have been able to create such a community of brides that remain friends long after the weddings are over.
Advice for Other Couples
First, take a breath! I am Type A personality and thought I would have my wedding planned a week after being engaged.
Well, life happened and I didn’t really start anything until just a couple months before. Everything came together perfectly. That being said, things will go wrong.
Just smile, laugh it off, and don’t let anyone or anything ruin one of the most special days of your life.
At the end of the night, you get to go home with your husband, and isn’t that really the whole point anyway!?
The Decor & Details
I hoarded wedding décor like a squirrel to acorns. I collected items I knew I would want to use throughout the year of our engagement in our guest bedroom.
By doing this, I was able to buy things on clearance like bird cages, wheelbarrels for drinks, chalkboards, and picture frames.
I wanted cute, somewhat rustic décor that we could repurpose after the wedding.
I was able to write quotes on chalkboards using fake calligraphy tips online with friends.
The dining tables had seven foot green garlands over them, that correlated with the greenery and mixed white flowers of the bouquets.
The one major expense of our wedding was the photographers… and I would spend that much again on them in a heartbeat. Photos are the only thing you get to walk away with after the big day (other than your husband) so make them count!
We were able to save money by DIYing items like the chalkboards, favors, thank you cards, and by supplying our own alcohol since it was a private venue.
We had a full bar, with the bride’s favorite, Sangria, and the groom’s favorite, an Old Fashioned.
We kept it a fun outdoor bash with BBQ and individual Nothing Bundt Cakes for guests.
We took a wonderful honeymoon to Antigua right after the wedding. We had a fabulous travel agent who took all of the stress away and helped us plan a trip of our lifetime.
We ziplined, kyaked, snorkeled with stingrays, and relaxed at the pool IN our room overlooking the ocean.
We stayed at Sugar Ridge Resort, and would most definitely recommend it to other honeymooners.
So beautiful, right? I just love all the dresses, and those clear marquees are my favourite way to weatherproof a wedding without closing it in.
And did you read their ‘how we met’ story, I actually said ‘wow’ out loud, in a room by myself when I read it. Seriously though, wow!
Thanks so much to Amy & Jordan Photography for sharing another gorgeous Arizona wedding with us, and of course to Hannah & Calvin for sharing their fabulous backyard bash.
Be inspired by more amazing real weddings.