Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Tucson destination wedding’

Destination Weddings at Rincon Creek Ranch

Here’s a gem in the Sonoran Desert that I am excited to share with you: a special place in Tucson called Rincon Creek Ranch, located by the Rincon Mountains and Saguaro National Park East. Not only is it a tranquil and scenic natural setting for intimate destination weddings, elopements or vow renewals, it is owned by a gracious couple who make you feel right at home. Turns out I’ve learned Bill and Gretchen Shirley and I enjoy serving similar kinds of clients: discerning folks seeking relaxed and smaller scale events where the emphasis is upon being with close friends and family, plus enjoying time in the desert. I got the chance to talk with Bill and Gretchen recently. Here’s a bit of our conversation:

Kristine: What qualities separate Rincon Creek Ranch from other destination event venues or locations in Southern Arizona?

Bill & Gretchen: The sheer stunning beauty of our natural setting combined with the luxury of the upscale accommodations. We have 95 acres and share a half mile long border with Saguaro National Park giving us unspoiled views that simply don’t exist anywhere else in Tucson. Also, the “boutique” quality of our Ranch. We have the “just right” Goldilocks fit.

Bill & Gretchen on the front porch

Kristine: As owners and hosts to your guests, what are your creative specialties?

Bill & Gretchen: Gretchen and I have independent talents, and we anticipate different needs of our guests. Mine are more practical and functional while Gretchen’s are more pampering and aesthetic. What we share is the desire to do the best job possible. It’s not a job. It’s a passion. Together we try to make sure that our casitas are truly “Little Homes”. We do our best to make sure that every detail, necessity, and amenity has been provided to give our guests a luxurious, relaxing get away. If a guest requests something that we didn’t think to provide, you can be sure there will be one in every casita as soon as we can get it.

For events at the Ranch, it is Gretchen’s aesthetic design talent that shapes how the location or project will look and feel. My construction and engineering skills bring her ideas to fruition. And, sometimes its a feature I want to provide, but she shapes it with her input, and the collaborative end product is always better than our initial individual idea.

Kristine: Who are your ideal clients or guests? What do you enjoy about working with them?

Bill & Gretchen: For guests, it is those who are truly on a vacation retreat. We have hosted numerous guests that are here visiting relatives, attending an event, or on a working retreat, but the ones that are really here to enjoy themselves are always the most rewarding. For those booking the Ranch for an event, the smaller intimate groups always seem to have the most rewarding time. We’ve found “destination” wedding parties to be absolutely wonderful. Generally its groups of about ten couples that arrive from out of state and stay for about five days. They have the entire Ranch to themselves. They are on vacation, but also have a wedding ceremony and intimate reception. We are now getting those couples back to celebrate their anniversaries. Reunions are also a lot of fun.

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

Bill & Gretchen: Don’t try and “make it work”. Be realistic about your budget and the attributes of your event. We’ve had many cases where a host has fallen in love with the Ranch, but the sheer size of their event exceeds the capacity of what we can offer. Its like falling in love with that spectacular pair of shoes or stunning outfit, but its not available in your size. If you try to force it, it ends up being a very uncomfortable experience and defeating to your initial vision.

Kristine: Anything else you’d like to share?

Bill & Gretchen: Universally, our guests have all said “two days is too short”. Maybe that sounds like a marketing ploy, but its the truth. Check out what our guests have said on TripAdvisor.com. For wedding couples, remember it is about your relationship. You are forming a union, and you are celebrating that partnership. Its not about the party or the trappings.

Kristine: I agree, Bill and Gretchen! Forming a union through marriage is a major milestone, one to be celebrated in a way that reflects a couples’ own unique shared stories, beliefs and values. Thanks for sharing your insights and thank you for making an incredibly thoughtful place available for guests to celebrate meaningful celebrations throughout life! 

Advertisements

Stories + humor + honesty = Heartfelt Wedding

Sometimes I work with couples whose connection and their families become particularly well-etched into my heart. This couple, Jill and Eric, are a beaming example of this heartfelt etching. Their ceremony happened all the way back at the end of August (okay, somebody please tell me where the autumn went?) and I’m happy to share a few pieces of it with you today.

unnamed-1We worked over the course of six months or so to co-create their wedding long distance. They live abroad and for many reasons, chose to have a destination wedding in Tucson. We met via Skype and felt instantly at ease with each other and enjoyed our conversations. When we finally met in person over the summer, it felt like we’d known each other for a long time. What did I enjoy so much about working them? Their love of stories, their humor and their intrepid honesty. These three ingredients, in my humble opinion, are the natural forces that made their ceremony shine. All I did was reflect their adventurous hearts back to them during the narrative of their wedding. And this is how their guests felt so close to the experience, too. Every word we spoke was honest and true – to who they are as a couple – and to who they love in the world.

It was mighty important to both Jill and Eric that their families and closest friends, almost all of whom travelled from afar to be at this event, would feel involved, connected and uplifted by the experience. Turns out, according to their guests, we achieved that multi-faceted goal. Nothing could make me happier than for everybody present to feel more connected and in love with life after a ceremony I guide! As Jill shared, she had never seen all of her friends and family so attentive as in this photo below . . .

kristaraephotography.WorkmanCeremony8.30.14 138

I loved gathering pieces of story from their Couple Reflections and weaving them together into a coherent and meaningful experience. They shared their experiences openly, even the tough stuff. And I’m always grateful when this happens. Here is a passage from the body of the ceremony:

kristaraephotography.WorkmanCeremony8.30.14 115

“You both understand that marriage takes work and you do not enter this commitment lightly. You both know you’ve received many gifts in your first 31 years of life and having a partner to share your life with is one of the greatest gifts of all. You trust that belief in God, in something bigger than you both combined, will help you get through the tough times. You both acknowledge there will exist opportunities for you to grow individually and as a couple.

You know that when you are truly trusting and living in your wholehearted connection, your bond will strengthen. You will be able to get through anything while you grow older together, as long as you are present for each other. As you say Jill, “Our marriage will strengthen so long as we learn together, grow together and experience life’s gifts together.”

And here is a reading that the Groom’s Sister shared; lyrics from a John Lennon song called ‘Grow Old with Me’ (proof that wedding readings can be more than the tired worn out stuff you hear all too often!):

Grow old along with me

The best is yet to be

When our time has come

We will be as one

God bless our love

 

Grow old along with me

Two branches of one tree

Face the setting sun

When the day is done

God bless our love

 

Grow old along with me

Whatever fate decrees

We will see it through

For our love is true

God bless our love

kristaraephotography.WorkmanCeremony8.30.14 338

Thank you, Jill & Eric! May God bless your love, always.

All beautiful photos are courtesy of Krista Rae Photography. Thank you, Krista Rae!

Floral design by the awesomely talented crew at La Fleur Plantscapes in Tucson. (I heart these women.)

Venue of course, the scenic JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort . One-of-a-kind Tucson Mountain gem.