To all Orange Tree Brides, we are looking for submissions for our blog! For those of you who have already booked a date here at Orange Tree, we would love to hear your stories of how you and your groom met. And for brides who have already had their weddings here, you are more than welcome to share the story of your day! Please submit your entries to:

**For current brides: Please submit your favorite pictures of you and your groom (up to 5 images). Along with the pictures, please answer the following questions..

1. How did you meet?

2. How did he propose?

3. What hobbies do you enjoy doing together

4. What factor(s) made Orange Tree your venue of choice?

5. Special touches you will be adding to your wedding

6. Something unique that you would like to share about your relationship

**For our former brides, please submit your favorite images from your wedding day (up to 15 images) and answer the following questions:

1. Please share with us the story of your day.

2. What was the most unexpected moment of your day?

3. The most memorable part of your day?

4. Funniest?

5. Extra touches to your wedding that were especially meaningful to you.

6. What you are looking forward to the most as husband and wife.

We would love to hear from you!!


Birdcage Centerpiece

October 28, 2008

I’m loving this idea for a centerpiece. Found in Michelle Rago:


October 27, 2008

Wow. I just couldn’t help but post this. To any bride who is stressing about the little things, this should help put things into perspective….

Still Life Studios

October 22, 2008

I’d like to introduce Matt Wheeler from Still Life Studios! They were here at Orange Tree to shoot Celia and Ryan’s wedding and did an amazing job. He was kind enough to share his story with us and some images from Celia and Ryan’s day.

“I am Matt Wheeler with Still Life Studios ( and I started photographing families and children for money when I was 15. At age 16 I was coerced into photographing a wedding because I had a nice camera … and probably because they figured I would be cheap. 🙂 Those people were crazy! I didn’t have backup equipment and I am not even sure I had ever been to a wedding at that point in my life. I WAS cheap but they were pleased and from then on I was a photographer of people. I photographed through college and I graduated from ASU with a degree in Business Economics. At the time of graduation my daughter would be born in 6 months and my wife and I had a short time to make the dream of Still Life Studios a reality to support our family. With her fine art background and my business background our photography company took off. Almost 5 years later we have become a team currently with 8 fine art photographers who are personable, very creative, and lot’s of fun! We specialize in Life Moments. From births and weddings to family gatherings at funerals, we capture Fine Art Moments in Life for whatever reason they show up. We hope to become photographers and friends for the life of our clients!

At the Orange Tree I was able to Photograph the wedding of Ryan and Celia. My first impression was wow … they really do have a lot of bridesmaids and groomsmen – 17 total plus a flower girl and two ring bearers! As I set to work documenting the day I was amazed at how many different types of personalities I found among the group. I enjoyed working with them, making them laugh, and showing them that the photographer doesn’t have to be boring. 🙂 Ryan and Celia’s first meeting was incredible. They chose to see each other before the ceremony and have an intimate moment together completely alone. Ryan’s appearance tugged at my heart strings … I could feel his excitement and emotion. As he came up to his beautiful bride with tears in his eyes, he was grateful and swept up in the moment, unafraid to show his joy.

Enjoy the images!”

“The ceremony started with a bit of a brawl between the flower girl and the ring bearer over the use of a pillow. It was nice to see that it made everyone laugh. I have seen similar experiences with not so similar reactions from parents involved. 😀 This one went well.”

“The reception was elaborately decorated. It is not often that I step into a room and think, “Wow, this looks amazing!”. Part of that might be that we see so many amazing places that they all become typical, as sad as that sounds. Many places are  incredible but I wouldn’t expect anything less. Orange Tree and their staff went beyond my expectations. The up lighting, the attention to detail, everything was top notch.”

Matt, thank you so much and we’re looking forward to working with you again soon!

The Phoenix Bridal Show had a great turnout! Here are some detail pictures of our booth. It was great meeting all the brides!

These Tiramisu cups were a hit!

Cool Cake

October 14, 2008

Gina and Sal celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last Friday with a renewal of vows. Check out their wedding cake! Gina’s got great taste, and Ellie once again did a great job on the cake. The amazing part is, it’s not made with fondant! She did this with buttercream frosting. I love how smooth the cake looks. It’s a testament to how talented Ellie is.  

Jennifer Bowen Photography

October 9, 2008


I’d like to introduce Jen from Jennifer Bowen Photography! She is an amazing wedding photographer and was kind enough to share her story with us. I follow her blog regularly, and once I saw that she was looking for extra help in her studio, I jumped at the chance! So on my days off from Orange Tree, I am assisting Jen in her studio with post-production work. I’m a huge fan of photography, so it has been really exciting to see how much work goes into it! Jen is an extremely talented photographer, and I’m happy to be able assist her in any way I can.



How did you get started in photography?

