Marrying Mid-Century Modern

Location // Mountain Shadows Resort, Paradise Valley, AZ, United States

Mountain Shadows Resort​, ​originally​​ built in 1959​,​ ​has​ returned ​as a fresh face ​in Paradise Valley, Arizona ​​after undergoing a ​complete rebuild. Perfectly nestled below Camelback Mountain and Mummy Mountain, the resort earned its namesake from the shadows cast by the iconic silhouettes each afternoon. The upscale locale was an instant success, catering to the likes of international travelers, visiting families​,​ and Hollywood stars.

Mountain Shadows was reintroduced in 2017 and stands at the heart of Paradise Valley once more. Traces of the past can be found throughout the resort, from the name of the restaurant to iconic breeze block by the pool. Whether they follow in the footsteps of past globetrotters or happen to live down the street, every guest experiences the same warm hospitality, modern elegance​,​ and beautiful scenery that made Mountain Shadows a beloved destination for decades.

Our team of creatives ​for this styled shoot wanted to connect ​the gorgeous environment of the resort​ to the mid-century vibe that the hotel has​ embraced​. ​Showing affordable options with a gender neutral feel ​and design that could be embraced​ ​by any couple was the focus of this shoot. We topped ​it off by photographing a same-sex couple to show that the resort welcomes and celebrates ​all weddings.​

Todd and Eddie​, our handsome grooms,​ have been married for several years but never had a wedding​. On the day they were married, Todd took Eddie and a few key family members on a trip down memory lane that led them through Todd’s hometown. The tour ended at the courthouse much to everyone’s surprise, including Eddie’s, where they got married minutes before closing time. ​Being photographed in their finest, toasting their new life as husbands, and feeding​ each other wedding cake was not in the cards on their wedding day, but today we were able to ​celebrate that moment for them​,​ even if it was just for fun.

Vendor Partners

Event Planning + Design Concept // Life Design Events // MRSter Approved

Venue // Mountain Shadows

Furniture Rentals // Prim Unique Rentals

Rentals // Classic Party Rentals // MRSter Approved

Photography // Keith and Melissa Photographers // MRSter Approved

Paper Details // Life Design Events // MRSter Approved

Floral Design // Butterfly Petals // MRSter Approved

Cake // Cakes By Whisk

Cinematography // Something New Media

Hotel Palomar LGBTQ Wedding Winners :: Gwen and Ronda :: Loving Gratitude // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Loving Gratitude ::

Same Day Edit provided by MRSter ApprovedSerendipity Cinematography

This one is pretty awesome and we couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of it. MRSter partnered with Hotel Palomar Phoenix to produce a luxury free wedding for a same sex couple… Gwen and Ronda were the lucky winners after they received the highest number of votes for the video of their love story! Over 18,000 total collected votes and they were to be the chosen couple! With the help of many awesome vendors we made this day happen for them!

With only 2 months to put this together wedding planner Patrice Klaum of MRSter Approved – Celebrations by Amy Bacon, spilled the beans and gave this awesome summary of the day with all the details…

When MRSter asked me to be the planner for the Wedding Giveaway with Hotel Palomar, I never expected the effect it would have on me but after meeting Gwen and Ronda for the first time (and getting to know each other for 3+ hours over drinks and laughs), I knew this wasn’t going to be just another wedding day.

I remember Gwen and Ronda speaking to how blessed they felt to have won and to get such a gift from not only the vendors who donated their services (list below) but by the people who cared enough to vote for them as well. A plethora of words can be used to describe Gwen and Ronda Bailey’s wedding but one phrase sums them all up perfectly: LOVING GRATITUDE. I can’t recall a single moment in the whole process when everyone involved wasn’t appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of such a special day, myself included.

Even though they were gifted each portion of the day, Gwen and Ronda were still treated like true clients (as they were) by all involved.

