Tucson is known for its breathtaking natural scenery. There are mountains in almost every direction and gorgeous desert views. It is no surprise that many engaged couples want to book an outdoor wedding venue in Tucson to celebrate their big day. The mild temperatures in the Spring and Fall make an outdoor wedding a great option for couples. Follow along to take a look at some of the best outdoor wedding venues in Tucson.
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Why choose an outdoor wedding venue
Many couples choose to book an outdoor wedding venue in Tucson because they want the natural beauty of the desert to be the backdrop for their wedding. The gorgeous mountain views and pristine desert landscape is what makes Tucson such a beautiful city to get married in. In addition, the star-filled skies add that extra layer of romance to your wedding day. Tucson also has perfect weather for an outdoor wedding as it has over 250 sunny days a year.
Some of my favorite places to see couples get married are at outdoor wedding venues. I love being in nature. There is so much natural beauty that surrounds us, and when you add a joyful, in-love couple sharing their vows, there is nothing better.
Many couples come to me and want these breathtaking, epic portraits with stunning mountain and desert backdrops. This is where choosing the right wedding venue is so important when planning the wedding of your dreams. The outdoor venue you chose is the backdrop for your entire wedding, so you want to get it right. As you follow along, I share some of my favorite outdoor wedding venues with scenic backgrounds perfect for those magazine-worthy wedding portraits.
Best time of year to book your outdoor wedding
An outdoor wedding in the early Spring or late Fall is perfect in Tucson. You can choose to book an outdoor wedding venue in the Winter, but you will want to have heaters available so guests are comfortable. An outdoor wedding in the Summer is tricky for a few reasons. Tucson is known for its monsoon season in the Summer. These late afternoon rainstorms, while brief, can dump tremendous amounts of rain in a short amount of time. This is something to consider when your ceremony and cocktail hour will typically fall during the time when these storms tend to roll in. Summers are also incredibly hot in Tucson, and prolonged amounts of time outside can be uncomfortable.
Again, this plays into the season. Tucson in the Spring and Fall is lovely. The temperatures are milder and the Spring is when the desert is in bloom. Winter is also a nice time to have an outdoor wedding, but cooler evening temperatures are something to consider. The least popular time to get married is in the Summer. The 100+ degree temperatures are usually not the best time to hold an outdoor wedding.
Considerations when choosing your outdoor wedding venue
If you are planning an outdoor wedding, a big consideration is access to bathrooms. Many couples will opt to bring in portable restrooms for their guests. There are many companies that offer high-quality restroom rentals that are a huge upgrade from a standard porta potty.
For cooler months, it may be a good idea to have heaters sprinkled around the dining tables so guests are comfortable when the temperatures dip down in the evenings. Couples will also have blankets available for guests, which is another personal touch.
If you are planning to have a band or DJ, you want to ensure you have access to electrical power. This is also important if you want there to be lighting at night.
This is something you may not have considered. In Tucson, your outdoor wedding can impact how well your cake holds up. Buttercream on a hot summer day will quickly melt and start sliding off your cake. Usually, it is best to wait to put the cake out until an hour before the cake cutting to avoid any cake mishaps.
Even when the temperature outside seems fine, the Arizona sun can be a bit stronger than some guests may be used to. It is always a good idea to have sunscreen available to guests. The same for bug spray. Sometimes the mosquitos can come out in full force when the sun sets and it is nice to have this available to your guests.
A Backup Plan for your Outdoor Wedding Venue
Even with careful planning, it is always wise to have a backup plan for inclement weather. When booking your outdoor venue, be sure to ask what their contingency plan is. I have seen it all. From high winds to torrential monsoons, it is crucial that there is a backup plan in place should it be needed.
Luckily, most of the venues I am going to be sharing do have an indoor space available for couples should they need to move things indoors.
Top 12 Outdoor Wedding Venues in Tucson
Now that we have talked about reasons why couples choose an outdoor venue and special considerations, let’s take a look at some of the best outdoor wedding venues in Tucson.
This historic wedding venue is situated at the base of the Catalina Mountains. I adore this wedding venue! It has so much character. The guest rooms are nestled into the desert, so there is this element of privacy and a feeling like you are walking through a garden as you go to your room. Hacienda del Sol has incredible views and a lovely outdoor courtyard where most couples choose to get married. However, there are four locations that couples can choose from for their wedding, including indoor options. This is the perfect venue for couples who want elegance, and charm, and to highlight the desert. Note, that this venue can accommodate up to 150 guests.
Located downtown, this historic building has been transformed into a gorgeous wedding venue. Couples have access to the entire property on the day of their wedding. A lovely garden area is where couples hold their ceremony. Just to the side of the ceremony site, there is an open patio area with hanging bistro lights. This is where couples hold their outdoor reception. The venue offers several wedding packages including catering and bartending services. The venue can hold up to 200 people.
This luxurious resort is nestled up against the mountains. It is perfect for couples wanting the amenities of a larger resort and looking for an elegant event space. The upper terrace has views of an 80-foot waterfall. It is gorgeous! Another option is the Cascade Terrace which overlooks the pool area. Lowes Ventana Canyon can accommodate intimate weddings as well as larger guest lists of up to 400 people.
