It’s Taite and Alex’s big day, y’all! Gather around and saddle up for an elegant Western wedding celebration that’ll knock your boots off! Set against the stunning Arizona landscape, this wedding is sure to bring the heat, and I’m not just talking about the weather. From the rustic-chic decor to the mouth-watering Southwestern cuisine, Jason and the rest of the crew are working hard to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. So put on your best cowboy boots, grab a drink, and get ready to giddy up and get down with Taite and Alex at their Western wonderland wedding. Yeehaw!
How did you meet?
We met through mutual friends! We actually went on a group ski trip together and barely talked because Alex (the groom) was too busy playing ping pong all night with friends. Several group hangouts after that, we finally connected :)
What is your proposal story?
We planned a trip to Maui right at the start of COVID, so there was a point where we thought the vacation wouldn’t even happen. However, after Hawaii reopened and two COVID tests later, we were on our way to Maui in December of 2020.
The first full day there, we went whale watching and later went to dinner, where Alex suggested we go look at the stars on the hotel beach. He knows how much I (Taite, the bride) love stargazing and on our very first date he actually took me to a remote lookout to look at the stars after dinner.
Once we got back to the hotel in Maui, we walked down to the beach where the hotel staff had setup a blanket, a million pillows, and lanterns. We had the beach all to ourselves and Alex proposed – I obviously said yes, after first asking Alex “Are you sure?!” Then we laid out on the blanket to the sound of the waves and stargazed for a couple of hours where we saw so many shooting stars, we lost count.
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding
We really wanted a fall-themed wedding and initially had thought we would have a wedding in Sedona, Arizona. However, the venues there were very small and very expensive, and we had decided before we even began looking that we would fit the venue to our guest list, not our guest list to our venue (meaning we wouldn’t eliminate guests just to stay on budget or fit in a certain venue).
Alex grew up in Tucson, Arizona while I grew up in a suburb of Phoenix, but we both attended the University of Arizona down in Tucson, Arizona (although we met after college).
Tanque Verde Ranch was the first venue we looked at in Tucson and we immediately fell in love. Alex grew up here (in Tucson), and I actually would take vacations to Tanque Verde Ranch growing up and it held a very special place in my heart. It was absolutely perfect for us and also still allowed us to have a “destination wedding” because it’s at the edge of town and all our family and bridal party stayed onsite the entire weekend.
For colors, we really wanted neutrals that would bring out the natural beauty of the desert while still incorporating the fall colors (browns, muted reds and oranges, beiges and whites) we initially had wanted.
As for the style, we wanted to complement the style and design of the incredible Barn Venue at Tanque Verde Ranch while combining elements of romance and elegance.
Tell us about your attire choices.
My wedding dress was not what I had initially envisioned, but it was everything I could have ever hoped for. It was romantic and classic while being a little bit sexy; it incorporated lace and the bottom layer of my dress had very subtle sparkles that shimmered in the sunlight (my favorite part). I felt confident, beautiful, and completely myself in the dress and I think it was the epitome of our style for the wedding.
For Alex’s and the groomsmen’s suits, we wanted something timeless and sophisticated without being too formal (or black). We wanted something that would look great in wedding photos, but could also be worn after the wedding since all the groomsmen had to purchase their suits. We felt a dark charcoal grey had all the aspects we were looking for and coordinated with a charcoal grey satin tie to complement the satin bridesmaid dresses. Luckily I was able to talk Alex out of the light green ties he initially wanted!
As for the bridesmaids, I immediately fell in love with Revelry bridesmaid dresses and knew that I wanted them to wear the satin style. Initially I thought I wanted rust colored dresses, but ultimately wanted something that would be more neutral, so I decided on champagne. I let the bridesmaids choose their own dress style, but they all loved the same two styles which I think ended up looking really beautiful!
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
As I mentioned above, we really wanted a venue that could accommodate everyone we wanted to invite – that was most important to us. Other than that, we wanted an amazing photographer (which we had!) and a great videographer because we wanted to be able to relive the night over and over again for years to come.
Initially, we were going to use an officiant recommended by Tanque Verde Ranch, and while her speech was great, it was very impersonal. That’s when we knew we wanted a wedding officiant who knew us, and we asked our good friend James to officiate. He was so excited to do it and he DELIVERED. James did an INCREDIBLE job – Tanque Verde Ranch even asked him to be an official vendor through them! #WeddingsbyJames
Finally, the one thing we pushed our budget on was an open bar. We wanted to make sure it was a giant party for our friends and family, because we know this is one of the only times you can have everyone you love under one roof.
