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Your venue is the first wedding-planning choice you make, and it’s key to the success of the most special day of your life. We share advice from the people behind the scenes at some of Phoenix’s top wedding reception sites.

Photographer: Erica Velasco

Leah Digirolamo

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort

Hire a full-service wedding planner.

Have a detailed timeline.

Make sure you hire vendors who are familiar with your venue.

“Choose a venue that fits all your needs.”

Megan Schmidt

SoHo63

Select a venue whose staff makes you feel comfortable and can address your questions throughout the wedding-planning process. It’s important to have an ally.

Surround yourself with reputable and reliable vendors to assist you with a flawless execution of your day.

Relax and ride the roller coaster of your wedding day! Be present and don’t get caught up in little details.

We get to witness couples’ first moments together as newlyweds and it is always great to be a part of it. We create a special wedding gift for all our couples and watching them open it at their rehearsal is super sweet.

Photographer: DePoy Studios

“There are so many happy moments! We always enjoy the one when the now-newlyweds depart the ceremony space. They look so excited, in love and oftentimes relieved!”

Photographer: Ben & Kelly Photography

Gregory Wirth

The Phoenician

Use your instincts. A couple will usually know within 10 to 15 seconds of arriving and meeting with a wedding coordinator if they like the vibe at a venue. First impressions really are lasting impressions.

Let go of the attachment to outcome. Often a couple can find themselves surprised by something they never would have encountered or considered had they been attached to a perceived outcome while touring a facility.

While not sexy, the technical side of things can alleviate a lot of frustration. Reach out early to vendors who will supply various aspects of power, lighting and labor. Get costs and consider logistics.

Consider not using family or friends for important roles (wedding planner, florist, photographer). The emotional connection can make conversation or requests awkward.

“Laugh! Everyone enjoying themselves and laughing a lot can really make the day memorable.”

Janet Marhover

Val Vista Lakes

Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect day. The only thing that will come from striving for perfection is stress.

Wedding planning is a marathon, not a sprint. Concentrate on a few endeavors until completion before juggling more.

Take your partner’s personality into account. If venue selection isn’t that important to him, don’t drag him to every open house. If she’s showing stress over the seating chart, step in and take over. The planning of your wedding is a team effort.

I love when couples incorporate family traditions into their day. It makes it even more special.

Photographer: Ben & Kelly Photography

“Before starting the venue search, have an idea of a theme or what the “feel of the day” will be. For example, we attract a lot of beach-themed weddings because of our sand lagoon.”

Kevin Moul

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale

Pick your vendors carefully and trust their advice and guidance.

Drones are becoming more common and offer a dramatic vista. Confirm with the photographer that they are up to date on the rules and regulations, and have them inform the planner when they have approval from the venue.

Consider asking your guests not to take pictures with their phones during the ceremony. (Make an announcement that promises a link to a web album of photos later.) This way your guests aren’t leaning out of their seats, holding phones in the air.

Photographer: Eyes 2 See

“Include in the agenda a couple of minutes and a place where the bride and groom can be alone after the ceremony.”

Photographer: Eyes 2 See

Michele Pedulla-Rasch

The Hermosa Inn

The couple should ask themselves certain questions: What time of year? Budget? What kind of event? Formal or informal? Traditional wedding or innovative party? At night or during the day? Indoors or outdoors? These things will dictate color schemes, seasonality of food, dress design, etc.

Identify the geographical area and the most important elements of the wedding before you start looking for a venue.

Hire a wedding planner, especially a day-of planner.

Just concentrate on getting married and celebrating with friends and family.

“Some of the happiest moments are when the bride and groom add a personal touch and story into the ceremony or reception details.”

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