10 Tips for a Desert Destination Wedding

If you're considering a non-tropical destination fête, read this advice first!

For those couples yearning for a destination wedding that's not in a tropical or faraway locale, we love the idea of saying "I do" in the desert. Whether you're eyeing Southwest destinations like Phoenix or Scottsdale, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, or Palm Springs, the climate of the desert is appealing to many brides- and grooms-to-be – especially those who live in more frigid areas of the country. While the temperature can rise in the summer and drop in the winter, a desert wedding in the optimal season can be absolutely gorgeous – and offer little chance of rain.

We asked Nicole Benvenutti, the Director of Catering at La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, to share her expert tips for hosting a destination wedding in a desert climate. The property has been a hideaway for celebrities since the 1920s – and actress, dancer, and singer Ginger Rogers even married actor Jacques Bergerac in front of the resort's fountain. So whether you and your beloved love vacationing together in Palm Springs, you met at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and want to get married in the same locale, or you've never been to the desert before, the luxury pet-friendly resort is the perfect place to host friends and family for an extended wedding weekend.

La Quinta Resort and Club hotel southern california palm springs desert destination wedding
Photo courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Take a look at 10 tips for a desert destination wedding, below, from La Quinta Resort & Club:

1. Host a welcome reception for out-of-town guests. It does not need to be formal or fancy. Give guests a location and a time frame for everyone to gather and enjoy a glass of wine and maybe light snacks after a day of traveling.

2. If it is in your budget, welcome gift bags are a nice touch, especially for those who may not be used to the arid desert climate. A bottle of water and a mini sunscreen bottle are perfect so guests do not arrive to the ceremony dehydrated and sunburned after a morning relaxing by the pool.

3. Ask the hotel staff what amenities they have. Guided hikes, complimentary yoga, and bike rentals may be some of the activities that are included. Adding these helpful hints to your wedding website gives guests the opportunity to explore and take further advantage of their weekend.

La Quinta Resort and Club bicycle with basket bike rentals
Photo courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

4. Ask the wedding planner for recommended vendors. No one knows better than other industry professionals. They will be able to recommend established, reliable companies that are familiar with the area and most likely the venue.

5. Focus on the reason for the wedding and trust the process. Gathering friends and family for a destination wedding may seem a little daunting. Rely on your team of hired professionals and try not sweat the small stuff.

6. Check the weather. Deserts can sometimes have unpredictable weather. Keep an eye on it and pack accordingly.

La Quinta Resort and Club pool desert wedding venue
Photo courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

7. Consider the time of year and any major events that could be happening on the same weekend that have the potential to jam up road traveling or fill the hotels. Events like music festivals or sports tournaments most likely will not put a damper on the big day, but they could mean packed airplanes and busy bars if you want to plan an impromptu post-wedding drink.

8. Plan a farewell brunch. Provide guests with a snack or a full tummy as they begin their travels home. This also provides friends and family one more opportunity for goodbyes.

9. Consider the overall aesthetic of the décor. Desert settings are very unique and offer stunning natural colors that are very different from a tropical or mountain destination. A cohesive flow helps to tie all elements together and create great lasting memories.

10. Cultural influences or traditional elements are a wonderful way to meld the destination and the culinary offerings together. Things like a signature drink, taco bar, or music are a few ideas to get you started.

La Quinta Resort and Club desert wedding venue hotel a waldorf astoria resort
Photo courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

For more inspiration, take a look at this fall wedding at La Quinta Resort & Club, view more real weddings here, and gather tips for what to pack for your honeymoon.

Authored by: Kelcy Christy

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