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Gold Canyon Wedding Photos | Arizona Desert Wedding

Gold Canyon Arizona Desert Wedding Photo

Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon

The East Valley Arizona Desert is pristine. Just behind the Gold Canyon suburbs is beautiful rolling hills of cactus and palo verde trees that looks untouched. We drove for miles along the dirt road to the Peralta Trail in Gold Canyon, Arizona to celebrate Megan and Brian’s wedding in the middle of the desert. With the superstition mountains in the background, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place for these desert lovers to get married.

This wedding was extra beautiful because every detail had a special meaning. Every part of their day was created with intention. What impressed me most, was that the wedding took place in the middle of nowhere far from other people and the city. We were in our own little bubble in the desert surrounded but superstitions mountains and cacti. The night sky covered us with millions of stars. It was absolutely magical.

Their wood wedding invitations set the tone for their wedding so well. The beautiful design incorporated their desert wedding location, the superstition mountains, and represents their heritage intertwined. The wood also had an Earthy, natural aroma to add to the experience. Revelry and Heart did an amazing job showcasing Megan and Brian through this wedding invitation suite.

“The design is a Navajo cross and daffodil (flower of Wales). The Myrtle which is a plant that has been utilized on bouquets for British brides for centuries including the Royal brides 🙂 It is said to be good luck. The Cross is a symbol of the spider woman in Navajo tradition. The spider woman symbolizes healing wisdom and nurturing. The spider woman also has a partner in crime and that is the man. The man is responsible for building the loom for the spider woman so that she can heal and nurture.” -Brian

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Megan brings so much beauty into the world. As her uncle toasted to the newlyweds, he brought up endless examples of Megan’s kind heart. I couldn’t help but think, what an inspiration. I want to bring beauty to the world like her.

Brian and Megan have already amazed me in so many ways. I feel like we have become great friends on this wedding planning journey of over 2 years together. They are both ambitious and kind. I’ve got to follow their journey as they graduated from college and chased their dreams. I’ve seen them volunteering and giving so much back to their communities. Here’s the thing too, they don’t brag about any of this. They do it because they love others so deeply.

The Atelier Bride Getting Ready for Desert Wedding laughing

I thought it was so brilliant of Megan to rent a photo studio to get ready in. It was spacious with plenty of amazing light and furniture! The Gray Atelier in Tempe, Arizona was a perfect place to start the day.

Navajo wedding traditions

Megan and Brian’s wedding rings were handcrafted by one of Brian’s friends who is a silversmith. Megan’s turquoise locket was her grandmother’s.

The florals (by Moelleux Events) represented the union of the high desert (pine) where Brian is from and low desert (prickly pear) where Megan is from. Complemented with beautiful flowers and cholla wood.

Brian wore traditional Navajo ceremony pieces including a concho belt, moccasins, and his ribbon shirt was hand-made by a Navajo seamstress. Brian’s grandmother helped him with the tsiiyéél; A traditional, ceremonial Navajo hair bun. Brian’s grandmother also taught Megan how to make blue corn mush. A staple of Navajo cuisine and what goes in the Navajo wedding basket.

I love how they embraced each other’s heritage. “We strive to show that the two worlds can coexist, even in the unity of marriage and love. Western views and indigenous views are so different but we can find commonalities in love, family, and even mourning.” -Brian


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Desert Wedding Inspiration

From Megan, the bride:

Choosing their desert wedding venue

“We love the Superstition Mountains and wilderness. We have had some amazing hikes in this area, and our venue is right by Peralta Trailhead; one of our favorite trails.”

