5 Tips for Planning a Scottsdale Arizona Destination Wedding


HEY - I'm Annette

An Arizona based Wedding, Elopement & Couple's Photographer. I am here for the wild, messy and imperfect moments. Let me help you create an experience that will last a lifetime.


December 6, 2023

Annette Ambrose Photography, an Arizona-based Photographer, shares everything you need to know about planning a greater Scottsdale Arizona Destination Wedding.

A destination wedding in Phoenix, Arizona promises breathtaking mountain views, captivating desert landscapes, and enchanting golden sunsets against lush green golf courses. Here are my top five reasons Arizona should be your dream wedding destination.

Choosing Arizona for your resort wedding is a no-brainer. With its iconic red rocks and desert cactus oasis, the state offers an incredible setting.

Here’s why a resort wedding in Arizona is the ultimate choice:

  • Unbeatable Weather
  • Dreamy Desert Landscapes
  • Accommodations for All Guests
  • Convenient Location
  • Resort Activities for Everyone

And for those extra special moments:

  • Extended Celebration with the Bride and Groom
  • Kick off Your Honeymoon in Style

5 Tips for Your Scottsdale Arizona Destination Wedding

While Arizona is an ideal wedding destination, the first step in planning is securing a skilled wedding photographer and capturing those precious engagement memories.

ONE | Hire a Local Arizona Wedding Photographer

Embrace your Arizona setting with a local wedding photographer right here in Scottsdale! While many opt out of engagement sessions for destination weddings, I’m here to advocate for a different approach—don’t miss out! Choose a nearby wedding photographer who can capture both your engagements and wedding, forging a lasting friendship in the process.

Avoid the stress of a photographer flying in for your wedding; instead, opt for a local expert familiar with the area and local vendors.

If you’re not a resident, enlist the help of a nearby photographer who can guide you through wedding details. It’s far simpler to have a local vendor provide recommendations and referrals than to tackle everything on your own.

Why Engagements are Always a Good Idea:

For over half of my clients planning destination weddings, I encourage meeting up beforehand. Whether it’s a casual coffee, happy hour, or our engagement session, connecting before the wedding is crucial.

Engagement photos are a must before your big day. Consider it a photo warm-up—a chance to familiarize yourself with your photographer, build a bond, and get comfortable before the main event.

Trust me on this one—don’t skip this essential wedding planning step!

TWO | Understanding Arizona’s Weather

Picture this: a summer wedding in the stunning northern Arizona mountains, basking in that perfect summer weather known as the Valley of the Sun.

While most US cities are cooling down in the fall and winter, Arizona thrives during everyone’s off-season with consistently amazing weather in the fall, winter, and spring.

Arizona is synonymous with year-round sunny weather, a godsend for wedding planners as it pretty much guarantees a rain-free wedding day.

For those seeking the optimal time, I’d recommend Fall and Spring in Arizona. If those months are already booked, winter is a close second.

Towards the end of spring, things can heat up a bit, but the nights remain delightful. As October and November roll in, temperatures start cooling down, dipping to around 60 degrees, and December can get even chillier.

THREE | Choose a Resort to Kick Off Your Honeymoon

Arizona’s distinctive desert landscapes create a dreamy backdrop, setting it apart from most cities in the US. This uniqueness makes it a special and sought-after location for couples looking to tie the knot. Despite being in the US, the atmosphere feels like a destination wedding in a far-off locale.

The resorts in Arizona are renowned for their natural beauty, providing picturesque settings for weddings. Planning decorations becomes a breeze as the desert landscape itself serves as a stunning backdrop. The innate beauty of the surroundings eliminates the need for elaborate designs.

Among the multitude of options, here are some of my favorite wedding venues in Arizona (*Resorts, depending on whether we want to maintain a generic appeal or focus on branding it specifically to Scottsdale resorts):

  1. Royal Palms Resort Scottsdale
  2. Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale
  3. El Chorro in Paradise Valley
  4. Mountain Shadows Scottsdale
  5. Hotel Valley Ho Scottsdale
  6. Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain
  7. Camelback Inn Scottsdale
  8. Omni Resort Scottsdale
  9. The Scottsdale Plaza Resort
  10. Andaz Scottsdale
  11. The Paseo
  12. The Willow
  13. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale

FOUR | Easy Travel Plans

Nestled in the southwestern part of the United States, Arizona boasts direct flights to nearly every corner of the country. Navigating the city is a breeze with the convenience of Uber or Lyft, and most attractions and resorts are just a short distance from the airport—eliminating the need for a car rental if that’s not your thing.

And let me tell you, EVERYONE LOVES VISITING ARIZONA! Even as a Washington State native, I can vouch for the universal appeal of this state throughout the year. Whether you’re into outdoor activities, golfing, shopping, or indulging in delicious cuisine, Arizona has something for everyone.

What’s even more enticing is that Arizona remains relatively affordable to visit. While there are high-end dining options and resorts, there are also plenty of places that cater to every budget. The diverse array of resorts and hotels provides guests with a range of choices to suit their preferences.

Picture this: While the rest of the U.S. battles snow and rain, your friends and family won’t hesitate to escape to Arizona for a sun-soaked weekend. It’s the perfect destination for a wedding weekend, especially when people are yearning for a break from the cold. Trust me, it’s a win-win destination that appeals to all!

FIVE | Let Someone Else Plan for You

Destination weddings are fantastic because they take the pressure off you when it comes to wedding setup. Instead of stressing over every detail, you can simply fly in, savor your wedding weekend, and leave the setup and planning to someone else.

With resort weddings, in particular, the best part is the complete absence of stress related to setup and teardown—they handle it all for you. Forget about the worries of wedding planning and relish your special weekend in Arizona! Let someone else handle the design and setup, ensuring a stress-free wedding experience.

I have made it easy for my clients by giving out local vendor recommendations and advice for planning your wedding here in Arizona. Truly, I want to make your day amazing and give you all the tools you need to make that dream come true! 

Having shot dozens of weddings in the desert, I am full of advice and recommendations.



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HEY - I'm Annette!

An Arizona based Wedding, Elopement & Couple's Photographer. I am here for the wild, messy and imperfect moments. Let me help you create an experience that will last a lifetime.


Annette Ambrose

Weddings, Elopements, & COUPLES