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Posts from the ‘Earth Friendly Ideas’ Category

Tucson Wedding Gem: The Desert Museum

Are you looking for a wedding venue where your sunset views are unparalleled? And the location is completely unique in the world? I recommend considering the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for your ceremony and reception. It is a magical setting where you truly feel immersed in the beauty of our Sonoran Desert. This special venue is more than a place with scenic views, though. The mission of the organization makes it worth every penny put toward facility fees. I love to lead custom ceremonies for couples and families at the Desert Museum and want more people to know about it. So I asked their fabulous Event Specialist, Drew Hurst, a few questions about this gem of a location:

Kristine: What qualities separate the Desert Museum from other Southern Arizona event venues?

A curious guest at a reception – surely a conversation starter!

Drew: The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is truly unique in that it is the one venue in Southern Arizona that truly captures the essence of the Sonoran Desert.  The museum was built within in the Tucson Mountains so that guests could truly experience the desert where the plants and animals would live.  Due to our location we offer unparalleled views of the Tucson Mountains from our event space.  We also offer our clients the option to bring in non-venemous animals to their event to educate guests and let them interact with the animals and docent staff – a truly one of kind event experience!

Kristine: As the Event Specialist at the Desert Museum, what is your creative specialty?

Drew: I think my creative specialty is the ability to get to know each of my clients in order to create an event that reflects their personal style.  At the Desert Museum we have many venues and options from casual and earthy to upscale and elegant.  Depending on your style and budget I can help you create the perfect event!

Kristine: Who are your ideal clients? What do they enjoy about working with you?

Drew: My ideal clients are people who appreciate the beautiful desert that we live in and want to highlight it for their event.  I think that my clients enjoy working with me because I am very detail oriented and have a passion for event planning and truly love what I do and where I do it!

Ceremony in the Desert Garden

Kristine:  Do you have any tips for couples or families to consider before they choose a venue for their wedding or special event?

Drew: I think the first step is to make sure you have a detailed budget.  Once you have a budget you can be realistic about the venues that you can afford.  From there, I would suggest determining the “feel” you would like for your wedding.  Do you want something outdoors, indoors, formal, casual, etc?  Once you have a budget and “feel” for your wedding – pick a handful of venues and look at them in person.  Make sure to bring a list of questions!  From there you can compare the cost, facilities, catering, etc. at each venue to make your decision.  Another tip I think is helpful is never be afraid to ask for a discount.  Many venues (and vendors in general) offer discounts for off-season events, or for weddings that fall on a Sunday.

Kristine: Thank you so much for sharing this helpful information, Drew. If people need to contact you to arrange a visit, I’ll mention they may either call or email you at 520.883.3018 or dhurst@desertmuseum.org. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Reception in the Baldwin Education Building with beautiful balcony views.

Daisy + Hodge = International Beauty

Yes, they are a totally dashing couple. And yes, their wedding celebration was exquisite, set amidst the springtime blooms at Tohono Chul Park in Tucson. We were surrounded in beauty on this cool April day!

What I’m eager to share with you though, is how they choose to believe in the beauty of their dreams. Daisy and Hodge met improbably, while she was touring Europe with a student group and he was the tour guide. He is from England and she is from the U.S. (Now, quite happily, they are living in Switzerland as I write this.) They are both fiercely intelligent, glowingly romantic, and highly cosmopolitan all at the same time.

Here are two excerpts from the narrative I wrote for their ceremony:

As you may be familiar, this story began eleven years ago, during a touring experience in Italy and Austria, when these two hearts made an instant connection. As Hodge explains, “It wasn’t physical or emotional or cognitive; for me it was totally timeless, in a place where the spirit resides.” He knew there was “something very special about Daisy” and even quipped that “the man she married would indeed be a very luck man.” And as Daisy shares, “When we first met, we felt a deep connection, but we were too young to understand what it meant or act upon it.”

and  . . .

No lavish logic stacks into a rational case for our couple standing here to become married. Daisy says, “being together was neither practical nor very affordable, but we each believed in the beauty of our dreams about one another, and somehow we managed to be brave enough to take a leap and make those dreams a reality.” You both are so thankful you believed. You accepted invitations to sustain your friendship for a whole decade until last year, as Hodge offers, “a deeper love took its place at the seat of the table of our friendship and dawning romance.”