Gwen and Ronda lovingly refer to themselves as ‘celesbians’ from all of the attention they have received from the giveaway and they truly had a celesbian wedding for the record books. Hotel Palomar was a flurry of activity all weekend long as the team worked to bring Gwen and Ronda’s modern desert design come to life. As the brides and their wedding party were pampered in a suite with makeup, hair and video interviews, downstairs linens were being thrown and succulents were being placed throughout to tie all of the spaces together.

A picture from the brides’ home served as the color inspiration for the day with shades of Sedona red and forest green that softened Hotel Palomar’s modern edge with some organic flair.

The rooftop Lustre Lounge served as the perfect backdrop for their intimate wedding with 130 family and friends to give their blessing as Gwen and Ronda began their marriage together. Happy tears were shed during their self-written vows and laughs erupted as the group realized the Suns pre-game festivities nearby were blasting “White Wedding.” Coincidence? We think not!

Every so often a wedding will have crashers but when we started catching crashers who not only wanted to join the party but meet the brides they had “been following on Facebook for weeks,” then we knew it was a special night. The ladies even grabbed a picture with a Phoenix Mercury star as they did their romantic photos around downtown Phoenix. Celesbian couple Gwonda’s night was a star-studded affair without even trying.

Normally one of the ultimate rules to a wedding is ‘Don’t stop the party if everyone is dancing’ but I took the liberty of breaking this rule for Gwen and Ronda. Why? Because as I was scanning the room to see how everyone was doing, the TV above the bar caught my eye: the brides were on the 10 o’clock news! During dinner Gwen and Ronda were interviewed by Phoenix Channel 12 News about their experience with this wedding, including the reactions they received when campaigning to win. Gwen responded with, “We spoke with thousands of people nightly. In bars, on the streets, at restaurants, and at work. Not one single person said what we were doing was ‘wrong’ or that they didn’t want to be involved. No one cared about the same sex part or that we are two women getting married. They only cared about the love and about supporting our love.” Love is love, no matter who it is between and the Phoenix wedding market is embracing this with a force that can move mountains.


Loving Gratitude. Celesbians. Modern Desert Design. Love is Love.

The Professionals

Many thanks to the following (all FABuLIST) vendors who came together to support Gwen and Ronda ::

Host Venue & Event Sponsor :: MRSter ApprovedHotel Palomar Phoenix // Amazing Views, Fantastic Food and Stellar Service

Event Sponsor & Vendor Matching :: MRSter // Oh…that’s us! – A resource for planning the modern union for LGBTA and straight engaged couples.

Cinematography (Audition Tapes for all 5 couples + Same Day Edit Wedding Film) :: MRSter ApprovedSerendipity Cinematography

Photography (Wedding and Engagement Pictures) :: MRSter Approved – MRSter Approved – Mod Wed // High energy and wickedly talented Chadwick and his team of rad photographers.

Event Planner & Coordination :: MRSter ApprovedCelebrations by Amy Bacon // Total professionals and designing and executing beautiful events.

Photobooth :: MRSter ApprovedThe Traveling Photobooth // Awesome experience from start to print including the two behind the Phoenix franchise.

Officiant :: Family Friend

Floral (Ceremony, Personal Flowers & Cocktail Hour) :: MRSter ApprovedFiori Floral Design // Long time friend of MRSter and extremely talented visionary of floral artwork!

Floral (Reception) :: MRSter ApprovedButterfly Petals // A “Yes” team that always delivers beauty beyond your wildest.

Linens :: MRSter ApprovedSimply Elegant Event & Wedding Design // Designers that have it all and can pull the wedding of your dreams together.

Cake :: MRSter Approved – Piece of Cake Desserts // As sweet as it takes is as they are!

Paper Products :: MRSter Approved – Posh Invitations // Pretty in print and in person with a heart of gold.

DJ :: MRSter Approved – SKM Entertainment // If you want to dance then they are your choice! Non-stop!!!

Apparel (Gwen’s Dress) :: MRSter Approved – Luv Bridal // Downtown girl with an any girl budget with top-notch experience.

