Paradise Found: Your Destination Wedding in Arizona / by Laurie Cohen

destination wedding planner scottsdale

Congratulations, you're engaged! You want to enjoy every moment of this exciting time, and it wont be long after you say “Yes!”  that the questions start.  You aren't really supposed to have all the answers right away, but everyone is so excited, they will want to know if you have set a date for your wedding so they can start their planning.

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Many of our clients choose a local venue at which to host a wedding, but increasing numbers of couples are opting for destination weddings. Destination weddings can be a fabulous option, especially when the weather in the destination will enable wedding guests to have a mini vacation of their own.  Arizona is a very popular destination wedding spot.  Phoenix, Scottsdale and Sedona host a great deal of destination weddings in the Fall, Winter and Spring months. These Arizona locales are enticing for engaged couples from Chicago, Boston, New York and Canada for a variety of reasons.  Wedding guests from these severe winter climates are thrilled to leave the snow and cold to enjoy a few rounds of golf in Scottsdale’s sunshine.  What is better than having your favorite people around you for a week of travel and relaxation? We get it!

Scottsdale destination wedding

Below, Scottsdale Wedding Planners from Sip and Twirl offer a few fun tips to make things as easy as possible for your friends and family;  after all, they are making the trip to celebrate your wedding day with you.   These are all things you can take care of well in advance so that the final weeks are left for you and your family to enjoy.

  1. Once you pick your venue and your wedding date, Spread the Word! Send out Save the Dates so everyone can begin making wedding travel plans.
  2. Hospitality Suite and Welcome Happy Hour--If budget allows, reserve an additional hotel room, suite or poolside cabana at which your guests can convene.  This will afford them a chance to get to know each other, visit with friends and family and spend time with you. Be sure to provide information on the wedding website or at check in so everyone is in the know.   
  3. Destination Wedding Welcome Bags--a few small items from your local shops.  Snacks, drinks, goodies, and useful items for your guests stay are greatly appreciated. Combine them in a fun bag and have your wedding planner deliver them to the front desk of the resort(s).  Many resorts will charge for delivery to hotel rooms, but will hand over to guests as they check in on a complimentary basis.  
  4. Wedding Website---Throughout the planning process, a wedding website is a great way to provide all your guests with detailed information about the area and schedule for the weekend activities. If you build your own site, don't forget to register a fun domain name, that is memorable! (think: On your wedding website you might consider including: 
  • Hotel Room Blocks and Negotiated Rates--Your planner can help with these.  And remember, Summer may be high season where you live, but in Arizona high season is everything else!  Be sure to ask about rates so your budget estimate is reasonable.   
  • Area Weather---Provide your wedding guests with average weather information for your destination wedding location.  Your wedding website is a great way to share this.  
  •  Map and Directions--to assist wedding guests who are flying into the local airports.  Most Arizona wedding guests will fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor or Tuscon International Airports.  
  • Nearby activities--Consider sharing some fun activities, eateries and shopping for you guests to experience while they are in town.  
destination wedding sedona

You may also want to include everyone in your Rehearsal Dinner.  If budget allows, include all of your arrived wedding guests, since they are each special to you and are traveling for your big day.  A “Day After” brunch is also a great option to get everyone together to rehash the evenings highlights and keep the celebration going.

Ask your wedding photographer if they post photos online for your guests to order if they choose. You may also want to purchase a rehearsal dinner photography package to capture the "Wedding Eve" celebrations.

destination wedding arizona

We've shared a few tidbits to help make your Arizona destination wedding weekend easy and fun.  Here are a few things you may want to avoid:

-CALL ANYONE BUT THE BRIDE—There are many wedding guests and only one couple getting married. Avoid being the go to person for your own wedding week. Assign the task (provide a phone number or email) to a friend of family member who is willing and capable of offering support to guests who need it.  If you have a destination wedding planner, they may help with this as well by delivering weekend itineraties to the resort or with the welcome bags.

Make sure you have a place to get some quiet time as needed. It is wonderful to have your loved ones around you but it’s not uncommon for a bride or groom to get overstimulated from all the attention.  If you are renting a private estate for your wedding and have friends/family staying with you,  make sure you and your partner or a friend have a quiet place to retreat for some downtime. 

Because of our fabulous climate, sunny skies and limited rainfall, Arizona is a fantastic venue for your destination wedding. Phoenix is easy and inexpensive to access by air and accessible from all major cities.   If you have questions about hosting a destination wedding in Arizona, talk to your wedding planner or drop us a line!