When I first pulled up to Karen’s childhood home in the Tanque Verde area, I was in complete awe. During their engagement session last summer, they told me all about their vision on the property: an outdoor wedding in Tucson with touches of marigold yellow everywhere. I knew it was going to be nothing short of breathtaking. How fun is it that Karen grew up, had her engagement photos taken, and married the love of her life all in the same place?! Her childhood home is certainly overflowing with memories now.
When I asked Karen who would be taking care of certain things on their wedding day (like flowers, hair and makeup, etc.), she said the whole family was helping out. She wasn’t kidding either. When I pulled in to the estate that morning, there were people everywhere! Setting up tables, assembling bouquets, gathering cocktail ingredients… Joey and Karen had to periodically message so they didn’t accidentally see each other before the ceremony. Busy busy!
While Karen finally took a break to finish up her hair and makeup, I gathered up her bridal details. This is one of my favorite parts of the day. Not only do I get to be creative, but it also lets me see the vibe that my couples are going for. That style, in turn, influences my texture choices and background decisions. My goal is to make their gallery look as cohesive as possible while showcasing their wedding day vision.
Once their checklists of tasks were finished, it was time to finally have some fun! And what’s an easy way to do that? Hang out with some of your best friends, of course.
I love that Joey’s suit was a different shade of blue. It really made him stand out in the group photos with his guys.
When we were planning their wedding day timeline together, Karen told me she wanted to do a First Look dress reveal with her bridesmaids. All of the girls immediately started to tear up when they saw each other!
Every single girl looked STUNNING in their marigold yellow dresses. The color flattered each of them beautifully and paired so well with the green landscape.
The estate is insanely gorgeous so Karen said she wanted to keep everything super simple and have the landscape speak for itself. She loves all the big, established mesquite trees and let them be the focal point for their outdoor wedding in Tucson. Oh, and that’s real grass, too!– a rarity here in the desert.
Since some areas of the ceremony were in the bright sun, Joey and Karen set out paper umbrellas for their guests. How thoughtful!
The Best Man, Eduardo, officiated the ceremony. He said it was hard not to cry as he watched both Karen and Joey tear up. The ceremony was given in both English and Spanish so that everyone could be fully present in their commemoration.
In her vows to Joey, Karen thanked him for fully embracing her crazy Mexican family. He made sure they felt the love haha.
Joey’s mom couldn’t help but get emotional during the ceremony. So sweet!
Karen and Joey also had an official blessing from the church before the exchanging of the rings.
I mean, how cute are they?! Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Lyles!!!
Karen and Joey were head over heels for their engagement photos that we took last summer. So on their wedding day, we knew the exact spots to revisit. We took a few photos with their bridal party on the lawn. The bridesmaids and groomsmen then went to Cocktail Hour while Joey and Karen had their Husband & Wife Sunset portraits!
The veil toss can be tricky to get on the first try. I stopped to check the back of my camera to see if we needed to do another toss. As soon as I got to this shot, I ran up to Karen and Joey to show them. “That one!” Joey said, “That’s the one I’m blowing up for our wall!”
The engagement photos by the outdoor fountain were some of Karen’s favorites, but man… they just can’t compete with photos of them in their wedding attire!
The big open space under the mesquite trees was the perfect spot for the reception setup. In preparation for how dark it would get outside, Karen’s dad strung up lights going from tree to tree. They also had a raised dance floor setup to avoid the dirt and rocks.
Honestly, I can’t tell if Karen knew Joey was going to surprise her with a performance. Regardless, they both seemed to have fun haha!
Joey had a lot of important women in his life and made sure they each had a moment with him on the dance floor.
This is the first of two traditional Mexican dances usually performed at a wedding. It’s called La Vibora de La Mar (translating to The Sea Snake Dance). The bride and groom stand on chairs opposite one another and form an arch, which guests pass through while holding hands and dancing. The goal is to not break the snake formation, and that gets harder as the music gets faster. The DJ made sure the guests really focused their energy on Joey. After a few rounds, they eventually broke the chair Joey was standing on and he (gently) came down.
Now this dance was certainly something I had never seen before. It was hilarious! This dance is called El Baile del Mandilon (The domesticated husband dance). This is a dance where the roles are switched. Understanding older Mexican practices, the father/husband has always been the head of family. This dance essentially is making fun of how the “dominant husband” is now the domesticated partner in the relationship. The dance is started by giving the bride a belt and tejana (cowboy hat) and the groom an apron and broom. They dance around the floor as the bride gestures at “whipping” the groom and the groom dances around sweeping the floor. This is just a way of reminding them that now they are equal and have to work together while BOTH having a say in the relationship. Also known as “reception photo gold!”
The laughs continued with some sweet speeches from friends and family.
To end the evening, Joey and Karen went onto the dance floor with their friends and family. Everyone surrounded them, holding up sparklers as they all sang to the music together.
Karen and Joey shared a special announcement during their wedding day: they’re expecting a baby! Baby Lyles will be here in September and I am so freaking excited for them. They are both so incredibly sweet and have made me feel like family every time we’ve been together. I can’t wait to watch this new chapter of their lives together unfold. Congrats again, Mr. and Mrs. Lyles!!!
Most of Karen and Joey’s wedding day was created with the help of their extremely talented family!
Wedding Venue | Karen’s childhood home
Dress Shop | David’s Bridal
Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire |Men’s Warehouse
Rentals Provider | a la Carte Rentals
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Tucson, Arizona.
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