Apparel (Ronda’s Suit) :: MRSter Approved – Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique // Sweetness and deep caring for all their customers.

Hair Styling :: MRSter Approved – The Olive Salon // The beauty beyond words…an artist!

Makeup :: MRSter Approved – Krystal Pro Makeup Artist // She could be painting the Mona Lisa she’s that good!

Event Furnishing (Ceremony Privacy Hedges) :: MRSter Approved – CORT Furniture Rental // Jumped at the opportunity to help!


Phoenix, Arizona.


Gold Canyon, ARIZONA :: Love is Love // Styled Shoot

:: Love Is Love ::

Submitted by :: Christine Young of MRSter ApprovedY-Knot Party Rentals

The R2 Studio photographers Renee and Robin had come up with a series of styled photo shoots called Love is Love. They wanted vendors to be able to grow their portfolios to show they are same-sex wedding friendly. As a staunch supporter of marriage equality for everyone, I was very interested in this project and was happy to find out that many of my “friend-ors” were interested in getting their companies involved as well! Epi and John, an actual engaged couple, were asked to be the models so you can really see the true love in the photos.


Styled Shoot. Love is Love. Gay Wedding.

The Professionals

Shoot Coordinator :: Forever Young Weddings
Photography :: MRSter ApprovedThe R2 Studio
Venue :: The Views at Superstition
Rentals :: MRSter ApprovedY-Knot Party Rentals
Officiant :: Phoenix Wedding Minister – Rev. Amy Miller
Paper Products :: Posh Invitations
Cake :: Sue Jacobs Cakes
Bartending :: MRSter ApprovedPour Masters
Models :: Real couple – Epi & John
Apparel (Suits) :: Celebrity Tux and Tails


Gold Canyon, Arizona


Sadie & Nora :: A Quaint Occasion // Real LGBT Wedding

:: A Quaint Occasion ::

Submitted by :: Melissa Hesse of Rivets and Roses

This fall wedding was small, and quaint. It was hosted on a farm with run down barns, and corn fields that you could see for miles.  The ceremony was intimate, and filled with laughter. Rustic breads, and meats filled the reception table while champagne filled the guest glasses at sunset. It was a short wedding day, and the couple was surrounded by their best friends, and family.


Quaint, Intimate, Farm

The Professionals

Photography :: Rivets and Roses


Minneapolis, Minnesota



Boho Chic Wedding :: Santa Barbara, California // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Boho Chic Wedding ::

Submitted by :: Molly Hauge of MRSter Approved – Molly + Co

From the wedding creative team of Wild Heart Events, Molly + Co, and Rowan Oak Events:

The beautiful BoHo Chic inspiration of this day started with the amazing venue in Santa Barbara, CA.  An old Orchid Farm along the Gaviota Coast consisting of a series of old greenhouses with sweeping ocean views and ancient fig trees was the site for the festivities. We wanted to showcase the natural rustic beauty of the land and pay homage to the thousands of orchids that once grew there. The tablescape consisted of items that could be found on the property from everything from reclaimed wood, fresh vegetables, orchids, and cheesecloth to create a farm to table aesthetic.

Our florist created the most amazing installation above our sweetheart table using an iron rod and bare orchids, brushing off the roots for a very raw look and finished it off with hanging terrariums. Jaime of Wild Heart Events, the wedding planner, completed the design by placing radish napkin treatments, colored glassware and farm animal menu indicators. We even took plants out of their pots for the centerpiece, leaving the dirt on the roots to achieve a very organic farm feel.

The bride’s bouquets took queue from the wealth of natural elements and textures abundant along the Gaviota Coast. Our venue called for something rustic but we also wanted to honor the feminine as well. A grapevine crescent, tillandsia, cymbidium orchids, and bear grass gave one bouquet an architectural bent, while the other was more a traditional composition both in shape and content. We added drama to the natural setting by hanging bare root phaleanopsis orchid plants, iron lanterns, and large tillandsia above the table. Fresh produce finished the look and brought the intention of the greenhouse into the moment itself creating a richly organic experience.

