Insider Tips On How To Plan A Perfect Destination Wedding In Sedona

Best Advise For Having A Sedona Destination Wedding

For your convenience, we have compiled the following guidelines, suggestions, tips and most often asked questions ( Q. ) and answers ( A. ) about having a lovely, seamless Sedona wedding.  We hope you find this information useful.  Please do not hesitate to contact any of our members for more information.

.  Budgets for Sedona Brides:

The bottom line is that Sedona is actually no different than any other destination wedding location.  Sedona brides can spend a lot or get married on a small budget.  Ultimately, budgets are determined by a couples choices.  Most weddings in Sedona are typically smaller destination weddings, such as elopements and intimate weddings, often less than 10 people.  Other weddings can be over-the-top with guest lists exceeding 150.   Sedona has options for everyone limited only by imagination and a comfortable budget that can only be determined by the couple.  Consider the many great packages that are out there through Sedona Wedding Studio coordinators and officiants.

Q. Is having a Sedona wedding more expensive that other places?

A. No.  In fact, many brides discover that having a wedding in Sedona can actually be less expensive than larger metropolitan areas.  Site fees for venues and ceremony sites are a perfect example.   Do a little research and compare site fees at a few Sedona resorts with the site fees at comparable resorts in other cities.  The same goes for other services.

.  Research Sedona vendors carefully:

Sedona offers world class amenities.  Since Sedona is such a popular wedding destination and coveted place to live, understandably, new wedding services try to get a start here.  Just like in larger cities, there are services that may not be quite up to par.  Figuring out which professionals are the best and most reliable can be confusing, to say the least, especially since most brides are planning their Sedona wedding from a far.

There is a wealth of reliable resources and information on The Sedona Wedding Studio website.   Be sure to visit older posts, too.  Visit often.  There are featured “real” weddings with gorgeous photography, vendor features, news, ideas, tips and more posted every few days.  Everything you will see is produced exclusively by SWS members.   As one quickly realizes, no other resource offers a more comprehensive, beautiful or informative experience for a bride planning her destination Sedona wedding.

Q. How do I know Sedona Wedding Studio members are among the best?

A.  The Sedona Wedding Studio is an incredible tapestry of superb wedding professionals and venues.  It is an exclusive, “invitation only” group.  No one can join without being invited, qualifying and meeting strict criteria.  The SWS requires the most strict criteria of any resource guide or organization in Northern Arizona.  Sedona Wedding Studio members are routinely the most referred and popular Sedona wedding professionls.

Consider this.  Venues have seen it all!  Ask top venues for a reference without prompting them with a name.  See who they suggest.   More often than not, you will hear SWS member’s names over-and-over again.

Q. Are there other good vendors?

A. Of course.  There are independent vendors who do good work on every level.  You should be able to determine whom you like by looking at websites.  Since most Sedona weddings are destination weddings, those with nicer websites ( and that actually depict the vendors own work ) are typically the best choice.

Q. What about awards, testimonials and reviews?

A.  They serve their purpose, but remember… there are awards and then their are awards.  Look for important State, National and International industry awards.  Everyone has won something at some time or other and therefore tout themselves as “award winning.”  Don’t assume a vendor with a long list of logos, memberships and awards necessarily provide the best services.  In addition, consider that no one is going to provide a testimonial that isn’t glowing.  If you feel you need testimonials, ask for them.   Also, less than glowing reviews almost always have two sides to the story.  The best advise is to determine your vendor by what you see, hear and most importantly… feel.  The chemistry with a vendor is very important.

.  Select the venue and date:

Nothing can come together until you have a confirmed venue.  A date cannot be determined until there is a venue.  If possible, come to Sedona and do some site tours.  There is plenty of information on the internet to develop a tour of venues that interest you.  Many of the most popular are listed here on The Sedona Wedding Studio website.   The venue contact person will be more than happy to arrange a site tour.  Any Sedona Wedding Studio coordinator can also show you great alternatives based on the budget and size of your wedding.

.  Selecting a great time of year for a Sedona wedding:

Of course, venue availability is a factor, but, the time of year is very important.  Sedona is a year-round wedding destination.  Sedona’s 4500 ft. elevation makes it a bit cooler than Phoenix and Scottsdale.  April, May and June are especially nice for a Sedona wedding.  April can be windy but still gorgeous.  July and August can be warmer but another factor is our monsoon season that begins in late July and goes roughly through August.  Be sure you have a back up in case of rain.  September is still warm but really nice.  October is awesome.  November is great but can get cool.

