Moroccan Elopement Inspiration in the California Desert
January 18, 2024
Photos courtesy of
J. Emmanuel Photography and Areli Event Design, both wedding vendors located in Southern California are always partnering and bouncing ideas back and forth for photoshoots. They thrive off of each other’s creative energy. So when Juan of J. Emmanuel Photography reached out to Tonette Shafer of Areli Event Design with the idea of a Moroccan-style elopement photo shoot with a camel, her response came naturally.
“It was a no-brainer idea. How often do you get to work with a camel?” Tonette says.
The crew chose Mormon Rocks about 30 minutes northwest of San Bernardino to set the scene of a wild, desert elopement. Shades of light pinks, peaches, and rust became the color palette for the affair. After making these decisions, all the elements began to fall into place.
“We’ve always had our eye on the Rue de Seine dress and it made the perfect fit with the embroidery and colors,” Tonette mentions.
Ceremony plans would feature the model couple standing surrounded by a 10 ft floral crescent filled with Moab roses, spray roses, ranunculus, gladiolas, chrysanthemums, carnations, wax flowers, copper beeches, and pampas grass for height and flow.
“The main goal was to stay away from the typical arch setup and create something different,” Tonette says.
Juan’s vision for the reception incorporated a low table to create an intimate space with Moroccan print rugs and pillows. Leaning further into the romantic vibe, the Areli Event Design team filled the table with vintage brass candle sticks and rose buds. A small floral arrangement lay on the floor to strategically add interest without taking away from the other details, while a Moroccan theme a room divider framed the scene.
“Our favorite part of the shoot was getting to work with Giddy Up Ranch and featuring their camel,” Tonette says. “Not just that, but experiencing a camel up close, seeing them in the moment, and watching them listen to commands. It was all quite an amazing experience.”
It may go without saying, but if you’re leaning towards a desert destination wedding or a Moroccan theme, consider including a camel for visual interest that doubles as entertainment!
Vendors: Photographer: J. Emmanuel Photography; Event & Floral Designer: Areli Event Design; Beauty: Mona Fox; Dress Designer: Rue de Seine; Dress Rental: Raw and Golden; Mens Attire: Friar Tux; Camel: Giddy Up Ranch; Stationery: Minted; Male Model: Marco Collins; Female Model: @anoniie