Surrounded by luminous canyons, Amanda and Michael exchanged vows in seclusion amidst the Utah desert at Amangiri.
Evocative of a surrealist painting, organic rock formations provided a dramatic backdrop for an intimate ceremony. Inspired by the venue’s minimalist architecture, Amanda and Michael kept their wedding decor effortlessly simple, contrasting muted surrounds with decadent red wine hues.
As dusk fell, a modern reception unfolded in Amangiri’s Desert Lounge lit by candlelight and framed by nature. Capturing every magical detail was photographer Haley Nord.
Names / Amanda & Michael Dexton
Wedding Date / February 2nd, 2022
Guest Numbers / 10
How We Met
We met in 2009 through friends going to a movie. Amanda was in a relationship at the time, she and Michael became fast friends. There were many years of near misses, embarassing proclimations of feelings from each other at different times, will they or won’t they moments. After a long tumultuious journey, we finally got the timing right and became a couple in 2016.
Our Engagement Story
I first proposed to Amanda before we were even together, but that’s another story. The proposal that stuck was during quarantine in Sept, 2020. We took a trip to Yosemite where Michael proposed. I knew I wanted to design a ring with Amanda so I proposed with a necklace that she showed me before we were together. I had made a note of it and had been waiting for the right moment to gift it, this felt like that moment. I proposed in a secluded portion of the forest at sunset.
Marriage To Us Means…
To choose to go though life with somebody and share every moment with that person is what matters. We’re best friends, we’re lovers, we work together, we share every aspect of each other’s lives. The label of marriage doesn’t mean so much to us, it hasn’t changed our relationship at all. Truthfully, we considered ourselves married since long before the actual wedding
Amangiri. The ceremony took place in the rocks, we wanted to do something in nature, we wanted a raw feeling, just the beauty of the desert, nothing else.
For the reception we chose the Desert Lounge location, which had the best combination of landscape and the resort’s architecture.
We underestimated the temperature and our entirely outdoor wedding was moved inside at the last minute because we were freezing and nobody could enjoy their meal. We ended up not being able to use the plates we choose because they froze, the hot food would have made them shatter. When they told us we all just started cracking up, so we scrapped our plans and moved everything inside.
Our overall style was modern and minimal. We love the desert and we love architecture. We chose Amangiri because it is exactly our aesthetic and we weren’t looking to dress it up. We wanted the surroundings to speak for themselves.
First thing in the morning we took our families to the spa for a group sound bath. Our parents had never done one (being from LA we’re sound bath veterans) and it was such a joy to experience that with everyone. It really set the tone for the day. Afterwards we all just hung out in our room, it was very casual with our nephew running around in his pjs. The makeup artist worked in our bathroom, our room was the hub and people would come and go as they pleased. Amanda and her mom exchanged gifts, and we had a special gift, a framed letter that we hand wrote to give to her parents.
Haley Nord was our wedding photographer and she was amazing. The moment we saw her work we knew she had the right aesthetic for us. Nobody knows the desert like she does and we knew she would bring something special. We wanted candid shots and unconvential framing, we’re both in the film industry and we really wanted our photography to tell a story and capture moments. Haley fit into our group perfectly and made everyone so comfortable. She felt as if she was a longtime friend. We dragged her all over the place, even up a mountain to photograph us rock climbing and she was game for it all. She even held a snake with us.
Her photos have a surreal quality, we wanted them to feel more like an art exhibit than wedding photos and she achieved that style to perfection.
We didn’t have any ceremony decor, we wanted the landscape to stand alone. We love the landscape so much that we wanted to bring some home, so part of the ceremony involved each of us collecting sand from the area and combining it together in one bottle.
Minimalism was the main theme of the decor. We wanted lots of candlelight. The main color was a deep, wine red and that was offset by the surrounding landscape and a beautiful, ivory velvet tablecloth. Simple, sparse florals helped to fill out the table design.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
Valen Hunter of Tellurian Events was our planner/stylist and she did an amazing job with our design. We wanted the design to feel more like a modern restauraunt than a wedding.
We choose the wine red becasue we wanted something romantic and moody, wintery, a color not in the landscape.