“I am passionate about documenting life. I have always been intrigued by the human mind and soul and our innate needs for meaning, connection, and love, so I guess it is not a surprise to me that photography took such a hold on me so many years ago. What is now a full time profession for me started about 10 years ago as a hobby that quickly morphed into an obsession. I learned all that I could through workshops, books, other photographers, forums and classes to learn the craft and my gear. And through that time, I started to develop a style that represented me and how I see the world. 


One of the reasons I love photographing weddings, aside from it being one of the most important days of our life, is that each wedding is so unique to each couple. There are so many layered emotions at weddings, involving unique family relationships, hope, love, beauty, details, laughter, tears and always, fleeting moments. Every wedding and every couple has a unique essence and I strive to capture that.”


What’s your favorite part of a wedding?

“I really like the entire day photographically, but I would have to say my favorite parts to photograph are the ceremony, usually preparation time, and the bride and groom portrait time. The ceremony is great because its where you see so much emotion and the couple is unaware you are shooting them, so you get some wonderful, very real, images. I also love prep time because its a point in the day where there is so much anticipation, and with that anticipation often comes an energy that’s often beautiful to photograph. Most of my brides are calm and fairly quiet during this time, perhaps a little nervous, filled with butterflies and expectation and when they project that quiet fortitude that comes from experiencing those emotions, there is a beauty there that inevitably change as the day progresses. And I love bride and groom time because its fun and challenging to always try and push myself further artistically, and to interact with the couple in a way that allows them to be as natural and real as possible. My favorite images are always the ones where they lose themselves in the moment, sort of forget I’m there and just be them. I am always looking for those moments in between poses to capture their true essence.”


Most memorable moments:

“There is usually a very memorable moment at every wedding and its different and touching each time, so I’m not sure that any one really stands out above other. Recently at Ginny and Dave’s wedding in San Diego (link), the bride and groom got up on stage with the band and sang “Honky Tonk Woman” to 250+ cheering guests and that was cool. They were so into the song and the moment, and their guests were loving it, so it made for a memorable experience. I always tear up when there are very touching moments between the bride and groom and their respective parents – a tender look or moment during the dance, when they show emotion during the day at seeing their children get married and several other small moments that many may miss if not watching closely. I guess as both a child and a parent, I am sensitive to those relationships. Funny and touching toasts by the couple’s closest friends often can get me too, as well any genuine display of emotion between the bride and groom, especially during the ceremony.”


Favorite kind of bride: 

“She cares about her photography and trusts in me to capture the best images of the day as possible. I feel very very blessed that I have amazing clients. I know it will be a good fit when couples tell me they want images that look as natural and possible and really capture so many moments during the day. Most families do want some posed group formals, and of course I do these as well, but the majority of my couples really want the images that tell the story of their day and capture real moments. Most of my brides are those I could see myself being friends with (and some do in fact become friends), are generally easy going (not that they don’t know what they want) in nature and are working, professional women. I am lucky to to have wonderful clients!”

Here are some more wonderful images of her work…


Ginny and Dave:

Aimee and Matt:

Thank you Jen, for taking the time to share this with us!

My Sister’s Wedding

October 9, 2008

I thought it would be fun to share some pictures of my sister Janet’s wedding and show you where it all started for me. As soon as my sister got engaged last year, I was the one scheduling her vendor appointments, researching venues, checking out wedding photographers, florists, bridal shops, etc. I enjoyed helping her plan her wedding so much, I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to have a job like this? I was working as a mural artist at the time. Thanks to a wonderful twist of fate, my best friend Sally introduced me to her friend Jen Thye from Imoni Events. I assisted Jen for a couple of her Fall weddings, and by the following Spring I found myself here, working full-time as an Assistant Wedding Coordinator at Orange Tree Golf Resort. So, I am very grateful that those doors opened up for me to be here today.

The bridesmaids. My friend Joanne, my sister Belinda, Janet, and me. We’re being photographed by the wonderful Kim Jarman!

Ceremony programs made by yours truly:

Her wedding invitations and red envelopes that had the traditional chinese “Double Happiness” symbols on them. I thought these were so unique:


This customized jacket took me forever to make:

The card box, another fun craft.

My brother Chris officiated the wedding. He did such a great job. For you brides out there, hire an officiant that knows you well! This makes the ceremony that much more personal and special.

My siblings:

I finally leave you with my favorite picture of the night. My family trying to lift my dad, who’s always the life of the party :).

Thanks for letting me share a little part of my life with you!

More Escort Cards

October 7, 2008

More escort card ideas found on The Knot.

Christina and Nathan

October 4, 2008

Congratulations to Christina and Nathan! They got married here at Orange Tree tonight, amongst the looming storm clouds! As Joyce describes her, Christina is “such a love”. What a wonderful bride to work with. She was absolutely the sweetest bride ever. Here are some cool details from her wedding.

I love this hourglass keepsake for their sand ceremony:

Thank you guys so much for choosing Orange Tree!