We also paid a little extra for a string trio during our ceremony and cocktail hour which we are so, so beyond grateful for. It was such a beautiful touch. And we did not expect this at all, but both our parents paid a little extra for a welcome cocktail hour for all guests before the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, which was so much fun to get some extra time with everyone.
While I feel like weddings are always more expensive than you anticipate, I don’t feel like there was anything we “splurged” on – Alex is a CPA and kept us right on budget :)
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Can I say all of it? I loved getting ready with my bridesmaids, mom, and mother in law. It’s just such a special time to be with the most important women in your life.
The ceremony was beautiful. I was so nervous up on the deck, but Alex held my hands the entire time and gave me a wink which completely calmed my nerves.
Taking pictures during cocktail hour was a dream. It was so surreal to be in one of my favorite places in the world with my new husband, making it even more special. Kali, our photographer, made the entire process so fun and captured so many beautiful moments. John at Tanque Verde Ranch drove us from photo location to location, and he was so kind and genuinely so happy for us. Everyone contributed to making it the perfect day.
During the dancing portion of the reception, we had sparklers and fog and ended up blowing a fuse and the music cut out. We were in the middle of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston, and instead of waiting for the music to come back on, our friend (and officiant) James starting singing where the song cut out. Then all of our friends sang along in a giant circle, all hugging each other and singing and dancing along. I think we made Whitney Houston proud!
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
Our wedding flowers were gorgeous. We had white and fall-neutral flowers which included deep reds, muted browns, and some very light oranges. They were a mix of roses and other flowers.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our wedding cake was DELICIOUS. We had two flavors: Mexican Hot Chocolate and Rum. For frosting / decorating we had semi-naked buttercream and our baker worked with the florist to add some flowers to the cake. Simple, elegant, and SO YUMMY.
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
I am NOT crafty so we had no handmade or DIY details.
As for personal details, I’m not big on wearing heels and thought it would be so fun to wear sparkly little heeled cowboy boots under my dress. I felt this was so me and fit the venue perfectly :) I also changed into a reception dress for dancing which was ALL SPARKLES (I like sparkles, can you tell?)
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Enjoy every minute of being engaged and wedding planning. You spend so much time and money preparing for a night that is over in the blink of an eye. Enjoy every phone call, every conversation, every little thing that you can. But also don’t overthink the details – it’s supposed to be FUN!
Wedding planning and even day of the wedding is stressful and tiring and something is bound to go wrong, but don’t worry about that because we promise you, no one else will notice and it will all come together beautifully.
Surround yourself with people that will love you and lift you up on your day (and in the days/weeks/months preparing for it). Make it the best day of your life with all the people you love the most.
And finally, love your fiancé like there’s no tomorrow!
Did any of your wedding pros deliver a standout experience?
KALI! Our photographer. We don’t even know where to begin with her. She was so on top of everything and helped us plan out our day-of schedule with expertise. She was so kind and made us feel so comfortable all day, like we had a friend with us. We were actually sad when she had to leave at the end of the night! And then when we saw the pictures – oh my gosh!! She captured us and our day perfectly. They are drop dead gorgeous while captured our personalities, who we are as a couple, and our guests so well. I would 10/10 recommend Kali to everyone I know!
The entire staff at Tanque Verde Ranch – our wedding coordinator through the venue, Hannah, was amazing. She took care of everything so perfectly leading up to the wedding and day of. She even bustled my dress like a pro! But not just her – everyone at Tanque Verde was incredible. They were all so kind, so helpful, and genuinely so happy for us. I have never felt so loved by people I didn’t even know – they truly made our entire wedding experience what it was.
Finally, our DJ, Andy DePew with Satyr Entertainment. Andy was so fun to work with leading up to the wedding and easy to talk to. During the wedding, he made sure everything ran on schedule, but more importantly he made sure we were happy and having fun. He even had gum for us halfway through the night! We had a lot of people say the music was great and catered to everyone, which I think is hard to do at any large group event. Andy truly gave a personal touch that I did not expect from a DJ and I’m so glad we had him.