Because this was a small, family elopement we didn’t have formal invitations. We did create save the dates that we photographed ourselves. We wanted to do something fun and not take it too seriously, so we booked a room in the Prospect Hotel in Los Angeles and shot a series of tongue and cheek vignets in the style of old Hollywood. We are hotel robe people and so our main photo was us in robes in the bed, newspapers sprawled about as if we were waking up from a crazy night.
Everyone received the Zion National Park Pendleton blanket, a nod to the cold and to the landscape we were in.
We chose a modern cake style, simple white frosting with a slight texture, garnished with blood oranges. The flavor was a chocolate marble. The cake almost froze solid, but thankfully we moved inside with enough time for it to thaw before we ate it. We’re not huge cake people, but Amangiri really outdid themselves and it was one of the most delicious cakes we’ve ever had.
Food & Beverages
We didn’t want too much fuss over the food so we chose one of Amangiri’s preset menus, which was absolutely delicious of course, along with a grouping of their signature cocktails.
We brought our own champagne from home, a special bottle from our favorite local wine spot in Echo Park which has all organic/natural wines. We were at the St. Regis over Christmas with Amanda’s family where they do a sabrage of a champange bottle every night. We were joking about how much fun it would be to do that and then much to our suprise the staff at Amangiri presented us with a sword, gave us a few guiding words, and let us each saber our own bottle. Amanda would like it to be noted that she was successful on the first try. Michael would like it to be noted that although he took a few tries, his bottle had the cleaner break.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
The dress was Danielle Frankel – the Noa dress.
We custom designed the engagement ring together with Raiman Rocks, a boutique designer in Calabasas, CA. Gall Raiman, who is the president and lead designer is Michael’s cousin, so we were able to really spend time with him finding the perfect stone and desiging the band. We chose an Asscher cut diamond, which has always been Amanda’s favorite, and paired it with a modern, mininal band.
For the wedding rings themselves we wanted something that felt rough and unfinished, something masculine that would juxtapose the delicate engagement ring. Gall arranged for us to work on the rings ourselves in an old school jewlery shop in the downtown LA diamond distrcit. We hammered each other’s band ourselves creatiing our own unique marks.
The groom wore an all black Saint Laurent tuxedo and boots
Hair & Makeup
Down and messy, nothing polished.
Amangiri has a fleet of cars and they took care of everything for us.
We plan to go to Iceland, but we’re waiting for the fall so we can catch the northern lights.
We had Amanda’s long time friend officate our wedding. We only wanted family there and even though he isn’t technically family we has been at our Thanksgivings, family vacations, he is an honorary Dreschler and it only seemed right to have him there. He wrote a custom ceremony for us, very personallized, nothing religious. It was perfect.
We wrote our own vows, they were long and our families suffered through the cold. Amanda’s sister handled the joining of the dirt.
A memorable moment…
We told Haley we wanted to jump into the pool with our clothes. We were assured the pool was heated, which it was, just not enough to combat the subzero temperatures we were in. We and a couple other brave souls jumped in the pool and then immediately froze. We endured it just long enough to snap a few photos then we rushed out. We ran back to our rooms wet, cold, barefoot, it was ridiculous. Haley got in as well to get the shot, she was such a trooper.
If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice…
Stick to what you want from your day. Everyone had an opinion, even people not invited. We knew exactly what we wanted and that helped us navigate through everyone’s suggestions. You won’t be able to make everyone happy so focus on your own goals as much as you can. We wanted to prioritize the experiences, so the entire 3 days was planned around the activites we wanted to do. The guests had the opportunity to do all, one, or none, we didn’t want to stress about micromanaging everyone’s indivudal time. At the end of the day the time spent together was what mattered, often the casual moments in between the schedule were the most meaningful.
Sources of inspiration…
Amangiri was the inspiration. Once we saw it we knew exactly how we wanted everything to feel based off that aesthetic
Wedding Venue / Amangiri
Wedding Planner / Valen Hunter
Photography / Haley Nord
Bride’s Dress / Danielle Frankel
Groom’s Formal Wear / YSL
Wedding Rings / Raimon Rocks
Hair / Nikki Breedlove
Makeup / Nikki Breedlove
Florist / Valen hunter
Cake / Amangiri
Catering / Amangiri
Celebrant / Justin Nixon
Honeymoon Destination / Deplar Farms
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