We wanted to ensure our invitation represented the overall theme of the wedding, so the invitation suite was done all by hand on 100% recycled kraft paper. We also watercolored a floral pattern using greens and yellows to go with the greenhouse theme. We then mounted the invitation suite on a leather background to juxtapose the soft florals and cursive calligraphy to flow with the modern take on a greenhouse wedding.


Boho Chic, Natural Rustic Beauty, Feminine

The Professionals

Event Coordinator :: Wild Heart Events
Graphic Design // Signs :: Wild Heart Events
Venue :: The Orchid Greenhouses
Photography :: MRSter Approved – Molly + Co
Rentals :: Milk & Honey Farm
Hair & Makeup :: LunaBella Makeup & Hair
Jewelery // Accessories :: Clothesline Home Boutique
Napkins :: La Tavola
Florals :: Rowan Oak Events
Wedding Cake :: Sugar Cat Studio


Santa Barbara, California



Kevin & Kevin :: Lakeside Love in Long Island // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Lakeside Love In Long Island ::

Submitted by :: Photography by Verdi

The thing that impressed us most about Kevin and Kevin’s wedding was all the love that surrounded them. Not only the love between the two of them, but how much their families and friends were so close and loving.

The ceremony was set outdoors under the trees next to a beautiful lake. It was a warm summer day on Long Island’s north shore with a beautiful warm breeze that matched the warmth of the couple.


Lakeside Ceremony, Family and Friends, Warmth and Love

The Professionals

Venue: Flowerfield
Submitted and Photographed by: Mindi Verdi of Photography by Verdi


Long Island, New York


Oscar & Gary :: Ocean and City Views in Coronado // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Ocean and City Views in Coronado ::

Submitted by :: Grooms, Mr. Oscar De las salas and Mr. Gary Jackson

MRSter: How did you meet?
O + G: We were brought together from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and continents, and found love and partnership that neither of us expected. Our different styles, energy and talents have found a balance in life and love that has grown more intense and more inspiring each day. We were friends long before the time that fate took a surprising course, and the relationship that we know today, started quietly with a Friday afternoon lunch, which was in reality a thinly veiled interview/date to survey the possible future together for us. Apparently passing the tests, the connection grew stronger and we became a couple in 2007, to the surprise of many friends. In 2008, little Hugo (our pug) found this family merely a week prior to us moving in together and making a home in a house which we later discovered we had both placed separate offers as single men.

MRSter:  Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?
O + G:  In the non-romantic sense, as a same-sex couple, we had to travel to a state in which then our marriage would be legally recognized. But with that reality, we also valued the importance of a location which reflects both of our backgrounds and origins as children. Gary was born in a small port town in Washington state, north of Seattle, while Oscar was born in the port city of Barranquilla, Colombia in South America. So holding the most important ceremony of our lives near the ocean and bay, and next to a marina, offered us a connection to our roots, as well as a beautiful backdrop. And given the close vicinity and connection that Arizonan’s have to San Diego, the quaint nature of Coronado became the perfect choice for our wedding and for the ease of our guests to travel.

MRSter:  How did your family and friends respond to the decision?
O + G:  We both believe strongly that our friends are our family, and we are very lucky to have a network of intimate friends who value and believe in our relationship – so anywhere we would hold the wedding, we knew that our close friends would literally drop everything and simply ask – where and when and we will be there. We chose to have a small, intimate ceremony, so we knew that the travel and commitment that comes with that would not be an issue. In fact, all of our guests found our choice to be the perfect fit and they all took an extended weekend to enjoy the beauty and vibe of San Diego.

MRSter:  How many people attended the wedding?
O + G:  We chose to keep it small and limit the number of guests to about 28 people, not including us. This made for a wonderful mix of friends, intimate cocktail parties and a strong connection between every attendee.

