Sophisticated Garden-Inspired Wedding in Phoenix, Arizona

Jaime and Craig

Photographed by: Stephanie Fay PhotographyLocation: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Though initially overwhelmed by the wealth of options for the look of their wedding, Jaime Shaps – who works in postproduction at TMZ – and Craig Cerniglia decided on a romantic garden aesthetic with the guidance of their planner. The bride was inspired by the summers she spent with her mother’s family in Upstate New York. “I fell in love with the lush trees, wildflowers, and ivy that seemed to grow on every building,” shares Jaime. This was going to be a tall order since the nuptials were going to take place in arid Arizona, where the bride grew up.

Selecting a sanctuary for the vow exchange was fairly easy. As an alumna of Xavier College Preparatory, Jaime had always admired the beautiful Brophy Chapel. The Spanish Colonial structure featured lofty ceilings, stained-glass windows, and wrought-iron chandeliers. After the processional – which included the bride and groom’s brothers escorting their grandmothers – Jaime made her entrance in a graceful ball gown with delicate floral embroidery on the bodice. A chapel-length veil was pinned to her classic updo, while a pair of sapphire-and-diamond dangle earrings provided her “something blue.” Craig, like his groomsmen, was handsomely attired in a black tuxedo with an ivory vest and bow tie.

The verdant lawn of a luxury resort with expansive views of the surrounding mountains was the perfect backdrop for the alfresco reception the couple desired. The festivities started with a cocktail hour offering a tapas station and passed hors d’oeuvres including ceviche in cucumber cups, beef carpaccio, and wild mushroom and Gruyère tarts. For the dinner service, guests took their seats on chairs with a distressed finish at round tables swathed in creamy linens.

Romantic centerpieces were composed of white hydrangeas and roses, with lavender roses and peach peonies adding a touch of color. Larger versions of these lovely designs were accented with beaded candleholders and transformed into floral chandeliers. Vanilla wisteria vines were draped, along with tea lights in glass orbs, over the dance floor. “Though we were married on a day that was 107 degrees, we still were asking for lush, beautiful East Coast flora and ambience – which our amazing planner delivered without a problem,” notes Jaime. “It really felt like a beautiful secret garden.”

Their first dance as husband and wife to the tune of “All of Me” by John Legend was an unforgettable moment for Jaime and Craig. Having taken lessons with a professional to assuage the groom’s jitters, once the music began “all of the worries went away,” affirms the bride. “It was so special, almost like an out-of-body experience!”

Although there were some stressful instances during the planning process, Jaime looks back at the time with fondness. “It was a bonding experience between me and my mother [and] me and my fiancé, and I even met some great new people along the way,” she says with a smile.