Remy Mars and Andy Feldman first met at summer camp in June of 1997 — the future bride and groom were both just 9-years-old! The two reconnected the summer before they both started college at Northwestern University and by the next fall, they were officially a couple. Six years later, Andy had just finished a series of tests for work and told Remy he wanted to get away and relax, so he booked a getawayfor just the two of them in New Buffalo, Michigan. "He booked a big suite at one of the only hotels on the harbor and that Saturday he was insistent that we make our way to the beachfront despite the weather being in the low 60s," Remy says. "He sat me on a bench and got onto one knee. I was too taken aback to remember what he said but it was the perfect mix of personal and funny."
Once the two started planning, these Chicago-natives knew they wanted a destination wedding inScottsdale, Arizona, where Remy's family has a townhome that the couple frequently visits. They chose the Phoenician Resort, where their 240 guests could join them for a ceremony and reception under the stars, and worked with the team at BTS Event Management to bring their vision of a romantic and glamorous evening wedding to life. Keep reading to see all of the photos from their November 1, 2014, celebration, as captured by Mike Olbinski Photography.
"We ended up choosing the Phoenician because we really wanted an all-in-one outdoor evening ceremony and dinner reception. We wanted our guests to have an amazing vacation during the day and could dance under the start with us at night," Remy says. "We loved how intimate the ceremony space felt with the large lush trees and the sound of a waterfall cascading in the background. The big lawn provided the perfect blank slate for us to fully create our vision."
After prepping with her bridesmaids, Remy slipped into her strapless fit and flare gown by Tulle. "I knew it was the one because, when I tried it on, it just fit like a glove and instead of wearing me, I was wearing it," she says. "I loved that it had some very subtle embellishments, so it wasn't too plain."
She completed her stunning bridal look with a lush bouquet of garden roses, astilbe, rice flower, anemones, amaranthus, and dusty miller.
Andy chose a slim, black Hugo Boss tuxedo, complete with an off-white bow tie and rose boutonniere
The pair met for a first look during golden hour — another perk of their early-evening ceremony! The soon-to-be newlyweds enjoyed some private time in the property's lush gardens before making their way to the ceremony.
"Our ceremony was held on an enclosed lawn surrounded by eight large trees, all wrapped in twinkle lights," Remy says. There, guests were greeted with glasses of prosecco or craft beers from a local brewery, Four Peaks. "These are two of our favorite drinks, so we wanted to share them with our friends and family. It was a fun and festive way to get our guests relaxed and refreshed during the ceremony." At the top of the aisle, a chuppa was draped in ivory and peach linens, decorated with fresh flowers and branches.
Natural wood chairs surrounded a flower petal-lined aisle. Every few rows, square floral arrangements with candles were displayed, lending a dreamy glow to the dusk ceremony. Guests seated at the ends of rows found a box of white flower petals and instructions to shower the newlyweds with fragrant blooms on their seats. A guitarist performed as the bride walked down the aisle with her father. Then, Remy and Andy exchanged traditional vows.
Dinner was held on the property's lawn, where the bridal party sat at one long table set in front of a row of green hedges that were covered in twinkle lights. "Manzanita branches wrapped in red and white flowers hung from above, along with floating tea lights," the bride says.
After dinner, the couple shared their first dance to Van Morrison's "Moon Dance," before a live band — the Party Crashers — took over.
The party didn't end with the reception, though. Guests moved inside for an after party, where walls were draped with white fabric and Art Deco-inspired chandeliers lent a sparkle to the space. There, the couple cut into their five-tiered vanilla and champagne wedding cake. "The tiers were a mix of circle and square design with varying textures and designs on each layer," the bride says.
Remy changed into a tea-length tulle gown from Maggie Sottero before returning to the celebration. "I really wanted a dress that fit the occasions and was comfortable to wear and dance in," she says. "I loved that the princess shape had so much life when I twirled on the dance floor."
The couple, who honeymooned in Thailand, advise other couples to remember what the day is truly about. "In the end, friends and family are what make the wedding special, not the little details," Remy says. "Even though it's easy to get caught up in planning every little detail, nothing will go completely as you expect so try not to sweat the small stuff. It's about who you are marrying, not about how or where you're marrying them."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Phoenician Resort || Wedding Planner & Designer: BTS Event Management || Bride's Wedding Dress: Tulle || Bride's Reception Dress: Maggie Sottero || Flowers: AZ Flower Bar || Reception Music: The Party Crashers || DJ: Desert House Productions || Cake: Paula Jacqueline Cakes and Pastries || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Favors: Ruze Cake House || Videographer: Amore Films || Photographer: Mike Olbinski Photography