Their wedding inspiration

“Our inspiration is the love we have for each other, our families, and where we come from. We want everyone to feel welcome, comfortable, and safe. We want to create a full experience for our guests centered around the beautiful nature that will surround us. We want people to arrive and feel like they have come home. We know the coronavirus has upended so much of everyone’s life, and we just want people to be able to have an uplifting and fun time while still being safe. Our day is deeply sentimental and personal, and almost everything happening has a meaning behind from our invitations to the attire we are wearing, our venue, the food & drink, the music, the florals..everything”

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Desert Wedding First Look

For Megan and Brian’s first look, I had them stand back to back and hold hands. I told them to close their eyes, take a deep breath, and think for a moment about everything that has brought them to this point. How much they have overcome together. How powerful they are together. We reveled in this moment then they got to see each other for the first time all dressed up.

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Dog ring bearer

Meet the cutest ring bearer you ever did see, Alcide! Megan rescued this sweet doggo and he loves his parents so much. His cute dog ring bearer collar and leash are from Poppy Parker Market.


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Walk down the aisle together

I love that Megan and Brian walked down the aisle together. It shows how unified they are. That they are equals and that they are choosing for themselves to get married to each other.

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Wedding Time Capsule

The wedding time capsule is such a beautiful tradition! They filled this basket with some of their favorite things to open up every anniversary.

On their first date, they wanted to drink wine but Brian only had coffee mugs so they drank wine out of those haha. A bottle of wine, coffee mugs, and letters to each other all went into the basket. Each year they will add a new letter and this box will encase their unfolding love story.

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Wedding First Kiss

Their ceremony was absolutely incredible. One of my past grooms was actually the officiant! Megan had met Graham during nursing school and became great friends. I got to see Megan and Brian and Graham’s wedding last year.

My favorite part was Graham relating love to having a dog. We have to feed it, love it, work with it. Sometimes it gets unruly haha but it’s always there for us.

Megan and Brian exchanged their own vows. These two actually met at one of Megan’s mom’s spin classes! I love how Megan knew Brian was the one. They hiked the Grand Canyon together and when she thought she couldn’t go any further, Brian was there encouraging her.

I adore getting the bride and groom’s first kiss from the officiant’s point of view so you can see all their guests in the background. It is so fun to see everyone there supporting them.

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Custom wedding cocktails

Due to Covid, Modern Bartenders sent Meg and Brian the recipes to try out at home. What a fun date night! I love that they went with “No Pricks Allowed” for their desert-themed cocktail. They also included a lovely prickly pear mocktail!

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Coronavirus Wedding Safety

Covid-19 safety, but make it wedding fabulous. Megan had custom masks made for all their guests which were required during the ceremony and on the dance floor. (You can create and order custom masks from Vista Print). There were also the most amazing smelling hand sanitizer with their wedding logo on it for guests to keep.

Originally, there were going to be almost double the number of guests and everyone eating at one big long table. To ensure safety, they trimmed the guest list and set up separate tables for families so everyone could stay 6 feet apart.

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Custom wedding face mask
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Desert Wedding Reception

Cloth and Flame is one of the most amazing wedding vendors out there. They create stunning dinner experiences in the most beautiful places. They bring in everything from the tables to the kitchen. The food was absolutely delicious!

The dance floor was popping. Nothing like dancing the night away in the middle of the wilderness. The DJ played REAL vinyl records! The bride and groom shared a dance with all the special people in their lives.

Instead of throwing her bouquet (because c’mon, it was way too beautiful. And throwing a cactus bouquet might not be safe lol). Megan did a Germanic tradition where the bride is blindfolded and has to chase all the single ladies. Whoever she catches first is the next to get married! It was so much fun to watch.

I also loved that Megan and Brian “cracked” the creme brulee instead of cutting the cake. I LOVE creme brulee and it was so yummy!

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Wedding songs

I wanted to include the wedding song choices Megan sent me so you can look up the beautiful music! “The processional for our wedding party is Tulips by Bloc Party. On our 1 year anniversary of dating, Brian made me a CD of “love” songs that reminded him of our relationship. This was the first song on the CD:) Tulips are also one of my favorite flowers. When Brian and I walk in Texas Sun by Khruangbin will play. We love listening to this while we drive out to the desert; we wish it said Arizona sun but it is just such an incredible song. Recessional song is Chapel Song by The Augustines. This group was our first band we saw live in concert, and this song was INCREDIBLE live.

