Sedona is the sixth most popular spot for weddings in the United States, and one look around tells you why. The views are beautiful, the weather’s great, and all the ingredients are here to make it a storybook day. What goes into a perfect Sedona wedding? From the bouquet to the location to the music to the dress, each decision adds another flourish to your special day. Our guide offers some quick tips from the professionals to help you answer some basic, yet vital questions: When should you make your flower arrangements? What are the rules for having a ceremony in the National Forest? What’s the single most important thing you can focus on to make sure your reception is a success? Can planners help you with a non-traditional ceremony? How do you choose the right music? We also review some of the history of the wedding dress in the old West and go inside the mind of a wedding photographer scouting the perfect spot to preserve a treasured memory. Of course, even with all the planning, weddings also need a little magic, and there’s plenty of that in the air in Sedona; for proof, turn the page for a touching story that proves even puppy love in Sedona can sometimes lead to something more…
No wedding is complete without the cute scene of radiant Mom pinning a carnation on her shaky son’s lapel, a beautiful bouquet for the bride to toss to her eager single pals, and decorative centerpieces for the reception (preferably just the right size for a lucky guest who wins right of salvage to squeeze into the backseat of a Kia).
Kris Schuehle of Mountain High Flowers recommends getting an early start on the floral arrangements. “We prefer couples book three to six months in advance, especially if it’s a big wedding. But we’ve had people fully dressed for the ceremony come in saying ‘We need something now,’ and we can do that, too.”
Kris cautions against using Hydranga (which look like colorful puffballs) in arrangements during summer, when Sedona’s lack of humidity makes them wilt fast.
There are so many beautiful locations in Sedona for a memorable wedding reception, how do you choose? To start, focus on the basics for any great party: enticing food, beautiful decor, breathtaking Red Rock views and easy access to them. Put your guests’ comfort first: The happier they are, the happier you’ll be. Face it, after months of frantic preparations, you’ll likely be in a post-ceremony daze during the reception. But the last thing you want piercing the protective bubble of bliss is the low moan of grumbling guests, stealthily manuevering under the table to pull $20 out of your gift envelopes.
Want to get married in the National Forest? It helps to know the lay of the land. “If you are not paying a minister or anybody for their services, and it’s under 75 people, a permit is not required,” says Judy Adams of the Sedona Ranger Station. “We prefer you don’t set up 50 chairs, a trellis, flowers, doves, rice, music, that kind of thing.
“You can’t reserve parking or ask [others in the park] to leave. And I’ve seen guests in the wild in high heels, asking ‘Where’s the bathroom?’ It’s behind a tree. These are unwelcome worries on your wedding day.”