Tara + Mike Wedding (Flagstaff, Arizona)

Day of Coordinator: Breathless Moments, Lindsey Border, Lindsey.Border@gmail.com
Reception center: Coconino National Forest
Announcement design: Missing Frame Photography, Groom, bielecki.mike@gmail.com
Bride’s ring: Blue Nile, bluenile.com
Groom’s ring: Groom's friend, Mike Rust
Videographer: 5 Digit Studios, Tyler McElhaney, info@5digitstudios.com
Flowers: Bliss Extraordinary Floral, Amy Mills, blissfloral@esedona.net
Catering: Jason Bullard, jasonbullard@yahoo.com
Band: The Folka Dots, thefolkadots@yahool.com
Pie: Rock Spings Cafe, rockspringscafe.com
Bride’s dress: Martina Liana
Bride’s shoes: Nordstrom
Bride’s jewelry vintage: great grandmother's
Hair and makeup: Amara Resort and Spa, Julia Kendzlic
Bridesmaid dresses: asos.com
Groom’s suit: asos.com
Groomsmen suits: asos.com

Comments from me about the wedding day...
I don't know how to properly describe this day from my perspective.. but I am going to give it a go! For the first part of the day, we went to the Little America hotel for the "getting ready" shots. When I arrived, everything was perfect.. calm, relaxed, music playing in the background, bridesmaids hanging around and chatting. Tara took great care in choosing their hotel, to be sure we'd get the best shots possible. I highly recommend choosing the Little America hotel for your getting ready shots!
The wedding was like a dream.. we drove up the canyon for quite a while, and when we arrived, in my mind I was thinking "so where's the wedding"? We had to walk about 1/4 of a mile into the woods to get to the location.. but it was SO worth it. As you walked toward the wedding, you could hear the sounds of The Folks Dots' sweet harmonies echoing through the forest. The smell of aspen trees and hamburgers made your mouth water. After the ceremony, the wedding party and guests went straight to "Lime Drink".. a traditional Bielecki drink (as seen in Tara and Mike's redneck wine-glasses below). After eating, it was games and dancing. I wish I could have put down my camera even just for a second to play games and dance, but we would have had to pry my fingers off of it. After the wedding, the newlyweds and I set off to get some great portrait shots as the sun was setting.

