I want to note that I am not a professional wedding planner or expert on weddings in any way.
I am simply an enthusiastic upcoming bride with a lot of time to plan and research weddings and find the best possible Arizona venue for my fiance and me.
I have realized that a lot of the venues are overpriced, not charming or historical/big business types, without the customer service or attention to detail or special day that I require as someone who really takes spending thousands of dollars on a Love Celebration seriously.
I have found a lot of inspiration on Offbeat Bride and Rustic Arizona Bride but in the end, most of the best sites I found were on my own, by persistent and mixed up Google Searches.
The following is a carefully compiled lists of OUR favorite and what WE consider to be the most reasonable and exquisite vendors. I am not getting paid or encouraged to promote these venues in any way, I am simply doing it to create another shortcut for AZ Brides on a Budget in the same situation as myself.
Any pricing mentioned are to give you a general idea and keep in mind that they do NOT include photography, florist and cake (opting out of completely), and the bar packages we are considering are BYOB with mixers provided.
Without further ado...
source A beautiful 2 acre estate home with a super luxe ballroom for the reception. Full access to entire property including a groom's room with a poker table for the boys and a bridal room with an absolutely massive mirror for the ladies!
source The outside is beautiful and complete with included twinkle lights, gardens seasonally chosen and tended to, a mountain view in the distance, and a charming old fashioned gazebo as well as a more traditional garden wire arch for photography and lovely southwestern tiles throughout the villa.
Postive: Really stunning, picture perfect dream location, with utmost privacy and attentions to customers. Owners are really sweet and easy to talk to husband and wife that are happy to work with your budget and VERY FLEXIBLE WITH VENDORS which is extremely rare!
They also offer a Sunday Brunch inclusive option that is significantly reduced, but since we are having so many out of state guests, we are currently looking at a possible Friday Night wedding here!
It is in our top 2 places.
There is also a hotel that is literally ACROSS THE STREET for mega convenience.
Negative: Saturday night weddings are impossible to book for less than 10K. They are one of the types of vendors that only does rentals during the week and you need to do a package deal of some sort to have a weekend wedding. Also, they are in Chandler which isn't exactly the best town in AZ (very industrial/up and coming vibe, or closest to the airport but that is easy to overlook because it really feels like you are in California once you walk through the gates!
2. The Views at Superstition, Gold Canyon AZ inclusive package $8500+++
Positives: Absolutely stunning, budget friendly, competitive pricing (they are willing to haggle and eager to please), flexible with DIY decor and liquor but NOT with caterers. Those mountains though. Sweet heavens, are they something.
Negatives: Patio is too small for our wedding, wish it was bigger! Kind of awkward that the golf course isn't owned by the venue so you have to be really flexible with dates since you are dealing with two different venues. It is very far from Phoenix and the city, which has it's pluses but it could be a bit of a schlep for guests. The china and silverware is not included. The arch is not included.
Overall, it has some bad things but the views and photo-potential are so stunning it would really be a helluva place to host our wedding and capture some special and beautiful memories at!
3. The Paseo, Apache Junction AZ $16,500++ Package Wedding, Rental Only (for whole event cer & rec) @ $6,000-$7,000
We haven't actually visited here yet, it hasn't even opened until last week but something tells me it could be quite a contender in the race to the wedding venue deposit. Their deposit is the only one that is FULLY refundable. They are also closer to the mountains, and literally right around the corner from Lost Dutchman National Park, which is one of our favorite to hike and connect with nature.
They have a staged shoot up on their website which is stunning and they are a pretty bare-bones place which is very appealing and attractive to the boho southwestern bride. They have vendor packages and bring a lot to the table (except for silverware and china) and it just seems like a really chill, really awesome option for something a bit off the beaten path, but still gorgeous!
So those are our top three choices at the moment!
These are some other venues we are still researching/considering in a pinch:
-Villa Tuscano, Mesa $6800 semi-inclusive
-Regency Gardens, Mesa $???
-Castle on Camelback, Scottsdale $???
-Castle on Main, Phoenix $8,000+++
-Portico, Mesa $8,000+++
OFF OF OUR LIST:
-Wedgwood Palm Valley (good prices and nice but very traditional/by-the-books, not special to us)
-Boojum Tree (too expensive for a run down greenhouse in our opinion)
-Botanical Gardens (pricey and hard to work with caterers and get the whole thing together)
-Superstition Golf Course (the taxes were crazy high)
-Wikopah Resort (super expensive)
-Hotel Palomar (I loved it but he didn't like being in downtown phoenix or the idea of having a city wedding)
-The Grove (not for us)
-Noah's (like a gymnasium with a bad view/outdoor area)
-Wright House (too expensive but very cool)
-The Talking Stick (too pricey and casino is kind of overwhelming)
-The Ashley Castle (not authentically decorated for a castle, not for us, over priced and completely un-flexible)
-Whispering Tree Ranch (beautiful but too far for him and my family, GOOD price)
-Desert Foothills (adorable barn but in the middle of nowhere and the dirt floor is just completely unrealistic for our dancefloor/wedding, NOT flexible at all with caterers and transportation would be a mess with dirt roads and hard-to-find-location)
-Van Dickson Ranch (I love the idea but it's literally two hours away and in a ranch town far from society and hotels. One B&B seems a bit risky for a party of 80 with all out of towners)
-The Farm at South Mountain (extras really add up to high cost)
-Villa Sienna (too expensive)
I think that covers most of it for now, stay tuned for more updates and wedding excitement!
I am also going to throw in some other fun posts this Spring to break up the wedding planning madness :)