It was the Super Saturday of Sedona weddings. On May 21, 2005, more than 50 couples said “I do” in town – pledging their love in small groups along Oak Creek and in big bashes at our finest resorts. Are you thinking of joining them in holy matrimony planning? Sedona and nuptials were made for each other, thanks to the town’s moderate weather, world-class facilities and red-rock scenery. Follow us down the aisle to some top local spots for exchanging vows, from the National Forest to non-denominational chapels to the 18th green.
National Forest Sites
If you’re considering getting hitched in Sedona, it’s natural to want to explore a ceremony in the great outdoors. With 300 days of sunshine, happy couples flock year-round to Merry Go Round Rock, Chavez Crossing, Huckaby Trail, Cathedral Rock at Back O’ Beyond and, the most popular site of all, Red Rock Crossing.
It’s easy to get weak in the knees at the thought of Red Rock Crossing’s creekside location and majestic red rock backdrop, but holding a wedding on Forest Service land requires a major commitment in the planning stages. A wedding in the forest means dealing with a list of restrictions, acquiring permits, and worrying about guest parking. For a National Forest wedding, there’s an advantage to working with a planner, who will deal with the permits for you (there are no special use permit fees) and make you aware of restrictions.
The Forest Service urges couples who get married on public land to plan on the natural landscape as decoration, because you can’t use any props; even chairs and arches are prohibited. Non-native materials are out; anything other than personal flowers will be nixed. You can’t even throw bird seed or rice, though it’s OK to release doves and homing pigeons. Amplified music is a no-no – but a harpist, acoustic guitarist or flautist will do. Wedding parties cannot ask tourists to leave, so be prepared for gawkers. The Forest Service will not allow weddings at archaeological sites or areas with endangered species.
Thoughtful hosts will secure Red Rock Passes in advance so guests can park. Red Rock Crossing is a separate fee area, as is Slide Rock State Park, West Fork, Grasshopper Point and other areas in Oak Creek Canyon. Check with the Forest Service for parking restrictions and group rates. Communicate any parking fees to your guests. Wedding planner Laura Lane of Sacred Unions (www.mysedonawedding. com) suggests buying Red Rock Passes for your guests and putting them in welcome baskets, or arrange alternate transportation (Sedona Trolley can be hired for special occasions – call 928-282-4211).
Laura also reminds couples to consider the special needs and/or disabilities of guests; some locations – Red Rock Crossing included – require a bit of walking to the ceremony site.