As the Event Sales Manager at Sedona Sky Weddings, Carlinda Alvarado, has helped many engaged couples plan their perfect wedding here at Sedona’s exquisite Sky Ranch Lodge with its resplendent red rock views.Wedding Invitations

Here are her four insanely smart ways to save money on your wedding invitations:

  1. Check out Kelly Paper in your city or online at where you can find an array of papers in colors and in various weights. By buying wholesale, you can often afford a higher quality paper than you would buy from the printer.
  2. Use graphic design software or hire a graphic designer to layout your invitations, response cards, save the date, menu, wedding program, and thank you cards. Then, take their art to your local printer.
  3. Find a local printer (Kinko’s, Office Depot, Staples, or a mom & pop) which will print your designs on your paper.
  4. One bride splurged on a paper from Neiman-Marcus in the exactly the right shade of green and yellow she selected for her wedding. Because her cousin, a graphic designer, gave her a pre-wedding present of her design services, the bride was still able to stay within her budget.

Add whimsy to your wedding?


Rock Paper ScissorsPlay “Rock-Paper-Scissors” at your altar to decide who will say their vows first! This can delight your guests—and relieve any smidgen of wedding day jitters!
Of course, since your really know your beloved, there is a good chance that your game may end in a tie.

To avoid this, play “The Big Bang Theory” version– “Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.” In case you need a quick refresher on the rules, here is how Sheldon explains it: “Scissors cuts paper. Paper covers rock. Rock crushes lizard. Lizard poisons Spock. Spock smashes scissors. Scissors decapitates lizard. Lizard eats paper. Paper disproves Spock. Spock vaporizes rock. And, as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”

You might want to print the rules in your wedding program so that everyone can understand who actually won!

In our previous blog posts, we discussed how you could bling up your bridal bouquet with classy embellishments or add a bit of whimsy with natural embellishments including Dr. Seuss-like air plants. The purpose is to add more visual layers of style and texture to your bouquet. In this post, we’re going to discuss four more ways to personalize your bridal—or bridesmaids’–bouquet..

11. Herbs: Herbs come in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes, which makes them a viable foliage option—and great for cooking with after your wedding!
If you are feeling stressed, add lavender or mint to your bouquet. The aromatherapy might alter your mood on the way the altar.
Concerned about mosquitoes? Add catnip to your bouquet! It’s a natural defense.
Since Victorian times, herbs—like flowers—held serious meaning. Lavender stands for “luck” and “devotion.” Thyme invokes courage. Rosemary means “remembrance” while sage stands for “long life.” Basil means “good wishes.” Parsley invites partying and festivities. Dill is thought to ward off evil.
To add color to your bouquet, consider flowering herbs such as feverfew (it has small, daisy-like buds) or meadowsweet (white, frothy-looking blossoms).

12. Chamelaucium (or waxflower) is a delicate blossom which substitutes beautifully for baby’s breath in any bouquet. Waxflowers come in a variety of sizes and colors to complete any arrangement.

13. Butterflies: If you love these whimsical sky dancers, think about adding a silk butterfly to your bouquet. Or, if you want a bit more bling, add a kaleidoscope of jewel-toned butterflies! (We looked it up: a herd of butterflies is called a “kaleidoscope.”)

14. Feathers: Feathers can completely change the vibe of your bouquet. Delicate feathers are a subtle addition to your bouquet while larger plumes (like those from a pheasant) make a stronger statement because of their striking black and brown color pattern.

Want to add glam? Try adding ostrich feathers for Old World charm and dramatic volume.

Want to add BRIGHT color? Add iridescent peacock feathers for added style points.

For whimsy, add gold-dipped white feathers—very understated perfect for a boho-chic wedding. Since feathers are very light, you can add as many as you wish to your bouquet without having to undergo serious weight lifting training before your wedding.

Whatever you select, you will have a beautiful, unique bouquet which reflects your gorgeous wedding day!

Bridal bouquets change with the times.

In the 1930’s, many brides carried a long cascade of white roses almost reached to the floor. In the 1960’s, those bouquets were shortened so that the flowers cascaded down only about 12” from the bride’s hands. Now, brides are adding different shapes, colors, textures, and architectural elements which make their bouquets as unique as they are.

