Melissa & Mark’s Rustic and Romantic Starry Summer Night Wedding


forest highlands arizona wedding

Melissa and Mark had originally envisioned a “fun rustic barn wedding” but they couldn’t find a barn. In the end they were thankful to have held it at Forest Highlands because it ended up becoming a romantic & festive summer party under the starry skies. It’s also hard to ignore the pretty handmade decor and quirky details (deer antler cupcakes + wooden signs saying “The Hunt is Over”,  a life-sized Jenga set, fruit mixed in with flowers as table centerpieces, etc) that personalized and made the celebration truly theirs.

We have the always-fabulous JoAnne and Jason Marino of Imagine Photography (see their previously featured work + BTL interview) to thank for the gorgeous photos. Please enjoy!

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

Such a sweet and emotional first look. I also love how Melissa describes her husband Mark below:

My husband is an incredible man. He is the most humble, loving and PATIENT person I have even met. He’s my best friend and favorite travel buddy. I can’t stress the patient part enough. He’s been super patient through life changes, and up and downs. He is truly a God send. He’s also an incredibly hard worker, has great judgement and has never given me bad advice! He’s a great guy with a great sense of humor and a truly amazing husband!

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

About their wedding in lovely Melissa’s own words:

Our faith is very important to us and a big part of our story together. We had a beautiful ceremony and exchanged letters beforehand, which we wrote to tell one another our love and commitment for one another. We did our first look to ease the stress and had a special time of prayer with two really great friends, one of which married us and is our pastor.

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

We had our friends re-write a song Mark had wanted as our first song: “Cross My Heart” by George Straight. But it was way too country twangy for me. So they rewrote it more like a John Mayer/Jack Johnson song (we had it recorded) and they sang it as I walked down the aisle. I cried the whole way down the aisle. It was beautiful and I was overcome with joy. What a special moment it was.

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

We had large bulb string lights draped across the dance floor, rustic cherry wood tables and burlap and lace table settings with candle light.

Early in the afternoon, after the ceremony we had a game area during cocktail hour that featured corn-hole and a life size Jenga set. It was a memorable & beautiful time with family, friends and each other.

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

Our design, floral, invitations, decor, drinks, food, etc., were all hand selected by Mark and I. Our planner helped to execute it but in the end the overall feel and look was us. Simple, comfortable, elegant, but fun, cute, memorable and unique. It was perfect!

forest highlands arizona wedding

We had beautiful florals from Foster-Wright Floral, with peonies, garden roses, all in fun antique tin and wooden boxes. There was some fruit thrown into the mix too; peaches & pears.

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

Our signature drinks were: M-squared (an Arnold Palmer made with Iced Tea Vodka and fresh lemonade) and The Perfect Pair (a red or white summer fruit sangria). Our buffet included a savory hand sliced meat station, chicken marsala, fettuccine alfredo, a fabulous Italian style summer salad, twice baked potatoes, veggies and more. Our desert station included mini EVERYTHING  including sea salt and caramel brownies, mini fruit tarts, gluten free chocolate dipped macaroons, mini cupcakes, and much more!

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

We  had a great first dance which, Mark and I took special lessons for. He surprised me by liking it so much He wanted to practice all the time. I think we shocked friends and family as he spun me around and dipped me for a special finale kiss. It was really fun.

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

I originally pictured our wedding as a fun rustic summer barn wedding with burlap, lace and chandeliers; however we just could not find a barn. I’m so thankful though because it turned into a beautiful summer’s night in an open field that felt like a garden under the stars. As a bonus we were blessed with a full moon, which lit-up our beautiful night.

forest highlands arizona wedding

forest highlands arizona wedding

Helpful advice from the newlyweds:

Everyone says not to think about the details and that in the end if you’re married that’s what matter. Of course being with the one is important, but the way in which you learn to work together, plan for the event and celebrate your hard work together is important too. Making it about what matters; your commitment, your covenant with God and a time to celebrate with those closest to you how you both want. It’s about beginning to learn to meet half way and learning when to give in. You don’t have to have a 300 selection mini dessert bar, but you do need to have the special moments alone, the photos to remember the event and a memory of a great night when you’re done. If your planning with your one true love it will all come together in the end, no matter who or what tries I stop it or interfere. Remember it’s your night, not your planners, bride maids, family or anyone else’s. make sure your attention is on your bride/groom all night. Everyone is there to celebrate you, not the other way around. So, have fun!

forest highlands arizona wedding

Huge thanks to JoAnne and Jason for sending their awesome photos my way, and congratulations Melissa and Mark! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us. 🙂

Photographers: JoAnne and Jason Marino of Imagine Photography
Event Design & Decor: Kim Duncan with KD Event Designs
Day of Coordinator: Grand Plan Events
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Florals: Foster-Wright Floral Design
Desserts: Sugar Mama’s Flagstaff
Grooms Cake, Camo/Antler Cupcakes: Heather Hiser
Venue / Caterer: Forest Highlands Golf Club – Meadow event lawn
Hair: Babak Niroomand (480) 703-1113 located in Scottsdale, AZ
Make-up: Gloria (510) 717-1191
Dress Design, Sash Design & Flower Girl Dresses: Anne Thomas Couture

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