MRSter:  How/why did you choose the location/destination?
O + G:  As we noted above, we have an affinity for the coast and a port city. Sitting along a marina brings both of us a sense of calm and well-being, and being from Arizona, San Diego is a perfect contrast to the desert locations and heat of the Sonoran landscape. As part of our decision, two close friends (Mark and Angela Karp, who also own an events company called Angelic Grove) opened their home on the Glorietta Bay Marina to us for a location scouting trip, which afforded us time to spend in Coronado and experience the beauty of the island.  The city of Coronado recreation department was extremely helpful and supportive in helping us find the right ceremony location, and when we walked into Centennial Park in Coronado, which overlooks the San Diego Bay and city skyline, we knew we had found our location.

MRSter:  Was planning a destination wedding easy?
O + G:  No, No, No. Given our circle of friends and business in Phoenix, we know many event planners, florists, and entertainment companies in Arizona, but San Diego was an unknown to us. Luckily we have many referrals to contact, but we still had to take a leap of faith with several providers. And the San Diego market is a very laid back coastal community, so there is no sense of urgency in the industry. It made it challenging to get timely responses and confirmations in coordination in the market.

MRSter:  Can you describe the ceremony?
O + G:  We wanted to have a close, personal ceremony what reflected our sense of style, and the importance of marriage equality for us and our friends. With Oscar’s background in fashion, he also had a clear vision of the overall feeling he wanted in the color scheme. Our wedding was based in the feeling of the beach, bay, marina and natural pieces of nature, so the overall look of the ceremony was one of classic and fresh design.  The guests sat overlooking the bay on crystal ghost chairs, with sun parasols and sandalwood hand fans to cool in the sun. Since we are a couple from diverse background and countries, we also wanted to incorporate those origins in the event, and also maintain an open format and wrote the entire ceremony ourselves.  The ceremony was backed by acoustic classical Spanish guitar music, by artist David De Alva. Our officiate was our close friend and artist, Mayme Kratz, who we have known for 20 years, and knows each of us very well, bringing a personal emotion to the proceedings. Without family at the ceremony, and avoiding traditions set for opposite sex couples, we also wanted to include our closest friends to present the two grooms for marriage. Our friends Jeff Brodin and Irma Diehl give their approval of the union as representatives of all of the friends of Oscar and Gary.  To note the cultural mixing, we asked another couple of Anglo and Latin backgrounds, Bill and Irma Diehl to read a verse in both Spanish and English, representing the diversity of culture in this marriage. At the conclusion of the ceremony, we also loved the tradition in the Jewish culture of breaking the glass, but we wanted to take it to a different level. We wrote on cards several myths and negatives that we wanted to crush and ‘break’ – so our friends, Erika and Russ Dickey read aloud each item, such as bigotry, hatred, false traditions, ignorance, and put them into a bag with the glass – which we then broke by foot.  The overall impact of the ceremony was one of embrace, love and hope.

MRSter:  Would you mind describing the reception?
O + G:  We made our way in a classic 1955 Bel Air convertible to the Bluewater Boathouse on Glorietta Bay Marina, in which we had the entire balcony overlooking the marina. It was a perfect setting for cocktails, with a four course seated dinner in candlelight. We chose the texture and simplicity of white linens, and white hydrangeas in clear cylinders to maintain the classic look, with a contemporary tone. The reception was underscored with big band music from the 1940s completing the mood of retro, and complementing the history of Coronado and the boathouse we were in, which was built in 1887. One of our close friends provided a special dessert table with Brazilian and Lebanese chocolates and sweets, adding both a sweet and stunning  addition to the reception,

MRSter:  Did you do any pre/post activities? If so, please describe them.
O + G:  Since we did not have a rehearsal dinner, we chose to hold what we called our bachelor cocktail party on the evening prior to the wedding. At the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, we had our entire guest list join us for cocktails and tapas on the private half-circle balcony jutting from the side of the hotel, overlooking the bay, with additions of blue and bright green flowers to the white wedding theme to punch up the color a bit. With our guests in beautiful summer cocktail attire, it was an amazing pre-event for our friends to meet up and connect prior to the wedding day itself.