At Sedona Sky Weddings, here are a few more of our favorites in this continuing series:

7. Painted leaves: Leaves painted with gold or silver look gorgeous, adding a metallic shimmer to a very modern bouquet at a contemporary wedding or to a very rustic selection of flowers and greenery for a barn, country, garden, or farm wedding.

8. Cotton: Depending upon your theme, cotton could be just the embellishment you need! If you have round elements in bouquet such as Echinops (globe thistle), ranunculus, and berries, cotton can play up the circular shapes in your bouquet. Having a romantic wedding with delicate peonies in your bouquet? Add soft, white cotton to enhance the romance. You might even wrap your bouquet with a raw silk ribbon to add a rough texture which will juxtapose with the cotton’s softness. For the guys, cotton makes an awesome boutonniere option.

9. Berries: Initially, berries debuted in wedding bouquets to add a pop of color to winter weddings. Now, we are starting to see berries in spring, summer, and fall to add color, texture, and possibly a completely different shape to your bouquet.

10. Fruits and vegetables: As the farm-to-table movement grew from restaurants to wedding catering, we began to see more freshly harvested vegetables and fruits included in the cuisine here at Sedona Sky Weddings. Now engaged couples are carrying that theme of home grown/home town charm into their floral designs. Not only are leafy greens good in your salad, they are great in your bouquet! Swiss chard, kale, and cabbage are beautiful additions to (or substitutes for) lush foliage in your bouquet. If you want to make a bold textural statement or architectural element, add half-cut fruits like figs or pomegranates. Selecting what is in season can help keep your floral budget in line.

(Down side: fruits and vegetables are primarily water—which adds weight to your bouquet. This may not be an issue if your ceremony is short and your photography session a quick one. If you are getting married in front of the bishop with 300 of your closest friends packed into the cathedral for High Mass, fruits and veggies might not be the best choice. Just sayin…)

Come back next time for our last installment on creative embellishments for your bridal bouquet!

Bouquets with succulents and air plantsIn our previous blog post, we discussed how you could bling up your bridal bouquet with classy embellishments. Visually, adding elements in addition to the flowers lends more layers of style and texture to your bouquet. In this post, we’re going to discuss several more ways to personalize your flowers.

Natural accents for your bridal bouquet:

Bouquets with seed pods4. Succulents and Air Plants: Succulents and air plants are two of the most on trend additions to wedding this year not only because of their affordable price tag but also because of their structural diversity—they come in a wide variety of colors and Dr. Seuss-like shapes. With their unique colors and shapes, succulents and air plants bring a rustic, desert-inspired style to your bouquet.
Here are several of our favorites:

  • Echeverias maintain a flower-like appearance because their leaves grow in tight rosettes.
  • To add a cascading shape to your bouquet, consider sedum burrito with their vinelike stems.
  • Air plants (or tillandsia) add a wild, whimsical, Dr. Seuss-like look to your bouquet. (Great news: because they need very little water and can withstand a range of weather conditions, they still look beautiful after hours on a sunny Sedona Sunday or Saturday.
  • Added bonus: many succulents and air plants can be propagated or repotted as home décor after your wedding. Can’t say the same for the daisies…

5. Seedpods: Seedpods can add some serious intrigue by building your bouquet up (adding height) or out (adding volume). Poppy pods, lotus, and scabiosa are great for creating a fuller shape for your bouquet while trumpet pods, okra, and dried protea can add height to your arrangement because of their slender, taller construction.

6. Grains & Grasses: As more couples opt for barn, country, beach, woodland, and garden weddings, organic straws of grains and grasses are a natural addition to the bride’s bouquet. Add blue lyme or tufted hair grass for a wispy, tall addition to your bouquet’s shape. A big elephant ear can amp up the ambience of a tropical-themed wedding. For a ranch, barn, or country-themed wedding, consider lavender, wheat, and barley tied together with a floppy gingham ribbon.
In our next Sedona Sky Weddings blog post, we’ll share more of our favorite bridal bouquet embellishments. Come back and learn more!Bouquets with grains and grasses

