Creating the Ceremony Scene: Southwest meets Contemporary

Dreaming up unique ceremony altar spaces is one of my favorite things to do.  When Carrie and John asked me to design something crafty, yet modern, I was totally on board!  Their save the date had a palette of burnt oranges and turquoise with a Southwestern geometric motif.  I wanted their backdrop to mirror this with dramatic scale and a contemporary design.  I also wanted to bring in native succulents and dried Cholla cactus.

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It began with a sketch and then I needed to brainstorm what it would actually be made of.  I wanted to use lightweight materials like paper for an airy and delicate garland.  I cut different sized triangle and diamond shapes in varying shades of orange, and to bring a little depth and a contrasting pop of color, I made geometric boxes out of turquoise and aqua paper. I cut out feather shapes from a scrap piece of leather and painted one side of them with metallic paint in gold and copper.

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I went out into the New Mexico hills and foraged fallen Cholla cactus.  Luckily, once it has dried, the skin and very sharp spines fall off, making it a wonderful, natural material for a Southwestern installation!  The groom’s mom had a perfectly complementary rug to place under the altar and I just love how it tied everything together!

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The ceremony took place at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.  I am in love with the way the garland’s geometric shadow played on their beautiful white gallery walls! After the ceremony it became the backdrop for the photo booth; I love when installation pieces serve double duty during a wedding.

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It truly was a joy to custom design something so unique for such a wonderful couple ! I am so glad it was part of a beautiful wedding day!


Kristina & Florian




















We put together a full weekend of sight seeing, dining and celebrating for their international guest list.  Kristina and Florian wanted to highlight the enchanting experiences that made them fall in love with Santa Fe on their first visit.  The Selby Fleetwood Gallery was the perfect place to host their intimate ceremony.  My assistant, Jamie Gordon West created beautiful garlands to adorn the apricot tree under which they were married and I hung bud vases of blossoms in the tree to compliment the garlands.  Guests were welcomed with lovely sips of Agave sodas and Lavender infused Prosecco and sounds of a classic guitar trio, Los Primos. The evening concluded with a multi-course dinner, dessert and dancing which was highlighted by heartfelt speeches and acapella musical performances!
Photography~ Articulate Photo / Hair and Make-up~ Katie Douthit  / Ceremony Location~ Selby Fleetwood Gallery Santa Fe, NM / Ceremony Backdrop ~ Jamie Gordon West for Jessie Baca Weddings and Events / Officiant ~ Bishop Daniel Dangaran / Ceremony Music ~ Los Primos / Cocktail Reception Catering~ Walter Burke Catering / Florist~ Marisa’s Millefiori / Reception Location~La Posada de Santa Fe / Dessert ~ Cherron Kofford of Chocolate Maven