Sedona, Arizona has been on my bucket list for quite some time, so when LW Natalie asked me to not only attend her wedding at Red Agave Resort resort in Sedona at the end of September, but also plan + design her + Daniel’s elopement style picnic shoot pre-wedding, the answer was an immediate YES. The photos by Jane in the Woods are absolutely breathtaking, the creative partners I used to bring the look to life are nothing short of fantastically talented, and the overall experience was one of a lifetime.
Natalie is a girl who knows what she wants, so the inspiration photos she sent were detailed + thorough (making my life that much easier as a planner/designer!) Natalie envisioned a “picnic-style” elopement shoot, with similar colors + textures planned for the wedding day itself, while still creating a look that was unique on its own. The location she chose was Sedona’s iconic Merry-Go-Round rock, a breathtaking spot that offers sweeping views of the red rocks to the right + left, the canyon down below, and the city of Sedona beyond that. Natalie + her hubby Daniel wanted beautiful, cinematic photos in the Sedona red rocks, without the hassle of trying to get all of their wedding guests to an extremely remote location for the wedding itself, so having a pre-wedding shoot was the perfect way to maximize their wedding week out in Sedona while simultaneously enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience together and getting beautiful content that they will cherish for a lifetime.
Sedona has some seriously talented creatives, so my research was pretty easy breezy. I knew I had to source a florist + rental company, and ended up bringing on Sarah’s Garden for florals + The Confetti Studio for tabletop rentals. I had also just met Darra of Dear Darling Design Studio on Instagram a few weeks prior, and she custom created + sent some gorgeous agate nameplates + menus all the way from Maryland that totally completed the earthy bohemian look.
My flight got in late evening before the shoot, and the Phoenix Airport is about two hours away from Sedona, so I made arrangements with both the florist + the rental company to have them leave their product outside of their businesses so that I could pick them up for the shoot after hours. I had my uber driver drive me to both locations to swoop up the goods on the way, I bet that was probably the first time he had boxes of fresh flowers in his car, lol! I still needed rugs + pillows to complete the look, and luckily found a Tuesday Morning store just moments away from Red Agave. I found exactly what I was looking for, in addition to these really cool rattan chargers, and these items ended up being the foundation of the scene! Manifest, people – it really works!
THE JOURNEY UP THE ROCK
One of Jane’s friends, Walker, owns a four wheeler,and made himself available to drive Jane, her photography assistant, and I the 40-minutes up the mountain, flowers + rentals in tow. You guys – I have never experienced a bumpier ride – think the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, times 10! After making it to the top, we then hiked about 15 minutes to the photo location, and honestly – I could not believe how beautiful the view was! It looked like I was on a green screen. It was in that moment that I just felt so, so grateful for my career + the incredible opportunities that I have been given these past few years. If you had told 10-year Danielle that she would have been styling a wedding photoshoot at the very top of a rock in one of the most breathtaking places in the world…truly such a dream.
Since we couldn’t all fit in one car ride up, Walker circled back down to grab Natalie + Daniel while I set everything out + styled and Jane + her assistant tested their lighting + got some fun behind the scenes shots of me (thanks, ladies!). When Natalie + Daniel arrived, the light was perfect, and we played around with different poses + locations, having them interact with the picnic scene I had styled for them, and pose by the ceremony “site” I created with repurposed flowers from the picnic scene. Natalie seriously looked like a bohemian desert princess in her dreamy Rue De Seine dress (and denim jacket for some shots!) and custom crown by MJF Bridal, while Daniel’s forest green Friar Tux suit complemented the florals in Natalie’s dress to perfection. Add pink smoke bombs + sweeping views, and the shoot was absolutely magical.