Tonto Wedding – Rachel & Anthony

The fervor surrounding weddings is all about the romance: love, being swept off your feet, getting a picture-perfect day that’s all about the feelings you share with your significant other. It’s a lot to take in, from the planning to the invitations to making sure the dress is pristine. Some people might find it to be too much, too big, too fake… but man, when we see couples like Rachel and Anthony, we know that love is real. Looking at them, you can only hope that in life you meet a person who will love you like these do.


You’d be lucky to meet a couple as born to be together as Rachel and Anthony are, even. Having the light of their love in your life could only help shine the sun of hope down on you. Because of this, we were over the moon when they asked us to be their wedding photographers!


Their energy was different from our other clients’ from the moment we met them for their engagement session. There was something about them, something so different from everyone whose experiences we’ve shared: immediate comfort. Not with each other (though clearly they love one another!), but with us. Rachel and Anthony have a way of making everyone around them feel comfortable, and even if there’s an awkward moment or experience, you wouldn’t know it: their essence is distilled comfort. Being around them feels like catching up with old friends who happened to fall in love, and being in their company is equally as magical as their May wedding.


Remember what we mentioned above about the picture-perfect day? The invitations, the dress, everything? Well, this one looked straight out of a wedding catalog: it was planned perfectly. From the bridal party’s adorable floral robes to the guys’ traditional commemoration beer, it was fantastic. Rachel and Anthony aren’t all about the traditional, though–they wanted to have a special moment to themselves before finally saying “I do”. Legend has it that seeing your bride on the wedding day brings bad luck, but there’s always a loophole. For Rachel and Anthony, it was the time-honored tradition… of love notes?!


It was the cutest thing we’ve seen in a long time, watching the two of them passing hand-scrawled notes back and forth, nothing but a wall separating them. They were just an arm’s length away, yet unable to see each other, making do with anxiously-scribbled notes and deep breaths. Anthony even took a moment to down a few sips to calm his nerves, smoothing his dapper navy-blue suit, trying not to scuff his brown leather oxfords. Even with his anxiety over the big day, he could have easily been a menswear model.


That’s not to say Rachel was nothing to talk about: just the opposite. After Anthony’s sips, Rachel approached for the hand-off, a vision of the transcendance love can bring. Her thin-strapped, delicately-detailed white lace dress was gorgeous, and the breeze picked up ever-so-slightly, fluttering the edges of her 7-foot finely-threaded veil as it trailed behind her. The only way this moment could have been more perfect is if we hadn’t been there for the reading of their intimate vows… but then who would be rooting them on with glossy-photo memories for forever?!


With the bridal party lined up and ready to proceed, with Anthony and his mother at the front by the altar, the world seemed ready for their wedding. Even the weather was kind to Anthony and Rachel: it had been projected to have temperatures in the hundreds, yet this day was in the mid-90’s, a delicate breeze cooling the guests. Everyone found their seats, and the bridal party marched up, taking their places as Rachel entered on “Father Roger”’s arm. Father Roger’s was there not only to perform the traditional giving away of the bride, but to officiate the ceremony, a speech that was beautiful and unique from being true to Father Roger’s heart. We could hear the guests sniffling and holding back happy tears as Rachel stepped across the summer grass to Anthony, near the giant tree they would say their vows under.


And so, Anthony took Rachel’s hand–or Rachel took Anthony’s. It didn’t matter; what did, instead, is the thing Father Roger asked them to think about. He wanted them to look down at their clasped hands and envision what those interlocked fingers would be there for. For comfort. For support. For love. For the sake of growing old and wrinkled… together.


Of course, that’s not all: the kiss! When it was finally time, Anthony and Rachel unlinked hands, and Anthony took her down, dipping her low, holding her with strength and passion and the force of the romance they’ve built together. It was truly epic. We’re not ashamed to say that we cried a little, too.


While the guests headed over to cocktail hour, Rachel and Anthony had one more stop: the marriage certificate. In the middle of the Rancho Manana golf course was a small round table, draped with an ivory tablecloth, surrounded by a small gathering of witnesses. The newlyweds stepped up and took a pen in hand, signing their unique autographs down on the vellum and solidifying their union. Remember that breeze we mentioned, though? It picked up the certificate, and though it could have been the center of a drama all its own, it was nothing more than a source of laughter: the first moment Anthony and Rachel got to share as husband and wife.

We’d be remiss to ignore the reception, though. The wedding party sat at the head table, made of dark wood, adorned in eucalyptus vine accented with the same pale pink roses Rachel chose for her flower arrangements and bridesmaids dresses. Warm, glowing candles adorned not just the head table, but each one the guests sat at too, making the perfect ambiance for the wedding speeches. The maid of honor, the best man, and both Rachel’s and Anthony’s siblings made heartwarming toasts, from the best man’s hilarious paddleboard story to Anthony’s brother’s tales of growing up together. Rachel’s maid of honor–and her sisters, too!–had everyone in tears during their emotional tribute to the woman who has impacted their lives in such an amazing, special way. Listening to the speeches, watching the happy tears flow, really drove home just how loved Anthony and Rachel are. This was one of the most, if not downright the top of the list, emotional weddings that we’ve been a part of.


The love and compassion that surrounds Anthony and Rachel is something we’re glad we got to witness. One of our favorite parts was definitely Rachel and her dad’s father/daughter skit they put together! When it was time for the father/daughter dance, Father Roger was hiding behind the gorgeous giant tree with a flask pretending to get drunk! It was hilarious!


Even after the speeches, as the night carried on into dancing and cake and lots of hugs (and a not-insignificant amount of alcohol!), the affection and devotion in that venue never once waned. The day went so smoothly that one would think Anthony and Rachel had practiced a thousand times for a thousand days, with the details all set, food fit for royalty, and love that might really only come once in a lifetime. Congratulations, Rachel and Anthony! We can’t wait to see what love brings you–life is your oyster, and with what we’ve seen, we know you’ll both emerge as lustrous pearls.


Venue – Tonto Bar & Grill/Rancho Manana Golf Course
Catering – Tonto Bar & Grill
Make up – Kendra Steel
DJ – Non Stop Entertainment/Ryan Meeks

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