Part 1 of 4

Wedding Bouquet Embellished with Pearls, Jeweled Brooches, and RhinestonesThe bridal bouquet your great-grandmother carried on her wedding day was probably a cascade of white roses, several sprigs of baby’s breath, and enough green leaves to constitute a small tree stuffed in the bouquet at exact intervals. According to Dawn, the talented floral designer at An Old Town Flower Shoppe in Cottonwood, Arizona, brides this year are adding a variety of embellishments to their wedding bouquet. Visually, adding elements in addition to the flowers lends more layers of style and texture to your bouquet. Here are a few of Dawn’s favorite bouquet enhancements:

Get Classy

  1. Pearls: To add a timeless elegance to your bouquet, drape a delicate strand of small pearls across the top of the bouquet or place pins topped with pearls among the flowers.
  2. Jeweled brooches: Want to add bling to your bouquet? Get your glam on with jeweled brooches (crystals, diamonds, rhinestones) in among the flowers and greens!
  3. Rhinestones: Affix rhinestones or crystals to wire and then scatter the pins throughout your bouquet. Combine sparkle with sophistication!
    Come back for another exciting chapter!

Ask any bride who has been on her feet from mid-morning to midnight and she’ll probably tell you that while super cute, her shoes were super uncomfortable. Yeah, her ability to walk was compromised by the end of the night. Argh….

But wait! Don’t give up hope (or your budget) just yet! Our absolutely amazing Sky Ranch Lodge/Sedona Sky Weddings Event Sales Manager, Carlinda Alvardo, has the solution:


Half of you just asked, “Huh?”

It’s OK. Carlinda will explain.

Instead of dropping a bundle on a pair of wedding shoes, hunt around your closet for your most comfortable shoes. They might be the flats you bought at the outlet mall or those soooo comfortable heels you bought at a big box store and discovered that pleather is actually a fashion option. You know you can wear these shoes for hours on end and be comfortable!

So how do you upscale your shoes for your wedding day? Glam them up with shoe clips–a darling accessory which clip on the toes or the heels of your favorite shoes. There are oodles of shoe clips on Amazon, Etsy, and specific web sites.

(By using shoes you have or opting for a new, inexpensive pair, you have brilliantly NOT blown your wedding budget on shoes! You can use the money you budgeted for shoes and splurge a little more on your flowers or food!)

Can’t find anything that sings to you? Use your favorite brooch, sew-on patch, or hair clip as a shoe clip.

Here are our few favs:

Shoe Clips Blue Bows   Shoe Clips Unicorn

Shoe Clips POW! BAM!   Shoe Clips with Blue Hearts

Cat lovers have found very creative ways to have their cats in their weddings. At Sedona Sky Weddings, we’ve got some cat-agorically cute suggestions on how to include your cat in your wedding!

  1. If you’d like to have Mr. Percival your pampered Persian in your pictures, consider asking your photographer to include kitty in your engagement photos or take center stage on your “Save the Date” postcards. Another option is having the photographer come to your abode before the wedding and take your photos with your cat.
  2. Stalk the thrift stores for flea market chic. Find cute cat figurines which can double as cake toppers or centerpieces.
  3. Infuse a cat theme onto your cake: have little kitty paw prints in the icing.
  4. As more engaged couples utilize their wedding as a way to give back to their community, consider making a donation to a no-kill cat shelter (e.g., Rescue House in San Diego or Miss Kitty’s Cat House in Prescott) or to a local non-profit which pays the vet bills for those in need (e.g., Pay It Forward in Cottonwood at 928/634-5274). Instead of buying wedding favors for your guests, put a sign on each table stating that a donation has been made in your guests’ names to a cat-related non-profit.
  5. Another way to include cats in your wedding is to ask your guests to make a donation in your name to particular cat-related cause. Or ask your guests to bring donations of cat food and supplies which will be given to a local cat shelter. This is a win-win: their gifts to you can benefit cats instead of your guests giving you another can opener or set of Pyrex bowls. Like you needed more of those…
  6. Would you like your cat, Lady Esmeralda or Sir Kitty, to walk you down the aisle? In a cat harness, your cat might be cajoled down the aisle if you have his favorite treat such as tuna flakes waiting for him at his feline El Dorado. Lady Esmeralda might be a bit happier walking up the aisle in a pet stroller. (In a pet stroller or a cat harness, your cat can’t escape, causing you unnecessary panic.)

