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You’re not the only one!
Book now for September and October 2024 so you don’t miss out on popular spots.    DON’T MISS OUT

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We’ve formed partnerships with the best of the best in the region and want to introduce you!

Meet our team of partners who support making your wedding day so special.

Cactus Collective Weddings Partner: Shalayne Mowry – Artist

Shalayne Mowry – Artist

What led you to where you are now?

I have always been eager to practice and learn more about painting and drawing. I was so blessed to have educators, throughout my life, who fostered this interest. I shared my work with them and my peers, but that was the extent of exposure I sought out up until about 2 years ago.

A couple of my artist friends were putting their work out there and I became inspired to do the same. I had no expectations but thought, “I’ll just see what happens.”

Since then, enough doors have been opening that I have felt encouraged to keep going. One night I abruptly had the idea to paint weddings and elopements- to capture a couples’ unique experience in a way that will elicit some of the magical feelings they felt on that day.

Pursuing this idea, I began working with McKenzi, who I’ve known since I was a little girl. I have been so thankful for the opportunity to work with her and Cactus Collective Weddings.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Spearfish, SD, where I currently live. In between then and now, my family moved around a lot.

My parents were educators and felt called to India. We first moved there in 1993 (I was 1). We moved back and forth every 2-3 years to be with family or renew our visas. After I graduated from high school in South India, I moved back to the States and explored what I might want to do.

Though it was always my dream job to be a professional artist, I’m not sure I believed it was possible. I earned a bachelors in Mathematics (with a minor in Art), traveled, and fell in love with rock climbing. Ultimately, my journey has brought me back to painting.

What makes you feel inspired?

I’m continually drawn to intricate feelings in both big and small moments in life. Moments where everything around you seems to pause, you are completely aware and consumed, and full of feeling.

Whether that moment be an ordinary day where you are practicing mindfulness, or on the day you marry the love of your life. I tend to paint from real life experience, while bringing about some degree of whimsy, whether through color, stroke, or added elements.

Wedding ceremony watercolor painting.
Wedding ceremony watercolor painting.

What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk?

The one common myth about being self employed is that you can work whenever you want and take time off whenever you want.

My experience has been that since I am providing a service of something I am passionate about, my personal and professional life are completely intertwined. While this can be challenging, it is also a huge blessing because often times my work doesn’t feel like work.

The word sacrifice doesn’t hold the same connotation it used to, and working hard is exciting! I am consistently motivated to put my best work forth because it is a part of me.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. The nostalgia of the places of my childhood is so powerful because I would have to go to great lengths to experience them as an adult. There are so many times I wish I could snap my fingers and appear in a place that was significant to me- to revisit a space where I felt a distinct kind of love and contentment. My high school experience gave me friendships that are special to me to this day. Since it was a boarding school, my friends were more like family. Now these friends are all over the world and the opportunities to see them have been few and far in between. The thought of having the superpower of teleportation to visit these people and places puts a smile on my face!

McKenzi Taylor
McKenzi Taylor

McKenzi Taylor is America’s go-to elopement and micro wedding expert, often featured in small and major media outlets, such as the New York Times. With over 15 years of wedding photography experience, it was after planning her own Las Vegas elopement in 2016 that McKenzi felt her purpose shift into elopement coordination. She started Cactus Collective Weddings soon after in 2017. Since then, she’s become a WIPA board member, and has helped well over 1000 couples get hitched in style around Las Vegas, San Diego and Black Hills.