A Vibrant Southwestern Wedding in the Sedona Desert

This couple kept it personal to create a celebration all their own

Updated 06/25/18
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Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Three years after Julie Geer and Jennifer Rorick met on Tinder in October 2014, Julie came home to a surprise. “I’d gone out to run errands, and when I got home, there were flowers on the table,” she recalls. “Jen pretended she didn’t know who they were from, but when I read the card, it was the beginning of her proposal.” Jen had planned the entire afternoon, with flower crowns for the brides to wear, champagne and berries to enjoy, and the perfect playlist of celebratory songs to drink champagne to. “It was perfect,” she says.

The two women live in L.A. but have family and friends across the country, so they knew they’d be having a destination wedding no matter what. “We looked for venues in Palm Springs and Maui, then took a road trip over Thanksgiving of 2017 and ended it in Sedona," Jen says. "We fell in love with the area." During their stay, the brides had drinks at the Amara Resort & Spa, settling into Adirondack chairs that looked out onto the red rock cliffs. “The space was the perfect size and vibe for the intimate wedding we were envisioning,” Julie explains. So they booked the hotel for May 12, 2018, and invited 56 guests to join them. “We wanted our wedding to be a party that just happened to include some vows, where we’d be able to talk to and really enjoy time with each of our guests,” says Jen. They took inspiration from the hotel’s surroundings, using shades of pink, orange, and purple to echo the Southwest’s fiery sunsets. Photographer Katie Edwards captured the personal desert celebration, and all of the brides’ fun and personal ideas. Keep scrolling for more!

<p>red rock dessert wedding</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

One of Julie and Jen’s favorite moments from their wedding day was taking photos out in the red rocks. “Being out there for these epic shots was worth the hour we took away from our celebration,” says Julie.

The brides shopped separately for their attire, each seeking something nontraditional. Julie donned a flowing tulle skirt and a lace top from BHLDN. “I love that I’ll be able to wear the top again,” she says. (While dress shopping, Julie's consultant at BHLDN gave her the best advice: “She told me that finding a wedding dress should be like finding your partner. When you find that person, you stop looking. You won’t ever know 100 percent if there isn’t someone else out there, but you’ve decided to get engaged, so you’re done looking. So if you’re happy with your dress, stop looking," she says.)

Meanwhile, Jen found her wrap-style jumpsuit from Halston Heritage. "I'd never expected to get married in a jumpsuit, but I did and I loved it," she says.

kiss on the cheek two brides

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

<p>protea bouquets</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

The brides carried mismatched bouquets, each featuring a different type of protea paired with roses. Julie added bleached peacock feathers for a textured, organic look.

<p>bride's heirloom custom engagement rings</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Both brides wear custom rings featuring family stones. Julie’s ring features her maternal grandmother’s engagement stone, a miner’s cut diamond, while Jen’s two rings feature one stone from Julie’s maternal grandmother, and one stone from her own maternal grandmother.

brides at the altar lesbian wedding

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Our friend Blake officiated our wedding,” says Julie. “In his remarks, he joked that we kept telling him we wanted an intimate wedding, to the point that he thought he wasn’t going to be invited! Fast-forward a few weeks, though, and we had asked him to be our officiant.” The ceremony included readings from Justice Anthony Kennedy, E.E. Cummings, and Maya Angelou.

<p>reception Amara Resort & Spa string lights</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

The Amara’s lawn was transformed for the celebration, with café lights strung around the perimeter and tables set around the dance floor.

<p>matchbox escort cards</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

<p>crystal and floral centerpieces</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Instead of traditional escort cards, each guest’s name and table number was written on a matchbox. “We really wanted to keep things personal, so instead of formal names, we addressed each matchbox the way we’d refer to people in real life,” says Jen.

<p>wedding menu taco bar</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

<p>tacos wedding food</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

The Southwestern menu included a chicken tinga and carnitas bar, guacamole, and corn and bean salad.

table numbers

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Tables were decorated with wooden boxes filled with roses and ranunculus. “The table numbers were actually used by a friend of ours in L.A. in November of 2017," adds Julie. "They went with our vibe, so we scooped them up from her!”

<p>first dance brides lesbian wedding</p>

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<p>brides with dads father daughter dance</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Julie and Jen shared their first dance to “Forever” by The Beach Boys. “Our dads surprised us by cutting in for the last verse, which was so special,” Julie remembers.

<p>babies kids at wedding</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Julie’s niece, Caroline, stole the show on the dance floor. “She was 15 months old and scooted around with the biggest smile on her face,” says Julie.

<p>brides dancing</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

<p>dance floor reception</p>

Photo by Katie Edwards Photography

Other hotel guests watched the festivities from their balconies, wine in hand, and came up to the couple the next day to congratulate them and comment on how much they’d enjoyed witnessing the celebration. “It was so grounding to have strangers share in our day and really appreciate every moment,” says Jen. “Love is our common ground, and it always will be.”

Venue: Amara Resort & Spa || Day-of Coordinator: Casey Green Weddings || Officiant: Blake Sedberry || Julie’s Attire: BHLDN || Julie’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Jennifer’s Attire: Halston Heritage || Jennifer’s Shoes: Corso Como || Hair: Adrienne Flores || Engagement Rings: Grace Lee || Wedding Bands: XIV Karats || Floral Design: Bliss Floral || Paper Products: Adoration Design, For Your Party || Catering: Salt Rock Kitchen at Amara Resort || Music: Got You Covered Music || Rentals: Verve Events and Tents || Photography: Katie Edwards Photography

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