New River Estate Wedding – Emily + Austin

When I was in high school, I played the flute in marching band. We practiced under the hot Arizona sun, sweating it out to music from Candide and Jurassic Park, and I’d never been so thankful for green grass instead of prickly desert plants.

Now that I’m older, though, I appreciate the desert a lot more for what it is. All the thorns and twisted branches are ways for plants to survive, which is kind of amazing. It definitely helped me appreciate the estate wedding we went to in New River! Emily and Austin tied the knot in an August wedding, with Emily’s parents’ New River home as the venue with a gorgeous view of the desert mountains behind it.

There weren’t any jitters, which is rare. Even the most in-love, committed couples get nervous on their big day! Emily, though, was so excited she even took time to show us where she wanted photos. Between Emily’s confidence, excitement, and ensemble of slippers and silk pajamas, it felt more like we were taking a tour of a celebrity mansion than heading off to work!

Emily and her bridesmaids had an amazing time snacking and drinking as they got ready with their last-minute prep work and transformed Emily herself into the vision you see in the photos.

Austin got there closer to the ceremony time with his closest friends as his groomsmen, already dressed to the nines. Guys love to roast each other, and Austin’s group was no exception, shooting jokes back and forth faster than a game of ping-pong. Beneath the silliness, though, with how much they talked about good times, it was obvious how much Austin’s groomsmen care about him.

It wasn’t just them, either. People came from all over the country to celebrate Emily and Austin’s special day, braving the Arizona heat to do it. Under the archway, set stunningly against the mountains, Emily’s godmother–or as Emily calls her, her “god mommy” and her mom’s closest friend–was the one to marry Emily and Austin.

She told us tales of how Emily and Austin’s strengths complement each other, how one’s weakness is covered by the other, how it makes them stronger together. There wasn’t a dry eye around. Even Austin was visibly emotional, ready to say his vows and marry the love of his life.

When Emily stepped foot into the aisle with her dad on one arm and stepdad on another, I swear we heard BZZZZZT go between her and Austin because their love is downright electric. Austin lit up amazingly, the groomsmen were blinking away tears, and even Alli and I had to dry our eyes!

It’s a good thing we did it, too. I got to hop up on a ladder for a rooftop shot, a recreation of the photo Emily’s mom and stepdad took at their own wedding. (And it gave a gorgeous, endless view of the horizon, to boot!)

Under the purple-orange-red glow of the desert sunset, it was time to chow down. Long wooden tables were decked out with string lights and eucalyptus as if we were at a styled shoot, complete with photo booth in the corner and a great dance floor… but what set it apart was the sizzling, savory scent of burgers! There’s nothing like a burger straight from a food truck, and it was such a clear Emily-and-Austin choice. Aioli Burger is known around the Valley for fantastic burgers, and I’m happy to say the reputation is warranted. Yum!

Weddings are almost never complete without speeches, though, and we love when siblings brave the stage. Austin’s sister let slip that, the day after he met Emily, he called up his sis to gush about meeting The One. Emily and Austin’s sister clicked as soon as they met, too, becoming instant family. Is there anything better?

As humans, we crave companionship, and when we find best friends, we cling on as long as we can, through thick and thin. Emily and Austin were lucky enough to each have a best friend make a speech! Emily’s best friend told the story of Emily crying at an eighth-grade dance because a boy refused to dance with her, showing how far they’d come together and prizing the love that Emily and Austin found in one another.

Austin’s best friend cracked jokes and told us about late gear-head nights where they spent hours working on motorcycles, drinks in hand. Once Emily and Austin met, those nights changed because they helped each other grow, and Austin’s best friend couldn’t wait to see how he continues to evolve with his new family. Austin’s brother-in-law kept that theme, too, recalling the days of teenage after-school video games, amazed at being there to speak at Austin’s wedding. (There’s still room for Xbox in the marriage, of course!)

Emily planned on surprising her mom with a mother-daughter dance. Thing is, it’s crazy-hard to get one over on your parents, and her mother out-surprised her: Emily’s brother busted out his guitar for a personalized dance session, just Emily and her mother. Determined to still do her surprise, though, Emily went on with her plan: it was time for her godmothers to join them, a celebration of motherhood and womanhood and shared love.

That’s what it all comes down to in events like this: celebration. Everyone gets to relax a bit and revel in the joy that weddings bring, to really just remember how much they love each other. Without friends, without family, life is lonely. Emily and Austin never have to worry about that. They have such an amazing support base, and from their chance encounter to an amazing night under the desert stars, it’s obvious how much Emily and Austin’s love has blossomed.

Thank you, Emily and Austin, for letting us be a part of your incredible day! We wish you nothing but the best.


Jo + Alli

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