Summer Issue 2006: revisted
( archived article, check info if you are going to vist)
Summertime in the Valley can melt the enthusiasm of even the most determined bride. Instead, escape to a temperate wedding paradise nearby. Just two hours north of Phoenix, Hwy I-17 descends into the Verde Valley where astounding vistas unveil before you. Punched with shades of reds and defined by purple shadows, Sedona’s Red Rocks reach up from the canyon floor to the brilliant sky. Below, the sparkling waters of Oak Creek promise effortless romance.
With names like Cathedral, Bell and Chapel Spire, the Red Rocks connect couples in Sedona with a primal spirit of its native ancestors. In prehistoric times, Sedona was a sacred ceremonial meeting area; today, Sedona has evolved into a popular wedding destination for couples, according to Jennifer Wesselhoff, director of tourism and public relations at the Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce. “The wedding party and guests are spending a few extra days enjoying the natural beauty and all Sedona has to offer.”
Newlyweds Jenn Wojcik and Ryan Aguirre met in Arizona and “absolutely fell in love with Sedona.” Married in Sedona last spring, Wojcik says, “there is no backdrop for wedding pictures more beautiful in our eyes. Having a destination wedding also allowed us to spend more time with our guests. We wanted our families to see such an amazing part of the country.”
New and Hot: Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa
Looking for a swanky hot spot for your private party? If so, consider the new Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa. Upon arrival, you will know this place is unique. The entryway’s vibrant red glass-scape interpretation of the surrounding Red Rocks invites you inside. Liberal splashes of leather, stone and bamboo accented with carved wood are part of Sedona Rouge’s sophisticated vibe.
After a groom’s dinner, order a round of spirits at Reds American Bistro, also on the property. “Reds,” as it’s called by the locals, offers classic American fare with Southwest pizzazz and provides a relaxing lounge to ease the anticipation before the big day.
Say your vows in the Column Garden surrounded by exquisite hand-carved white stone pillars, then head up to the Rooftop Terrace for a Red Rock reception. “You can have a rehearsal dinner, cocktail party or reception looking out to Thunder Mountain,” says Karla Lewis, director of sales for Sedona Rouge. Visit http://www.sedonarouge.com/ or call 928.203.4111 for more information.
Oasis of Tranquility: Bell Rock Inn & Suites
Situated at the “gateway to Sedona” in the Village of Oak Creek, the Bell Rock Inn & Suites is a relaxing location away from the bustle of uptown Sedona. Mature landscaping and inspiring views make this property a popular wedding site. “Set against the majestic views of the Red Rocks, the Bell Rock Inn is the ideal setting for a lifetime of memories,” says Audrey Dorfman, wedding specialist for ILX Resorts, owner of Bell Rock Inn. The Gazebo Patio can host up to 50 guests and the Brooklyn Café can cater any event from savory barbecues to al fresco feasts.
In addition, the Bell Rock Inn & Suites coordinates about 20 destination weddings a year. And Dorfman reveals a little secret for those wanting to be married next to Oak Creek: “Ceremonies can take place creekside at our sister property Los Abrigados with the reception at Bell Rock Inn catered by Brooklyn Café.” For more information, visit http://www.ilxresorts.com/ or call 928.282.4161.
Majestic Splendor: Best Western Inn Of Sedona
With one of the most expansive Red Rock views in Sedona, the terraces at the Best Western Inn of Sedona are a superb choice for a wedding ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner or departure-day brunch. “When the bride walks in to see me to cater an event, all she can say about our banquet room is ‘wow!'” says Bonnie Grant, catering director for Rosalie’s of Sedona, the inn’s exclusive caterer. Grant helps as many as 80 couples each year plan the reception of their dreams. “I have them sample food, look at photos to see what’s possible, explore specialty options like satin linens and create menus,” she says. Visit http://www.rosaliesofsedona.com/ or call 928.204.9060 for more information.