MRSter:  What did you use when planning your wedding – internet searches, wedding magazines, personal referrals, wedding planner?
O + G:  We contacted several local Sean Diego wedding coordinators and sadly, never received any follow-through from ANY of them. Not sure why – same-sex couple or maybe too small? So our good friends from Angelic Grove events provided us with some local resources in San Diego, and we did the coordination ourselves, from requesting quotes, checking rates and finding what we wanted on the Internet. We booked the location for the wedding ourselves from the city of Coronado, and handled the coordination of both our bachelor cocktails, reception set-up, cake, classic car – all ourselves.

MRSter:  What was your favorite moment on the wedding day?
O + G:  There are so many moments which took our breath away, which includes our personal vows read to each other. This was the first time we had heard each other’s vows and our hearts were filled to overflowing. But for the event itself, one of our favorite moments was driving in the classic convertible along Orange Avenue and coming over the crest of the street to the reception at the historic boathouse, to see all of our guests standing and waving to greet the new grooms at the reception. It was exhilarating and emotional all at once.

MRSter:  Do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?
O + G:
a)      Give yourself time to plan and use your friends as much as you can for a sounding board.
b)      Understand that nothing will be perfect. The perfection of the day lies in your connection and love from your friends, your family and the personal moments.
c)      If you are getting wed in a public venue, hire security.
d)      Invest in a fantastic photographer. The event itself goes by so fast, that you will not remember the individual moments themselves – but good photos will revive those memories in your heart to relive again and again.
e)      When you choose your flowers, colors, outfits etc – remember that these photos and images are forever. Trends and fashion may come and go, but your photos will be there forever. Last thing you want is to have some current fashion trend that will disappear and leave you with a look that you and your family will cringe each time you see that photos.
f)      Have someone you trust, whether that is a coordinator or a friend, double check on the ceremony and reception set-up prior to walking in. As we noted, nothing goes as planned, but don’t leave your requirements for your wedding in the hands of the people who manage the space. What is the adage? Trust by verify.


Breaking Hate, Dapper Dog, Destination

The Professionals

Photographer:  Kristina Lee Photography
Rehearsal Cocktails: Tracy vanDam Fotografie
Wedding and Reception: Kristina Lee Photography
Wedding Planner: Self-planned
Ceremony: Centennial Park, Coronado, CA
Reception: Bluewater Boathouse, Coronado, CA
Florist: Flowers By Erin
Grooms’ Clothing Designer: SuitSupply
Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: self
Wedding Consultant: Angelic Grove
Bluewater Boathouse was the location for the Reception and provided the multi-course meals, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres
Cake provided by Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego, CA
Dessert Table provided by: Sweets Table by Micheline Etkin
Ghost Chair Rentals by: Raphael’s Party Rentals
Parasols and Fans by: Paper Lantern Store
Classic Car Transportation provided by: Haynes Antique Car Chauffeuring


Centennial Park, Coronado, CA



Real Wedding // Stacy and Deanna // Modern Union // Beach Wedding // California

The abundant amount of love oozing from this wedding is the first thing that became evident to me when I saw these pictures submitted by MRSter Approved vendor Cyndi Hardy of Cyndi Hardy Photography. Both Deanna and Stacy Dunnuck were surrounded by their loved ones who did nothing but celebrate their new journey together. What a beautiful wedding in La Jolla, California.

The wedding date was chosen because it was the 14th year anniversary of their first date. Both brides lived in Arizona but chose to have their wedding on a beach in sunny California.

Deanna and Stacy hired the following vendor team to create their wedding day ::

Photography :: MRSter Approved – Cyndi Hardy Photography
Event Planner :: A Beautiful Ceremony
Wedding Cake :: Twiggs Cafe and Bakery
Caterer :: 24 Carrot Catering
Rentals :: MRSter ApprovedClassic Party Rentals
Transportation :: ExecuCar Charter Service
Venue :: The Wedding Bowl on the shore of La Jolla Cove