Arizona – May 2014

The view from our Vista Ridge apartment

The view from our Vista Ridge apartment

Photo’s are at:

After a year of planning, panicking and organizing our english friends’ (Gary and Tracey) wedding in Sedona we finally found ourselves winging our way into the desert for the most unusual of wedding ceremonies – to say nothing of exclusive – 4 Brits (including the happy couple) , 2 real americans and Geoff and I representing both nations 😉

Our only remit in finding a suitable venue with a suitably exotic officiant for the proceedings was that it had to be “somewhere” roughly along Route 66 (as the bride and groom were to be spending their honeymoon motorcycling the famous route 66 from the desert states to CA) and it had to be unconventional. What better than a Native American wedding in the beautiful desert city of Sedona with a sunset ceremony overlooking the red rocks in Sedona’s loveliest spa hotel – L’Auberge de Sedona ? 🙂

I am pleased to say that despite some hairy moments when I couldn’t get hold of Uqualla (he spends a lot of time out of touch with the rest of of civilization in the mountains or on spiritual retreats in remote parts etc etc)… there were moments when I thought the easiest way to communicate would be by sending smoke-signals but I resisted 😉  In any event, it all came together in the end, as these things tend to, and my role as wedding planner was not a total disaster after all, though I say so myself 😉

Uqualla (from the Havasupi Tribe of the western Grand Canyon) dramatically waved his feathers in all the right places, burnt incense, did something we didn’t fully understand with what looked like a mexican birthing blanket …. and although the chanting was a touch bizarre for most of us very unspiritual brits it was all rather impressive and a very touching ceremony.

It was also fab to catch up with the english contingent of the wedding party as we hadn’t seen them since last year. For anyone who notices the wedding outfits – the men’s theme was hawaiian shirts and linen trousers – unfortunately the shirt Geoff brought from home simply wasn’t hideous enough and so he had to borrow a more offensive one from Rob who came with a small collection – presumably for precisely this sort of emergency. Whilst the bride was resplendent in her 1950’s bridal gown, jewelry and hair-design – the rest of the girls weren’t required to adhere to a dress code – thank goodness because my butt just doesn’t look good in a 1950’s dress! 🙂

L’Auberge has a seriously good restaurant … the wedding dinner was down by the river … very romantic … twinkly fairy lights … cicadas providing the musical ambience and all on a beautiful clear starry night … the evening ended with a few words of wisdom from Geoff for his best mate with a short impromptu speech (no official best man at this wedding). A lovely afternoon and evening was had by all.

Of course, as we had flown all the way out to the desert for the nuptials a few days early, it would have been rude not to have taken advantage….

So we re-visited the Grand Canyon with our american friends, Don and Sue; the canyon was as spectacular as ever – at least on the second day we attempted to visit!!!!    …the day before we had made it as far as Flagstaff (40 minutes from Sedona) for a coffee stop, got out of the car in our typical desert attire (shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops) and flurries of snow started to fall on our freezing blue toes … with some incredulity we re-checked the weather forecast for the canyon which had been sunny but breezy about 2 hours earlier and ascertained it had dramatically changed to snowing, gales and icy cold winds so we abandoned the plan and headed back to Sedona for some sun!

We also spent a few days with them pottering around the hot and dusty state parks close to Sedona before the arrival of the rest of the wedding party.

The hottest and dustiest by far was Red Rocks … slithering with snakes in the wind blown cactus …. eek….

Oak Creek Canyon with its reflecting pool and peaceful, scenic winding river was a little less challenging 🙂

And the “highlight” was one of Don’s “famous” excursions – always to somewhere obscure, which usually takes hours to get to, and provides, if we are really lucky, a full 1-3 minutes of entertainment – good job we love him and we all have a good sense of humor 😉 …. so that was Montezuma’s Castle National Monument in Cape Verde … interesting in theory for its historical value – cliff-dwellings built around 700AD by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people and, of course, a feat of construction – but probably the smallest National Monument/state-type park we have ever visited… It was also duly noted that the dwelling was abandoned 100 years before Montezuma was born AND it was never a castle 😉

Geoff couldn’t resist reminding us all that whilst the local “savages” were busy digging holes in rock to make somewhere to sleep the europeans were already building churches and castles of world-renown and living in abject luxury by comparison 😉 Typical europhile … not really entering into the spirit of it all !! 😉

The upside of the long journey through the tumbleweed to reach Montezuma’s Castle is that we were at least spared the hideous ordeal of visiting Don’s alternative choice for the day to see the giraffes at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park … as we had luckily “run out of time” 😉

To give Don his due, he is infinitely better at choosing great places to stay – at a billionth of the cost of our subsequent move to L’Auberge de Sedona for the nuptials, he located Vista Ridge Apartments by scooting around Sedona on Google Earth (a seriously impressive and somewhat time-consuming feat) – with its, frankly, jaw-dropping view from the breakfast terrace 🙂

… and finally, congratulations to the bride and groom 🙂

Luv, Jenni and Geoff


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