The Tucson Botanical Gardens is certainly an oasis here in the desert. It’s full of lush greenery and tons of flowers. It is also home to a unique installation: the Butterfly Garden. A small greenhouse towards the center of the Gardens offers visitors a place to go and spend time among the butterflies. And for couples who choose to have their wedding here, they even have the opportunity to have pictures taken with them! When Melinda told me about this, I knew her and Richard’s wedding day was going to be extra special.
Melinda reached out to me just 3 weeks before her and Richard’s wedding at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. A previous photographer had fallen through and Melinda knew she had to have a photographer on her wedding day. I had the chance to chat with her on the phone the week before and I could tell how much she cared about having a fun, smooth, stress-free day.
She told me that the photos in the Butterfly Garden were the most important to her out of the whole day. She said butterflies had a special place in heart because of her grandfather. The butterfly is one of the awareness symbols for Parkinson’s Disease which, unfortunately, took her grandfather from his family too soon. Her entire wedding was themed in blue butterflies, undoubtedly ensuring her grandfather was there in spirit.
Richard also added a very special touch to their wedding day together. He hand-crafted Melinda’s wedding band! He took some old family jewelry that was no longer being worn and melted it down. Richard taught himself to form the metal and even size it! He told me that it took an insane amount of time and work to get it just right, but that he was so happy he was able to make it for his bride.
The staff at the Tucson Botanical Gardens was so helpful. I had never been to the venue before and every staff member I met was eager to show me around. Melinda and Richard held their ceremony in the Xeriscape area of the gardens. When I first walked by it, I had no idea it was the ceremony space! Within just a few hours, Melinda and Richard’s families transformed the space into a romantic, almost ethereal-like setting.
Melinda carried charms of her grandparents that have passed away on her bridal bouquet– keeping them with her on her wedding day.
When I met up with Richard to take his Groom Portraits, I asked him how he was feeling. He said, “A little nervous, but I’m mostly excited. Definitely excited.”
The Xeriscape area of the Gardens had been completely transformed in just a few hours by family and friends. It’s ceremony time!
Richard pulled Melinda in for a hug after their first kiss as Husband and Wife. How cute is that?!
By the time the ceremony had finished, the Tucson Botanical Gardens had closed for the evening. Melinda, Richard, and I had the Butterfly Garden exhibit entirely to ourselves! They were able to really soak up that “just married” feeling while getting nice and cuddly with some butterflies. Melinda wanted photos with the bright blue butterflies specifically– staying true to her wedding theme. We were very fortunate to have this little guy (or girl?) open up and show its beautiful colors to us.
I only wish we would’ve had even more time to walk around the gardens and chase that beautiful, glowy sunset light. This is always one of my favorite parts of the wedding day with my couples.
The ceremony space was moved around a bit during portrait time. Melinda and Richard were so happy to go mingle with their wedding guests.
This frozen strawberry dessert display was so stinkin’ adorable!
Melinda and Richard surprised us all at the end of their first dance together with a dip! You could tell these two put in a lot of practice for this moment right here.
I can’t wait to return to the Tucson Botanical Gardens and celebrate with couples that are as laid-back, personable, and totally in love as Melinda and Richard. I hope you two are having an INCREDIBLE honeymoon in Oregon watching the whales! As always, thank you for trusting me with such a special day.
See more gorgeous Tucson weddings that I’ve captured HERE!
Photography | Christy Hunter Photography
Ceremony and Reception | Tucson Botanical Gardens
Catering | Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa
Bride’s Dress | Hem and Her Bridal
Hair Stylist | MVP Salon
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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