What dreams are made of:  Holleday Productions plans weddings fit for fairy tales

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, February 2023

Written by Gail G. Collins

As the wind began to catch edges of the crisp white linens on the buffet table, eyes turned skyward. The focus had been within the Poore home for hours as the ladies primped and family gathered. At the bottom of the garden, a floral arch and rows of chairs stood ready for the couple to take their vows.

Rain began to patter and build and instead of driving guests indoors, they crowded the patio watching nature have its way on a wedding day. The mood remained positive and guests reassured one another that rain is good luck. And in Arizona, rain is generally welcome. The drama passed and a double rainbow took its place. Then, dressed in their finest, folks wiped down the benches, and the ceremony began. It wasn’t the first time the Poore family had rallied in support, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Such devotion is one of the reasons Hailey Muller chose to marry Travis Kasinger in this place. Well, that and her many memories, like youthful tales of Bigfoot living in the rocks nearby. Their theme was Coming Home.

The property’s rambling home began as a dairy barn, built of brick and stone. Suffused with natural light and southwestern art, saddles are mounted across the loft’s bannister and repurposed as end tables, bunking simply alongside a worn hat and striped blanket. Dedication and a doctor’s presence are found in a framed Hippocratic oath while an enormous fireplace begs guests to linger. The roomy kitchen and wall of old photos says, “Home sweet home.” It’s a humble homestead near the woods that has created solace and a love of place for this extended family since 1966.

As Alexis Holle of Holleday Productions says of such events, “It begins and ends with family.” This is her second wedding on the Poore property. In fact, the impetus for Holle’s business was a family event—her sister’s marriage. “We planned it together and did so much DIY,” she remembers. “We thought how much fun it was, and the idea took off.” A winding road of experiences through study of fine arts and art history, retail fashion design via her shop, Sundara, and hospitality gigs combined to provide the necessary skills set.

As it suits clients, Holle can integrate her wedding planning with Main Street Catering, partnering with siblings Jyllian McIntire and Stewart Holle to serve as a one-stop shop. About half of her clients opt for this.

“It’s a love of hostessing,” she says. “It’s not just food; it’s a love of people. The job came naturally.”

Every detail on the day matters to a bride, and Holle channels that same perfection. After more than 20 years in the area, she is familiar with people, places and particulars. Although clients are driven by trends, she doesn’t aspire to transient whims, instead turning to their backgrounds. Personality and style are incorporated into crafting every aspect, such as serving a treasured, childhood dessert versus a celebrity pick. Holle’s guiding principle:  Life is art.

“I have my own aesthetic, but aim to base the details on the couple’s story,” she says. This involves idea gathering and design boards. “I live vicariously through the client.” Examples of elemental attention have ranged from a vintage typewriter and library book cards to the heirloom flatware plus bride and groom chairs this couple employed.

Holleday Productions is the dedicated planner for weddings held at The Arboretum, and an information guide lays out the umbrella of services available from a rental equipment catalog to flowers and photographers. Every event is unique, and Holle becomes a part of the family on the day.

How does a planner’s typical wedding day play out? By noon, Holle and a crew of three to five people begin to set the scene. Subsequent vendors arrive over the next three hours layering in furniture, food and services. Holle’s oversight includes arranging floral, staging furniture, setting tables, candles, cake presentation and a hundred other particulars that may involve rain or power needs. Guests arrive in the late afternoon when the bulk of tasks are complete (whew!), the ceremony kicks off at 4 p.m., and the reception lasts until 10 p.m. Clients and vendors are off-site an hour later, and Holle finishes between midnight and 2 a.m.

“Then, I take two days off with a wedding hangover,” she laughs.

On the Poore wedding day, subtle rust, plum and gold colors permeated the place from blooms to attire, blending with a fading landscape. Wood tables, family flatware, gold chargers, cream linens and fresh greens fashioned an elegant al fresco atmosphere under a massive white tent. Glassware glowed, champagne flowed and buffet chargers were filled with beef tenderloin in Dijon sauce, cedar planked salmon, organic greens in champagne vinaigrette, pumpkin ravioli in browned butter sage sauce, marinated and grilled Portobello, rosemary red potatoes, blistered green beans and dark chocolate cups of mousse with berries, courtesy of Main Street Catering. Tears of joy flowed, photos followed and celebrating the happy day felt effortless. More than that, it felt natural.

Specifics and scenery make for gorgeous photos, but Holle is sensitive to people enjoying themselves in the space, not engrossing them in the production. A coordinator makes all the difference, she advises. It’s her job to seamlessly think and act on her feet, so when something goes awry—and it inevitably will—the bride and groom won’t even notice.

“There will always be a hiccup,” she reminds clients. “Our job is to guard against it.”

Lately, there has been a return to more classic aesthetics in wood tables, eclectic décor, thrift store collectables, such as a collection of mismatched candleholders, plus vintage heirlooms and traditions. The Poore wedding included a song to which the grandparents had danced at their wedding decades before. Perhaps, the pandemic reigned in the former grandiose craze, but in any case, interest in family-focused events, like a heritage wedding on family land, has blossomed.

“Throwing parties for a living—it’s a dream job,” Holle says. And Holleday Productions helps others’ dreams come true. NAMLM