Though Katy grew up in Northern California and Russell across the country in northern Virginia, the two were lucky to connect in Arizona during college. “Although we had a lot of mutual friends, we didn’t meet until a Christmas party during my junior year, after Russell had already graduated,” shares Katy.

The couple would get engaged in December 2014 during a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum, also the location of their first date. “I found a private spot at the gallery and got down on one knee to propose,” says Russell.

“We’d been there many times before, but this will always be my favorite memory.” After the proposal, Russell swept Katy off to a resort in Scottsdale, where they enjoyed a nice dinner and a “fancy brunch” in the morning.

The couple agreed their wedding should be a fun time for family and friends and take place at a handsome location.  “I wanted to make a point to integrate my Mexican heritage without the day feeling too forced or themed,” notes Katy. “We also wanted the day to be simple, elegant and feel like us.”

While Russell’s favorite part of the planning was the wine tastings at their chosen venue, Hart 2 Hart Vineyards, Katy enjoyed sending out the invitations to their guests. “I was so excited to have all of our family and friends there on such an important day. “We had a lot of help from them on the day of our wedding; one of my cousins did my hair and makeup while another cousin made sure the day ran smoothly.”

The bride and groom were fortunate to have the perfect weather for their big day. They chose a pastor from Katy’s childhood church to officiate the ceremony. “It was very special to me that my grandparents, who have been married for over 50 years, were able to perform our traditional lasso ceremony,” says Katy.

Both Katy and Russell think the most memorable moments of the day were the speeches. “It was wonderful to be surrounded by the people who love us most and to host an evening full of food, dancing and music,” says Katy.

—Darren Elms