Dawn & Ryan officially booked me as their wedding photographer way back in January of 2011. We met them down in Casa Grande to go over all the plans for their big day and after hearing what they had in store, we couldn’t have been more excited to shoot what would be our first real cowboy wedding. We were talking hay bales, tractors, cowboy hats and boots, and custom koozies to go along with an unlimited supply of Coors Light. It would be a fantastic way to kick off our 2012 wedding season after returning fresh from an inspirational WPPI event in Vegas.
We set out for the BlueWater Casino & Resort in Parker, AZ, which resides right on the Colorado River and is a few hours outside of Phoenix. It happens to be just about the only place in Parker big enough to host a 250+ person reception, complete with a live band and sweet stage-lighting setup to boot. As we arrived at the casino to shoot some of the wedding preparations taking place, everyone seemed to be in high spirits and excited for the day ahead. The weather was gorgeous, the candy bar looked yummy, and we knew this would be a great time from here on out.
When it was time to head over to the ceremony site we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Dawn previously mentioned it would be a private residence adjacent to an alfalfa field but, to be honest, I had no idea what an alfalfa field even looked like. Upon arriving and seeing the endless field of gold with beautiful late afternoon sun raking across I knew it would be a fantastic backdrop and a great compliment to the neatly arranged hay bales and western theme set up for their ceremony. As Dawn first stepped out and paused at the end of the aisle there is always that moment at every wedding where the groom’s eyes meet those of his bride to be. This moment is often met with emotion, happiness, or sometimes even an overwhelming sigh of relief. Ryan remained cool, collected, and confident in his gaze – these two were meant to be!
After the ceremony ended and we setup for Dawn & Ryan’s formals, everyone was happy to get a little creative with the awesome surroundings and we had a great time working through their set. From there it would be back to the BlueWater Casino to kick things off for the night, and we even managed to sneak a quick snap of Dawn’s bouquet on the casino floor before security closed in. The reception was a blast and the stage lighting made for some unique challenges but we loved the way everything turned out. By the end of the night we were fatigued but it really never felt like we were working too hard – we just had a great time like everyone else and would like to thank Ryan & Dawn once more for allowing us to be a part of their big day.