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Northern Arizona Wedding Planning By Shira Nelson

I started my business about two years ago. Wedding Planning appeals to me because I get to be creative, there are many elements to it, (it never gets boring), and I get to help others on one of the most special days of their lives. Most importantly, I get to continue being a stay at home mom. I love how each wedding group is a different personality. It’s really fun getting to meet people from all walks of life and it’s such an honor to be entrusted with their wedding day details. I specialize in green wedding planning. Keeping my vendors local and being environmentally friendly is very important to me and my clients. More than 1 billion tons of trash is produced by weddings every year. Yikes!

This Northern Arizona wedding that I planned was one that I was able to be creative while still staying true to the beautiful backdrop of the Grand Canyon.The ceremony was a very raw location to work with. “camping style” venue if you know what I mean. Ugly pavilion with permanently screwed in picnic tables. etc. but the most beautiful backdrop. Truly a destination location. It was an adventure planning this one, literally. The theme of the wedding was "Squirrel and the Goat". There is a story to go along with the bride and groom identifying themselves as the squirrel and the goat. I tried to incorporate this theme lightly throughout the wedding. It was different and fun and made it very signature.  The colors I chose were natural and matched the colors of canyon. Tans, navy blue, ivory, blush, marsala etc.


The ceremony location was about a 2 hour drive from Flagstaff.  Luckily it was a free national park day at the Grand Canyon so no-one had to pay an entrance fee and the lines to get into the park were quick moving. I left at 6 am with my assistant (and my Black Labrador, I rarely go anywhere without him :)) and picked up all the floral and catering in Flagstaff. We brought two vehicles and a trailer all filled to the brim with coolers, antique furniture, wedding day emergency kits, linens, firewood, and the likes.


The wind was absolutely insane but the sun was out and the temperature was comfortable. We immediately began unpacking and setting up. The wind was making the linens fly, knocking over centerpieces, so we tied them down with ribbons on each end. All of the picnic tables were covered in ivory linen with different neutral colored, gauze table runners. The benches were covered in ivory polyester linens and tied at each end with silk ribbon. That was probably the most frustrating and time consuming part of setting up.

For catering, Good Times Rolling Kitchen prepared 85 individually boxed charcuterie appetizers. Beverages were white sangria, (which I prepped on site), iced tea, lemonade, water, and a “beer barrow”. In order to give the “wedding effect” and draw the eyes attention away from the pavilion, floral hoops were hung above the welcome table and two at the entry of the pavilion.


Everything was set up and ready at 2:30pm.  Since the bride and groom are avid travelers, they chose to have their gusts sign their “wedding globe”. The wedding programs were seriously the coolest programs I have ever seen. Each one was like a road game book with personalized I spy game, crossword puzzle, and the wedding program inside. It was too cool. Definitely my favorite.

As guests filed in, they grabbed a drink in a personalized mason jar, played corn hole, took pictures at the Photo Booth, and stared out into the GRAND CANYON! Around 4:15pm the guitarist began playing and the bridal party lined up in the trees ready to walk down the handmade, Navajo rug isle.

Afterwards, the bride and groom lit a bonfire and everyone gathered around for toasts. When toasts were over, appetizer boxes were served. The theme of the boxes was, “A Taste of Spain” with a little description of what each food item in the box was. As the sun set the bride and groom took pictures out on the edge of the canyon and guests watched the colors change. An antique trunk of full of cozy blankets was emptied by the end of the evening. Overall, it was an adventurous and fun planning experience and a truly signature event.


All vendors were local

Ceremony vendors:

Photographer- Lear Miller

Floral- Shawn Foster Wright Floral Design

Ceremony catering- Good Time Rolling Kitchen and Catering

Rentals- Old Highway Trading Post

Guitar- Bouzouki Dave

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