.  Consider hiring a Sedona wedding coordinator:

One of the best investments a Sedona bride can make is hiring a wedding coordinator.  Most brides simply do not realize all the details that need to be addressed in order to have a seamless Sedona wedding.  It is stressful enough just getting married.  We hear so many brides say they wish they had hired a coordinator so they could have enjoyed their special day without worrying about all the details.

All four of Sedona’s most respected and referred coordinators are members of the Sedona Wedding Studio and can be reached through this website.  We take pride that they are the only four Sedona coordinators who have been published with major editorial features of their work in Phoenix Bride and Groom Magazine and Arizona Sites and Services Magazine.  Watch for more features in the upcoming issues of both publications hitting the stands this June.  They have stunning, multiple page editorials!

Q. Why should I hire a ccodinator if the venue provides a planner?

A. While those SWS venues that provide in-house coordinators that are both accredited and excellent, a coordinator that is working exclusively for you is even better.  Most venues can accommodate multiple weddings happening simultaneously.  A coordinator that has your undivided attention is a real benefit.

Q.  Isn’t hiring a coordinator an additional expense?

A.  Yes and No.  Coordinators provide an assortment of packages and services tailored to every budget.  Hiring a coordinator can actually save you time and money by avoiding unnecessary mistakes.

.  Weather is an important factor for an outdoor Sedona wedding:

Sedona is known for having great weather.  However, even with lovely weather the vast majority of the time, good weather can not be guaranteed.  Ask your venues about back up plans in case of inclement weather.  Brides get married year round in Sedona.

Tents should be considered if weather is a worry.  Protection from rain is not the only advantage of having a tent.  Tents can be beautifully decorated and lighted, they provide shade, protection from wind and they keep in the warmth on cooler nights.  The issue of a tent compromising the red rock views comes up from time to time.  Remember that a reception is late in the day and once the sun goes down, there is no view no matter how many windows a venue may have.  It’s wonderfully dark in Sedona.  Focus on the look of the space that your guests will be enjoying.  That’s the only view they will have once the sun sets.

.  Consider indoor Sedona weddings:

Understandably, most brides want a lovely outdoor wedding to take advantage of the gorgeous surroundings.  Then again, some brides want glamourous weddings that can only be produced in indoor situations like they could have in their own city.  Sedona provides it all.  Indoor weddings and receptions offer different advantages ( no weather issues ) while outdoor wedding offer an obviously different experience.  Don’t for a minute think that an outdoor wedding is the only Sedona wedding experience that is worth having.  Sedona has fabulous indoor venues allowing options during the wonderful winter months.  See a lovely winter wedding feature on this website by following this link. It’s gorgeous, totally indoors and produced entirely by SWS members!

.  Reception times:

Sedona rolls up the sidewalks around 9:00 pm.  Most outdoor venues require loud music to end at 9:00 but there are a few exceptions.  There are some places, however, where a reception can go later.  Indoor receptions can be a bit more accommodating.  Ask the venue contact person or your coordinator for suggestions.  More and more, brides are starting their ceremonies earlier so they can have a little longer party time.  Another trend is having an after-hours party at another venue.

Q.  Will having a destination wedding in Sedona cut back my guest list?

A.  Not necessarily.  Everyone wants to come to a Sedona wedding.  Typically, weddings in Sedona are well attended.

.  Book a Sedona wedding well in advance:

Sedona is a popular destination for everyone…. not just brides.  Sedona is a huge draw for corporate meetings and tourists from all over the world.  The more popular spring and fall months can book quickly, especially if you are considering the services of popular vendors and venues.  This is especially true if you are interested in the services of a Sedona Wedding Studio member.  Waiting to long to make a decision most often results in disappointment.  Book your favorite Sedona Wedding Studio vendors early.

.  Sedona Elopements and short notice weddings:

Some Sedona weddings happen quickly, like romantic elopements, for example.  Booking early is still better but those weddings that come up on shorter notices can be fun and provide a memory of a lifetime.  Sedona can accommodate any wedding at any time, although options may be limited depending on the time of year.

.  Mid-week Sedona Weddings:

Consider having a mid-week wedding in Sedona.  It is less crowded in the city and some venues and vendors might be less expensive on Mondays thru Thursdays.

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