Unique Wedding Destinations

By: Nora Burba Trulsson

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December 7, 2016

Recite your nuptials at one of Arizona's surprisingly sweet spots.

About the author

Nora Burba Trulsson

Nora Burba Trulsson

Nora Burba Trulsson is a long-time Arizona resident and a freelance writer specializing in travel, food, lifestyle, architecture and design topics. Her articles have appeared in Sunset, Arizona Highways, Vegas Seven, Houzz.com, Valley Guide, Scottsdale Magazine, United Airlines Hemispheres, Westjet's Up!, Renovation Style, Beautiful Homes and other publications and websites. She can be reached through www.noraburbatrulsson.com.

Toss a bouquet in any direction, and it’s likely to land on a lovely Arizona wedding locale. The state is filled with beautiful and unique spots that provide the perfect backdrop for trains and tuxedoes. Here are just a few choices.

Lake Powell

In Northern Arizona, let the sky-blue water and golden cliffs of Lake Powell frame your special day aboard the Canyon Princess, a yacht-style boat that can be chartered through Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas. The boat comes equipped with a swanky grand staircase, bridal changing rooms and, of course, endless sky.

Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff

Outside Flagstaff, Arizona Snowbowl is a favorite ski destination, but from May to October, the lodges and decks are resplendent with wedding parties. Meadows, pines and aspens are part of the view package and chairlifts can stand in for limos. The 9,000-plus-foot elevation guarantees a cool outdoor ceremony.

Arizona State Parks

In North Central Arizona, Sedona’s Red Rock State Park is known for a towering cottonwood, known as the Wedding Tree, which has sheltered numerous nuptials. The park, located on lower Oak Creek, also has other locations – including the rooftop of the visitor center – for ceremonies that afford views of red rocks and the lush riparian setting.

Many of Arizona State Parks’ 30 other units are also popular spots for weddings, including Flagstaff’s historic Riordan Mansion and Oracle State Park’s 1920s Mediterranean-style Kannally Ranch Home.

Blazin’ M Ranch, Cottonwood

Not far from Sedona, you can live out your cowboy fantasies at Blazin’ M Ranch, an old ranch on the Verde River in Cottonwood that’s now a popular Old West-themed dinner and entertainment venue. Boots, cowboy hats and jeans are encouraged for a Western-style wedding. Before or after the ceremony, guests can explore the venue’s Frontier Town for roping lessons or a wagon ride.

Desert Botanical Garden

In Phoenix, Desert Botanical Garden is a go-to spot for garlands and ganache amidst the flora. The 140-acre garden, where more than 50,000 plants are on display, has several secluded courtyards, patios and buildings for ceremonies and receptions. There’s nothing quite like a bridal party portrait against a backdrop of tall specimen cactus or spring’s desert wildflowers.

Wrigley Mansion, Phoenix

If you want a Gatsby experience, Wrigley Mansion will evoke the luxury of another time. Now a supper club, the Mediterranean-style mansion was built in 1932 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. on a knoll overlooking the Phoenix skyline. Yes, there’s a grand staircase and plenty of richly decorated rooms where you can channel the Champagne-fueled flapper era.

Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek

Get back to the land with a wedding at Schnepf Farms, a Queen Creek farm known for its organic vegetables, peaches and annual festivals. Have your wedding in the original farmhouse, a barn or in a meadow surrounded by pine trees grown when part of the farm was a nursery. Want something different? Host your rehearsal dinner in the middle of the peach orchard.

The Windmill Winery, Florence

Halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, The Windmill Winery in Florence also has a history as a nursery, as well as a dairy and brickyard, dating to 1906. The bucolic locale now hosts many tyings of the knot, with venues like the rebuilt 1910 barn and indoor/outdoor lakehouse overlooking a pond. There’s even a shabby-chic bridal cottage, perfect for prepping, and plenty of friendly farm animals.

The University of Arizona Biosphere 2

Science geek? Hold your wedding on the lawn in front of the University of Arizona Biosphere 2. Located in the Southern Arizona community of Oracle, the otherworldly facility was opened in the 1990s as a research facility; now it’s where visitors can experience a rain forest, ocean, savanna, desert and other ecological systems. Best part? Your wedding party can opt to spend the night in casitas that are part of the conference center.

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun

In Tucson during the 1950s, the late artist Ted DeGrazia built an art compound in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The compound included his home, a gallery and a small, open-air chapel, crafted of handmade adobe blocks and decorated with his murals. Today, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is a historic landmark, attracting thousands of visitors annually. The picturesque chapel? It’s available for wedding ceremonies.

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