Many couples who are considering getting married are also considering how the fine jewelry they select—their engagement and wedding rings—might be environmentally conscious as well as a way to give back to their communities…and they can when they select an ethical, socially responsible jewelry designer.

Socially responsible jewelers design rings which are handcrafted from beyond conflict-free diamonds and recycled, precious metals.

In our history, the harvesting of diamonds often fuels conflict and violates human rights. The mining of precious metals often causes environmental damage to the environment. To make matters worse, miners frequently are denied adequate health and safety protections while working for less than fair wages.
What are your options if you want ethical engagement and wedding rings? Consider using these materials in your rings:

  • recycled gold
  • fair trade gold
  • vintage diamonds and jewels
  • conflict-free diamonds and jewels

Certain designers are green-certified and/or give back to their community or their environment in several different ways.

You can Google “ethical engagement rings” to find ethical jewelry designers.

In our previous Sedona Sky Weddings blog post, we shared the meanings of white, red, and pink roses at a wedding. Since roses are a very popular wedding flower, let’s look at three more very popular wedding rose colors and their meanings.

Yellow Roses:

Joy, Delight, Promise of a New Beginning, “I Care,”
Additional meanings: Friendship, Gladness, Remember Me

• Yellow rose with red tips: Falling in Love, Friendship

Dating back to the ancients, yellow was the color of the sun, warmth, joy, wisdom, power, optimism, and boundless happiness. For that reason, yellow roses were often sent to cheer someone up. Now, yellow roses express your feelings of delight and joy—which is why they are often the floral guests at weddings.

During the 18th. Century, many people around the world fell in love with roses—even though roses were only grown in shades of pink and white. Sometime during the 1700’s, a yellow rose was discovered growing wild in the Middle East and brought to Europe where people were enchanted with its joyful color. While the first yellow roses lacked any scent, highly skilled European gardeners finally cultivated a yellow rose with its charming sweet-and-spicy scent. Aha! The perfect yellow rose was born! This why the highest compliment a Texan can offer his beloved is that she is his “yellow rose of Texas”–the best woman he’s ever met!

Orange Roses:

Passion, Enthusiasm, Desire, Fascination
Additional meanings: ‘”I’m proud of you”

• Peach Roses: Let’s Get Together, Appreciation, Sincerity, Gratitude
• Pale Peach Roses: Modesty
• Coral Roses: Desire

Sunsets. Citrus fruits. What do they have in common? The color orange! Orange is often the color of roses used for spring, summer, fall, beach, dessert, and winery weddings.

Orange is one of the newest rose colors, having first been cultivated in the 20th. century. Realizing that orange is on the color wheel between red and yellow, skilled gardeners created an orange rose—a beautiful, refreshing look for roses!

When it comes the meaning of orange roses, that too falls right between yellow and red by merging the meanings of love and friendship. An orange rose is more subtle than a red rose and bolder than a yellow rose. An orange rose is intriguing because it communicates a love which grows out of friendship—you are your beloved’s only love and your beloved’s best friend.

Considering that orange roses range from the softest coral to a blazing, fiery orange, you might think that the orange rose is the wild child of the rose family. Orange roses communicate enthusiasm, passion, elegance, energy, and gratitude.

Lavender Roses:

Enchantment, Love at First Sight, Majesty, Splendor

Visually stunning, very distinctive, and very rare, lavender roses come in a range of eye-catching hues from the most delicate lilac to a vibrant purple.

When were the first lavender roses grown? There are Old Garden species as well as modern rose hybrids, miniature rose bushes and larger, long stemmed, single bloom flowered. (While lavender roses are expertly cultivated today, this author’s Great Aunt Ruth accidentally grew a lovely lavender rose in the 1960’s by adding too much potassium to the soil around a white rose. The next batch of roses were all lavender and the flower committee at church was incredibly grateful for the donated lavender roses!)

Like purple roses, lavender roses are associated with royalty, regal majesty, and splendor. This beautiful color is infused with a sense of magic, wonder, and impossibility. Being a rare color, they symbolize that rarest kind of love: love at first sight.