I’m so excited to finally share this full workshop editorial shoot from El Chorro last fall! It was an honor to work with the most talented vendor team and to teach an incredible group of photographers. Last year was my first time really diving into the role of an educator and I learned so much along the way. The highlight was meeting so many talented photographers in different parts of their careers and journeys and helping them individually progress toward their goals. Shooting weddings will always have my heart and still remains the sole focus of my business but this experience really made me excited about future opportunities to work with other photographers.
Now to dive into the shoot! Rachael Ellen & Ink and Press Co. are absolute geniuses when it comes to dreaming up and executing unique yet timeless details. Every aspect of this shoot felt so on point with my personal brand which made the whole process that much more rewarding. I love the modern romantic design and anything inspired by France has my heart as it is the country that first ignited the flame that eventually led to Mary Claire Photography.
From the Planner, Designer and Florist, Rachael Ellen Events: Our design was inspired by the concept of a couple trying to make the most of their micro wedding. Perhaps they had plans to wed in Paris and due to the pandemic they found themselves opting for a local celebration? With this, they wanted to take their original inspiration and adapt it to fit in beautiful Arizona. Inspired by French culture and their original hypothetical destination wedding plans, we created a fusion of Parisian Chic with desert garden romance for the design. Our goal was to create something that felt romantic and incredibly special for the small guest count while also adding details from what would have been their French destination wedding.
The ceremony was intimate and took place beneath an olive tree where we placed an lush floral aisle and a garden inspired arch. Using only white blooms, we created a look that was ethereal and timeless. The guests, dressed in all white, were seated in black Parisian inspired cafe chairs. The bride wore an effortlessly elegant pearl adorned Sarah Seven gown that we paired with pearl hair pins and a chic updo. Our groom wore a classic tux and european style loafers. A beautiful oval June Rings engagement ring set the tone for the modern romantic look of the shoot.
Consider this French garden wedding inspiration your official invitation to let Europe inspire your stateside micro wedding. This lush dreamscape was pulled off eloquently with creative mind + floral talent of Rachael Ellen Events at the helm of an all-star team in Arizona, inspired by the real couples who have had to put their destination wedding on pause in light of the pandemic to showcase all the wonderful ways they can still incorporate their original vision (and ultimately create an even more meaningful experience for their guests). With that as the foundation, we’d say this toile-filled beaut was off to a pretty good start. Accented with bold pearl details, quasi-monochromatic blues, and modern luxury furnishings with a nod to French cafes, Mary Claire Photography captured the light, love and winning details with expert capability and an ever-artistic craft. Get ready to dive right into this French garden wedding wonderland, where as far as inspiration goes, the limit does not exist!
The table was adorned in French blue linens, a lace overlay, slate glassware, and timeless white China. The modern gold and white dipped flatware and romantic blush and white lush floral arrangements created the modern-romantic juxtaposition that was central to this Parisian inspired design. The ambiance was complete with antique gold and crystal floating chandeliers and ivory taper candles which added a magical glow to Arizona’s golden hour. Paper goods by Ink and Press Co. honored the true intention of special details in the design. Monogrammed, embossed menus in French with a velvet floral wrap, and name cards adorned with a gold Royal wax seal were found at each place setting.
We opted for a reception outfit change and put our bride in a flirty Monique jumpsuit and high pony for the rest of the evening. Her Pearl accents once donned in her hair now took place on a smaller scale, in a fashion forward look accenting her blue eyes and natural makeup by Katie Gurley Artistry. The couple ended the intimate evening with a cake cutting and a champagne toast in oversized slate coupes. Every detail was intentional and proved our point that small weddings don’t have to have small details. You really can make the most of your micro wedding.
And to finish off, some advice from Rachael Ellen Events on unique micro wedding ideas:
- Consider the paper goods! Just because you are having a small event and it would be easy to invite your guests via word of mouth, doesn’t mean you should! A custom invitation is an heirloom piece that you can treasure for years to come. Beautiful paper goods set the tone for an unforgettable event.
- Treat your guests! With smaller numbers, it is feasible to create really elaborate welcome gifts for each of your guest. We love the idea of renting out a small bed and breakfast or hotel for the intimate group so you can stay together all weekend long! A unique delivery to their room is something they won’t soon forget. Your guests will feel so special to have been chosen among such a short guest list.
- Set a dress code. While requiring everyone to wear a certain color for a larger event may seem intense, asking your 8 closest friends to dress in all white is quite simple! This makes for amazing group photos.
- Don’t skimp on the details. From the ceremony florals to the tablescape, more is more when it is in such a small quantity! Really splurge on the details that make you excited. You will treasure the memory of such a special design.
- Make an outfit change! Just because you don’t have a large guest count doesn’t mean you can’t go big with fashion. Opt for a chic jumpsuit or short LWD for dancing. We love the addition of a hair and makeup switch as well. It is your party – you should feel like it!
Planning, Design and Floral: Rachael Ellen Events
Photography: Mary Claire Photography
HMUA: Katie Gurley Artistry
Invitation suite: Ink & Press Co.
Venue: El Chorro
Bride’s dress: Sarah Seven
Rings: June Rings
Tux: The Black Tux
Bridesmaids gowns: BHLDN
Rentals: Bright Event Rentals
Cake: A Bake Shop