The ceremony overflowed with romantic reflections they shared with me so eloquently. In total, their Couple Reflections reached nearly 20 pages! I had a wealth of material to weave into their Love Story and oh so heartfelt Vows. I’m not sure who enjoyed their vows more: the couple or their guests! Hodge also asked for three excerpts from the Tao Te Ching to be read by friends. Here is a great image of their dear friend reading with gusto Tao Te Ching Section 16.

Hodge’s best friend Ian shares a reading and laughter

In addition to believing in the beauty of their dreams, Daisy and Hodge shared similar losses in life. During a remembrance I shared this passage:

You share an uncommon thread: having both lost a parent to brain tumors at formative stages in your lives. Both of them were brilliant beings with high IQ minds. You have experienced these similar, albeit separate, losses in your lives. Yet as Daisy so eloquently states, you “allow these difficult experiences to add to your depth” as human beings. And as you face any loss in the future, you will meet it with double your own strength, by standing together.

This deep and strong love takes work. It takes humility. And it takes courage. During their Love Story I shared how not only does this couple dare to dream, they stretch into big invitations for growth:

As your relations may have witnessed during your romance and we certainly witness during your wedding today, you share a vibrant ‘awakeness’ and highly attuned consciousness. You are ambitious and hopeful. You see the best of what is possible in each other and the world. You live in a dance with the possible, not fearing invitations for growth. This passage from author John O’Donohue speaks to the grace of your connection: “For the person who lives time consciously, there is a continuous undertow of possibility always at work. Accordingly, it is received and appreciated as continuous invitation. To live like this is to experience time as a constant invitation to growth – to become more than you have been, to transform loss into presence, and to allow what is false to fall away. At the gates of time, blessing waits to usher toward us the grace we need.”

Tying the knot with a Handfasting cord Daisy made to symbolize their joining.

They also chose to share a handfasting ritual. Daisy made a beautiful and symbolic cord to visibly keep in their home for years to come. One last unique and exciting dimension of this celebration I need to mention:  friends and relatives witnessed it live from multiple continents via livestream video. This service was provided by Glen and Annyce at Beyond Video. It frankly boggled my mind how people throughout the UK, Chile, Australia, Alaska, and many other places were watching from afar. How fantastic and earth-friendly is this?

I felt enormously thrilled to compose and lead this ceremony . . . what a blessing to know we have people like Daisy and Hodge living out loud in the world, isn’t it? I wish you continued blessings of connection and grace as you pursue the beauty of your dreams, dear Daisy and Hodge!

(And I offer much thanks to Daisy’s friend and talented photographer Lorenzo De Gregorio in Chicago, for sharing his gorgeous images.)

A Mt. Lemmon wedding at Sunrise

For Russ and Amy, that place happens to be the ‘Wall of Trundling Trolls’ in the Santa Catalina Mountains, near Tucson. I had the huge joy of creating and leading their wedding ceremony, held on November 11, 2011. Thankfully I have a few photos, because words feel pretty feeble in attempting to capture the magic of this place. Being up there as the sun rose in a fiery sky and the full moon set amidst silver clouds, made it all the more magical!

Opening the ceremony

I opened the ceremony by ringing a bell and smudging the couple of honor with sage. I shared John O’Donohue‘s Blessing For Marriage. Before exchanging their personal vows and rings, I shared a few of Russ and Amy’s beliefs about marriage:

” To both of you, entering marriage means being together in a completely honest and loving way. It means walking beside each other because you pretty fiercely want to. While beside each other, you become who you really want to be.”

Pretty wise words, eh?

I love how the ‘dogs of honor’ were with us, too – Bear and Abby – Amy and Russ’s fur kids. Little Miss Abby perched herself on the rocks right next to us, during the whole ceremony. She definitely took part in the fun!

Russ making his ring vows to Amy

During the ring exchange, I shared the meaning and symbolism of the rings Russ had custom-made out of stainless steel by a friend, with an heirloom diamond in Amy’s ring from his Grandmother. A videographer was capturing this all on tape for friends and family to see later, so the storytelling was important for many reasons!

No doubt for Amy and Russ after a two-year engagement and lots of planning, PLUS the hour long hike into this breathtaking site, my pronouncement of their marriage and their big kiss was a great exclamation point on an amazing morning. Then Russ had even more in mind: he packed in a big bottle of champagne for us to enjoy a celebration toast, too!

A toast to the newly married couple!

What a completely amazing place and time for a ceremony. I feel so grateful to have been a part of this and wish you the best in life, Mr. & Mrs. Whitacre! Here we are together after the climb out. I think your smiles say it all! Congratulations with lots of love to you always!

Mr. & Mrs. Whitacre with their Happy Celebrant ~ me!