You got the ring (swoon!) and you’re glowing with that newly-minted fiancee look. You and your spouse-to-be know you want a desert wedding, and what’s not to love? Cacti standing resolutely in the pink sunset glow. Majestic mountains framed by endless open skies. Succulents as far as the eye can see. It’s not hard to fall in love with a desert wedding, but it can be challenging to plan, particularly if you don’t call the desert your home. Friends, today I aim to take some of the guesswork out of your planning, so you can spend less time dealing with the details and more time imagining your dream Arizona wedding!
The seasons in the lower desert are locally deemed “hot, “hotter,” and “less hot.” While this makes natives chuckle, the temperature can be very subjective – one person’s “hot” is another’s “chilly” and another’s “sweltering.” And despite the jokes from locals, Phoenix and the surrounding valley has four distinct seasons in which to plan your wedding. I’ll outline each of them along with data and my recommendations for you here.
The Springiest time of the year in Arizona is February through May. High temperatures range from the 60s (February) through the 90s (May) and the weather is almost always clear. While it does occasionally rain, and contingency plans are always a good idea (one of the many reasons we recommend hiring a talented and experienced wedding planner!), you will have the best chance at a gorgeous outdoor wedding during this season and Autumn. March and April are particularly delightful with temperatures hovering in the mid-70s and a flurry of local outdoor activity. If you dream of desert sunset photos (you KNOW we do!) these two months are the perfect time to tie the knot. With sunsets around 6:30 PM, it gives you plenty of time to have a 5 PM wedding, catch the golden hour for your dreamy romance portraits, and party the night away with your guests. Desert flowers are in bloom and love is in the air! Since these months are peak season in Arizona, make sure to book your photographer, wedding planner, and other vendors as soon as possible once you know your date.
Summer in Arizona is considered May through September. While you may think it’s impossible to have an Arizona wedding in the summer, think again friends! While it’s true that Phoenix temperatures can be toasty, Arizona is an outdoor playground with many places within an afternoon’s drive of Phoenix where the weather is great all year round. If it’s a cool summer desert wedding you’re seeking, allow us to recommend the gorgeous resort town of Sedona. Filled with world-class spas and renowned hotels this paradise retains the classic desert look (just take a gander at Katie and Chasen’s dreamy Sedona engagement!) while allowing you to pass on those toasty temps. Sedona’s average high over the summer is a delightful 89 degrees, with evening lows dipping into the mid-60s. A sunbathed Arizona summer wedding with a cool evening reception under the stars is absolutely possible. And while you’re at it, book yourself a spa day at L’Auberge de Sedona – you’ll thank yourself later.
Autumn in Arizona is unlike anywhere else in the country. This season from September through Mid November is the second most popular time of year to tie the knot around here. Resorts are still advertising competitive rates and golf courses beckon hobbyists from around the world. And as the season progresses those summertime high temperatures are descending once again to allow for pleasant outdoor celebrations in Phoenix and the surrounding area. As with spring, the popularity of this season means that quality planners, photographers and other vendors will book up quickly, so make your reservations early if fall is your choice!
Yes, there is winter in Arizona! This season stretches from Early November through mid-February. While snow is never in the forecast (seriously, NEVER) and even rain is rare, what we do have in plentiful supply are bright, sunny, crisp days with highs in the 50s and 60s. While that may be too cold for some, a warm and bright mid-day wedding bathed in light is what film photographers DREAM of! But we know we’re biased when it comes to that gorgeous desert light 😉 There’s nothing more elegant than a winter wedding done right. If you’re on the fence, talk to your planner and give it a go!
Desert weddings have my heart: the beautiful pink-tinged light, striking scenery, unexpected glamour. You just can’t go wrong with an Arizona wedding, and I hope that this guide has helped you envision your own desert ceremony. Whether winter, spring, summer, or fall, Arizona promises to amaze!
*Thoughtfully composed by April, Charity’s day-of wedding assistant and lover of all things elegant and timeless.*
Need help finding a venue for your desert wedding? We’ve got you covered with our free guide “Best Luxury Wedding Venues in Arizona” sharing our favorites from over 8 years in the Arizona market. Grab your copy below! Xoxo