When Alex Saenz and Charlie King were imagining what their wedding would look like, they knew they wanted a southwestern theme. “We have always loved the southwestern aesthetic—the warm colors, textures and history,” the newlyweds share with Equally Wed. “Coincidently, when we moved to Arizona a little over two years ago, we found ourselves immersed in all the things we love and wanted to incorporate that into our special day.”

cowboy boots

The couple’s wedding planner, Ashley Allan of Your Jubilee, was inspired by their home. “You’ll see a lot of southwestern ranch-inspired design in the couple’s home, and they carried that into the design for the wedding as well,” she says. Touches of leather, western accents and a custom branding iron matched the historic venue, El Chorro, which was built in 1934 originally as a school and eventually converted into a lodge and restaurant. They wanted the details including the custom napkin rings, branded serving boards and leather signage to be curated but not fussy. They wanted it to feel like an extension of their home, comfortable and thoughtful.”

leather seating chart

The Arizona ranch wedding exuded a relaxed blend of rustic vibes and neutral colors with artfully placed pops of vibrant hues. During the planning process, the Scottsdale, Arizona, grooms-to-be called themselves “fools in love,” since their wedding date was also April Fool’s Day. Appropriate since they were smitten with one another from the beginning when they met in San Francisco while both living and working in the city. “After spotting Alex during a wild night at the Eagle SF bar, Charlie put his incredible stalking skills to use and slid into Alex’s Instagram DM’s a few days later,” they say. “After messaging back and forth, we met back at the Eagle SF bar for our first date. The connection was instant, and felt like we knew each other our whole lives. Little did we know, those first DMs would turn into a proposal in Joshua Tree, California, and a wedding four-and-a-half years later. A successful slide we’d say.”


Charlie proposed to Alex nearly two years after they met. “Charlie arranged a surprise road trip to Palm Springs and insisted on going to Joshua Tree,” says Alex. “We took the drive out to the park with our dog, Frankie. As we drove through the park, I said to pull over so we could walk to a big rock formation. There was a beautiful opening inside the rock and Charlie asked me to marry him surrounded by this formation. The rest of the day was a blur as we celebrated at a historical restaurant drinking martinis and champagne.”

They pulled the earthy tones of their proposal spot into their wedding colors of browns, yellow, orange and turquoise. For their wedding flowers, Ashley says, “Charlie really liked Billy Buttons and Alex liked desert-inspired florals and plants so we combined the two in coppery vessels. The ceremony featured two large arrangements at the back of the aisle but the venue is so lush, it didn’t really need anything else. In the ceremony space, tables were designed with single arrangements of clusters of vessels with floral and candles to give a little visual distinction.”

Both grooms wore bespoke suits made by a local tailor. “Charlie’s suit brought in a modern touch with a dark blue fabric with a light windowpane design,” says Ashley. “He accessorized with a black and turquoise pocket square and tie, along with a black diamond tie clip that belonged to his grandfather.” He finished the look with Gucci shoes. Alex put a western twist on his olive green three-piece suit by accessorizing with a vintage Stetson hat, a turquoise bolo tie which was gifted by Charlie on their first Christmas together. Alex donned a belt with a turquoise accent made by a local artist in Scottsdale, as well as a pocket square made of feathers. To bring it all together, Alex wore handmade cowboy boots made by a Spanish boot maker.


The grooms married at one of Phoenix’s most iconic restaurants, El Chorro Lodge. The lodge opened in the 1930s as a school, then converted to a bar and restaurant that catered to cowboys who were passing through. “The vibe was everything we were looking for and we immediately knew that this was where we wanted to get married,” says Alex.

The ceremony took place outdoors under fragrant citrus trees and blooming bougainvillea vines in the shadows of Camelback Mountain. The ceremony was officiated by a close family member who incorporated traditional and nontraditional vows. Charlie and Alex both shared words they wrote for each other in addition to the vows. The ceremony also incorporated poems, read by family members that celebrate LGBTQ+ love as well as a poem in honor of Charlie’s grandmother who passed away in late 2022.

To personalize their wedding even more, the grooms created a custom branding iron and used that brand on just about everything including a leather wrap on their invitations, a steel cut-out for their arch, branded wood serving boards, custom throw pillows, branded cocktail napkins and branded napkin rings.

For engaged LGBTQ+ couples and marriers, the grooms offer these words of wisdom as you plan your LGBTQ+ wedding: “The best advice we have is to make your own decisions and try to not let your friends or families opinions keep you from what you have envisioned for your special day. You are not going to please everyone. Trust your gut—and your wedding planner!”

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Planner: Your Jubilee
Photographer: Jonathon Allison Photography
Venue and catering: El Chorro
Florist: Fiori Floral
DJ: GME Event Group
Invitations: Down Home Diviner
Cake: A Bakeshop
Candy favors: Caros Antojitos
Beer burro: Walking M Farms
Rentals: AZ Retro Rentals
Linens: BBJ La Tavola
Signage: Writing on the Walls