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  • Writer's pictureKristin Bendigo

Ria & Jason: Stillwell House

Ria and Jason: February 11, 2022

Ceremony: St. Augustine's Cathedral

Reception: The Stillwell House

Gown: David's Bridal

Tux: The Black Tux

Makeup: Kat Ordonez & Desert Bridal Company

Hair: Michelle Estrada & Desert Bridal Company

Florist: Perfectly Planned Celebrations

Photography: Kristin Bendigo Photography

Videography: Lifeworks Cinema (Craig Scott)

Bakery/Cake: Miss Cake Ninja

DJ: Phil Montes w/ Fantastic Five Entertainment

Color Palette: Jeweled Tones of Blues & Greens w/ Ivory, Black, & Gold Accents

When I first met Ria and Jason back in 2021, they had reached out to me for engagement photos. Ria, an officer in the USAF, was about to deploy for the first time and I wanted to make sure I gave them a beautiful experience and get their album back to them before she left. Originally planning to have their wedding in Virginia when she would return from her deployment, I assumed I would meet them once, snap their engagement, and that would be that!

But we hit it off! (I mean come on, they brought their dog to their engagement session, naturally it was going to be a blast) We bonded over our mutual love for all things military, puppies, and Target! Oh, and Ria's smile .... I think one of the first things I said to her was how infectious her smile was! Jason, I swear this blog post will pertain to you too ... eventually.

So we started to discuss the possibility of flying me out to Virginia to photograph their wedding ... things were lining up beautifully. But when all was said and done, they ultimately decided that Tucson made more sense as their location to say their "i dos!" Papers were signed and we were in business to create some more magic together.

Planning was easy .... Ria made it easy.

Now normally, if my clients don't have a wedding coordinator or planner, I set up a Zoom call with them to work out their timeline together; we of course did just that! I typed up my two page timeline and sent it on to be reviewed when we were finished .... wabam! All done, right?

Now, I thought I was organized. I apparently don't know the meaning of that word because Ria is ORGANIZED! I received an 11 page, 11 point font, single spaced word document in which everything was laid out meticulously from start to finish ... I am only slightly exaggerating when I say there were "breathing" breaks slid in there for us. Even the pastor made sure to mention her incredible organizational skills while he stood up there to marry them ... if the whole Air Force thing doesn't work out, she needs to get into the wedding planning business FOR SURE! Just another reason to love her!

And it was incredibly handy come wedding day!

Everything ran so seamlessly, so perfect!

Ria chose cool jeweled tones for her bridesmaids, but let them have a free hand in the style and color they wanted to wear. Everyone chose something that was absolutely beautiful and so flattering for their body types! From gold sequins to lush velvets, the coordination was just perfect. Jason's groomsmen all wore matching tuxes and shoes; however their ties were all different from one another ... and I was here for it! Following the same color palette as the girls, the boys chose different patterns to fit their unique styles and personalities. Loved it! All in all, 10 out of 10!

Beneath the beautiful St. Augustine Chapel, Ria and Jason said "I do" in front of their closest family and friends who flew in from all over the country. For those who were unable to make it, they had a live stream going in the back of the church; I tried desperately to avoid walking in front of it as much as possible until I realized I just couldn't anymore ... so I apologize for anyone who had a good view of the back of my head for an extended period of time. Three of their friends made up the choir, another on the piano, and they sang beautifully throughout the hour-long ceremony; I got goosebumps quite a few times during some of those high notes! It was a perfect, traditional Catholic ceremony!

And then ... it was party time at the Stillwell House!

Now, I didn't know this before hand, and I am kind of glad I didn't, but Ria comes from a very musical background! She loves to sing (and can do so very well!), but I was in for a big surprise when I realized her and Jason choreographed their first dance .... and oh boy, was it fun! They pulled it off flawlessly! I knew I was in for a great rest of the night!

First dance for the bride and her dad? Psh, not at this wedding!

We do first songs here!

There was not one dull moment on the dance floor the entire evening ... everyone was having an absolute blast! From the photo booth to the open bar, the delicious plated dinner and the great playlist, the reception was freakin' amazing!

Thank you Ria and Jason for trusting me to capture your beautiful day and making me feel like one of the family! You guys are so loved by so many and it was an absolute honor to be apart of that!

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