The Stillwell House is a historic home-turned-wedding venue located downtown in Tucson. Most couples fall in love with the green arbor where couples can share their vows. The garden space is romantic and beautiful. You have the entire venue available to you. There is an area for the groom to relax and a bridal suite as well. Stillwell House has planners and coordinators there to help. Their catering menu is unique and delicious. Honestly, I think they have an incredible menu. They can accommodate up to 300 guests.
La Mariposa is located on the East side of Tucson in the Tanque Verde Valley. It has stunning views of the Rincon and Catalina mountains in the distance and towering trees around the venue. It has a lovely pond and lush landscaped lawns. I know, green lawns in Tucson?! When I first photographed a wedding at La Mariposa I was shocked to see how green it was. It is perfect for couples wanting a green backdrop for their wedding.
The ceremony is usually held on the lawn and your outdoor reception is usually set up closer to the main building, but still on the lawn. There is a large outdoor patio that can be used during cocktail hour and a firepit that many guests enjoy especially during the cooler months.
La Mariposa has incredible space for the bride to get ready along with a space for the groom as well. It can accommodate up to 1,000 guests.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a wedding venue perfect for smaller weddings. The lush gardens and picturesque surroundings provide a naturally beautiful and unique atmosphere for your wedding. The ceremony and cocktail hour space is held outdoors at the desert garden, while receptions are typically held in the Green room where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the stunning desert views. There are endless options for photography spots at the desert museum. One of the best parts of having your wedding at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is the exclusive live animal experience that you and your guests can enjoy.
Weddings at Tohono Chul are absolutely gorgeous. The venue is located on the Northwest side of Tucson, near Oracle Road and Ina Road. It is the perfect wedding location for couples wanting a lush, botanical garden vibe. There is a brick building with beautiful large doors at the entrance to the restaurant. Once you walk through the doors, it opens up into a lovely courtyard with a fountain in the center. In the back of the restaurant area, there is a large patio surrounded by beautiful plants. This is a great area for receptions. Many couples will also choose to have their ceremony and/or reception in the gardens as well. There is a lovely area near the back that is perfect for weddings. Tohono Chul has several options to make your event special. The venue can accommodate up to 200 guests.
Saguaro Buttes is a wedding venue known for its gorgeous desert landscape. It is adjacent to Saguaro National Park East, just off Old Spanish Trail. Couples can exchange their vows with the saguaro-spotted desert and mountain views in the background. There is a lovely patio area that many couples use for cocktail hour. Receptions can be held outdoors by their pond where twinkle lights create a romantic atmosphere at night. There are many photo locations around Saguaro Buttes. One of my favorite photography spots is at Sunset Point. What is also great about this wedding venue is that it does have an indoor banquet hall if you prefer to have your reception indoors.
Tanque Verde Ranch has a rich history. Established in 1868, the ranch is located on the East side of Tucson, nestled among the Rincon mountains. Tanque Verde Ranch is 60,000 acres and is one of America’s old-time cattle ranches. Couples can choose from several indoor and outdoor areas to hold their wedding event, including the newest event venue, The Barn. Incredible mountain and desert views can be found at Tanque Verde Ranch. One of my favorite locations for photos is by the lake.
Agua Linda Farms is located just outside of Tucson in Amado, Arizona. I am including it in this list because it honestly is such a gorgeous venue. It is a 63-acre private estate with towering trees, lush lawns, and beautiful flowers in the Spring. To read more about Agua Linda Farm, check out this blog post that I wrote about this venue.
The Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain is one of Tucson’s most beautiful outdoor wedding venues. The resort has several locations to choose from to hold your outdoor wedding with towering saguaros dotting the mountains as the backdrop. The resort has several wedding experts to help you create your perfect outdoor wedding.
The White Stallion Ranch wedding venue is one of the most unique locations to get married in Tucson. Located on the Northwest side of Tucson, The Ranch offers the personal touch and hospitality of a traditional dude ranch while still offering the amenities and services of an upscale resort. The Ranch has been owned by the True family for over 55 years now. With amazing views of the mountains and natural desert, you’ll love having your wedding here. There are plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities from horseback riding, to archery, to rock climbing.
Need More Wedding Venues in Tucson?
Are you looking for more wedding locations? I have a sister blog post that talks about how you can choose the best wedding venue for you and it lists other Tucson wedding venues that are not included in this list. Feel free to continue learning about other places to get married in Tucson by clicking HERE.
Tucson Wedding Packages
As a local Tucson wedding photographer, I love helping engaged couples plan their big day. I hope by now you have a great idea of some places to host your wedding in Tucson. Once you decide on your wedding venue, your next step is to book your wedding photographer.
I offer several wedding packages to meet the needs of the couples I work with. I am also happy to create a custom wedding package for you as well. My full wedding day packages start at $3800 and include at least 8 hours of coverage, a second photographer, and an engagement session. My elopements begin at $1200 and are available to book 3 months out from your wedding date.
If you are still looking for more suggestions for the best Tucson wedding locations, feel free to reach out HERE and I’d love to help you create your perfect outdoor wedding.