April 20, 2021
Many of Michael and Amy’s big moments as a couple have had to do with National, State, and local parks, so when it came time to pick their wedding venue it only felt natural to pick a park. And, when your last name means “Head of Bridge”…could you really pick a more fitting spot to get married?! If you are looking for a great place to get married near Payson, AZ, you might think about having a Tonto Natural Bridge State Park Wedding!
Their wedding was sweet, handmade, and absolutely touching. Amy worked to plan her wedding, as well as gathering and making most of the decor and details herself. It was such a beautiful day full of heartfelt touches!
Isn’t she just pure elegance and class?!
Her Bridesmaids’ reactions were perfect! I love these bridal party reveals!
When I got to the park, Michael was out with his groomsmen and family helping to set up. He wanted to make sure that everything was perfect for his bride, and it was sweet to watch him interact and to set things up with her in mind. Before I even saw them together I could tell that he absolutely adores her!
For Tonto Natural Bridge State Park Weddings, one of the neat options they provide is an event lawn that is not in the main line of foot traffic of all the park visitors. We had a beautiful view of the park and the lodge without having “extra guests” wander through. And there were a lot of extra guests at the park that day!
The day before the wedding the Govenor declared all state parks to have free entrance that weekend. Having just reopened their trails after extensive bridge work being completed, the park was expecting to hit full capacity that day. And yet, even with the extra park visitors everything felt close and personal.
Amy wanted to have a First Look with her dad, and it was fun to see both of their faces as he came around the corner!
The vows are always one of my favorite parts of the ceremony. I get to learn more of their story, get a peek at their heart, and to feel of their love. Their vows were absolutely beautiful!
These guys were fabulous! They were ready to be the first to start the cheering, pitched in for cleanup, and ran errands whenever needed. If anyone needed anything, these guys were on it! I was so impressed with their willingness to pitch in, do what was needed, and to make the day as amazing as possible.
Amy’s dress was magical!! It was perfect for those spins. And…it had POCKETS! Seriously, it was a dream dress and was the perfect match to Amy’s sweet personality.
We put off photos until the end to hope for fewer park visitors to deal with, have less intense sun, and to keep the party rolling. There was not time that day to hike any of the trails so we sought out the spring blossoms and a quick vista point for their wedding day portraits.
I was able to have my amazing second shooter Mikaela Durfee Photography with me at this wedding, and she caught this incredible shot below while we were at the vista point! It’s always fun when I get to add bonus photos like this to a wedding gallery!
Your visit to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is not fully complete if you don’t get a glimpse of these park residents! I love seeing the Javelina!
And normally that would be the end of the blog post and wedding…but we had something in the works. Because of the crowd, timing, and intense sun the day of the wedding we were not able to do the hike to the bottom to see inside the bridge. In fact, Amy and Michael had never made the hike as the trails were under construction when they visited before.
So we were able to work out with the park for Amy and Michael to return two weeks later after their honeymoon for a morning bridal portrait session!
We were at the gate when they opened it so we could be some of the first people in the park and down the trail (and to beat any heat from the day). The weather couldn’t have been more perfect!! We hiked to the bottom, set up the changing pod for Amy, and got taking photos. For the first little bit we had it all to ourselves, and that was extra fun!
We were able to get in under the bridge a little ways (until we hit where the trail got extra wet and slick) and I loved the light that hit them and the rocks around them!
And then on the way out we had to hit the blossoms one more time. These trees hadn’t bloomed the day of their wedding, so we couldn’t leave them out when we were there again!
Michael and Amy, thank you so much for inviting me into this amazing season of your life. It is evident to anyone around you two that you absolutely adore each other, and it was my privilege to capture that and to get to work with you. You light up the world around you!
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