We chose to have our wedding in Joshua Tree because it is especially meaningful as the location of the first rock climbing road trip that we took together. In order to have some time together to soak in the exceptional day, we got up early and went climbing in the beautiful desert sunshine for a few hours before getting ready for our afternoon ceremony. Once ready, we arrived at the campground where everyone had been instructed to meet and greeted many of our guests before hiking to the ceremony site. We let everyone find their seats in the amphitheater while we waited on the trail, savoring the moment.
We walked up the aisle together and met our officiant and friend, Adam. As a high school earth sciences teacher and fellow climber, he did an amazing job tying in the significance of the place where three deserts meet, the geology that provided such plentiful and amazing climbing opportunities, and the ways that a climbing relationship is so often analogous to the challenges and joys of a life-long committed relationship. He truly found the perfect balance of solemnity and humor. Alyssa’s brothers read “To Love is not to Possess” by James Kavanaugh and Kathy’s sister read “On Marriage” by Kahil Gilbran. We then shared a few of the reasons why we love each other, and read promises that we crafted together. We incorporated a reading and signing of our wedding certificate into the ceremony, drawing upon the Quaker tradition.
After the ceremony, our family and friends all signed the certificate, promising to support each of us and our relationship. As something that we will hang in our home and be passed along to future generations, the certificate was very meaningful for us and many of our guests felt like it was one of the most moving aspects of our ceremony.
We created our own succulent centerpieces for each picnic table at the reception. They were surprisingly easy to put together and turned out to be a stunning yet simple centerpiece for our desert wedding. We purchased large (6-8 inch diameter) salad/dinner bowls of different textures and shapes from a local thrift store and spray painted each one brown (one of the accent colors). We researched a cactus and succulent store in one of the towns near Joshua Tree and purchased about 24 one to two-inch pots of different varieties in addition to a few chollo cacti skeletons, cactus soil, and small desert rock and assembled the pots a day before the ceremony. We finished the pots with a small layer of the gray rock to create a contrast with the brown bowls. The finished product really captured the DIY- feel of the event, the desert landscape, and provided a few family and friends with a long-lasting gift from the big day.
- Photographer: Matthew Williams, Two Peas Wedding Photography
- Venue/Ceremony space: Joshua Tree National Park, Indian Cove Amphitheater
- Florist: the centerpiece succulents were purchased at Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley, CA
- Dress/Suit/Accessories: Alyssa’s dress was from Nordstrom, Kathy’s outfit was from J-Crew.
- Graphic Designer: Emily Roose www.thesketchypixel.com
- Wedding Certificate: Calligraphica http://www.calligraphica.com/certificates.html