The Boulders

Host A Desert Destination Wedding


November 26, 2013
Words by Scottsdale CVB
Photos courtesy of

He got down on one knee and you said yes. Now, you’re looking for the perfect destination wedding spot. Lucky for you, the perfect Scottsdale wedding is at your fingertips with the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s new wedding planning website This one-stop shop features the bureau’s Wedding Guide, which includes ideas on where to shop for the big day, catering options, and most importantly, a variety of properties and venues that range in size and price.


Finding the perfect venue is the first step to tying the knot. Whether your dream wedding includes saguaros or chandeliers, Scottsdale’s more than 70 hotels and resorts and numerous off-site venues offer something for every bride and groom.

Looking for scenic views? Few things are more romantic than Scottsdale’s breathtaking Sonoran Desert, which is why the Desert Botanical Garden is one of the most popular places to host a wedding. Home to 50,000 accessioned plants and wildflowers, the garden is the ultimate place to say “I do.”

For a more intimate feel, exchange nuptials at Promise Rock at The Boulders Resort. This ancient Yavapai ceremonial site offers impressive views of the 12-million-year-old rock formations, the resort’s namesake. Discovered by The Boulders but created by nature, Promise Rock is a uniquely beautiful outdoor venue for an event under a star-filled Arizona and arguable one of the most extraordinary event sites anywhere in the world. The entrance of Promise Rock is marked with a welcoming gate, constructed of natural latillas, (“little sticks”) and adorned with blossoming rosebush vines spilling over with color. The Boulders’ commissioned rock “Petroglyphs” Art that also signify the rich history of the area. Guests may also schedule private fireworks that can easily be viewed from Promise Rock.

If you’re the type of person who loves to be in the center of it all, stage your wedding in downtown Scottsdale, home to hundreds of restaurants, shops, art galleries and bars. Perched atop a seven-story tower at Hotel Valley Ho, the Sky Line rooftop is an engaging location in downtown Scottsdale. With panoramic city vistas and a direct view of Camelback Mountain, it’s an ideal spot for a sunset ceremony.

Or enjoy the funky atmosphere of The Saguaro, boasting interior and exterior hues that channel the palette of Arizona wildflowers.

If images of fairytales and ball gowns come to mind when you envision your wedding, consider Castillo Lucena at the Montelucia Resort & Spa. Featuring 16th century Andalusian Spanish palace doors, cathedral ceilings and exposed wood beams, the quixotic Old World architecture and tranquil grounds transport will you to another time and place. For a Mediterranean escape, look into the Jardin D’Amore at the Royal Palms Resort & Spa. This quiet and cozy outdoor space features sculpted gardens and majestic views of Camelback Mountain. Head south of the Mediterranean to Italy at Sassi, pairing the romantic charm of an Italian villa with the breathtaking views. A foodie favorite, artisan cuisine includes fresh seafood and meats, handmade pasta, and desserts from an aromatic wood fire oven.


Once you’ve picked the venue, show you taste buds some love by arranging a rehearsal dinner that’s just as distinct. With 600 restaurants in Scottsdale, you’ll be sure to find a location that fits the bill for you and your guests.

Opt for a multiple course meal at the innovative Posh Restaurant  where guests can experience “improvisational cuisine,” a menu that is created based on individual preferences by Chef Joshua Hebert and staff. For groups larger than 40, guests can enjoy Posh to themselves in a unique one-on-one experience with Chef Hebert. Impress guests at the critically acclaimed elements. Iron Chef Beau MacMillan heads the kitchen, pairing farm-fresh American cuisine featuring Asian accents with picturesque sunset views.

For a more casual kickback, check out Old Town Tortilla Factory’s patio, seating up to 300 people. Enjoy delicious Mexican cuisine like Achiote pork ribs and green chile enchiladas. Savor the flavors of seasonal, local and sustainable produce and an Arizona wine list at popular neighborhood hangout FnB Restaurant for a relaxing celebration that marries good food with good fun.

Want to give your guests a true Western experience? Take them to Pinnacle Peak Patio Steakhouse and treat them to mesquite broiled steaks, chicken, and baby back ribs all with the cowboy fixings. This steakhouse is a casual place, so be sure to tell guests to leave their ties at home or they might find them hanging from the rafters.


Now that you’ve got the big day and all of its peripheral activities planned, bring it to life with phenomenal photo ops and great fashion finds.

The Sonoran Desert, a vibrant and awe-inspiring setting, is the perfect backdrop for your wedding photos. Head to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, totaling more than 27,000 acres, for iconic photos that feature the breathtaking McDowell Mountains in the background. Or, spend an afternoon at Taliesin West, the former desert abode of the father of American architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright. This site combines stunning architecture, whimsical art and desert views for exquisite photos.

Downtown Scottsdale has made a name for itself as a LOVE mecca, literally. Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture resides at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing and is one of only a handful of locations in the country and lends itself for heartfelt images. Soleri Bridge & Plaza, by the late famed Italian designer Paolo Soleri, is an optimal location for wedding photos with the Scottsdale Waterfront glistening in the background.

Fulfill all your shopping need for the big day at Scottsdale Fashion Square, the Southwest’s largest shopping mall. Featuring top designers like Jimmy Choo, kate spade, Louis Vuitton and Arizona’s only Barneys New York, Fashion Square is label lovers paradise.

Need to get a gift for the lucky bride and groom? Visit Oils and Olives by Queen Creek Olive Mill at Kierland Commons for a boutique store and a local foodie favorite, for oils, olives and tapenades.  For a truly unique gift, explore UNION at Biltmore, featuring 18 one-of-a-kind shops in a space that’s reminiscent of the San Francisco Ferry Building. Vendors include Paris Envy, offering hand-crafted vintage home furnishings and The Willows Home and Garden, carry antique objects plus exclusive lines such as Bella Notte Linens and Italian Vietri table top dishes.


After pulling off your dream wedding, you’ll inevitably want some time to recharge with your spouse. Fortunately, Scottsdale is a two-for-one destination, perfect for both weddings and honeymoons.

If you want to honeymoon is the same spot as celebrities like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, look no further than Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa with the Romance in Paradise package, which includes accommodations, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne and a rose-petal turndown.

For a taste of the West, stay at The Hermosa Inn, once the ranch guesthouse of cowboy artist Lon Megargee. This 34-room hotel is sure to impress with the Art of Romance package, which includes a casita, $100 dining certificate for hotel’s onsite restaurant LON’s, a rose petal turndown, and chocolate-covered strawberries with champagne. Spend your honeymoon in style at The Phoenician, where an array of activities – fine dining, championship golf, and indulgent spa treatment – will bring you closer together. The Grand Romance Package takes includes deluxe accommodations and breakfast, which can be served in-room for a quiet morning. Upon arrival, you’ll toast to your future with complimentary champagne.

*Images are each courtesy of the respective resort or property.

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