Comments from Tara...
"Being wedding photographers ourselves, we knew this is where we wanted to make the greatest investment for our wedding day. We really wanted a photographer that would capture our individual personalities and our love in an elegant and classic style. We were pretty picky through our selection process and I've been a big follower of Green Wedding Shoes for years, so I decided to start my search for the perfect photographer on their vendor list. I worked my way through almost all 50 states and I finally came upon Alixann Loosle in Utah. The feeling I had when I came across her work can only be compared to the way brides feel when they are trying on that wedding dress for the very first time, and they just know it's the one. We fell in love with her images at first sight; it was the first decision we had made for our day and, for us, it was the best investment we made to remember our day by.
Our wedding day was literally a labor of love from the very start. Being photographers, we knew we wanted to have a hand in every aspect of our big day. From the smallest detail to the biggest, we made sure we had some level of each and every thing being home made.
One of the very first details was a three strand set of pearls my mother left for me before she passed away. They had been my great-grandmothers and my mom requested that I wear them on my wedding day as a reminder that she was there with me. We felt like they were such an important part of beginning the wedding process because they were the only thing we had to go off of when starting the brainstorming process of what we wanted our wedding day to look like. We had decided that it needed to be as intimate as the gifting of the pearls was, and as timeless as pearls themselves.
We first started with collecting dinner plates from thrift and antique stores, purchasing blue ball mason jars, vintage silverware, decorations, really anything that caught our eye that made sense for our wedding day. Soon enough our family was hooked and they helped with the hunt to make our wedding day everything we ever wanted. It was so fun sharing our vision with them and we were overwhelmed by the support and effort that went into finding all of the plates and silverware we needed so that each and every guest could have their own unique set.
Mike has an amazing gift for graphic design and he was able to put several of the ideas I had for our save the dates and invitations into one cohesive package. This was one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process because Mike would put a draft together, print it out, we would edit what we liked or wanted to change, and he would do it all over again. It was at this point, that I really saw us be a team and it was such a great glimpse at what we have we have to look forward to as husband and wife!
I took up sewing so I could learn how to make our napkins, not as easy as it seemed! But with the help of friends and Mike's mom, we were able to stitch every napkin that sat at our guests' plate settings.
Our next adventure was the art of drying flowers. Mike had actually proposed to me in the same aspen grove where we were married. Knowing that we wanted to be married in such a lush, green place we wanted something different from the usual floral centerpiece. It was actually Mike's idea to use the dried florals (he was an incredibly involved fiance), and it all started with some dried flowers we had at home; white roses, pink spray roses, and baby's breath. Mike was also the mastermind behind the tin cans, he had been on a camping trip and there were thousands of them so he came home with close to a hundred for us to use on our wedding day.
We also happen to have a pretty impressive collection of vintage cameras, which is where we came up with the idea of using cameras in place of table numbers. Again being photographers, it was really important that we shared that part of our lives with our guests. Special care was given to where the guests were sat. For example, Mike's dad was sat at the table with the camera he used in college, and gave to Mike years ago.
We had decided to have pies for dessert pretty early on, I was never a cake person growing up - in fact, my mom use to get me lemon meringue pie for my birthday which is why it was so important on our wedding day. It was just another way to give a nod to her memory on such an important day in my life.
Mike and I love getting mail, I mean we get truly excited to receive mail from our friends and family. So we decided to forfeit a guest book and have our guests write us their well-wishes, advice, memories, whatever they wanted and drop it in our mail box for us to open at our one year anniversary.
Our ceremony backdrop, one of my favorites. I came home one day to Mike drawing a "to scale" model of the backdrop. He was beyond excited about it and even wanted it to be the headboard above our bed when all was said and done. It's one of my favorite memories of our wedding planning process because it truly goes to show the kind of amazing heart he has.
We wanted to incorparate playing backyard games into our big day, since it's one of our very favorite past times, so Mike and his brother even spent the summer making the corn hole and ladder golf games.
We had come across the band The Folka Dots while doing our engagement session with Alix up in Utah last September and instantly fell in love. Mike surprised me by emailing them to see if they would be willing to travel to Arizona to make our wedding that much more special. I couldn't have imagined our day without their music, what a truly talented group they are!
We really couldn't have pulled this all off without our day of coordinator, Lindsey Border, of Breathless Moments. If there is one piece of advice I can give to future brides, it's to have a day of coordinator. She made our day run so smoothly and there wasn't a thing we had to worry about knowing she had all of our bases covered.
And the photographer...we don't even know where to start when it comes to Alixann Loosle. This was the most important piece for us from the very beginning and she has exceeded every expectation we've had of capturing our love.
As with all brides, the dress was a pretty big deal and having lost my mom five years ago it was very important to me that my dad went dress shopping with me, he was actually the one to pick out the dress! I opted to not do a first look on the wedding day with Mike; as untraditional as most of our wedding was, I had always dreamt of seeing my husband-to-be while on my dad's arm. So I had a first look with my dad instead. This was one of my favorite parts of the day, he is truly my best friend and I couldn't have thought of a better way to honor that relationship that day. The other moment I will savor was the moment I saw Mike when I started walking down that aisle, there are truly no words when you see your almost husband standing there waiting for you.
Details went just beyond the decorations, we had Mike's dear Aunt Connie officiate our wedding, his Aunt Tessa do a special reading, and our dear friend Father Dave bless our wedding rings at the ceremony.
It was really important to us that we gave our guests a backyard bbq experience filled with family, friends, games, good food, and love. We tried to think of ways that we could keep that feeling, while also giving our guests the impression that we had lifted a room, with all of the ammenities of the city, and placed it smack dab in the middle of the forest.
It truly was a labor of love, not just from Mike and I, but our family and friends as well. Because of that love and support, we truly had the perfect day tyin' the knot in the forest."


  1. These are gorgeous! I can't wait for you to shoot our wedding!

  2. D-Y-I-N-G over how incredible this one is- yay for amazing Arizona weddings!

  3. Could you give us the location of this spot? We live in AZ and have been looking for one. Thanks!


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