Not everyone takes a limousine on a weekend getaway to Santa Barbara. So you can imagine Michele Kaloski's surprise when she walked out of the home she shared with Jonathan Littrell, ready to throw her luggage in their car, only to find a stretch limousine blocking the drive, a chauffeur ready to pop a bottle of bubbly. As a photographer snapped photos of Michele's startled expression, she turned to Jonathan and found him on one knee, a sparkling diamond ring in his hand. "It took me quite a few moments to realize what was actually happening," she says.
And that road trip to Santa Barbara? It never happened. Michele soon learned that being told to plan for a beach getaway was just a ploy to get her to pack bathing suits for a romantic escape Jonathan had planned in Maui.
Once the excitement around their engagement finally settled down, the pair turned their attention to planning their October 17, 2015, wedding. Michele and Jonathan asked 120 guests to join them at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they organized an over-the-top celebration that steered clear of any rustic vibes. With the help of the team at Some Like It Classic, the bride and groom chose a romantic color palette made up of hues of cream, blush, silver, and gold and put together an event that was every bit the sparkling party Michele had envisioned. Amy & Jordan Photography was there to document every moment of their gorgeous fall day, all seen below.
The couple chose Scottsdale for their wedding since it was in close proximity to the bride's parent's summer home. "The resort felt like a hidden gem tucked away in the beautiful Sonoran Desert," Michele says. "The grounds have a sophisticated southwestern appeal and are simply enchanting at sunset with watercolor skies, an awe-inspiring boulder mountain backdrop, and saguaro cactus landscape."
Invitations were made to complement that landscape, made from a mix of traditional calligraphy script and funky Western-style fonts, something Michele says you might have once seen on an old wanted poster.
The bride knew she wanted to wear a mermaid-style wedding dress down the aisle. The Eve of Milady dress she selected, a strapless ivory gown with a dramatic ruffled tulle skirt and sheer lace bodice, was the third she tried on. But Michele kept her remaining bridal salon appointments so that she could soak up the time trying on gorgeous silhouettes with her friends and mother.
Michele, who owns fashion accessories company Platinum Minx, found her jewelry almost as easily. She incorporated her own designs into her wedding day look, and also gifted her bridesmaids earrings from her collection.
Jonathan donned a custom made deep blue tuxedo with black satin lapels, black pants, and a black bow tie. He pinned a garden spray rose with touches of dusty miller to his lapel, while Michele carried a tightly-packed bouquet of garden roses, dahlias, and apricot stock blossoms pulled together with a rhinestone wrap. Tucked inside the bouquet were several crystal brooches, including tan antique one that belong to the bride's grandmother and served as her something old.
Because each of Michele's bridesmaids had different body types, the bride asked each woman to chose any charcoal gray chiffon gown from the same Monique Lhuillier collection. "It was important to me that all of the bridesmaid's felt both comfortable and beautiful in what they were wearing that day," Michele says. "I loved how the various cuts of each dress showed a bit of their personality and could still looked unified with color."
The bridesmaids carried bouquets that mimicked the bride's arrangement with ivory flowers and glittering brooches, but with heavier hints of succulents. "That gave each a point of difference and was a subtle nod our southwestern surroundings," the bride says.
The couple's outdoor ceremony was held on the resort's main lawn, facing the boulder mountains of northern Scottsdale. A four-post floral arch made from hydrangea, roses, and dahlias awaited them at the end of a rose-petal strewn aisle.
"Our ceremony was rather short and sweet," says Michele. The couple decided not to write their own vows, but did ask a close friend to read "The Apache Wedding Blessing," which they felt was unique while giving a nod to their natural setting.
But that was hardly the only unique part of their ceremony. As they recessed down the aisle, their string quartet played "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift.
Guests were greeted by a grand sight in the Four Season's ballroom, where the reception was held: The entire space was washed in soft pink and purple light, and decorated with towering floral arrangements with glittering crystals. A massive monogram, projected by spotlight behind the head table, was designed by the bride.
Tables were covered in soft metallic fabric that shimmered in candle light, and were topped with alternating high-and-low arrangements dripping in crystals. At each place setting, a menu that featured Western fonts showed each guest's chosen meal, either steak or lobster.
After dinner, friends and family could move from the reception room to a second ballroom, decorated to look like a night club lounge. "It was equipped with a security bouncer, a red carpet entrance, sleek lounge furniture, and mood lighting to give it a completely different appeal from the main ballroom," Michele says.
Michele and Jonathan's four-tier wedding cake was made from Bavarian cream and fresh berries, iced in a metallic fondant and topped with fresh flowers.
Thanks to sunny skies for the first time in days, Michele and Jonathan were able to enjoy fireworks at the end of the evening. But as special as that detail was, the bride might have skipped it if she was given a do-over. "Strive for fun, not perfection," Michele tells future couples. "I became so detailed focused that I inadvertently piled on additional and unnecessary stress. Though my motto throughout planning was, 'It's all about the details,' I was surprised to find out how many of those tiny particulars I'd been completely hung up on my guests hadn't even notice."
Venue, Catering, Cake & Accommodations: The Four Seasons || Wedding Planner: Whitney Lewis of Some Like It Classic || Bride's Wedding Dress: Eve of Milady || Veil: Jason Ryan || Jewelry: Platinum Minx || Shoes: Zappos || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Florist: Lux Florist || Invitations: Celebrations in Paper || Music: Simply Three; The Instant Classics || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Videographer: eMotion Cinematography || Photographer: Amy & Jordan Photography
Ready for more wedding inspiration just like this? Then check out another glamorous celebration in the video below.