Our first dance song is Coming Home by Leon Bridges and just describes our relationship in a nutshell; no matter how crazy the outside world is, when we come home to each other all is right. Megan’s dance with her dad is Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz growing up, and my folks now live in Maui so it is perfect. Brian and his mom are dancing to With or Without You by U2. It is his mom’s favorite song and they always used to listen to it together as he was growing up. He remembers her playing it on weekend mornings as she cooked breakfast for him and his sister. Megan’s dance with her uncle Mark is to Fotzepolitic by Cocteau Twins. Mark was always amused and amazed at the languages I use to make up while playing as a young child. The lead singer of this group wrote this song based off the languages her young daughter made up. He still says to this day that this song reminds him of me. Lastly, Megan will dance with her mom to Wildflowers by Tom Petty. We both adore wildflowers but more than that, the lyrics of this song describe the relationship between my mom and I. She has always strived to raise me as a strong, independent, and self sufficient woman who can take care of herself, but she has also always hoped that I would find an equal partner who loves and respects me. No matter how far away she is, she is always a rock for me.

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Desert wedding photos with the stars

Before the night was over, I stole the newlyweds away for a little bit to get some beautiful photos in the dark. We played with heart sparklers. We soaked in the starry desert sky. It was amazing!


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Thank you so much Megan and Brian for letting me be your wedding photographer. I had a blast adventuring with you out in the beautiful Arizona desert. It has been even more special being a part of your journey. I was so excited everytime I got a wedding planning update and photo. I loved watching you two grow together and accomplish so many amazing things.

If you are planning your wedding, I hope what you take from this post is that your wedding should be special to you. Don’t copy this couple, think about making a day that is meaningful to you somewhere beautiful. Every part of this day was 100% Megan and Brian and that lights my heart. That is what I want for all couples <3

Megan’s advice for couples planning their weddings “Do not lose sight of why you are marrying your partner. At the end of the day, your wedding should be about the two of you and your love. The flowers, the food, the drinks..all that should be secondary. Make your day a representation of yourselves and your relationship’s journey; do not plan a wedding to please other people. Focus on yourselves and everyone will have an amazing time because it is a truthful experience.”

They truly brought so much beauty and light to such a dark time. It was a fun celebration amidst a lot of chaos from this year.

Arizona Wedding Photographer

If you still need a wedding photographer or have any questions, I’m here for you! Please reach out https://kacilou.com/contact. Please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Arizona Wedding Vendors

I know I say this every wedding, but it is seriously so true. We had an absolutely incredible team of amazing vendors that made the day extra special and totally stress-free. Meet the dream team:

Wedding Photography by Kaci Lou Photography

Wedding Videography: Concetta Films

Desert Wedding Venue Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon, Arizona

Getting Ready Space The Gray Atelier Tempe, Arizona

Wedding Coordinator and Florist Moelleux Events

Wedding Makeup Artist Simply Stunning MUA

Dinner setup and Catering Cloth & Flame

Wedding gown: David’s Bridal

Wedding Gown Alterations Tailored in White

Wedding Rentals: Foxtail Rentals

Hand sanitizer favors Candle Chemistry

Sparklers Brodway Bridal Make Your Wedding Sparkle

Dog Collar & Leash Poppy Parker Market

Wedding Invitations: Revelry + Heart

Limo AZLIMO.COM

Cookies Berkley’s Cake Company

Wedding Bartender & Drinks Modern Bartender

Cheers to the newlyweds! Your Arizona desert wedding out in Gold Canyon was absolutely amazing. I wish you the most happiness in your marriage and adventure together.

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Gold Canyon Wedding Photos | Arizona Desert Wedding

Gold Canyon Arizona Desert Wedding Photo