Amanda and Daniel’s Kingan Gardens wedding day was simple and very intentional. Although they faced lots of external pressures to have a fancy, elaborate wedding, they stayed true to themselves. Celebrating their special day with friends, family, and each other was all they truly wanted.
Daniel and Amanda actually got married on a Thursday afternoon. A Thursday wedding is a bit out of the ordinary, but they couldn’t resist having a palindrome (meaning it’s read the same forwards and backwards) wedding date: 3/23/23. Plus, that meant they would have the whole weekend free!
I saw Amanda as soon as I walked in. She was finishing up her hair and makeup in the private bridal cottage. We chatted for a few minutes and then I left to explore this beautiful garden venue. I’ve been to a few wedding venues in the heart of downtown Tucson, but Kingan Gardens is truly it’s own little oasis!
The 1900’s estate has a beautiful garden area surrounded by trees, blooming flowers, and calming water fountains. The different buildings all have rich, green ivy climbing up their exteriors, reminding you of the venue’s long history. Just next to the garden is a brick-laid courtyard. This patio area has a canopy of bistro lights and the nearby palm trees are also wrapped in lights. They really added to the romantic, cozy vibe that Kingan has!
When I asked Daniel and Amanda what they were looking forward to most on their wedding day, they had a very simple answer: enjoying their wedding day together. In order to minimize the time that they spent apart, they decided to share a First Look right as I arrived. Neither one of them get dressed up often. Daniel said he couldn’t even remember how long it had been since he wore a suit. But they both wanted to look their best for each other.
Since we would be leaving Kingan Gardens and going somewhere else for the reception, we took this time to capture portraits of Amanda and Daniel around the venue. While I was hoping we would have a little more portrait time on the property after the ceremony (when the light was so much dreamier!), I knew this might be our only opportunity. The iconic teal gates and colorful archways were our main focus.
The chairs in the garden quickly filled up with excited guests. The week before this wedding, Tucson had a lot of rain and strong wind. Luckily, the weather cleared up for us. Typically, I’m always hoping for lots of sunshine on wedding days. But when it came time for the ceremony, I was so relieved that the clouds rolled in right before the music started. This meant that Amanda and Daniel wouldn’t have the harsh sunlight hitting them directly. It was perfect!
Amanda’s favorite color is orange and that was the main source of inspiration for their wedding’s bright and warm color scheme. The Posh Petals team installed this larger floral piece within the garden’s arch to tie in colors from Amanda’s bouquet. But do you see those smaller yellow and red flowers? They were already a part of the archway! Sheila, the owner of Kingan Gardens, said that two sets of flowers are woven into the greenery so that it blooms all year round. It so just so happened that this season’s blooms matched perfectly!
Daniel’s mom, Joy, was also the officiant for their ceremony.
Joy said she was so proud of getting through the service without crying! I know there’s no chance that my mom could have said the same if she were in the same position… (love you, mom!)
My wish came true and we ended up with about 10 minutes to spare after the ceremony. That meant I could grab a few more portraits of Amanda and Daniel together at Kingan Gardens before heading off to the reception. The sun was playing a bit of hide-and-go-seek behind the clouds, but I love what we were able to create!
We had about a 5 minute walk from the downtown venue to Café a la C’Art where the reception was held. The El Presidio Neighborhood had tons of cool architecture and charm!
From the very start of wedding planning, Daniel and Amanda knew they wanted to work with Café a la C’Art. They used to live very close to the restaurant and go there together frequently. Even after moving further away, they still made a habit of going there whenever they could. It just so happened that Café a la C’Art could accommodate their smaller guest count perfectly! So their favorite brunch spot became the place they would host their wedding reception.
Café a la C’Art is located within the historic 1865 Stevens House and is connected to the Tucson Musuem of Art. After a little bit of alone time (or “introvert time” as Amanda called it), the newlyweds made their grand entrance and shared their first dance. Dinner and Speeches also took place outside in the Monet-inspired garden patio.
Amanda’s grandfather, Günter, and a few other attending family members, primarily speak German. So Günter gave his toast in German and her Aunt Kirsten translated.
Amanda danced with her Opa, who flew here from Germany for her big day. He took her by surprise as he started to lead her in a waltz. “I had zero experience,” Amanda admitted. I saw him occasionally whispering what I could only guess to be instructions to her as she looked down at her feet.
The main seating area of the restaurant was completely cleared out for the event and became the dance floor. Daniel took me by surprise with his skills!
As the night came to an end, all of the guests went outside to prepare for a fun nighttime photo. Amanda and Daniel took a few minutes alone inside the newly-quiet café and shared one final dance together.
Then it was time for their official send-off!
While reflecting on their wedding day, Amanda said, “So many friends and family flew long distances to get to Tucson to celebrate with us. Some of them even flew over oceans. And they all made the day just absolutely perfect.” Congrats again to Daniel and Amanda!
Ceremony Venue | Kingan Gardens
Photographer | Christy Hunter Photography
Dress Shop | Maya Palace
Florist | Posh Petals
Hair and Makeup Team | The Powder Room
DJ | Warren Bonesteel aka DJ Warren B
Reception Venue + Caterer | Café a la C’Art
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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