Marriage & the Mountains

The Work to Woo Couples to Northern Arizona to Tie the Knot

Northern AZ’s Mountain Living Magazine, January 2017

Written by Gail G. Collins

Sitting creekside with autumn leaves strewn like golden confetti around the newly minted bride and groom, it was easy to see what had drawn my nephew, Josh, and Megan to Los Abrigados in Sedona to be married. The Spanish-styled resort with picturesque grounds next to Tlaquepaque Crafts Village—a venue in its own right—created a short-hop destination wedding for the Phoenix pair. But they are among hundreds, who choose Northern Arizona each year. Wooed by stunning scenery, plus the drama of weather and fiery sunsets yielding transcendent photography, their celebrations go from memorable to magical. In addition, these locations hold the bonus of touring for guests and a ready-made honeymoon on site for the couple.

Though the lure of the mountains and Red Rock Country is a natural choice for Arizonans, brides and grooms come from all over the country. “Ninety percent of my couples are not from Northern Arizona,” said designer and event planner Kim Duncan of Kim Duncan Designs. “Often they have a family or personal connection, but many have fallen in love with the area, and they come from as far away as Washington D.C. or Manhattan.” And why not? The region is a world class destination.

Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are monumental landscapes. Arizona Snowbowl affords forest and mountaintop heights. Between historic hotels and patio panoramas, couples can have their wedding cake and eat it, too, in stunning style.

A wedding’s foremost functions include planning and shopping. Combining the two is a great kick-start to the decision process. Northern Arizona hosts two show-stopping events each January to entice couples:  Sedona Bridal Show and Boot Camp and Northern Arizona Wedding Expo. Vendors, such as Classic Party Rentals and Events by Show Stoppers, sponsor Sedona’s largest and most fashionable wedding planning event where brides find nearly 20 venues vying for attention plus loads of vendors. Northern Arizona Wedding Expo is billed as a “one-stop shop” providing brides, “with all the resources at their fingertips.”

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The Commerce Blends Its Story of Place with Lively Food and Spirits

Northern AZ’s Mountain Living Magazine, January 2017

Written by Gail G. Collins

In the late 70s, songwriter and entertainer, Peter Allen focused on life’s ageless aspects crooning, “Everything old is new again.”  This timely reference point also marks Flagstaff’s decision to preserve its downtown heritage.

First, some perspective. Several years after its namesake July 4th flag planting on the nation’s centennial in 1876, Flagstaff was established as a railway and a lumbering center. The original structures, built from the forests’ ready materials, burned down repeatedly, and many were replaced by brick and native sandstone structures. In 1926, iconic Route 66 ventured west, carrying tourists to the Grand Canyon via Flagstaff, where they stayed overnight at The Hotel Weatherford with its witch’s cap cupola or Hotel Monte Vista, as did film stars.

With modern trends, some buildings, like Babbitt’s Department Store, endured a space-aged, aluminum face lift. Many businesses exited downtown by the 70s, and the city concentrated on regeneration. By 1990, a formal preservation program began, and the aluminum siding came down, revealing carved, red stone on Babbitt’s with others following suit.

Restoration and repurposing has continued, including innovative eateries, such as Proper and Tourist Home Urban Market propping up the south side with The McMillan, north of the tracks. But not everything can be saved, even if built of stone. The Commercial Hotel was devastated by fire in 1975, and The Commerce, a new craft cocktail bar, stands on the former site. Art within the bar commemorates the event.

Continue reading “HAPPY HOURS & HISTORIES”