Art and Soul: Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
The irresistible Spanish colonial-style village of Tlaquepaque offers both a ceremony and reception site that can also include a wedding planner. At your request, the planner will plan, budget, hire vendors (florist, caterer, baker, photographer, lighting, music, rentals, transportation, officiant, etc.) and take care of all the details. Their diminutive gem, Tlaquepaque Chapel seats 35; for a grander wedding have your ceremony on one of the graceful garden patios and enjoy your reception under giant sycamores hung with dazzling luminarias. “We offer flexibility to the bride based on her criteria; you can bring in caterers or we can arrange everything,” says Wendy Lippman, general manager and resident partner of the Village. The newly re-opened Plaza Del Norte “still features a spectacular courtyard but now has Red Rock views from the terrace,” says Lippman. “It’s a versatile indoor-outdoor space, making it available for receptions year round.”
For more information, visit http://www.tlaq.com/ or call 928.282.4838.
Rustic Romance: Cucina Rustica
Cucina Rustica’s scene is set for romance. The huge carved doors glow with candlelight, tiny star lights rest over soft fabrics and rich sounds of Spanish guitars fill the air.
Sister to Sedona’s 10-year perennial favorite Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano, Cucina Rustica has the cool feel of a Mediterranean villa. Massive iron gates frame the courtyard view into the painted glow of the restaurant. Inside, each room has its own character and can be closed off with the ancient doors for privacy. Whether you’re hosting a rehearsal party, wedding reception or gift-opening brunch-for 15 or 100 people-the Old World architecture and Southwestern- Mediterranean cuisine will awaken your guests’ imagination. “Both Cucina Rustica and Dahl & Di Luca mirror each other, and we are our own competition-a good problem to have!” says co-owner Lisa Dahl.Visit http://www.dahlanddiluca.com/ or call 928.284.3010 for more information.
European Charm: L’auberge De Sedona
Descend the driveway of L’Auberge de Sedona and within moments you will notice the combination of natural beauty and country European elegance. Lush plants cover the 11-acre property. Pathways from the charming Provence-meets-Sedona private cottages to the Lodge are sheltered with jasmine and bordered with roses. Ribbons of green lawn roll out around the grand sycamores down to the creek.
L’Auberge, a AAA Four Diamond Resort, has been repeatedly called “one of the most romantic places in the world” by travel writers. So romantic, in fact, that Janeen Freeland, director of catering for the resort, doesn’t plan weddings, she designs them. “Each one here is so unique and different, it depends on what the bride is looking for,” she says. Perhaps you’ll choose to begin married life in a glorious garden lined with flowers, under a romantic gazebo set amid a carpet of green grass or, if you have an indoor ceremony, beside a wood-burning fireplace surrounded by European décor. Catering for the reception is provided by executive chef Marco Bustamante’s AAA Four Diamond L’Auberge Restaurant’s kitchen.Visit http://www.lauberge.com/ or call 800.272.6777 for more information.
Storybook Setting: Amara Creekside Resort
Imagine floating down the aisle under a summertime canopy of cottonwood trees beside the glistening waters of Oak Creek. At Amara Creekside Resort, this wedding dream sequence becomes a reality.
Lisa Rocha, Amara’s director of sales and marketing, can plan a perfect wedding for you with only 24-hours notice. “You could call today and have a wedding tomorrow,” she says, “but the average lead time for weddings is six months.” And there are lots of options. You could be married by the creek and have a poolside reception for up to 200 under the stars in the Oak Creek Courtyard. Or hold a swanky cocktail reception for 36 in the boardroom, Frank Sinatra style. Rocha will create a personalized menu for you from the simple to the sublime. Why not have the “Prickly Pear” margarita passed butler-style as your signature cocktail?
If you have time to plan, sample the amenities now for a wedding the same time next year. Dine amid sculptures at the sleek Gallery on Oak Creek Restaurant, and meet with Amara’s catering staff to help you visualize the possibilities at this newly designated AAA Four Diamond Resort.Visit http://www.amararesort.com/ or call 866.455.6610 for more information.