- Plan your wedding as far in advance as possible.
Although Sedona is one of the most popular wedding and tourist destinations in the U.S. (we get roughly 4 million visitors every year) it’s still a small town. That means that there are only so many possible locations for your wedding, and that these get booked quickly, especially in the busy seasons (Spring and Fall).
For smaller weddings, however, you have many more options, so short notice can work for smaller groups.
- Sedona is beautiful. Take advantage of it.
That means either get married outdoors, among the awesome red rocks, or in a church or other location with a view.
Indoor locations with a view include:
- The chapel at the Sedona Creative Life Center. This holds about 60 people, and is a lovely space with good acoustics.
- Church of the Red Rocks. This is a good-sized church that can accommodate about 200 people.
- The chapel at Verde Valley School. This is a beautiful, slightly rustic chapel, with one of the most amazing view windows behind the altar of any place in Sedona. One of my favorite places to officiate weddings in Sedona.
- Agave of Sedona. This has both indoor and outdoor views. There is an outdoor ceremony space which can accommodate large weddings, and one of the few indoor reception halls in Sedona with great view windows.
- The Bridge at Hillside. This location has a glass-walled chapel, a patio with great views, and a glass-walled reception room.
The other option is to get married in one of Sedona’s unique hideaways, such as the Tlaquepaque Chapel (suitable for up to 40 people). This authentic Spanish style chapel is a beautiful place to have your ceremony.
- Public lands vs. private locations
Sedona is really an island of private land surrounded by public land – mostly U.S. Forest Service. There are many beautiful view spots on Forest Service land, and many of those are free to use. One of the most popular wedding (and photography) spots in Sedona is Crescent Moon Ranch (aka Red Rock Crossing) which is a park run by the Forest Service. There is a small fee for this location, and you must make a reservation to hold your wedding there.
Note: There are two kinds of natural beauty in Sedona – first, of course, the iconic red rocks. Second is the lovely green, lush, riparian area created by Oak Creek, which runs through the town and its environs. Usually, you choose one or the other, but there are a few locations where you get both. Red Rock Crossing is one of those, and is also home to the best views of Cathedral Rock – the most photographed rock formation in Arizona.
The only drawback for some regarding public land locations is that they are well, public! This means that there will most likely be other folks in the vicinity. Most people are very respectful of weddings, so there’s seldom a problem with disruption. If you want privacy, there are a few locations with great outdoor views, but naturally, you will pay a fee to have your wedding there.
Some great private locations:
- Rancho Los Lagos. A 23-acre ranchette, with a man-made lake, lush green lawns and big trees. Also has outstanding red rock views
- L’Auberge de Sedona. An upscale resort with both red rock views and creekside beauty. You need to choose one or the other, however…One thing you can do is have your ceremony at their SpiritSong terrace, high on their hillside, with great views, and come down the hill to the creek to have your reception.
- Enchantment Resort. An upscale resort in the heart of Boynton Canyon. This is all about the red rocks.
- Agave of Sedona (see above)
- The Bridge at Hillside (see above)
- The Creekside Inn of Sedona. As the name would imply, this is all about the beautiful green creekside area. It also has seven rooms, so you, and most of your wedding party can likely stay there, too…
- Sedona is a year-round wedding location, but, we still have weather…
Know your own comfort zone, in terms of what sort of heat and cold temperatures you can tolerate. Sedona has great weather on the whole, with more than 300 days of sunshine in an average year, so your chances of getting a beautiful day are pretty good! And… it is quite a bit cooler than Phoenix, which is a good thing in the summer, and not as good in the winter! That said, we have a lot of wonderful winter days. For example, the average high temperature in mid January is 55 degrees. But, bear in mind that this is an average – I’ve officiated at weddings at much colder temperatures – sometimes below freezing.
If you avoid having your wedding outside at midday in June, July or August, , the chances of your being comfortable at your outdoor wedding are very good.
There’s a reason that both the high tourist and wedding seasons are in the Spring and Fall here – that’s when the weather is at its most pleasant, and also when it’s least likely to rain.
“Monsoon Season” can be tricky – it stretches from about mid-July to early September, and many days in this period will have afternoon thundershowers.
- Sedona “rolls up the sidewalks” early.
There are only a few locations in which your reception party can continue loud, late and long into the night. Sedona has strict noise ordinances, and neighbors who are happy to help the police enforce them! There are, however, some locations which can accommodate a band or a DJ a little later. If you use a planner/consultant, they should know which these are.
- More people will RSVP than you may expect!
The general rule of thumb for destination weddings, nationwide, is that approximately two thirds of those whom you invite will accept the invitation. For Sedona, however, expect 75 to 80% of invited guests to reply in the affirmative. That’s because Sedona is such a popular and desirable vacation destination, and many of your guests will make the trip to attend your wedding into a mini-vacation.
I’m prejudiced – as a Sedona wedding officiant, I think this is one of the most wonderful places on the planet to have a wedding. I hope that this brief guide will make it easier for you to plan the Sedona wedding of your dreams!
If you have any questions about having your wedding in Sedona, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m happy to help!