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Real Weddings: Desert Dream

Feb 14, 2014

by Krysta Leshefka handmade and vintage goods

Krysta is a creative enthusiast and photographer based in Tucson, Arizona. She also runs a music and art space with her husband called Topaz.

When Joel and I first started dating, he asked if I’d model for his Etsy shop, Zia Vintage. Though I’m typically more comfortable behind the lens, the compliment buttered me up enough to give it a go. Trying to model for a guy I’d had a crush on for months was really nerve-racking and chock-full of awkward sexy faces, but eventually I figured out that if I just shook my head around enough, everything would melt into a mass of flowing hair. We started traveling together, and I like to think I taught him a little about photography – his portfolio has grown into an amazing book of landscapes and odd places in the middle of nowhere. Joel rubbed off on me too – I opened up Pines and Palms Vintage, my Etsy shop for vintage housewares.

We spent a lot of time together taking photos for his shop: me modeling, him photographing. One day while we were in the middle of a photo shoot, he strategically snuck a ring in the pocket of the jacket I was modeling. And with that, the wedding planning began.


We were always positive about two things when it came to the wedding: we wanted to get married in a desert landscape, and, due to our shared vintage aesthetic, we wanted the wedding to have a timeless vibe. We settled on something simple and small: an intimate ceremony and dinner in a botanical garden in Tucson, Arizona, with just our families and a few friends.


Dress shopping was impossible; I went to every bridal shop in Tucson and left defeated. The wedding was getting close, so I settled on a dress that was just okay. About two weeks before the big day, I took a stroll into a local vintage shop called How Sweet It Was; hanging up on the wall was a delicate, lace floral piece with little tassels on the sleeves. It was lightweight and beautiful with a slightly southwestern vibe, and the saleswoman told me it was an early 1900s Victorian undergarment. There were a few light stains, some tears, and a couple of missing buttons, but it fit. I knew I was going to be married in this gorgeous, run-down underwear dress if it was the last thing I did!


A bunch of our best friends pitched in on the day of the wedding. For music, Joel brought his record player and we all played DJ throughout the night. It was really sweet to have that familiarity and love around us. The cake was my gift to Joel. It is the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen, but he’s obsessed with apple fritters (it’s his weak spot in an otherwise healthy diet), so I had a giant, forty pound fritter made especially for him. Even though it looked like a poop cake, it brought a big smile to his face.


The only decorations we planned were the flowers: a ton of spring peonies, mixed with draping eucalyptus. However, our florist got his dates confused, and I found out about the mix-up just when the ceremony was supposed to be starting. Looking back, the non-exsistent flowers broke the ice and allowed me to live in the moment, rather than having expectations of what a wedding “should” be. Plus, jasmine was in bloom. It blooms for about a week every year here in Tucson, and it was in full force on our wedding night. Lucky us.


We ended up saving a ton of money on our wedding because it was so simple, so that summer, we did what we really love: traveling. We went to Iceland, and then Belize. It was obviously a really great honeymoon, because now we’re having a baby (whoa!). I’ve had to stop modeling for Zia Vintage for the time being due to baby bumps, but we’re both still traveling and leading the lives we always wanted.

All photographs by Kat Borchart.


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