For their spiritual wedding, Shine (she/her) and Amanda (she/her) chose vibrant colors and bold florals that complemented the red and tan boulders surrounding their ceremony and reception location in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Sage, burnt orange, blush pink, rust and mustard yellow were woven into the color palette of the mismatched bridesmaids’ dresses. Sunflowers, daisies and warm-hued roses highlighted Amanda’s bright red hair and the red satin bow on her bouquet.

The brides got ready together with their families before heading to the aptly named Valley of Fire Park for the outdoor ceremony, which took place in front of a triangular wooden altar with an ornate rug laid in front of it. More rugs were laid down the center of the guest seating, making the aisle walkable and inviting and adding to the bohemian aesthetic. After the couple exchanged vows, Amanda and Shine cut their single-tiered wedding cake and enjoyed speeches from their loved ones.

Shine wore a light beige bespoke suit with matching suspenders and a floral tie, donning a wide-brimmed black hat for newlywed portraits and the reception. Amanda wore a mermaid-cut strapless white wedding gown with delicate appliques covering an illusion bodice. Her look was completed by a flower crown with their wedding flowers and eucalyptus leaves that matched Shine’s boutonniere and hat pin.

We caught up with Shine to hear more about their colorful desert wedding.

Tell us your love story!

We met online in 2016 when I accidentally hit “add friend” on Facebook. We had an instant connection and started seeing each other. Three years later, I invited all of our closest family and friends to the Lights Lantern Festival and asked Amanda to marry me.

We both had children before we got together, but we came together as a family so easily and naturally. I had our oldest, Shawn, and Amanda had Averie and Ricky. We’ve parented together and have made so many unforgettable memories with each other, but this wedding was the one thing missing. Now we can say, we have seen it all, done it all and most importantly, we did it together.

What was the wedding ceremony like?

The ceremony was held at the Valley of Fire, a state park in Nevada. Amanda’s mom walked her down the aisle, and her dad was the officiant. We did a sand unity ceremony with him reciting the Four Directions Blessing:

“Blessed be this union with gifts of the East and of Air.
From the east you receive the gift of a new beginning with the rising of each morning Sun, the dawn wind breathing into you both open of heart and purity of mind and body.
May you know that each new day is an opportunity to grow in all you establish in this sacred moment.

Blessed be this union with gifts of the South and of Earth.
In the south we see the earth that will feed and enrich you,
helping you to build a stable home to which you may always return.
May you walk upon it with respect, that it may provide sustenance, fertility and security of being, sheltering you for all of your days upon it.

Blessed be this union with gifts of the West and of Water.
In the west we see the storm clouds and the oceans, the mystery of water teaching you the capacity to feel emotion through tears of sadness and of joy.
May you offer absolute trust to one another,
vowing to keep your hearts open and provide for each other in triumph and in strife, and traveling together into the deepest places one can travel to, trusting that everything will come together in Creator’s Time.

Blessed be this union with gifts of the North and of Fire.
In the north we see the northern lights, teaching us the importance of energy, passion, creativity and the warmth of a loving home.
May you seek and share with one another the light that comes from the fire within, and may it guide you through the darkness; for there is no darkness without light and there is no light without darkness.”

What advice would you give to engaged LGBTQ+ couples or marriers?

Communicate and be patient. Be open to learning from each other and allow vulnerability. The Equally Wed heart is a trademark of Palladino Publishing, LLC.

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Photographer: Bella Leigh Photography
Videographer: LuxLife Las Vegas
Planner: Ember & Stone Events
Venue: Valley of Fire State Park
Florist: Roots Flowers & Events
Amanda’s Attire: David’s Bridal
Catering: El Dorado Cantina
Cake: Sons of Cakery Las Vegas
Favors: Zentric Flo

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