Hilton El Conquistador Tucson
Having a wedding at the Hilton El Conquistador Tucson with its dramatic Catalina Mountain backdrop is a dream come true.
We were fortunate enough to have an outstanding Wedding Coordinator there, Darrin Land. If you decide to having your wedding there you must ask for him.
Once I met Darrin, I knew we were in good hands and I didn’t have to worry. He went above and beyond from beginning to end. I didn’t hire a planner and was going to wing it the day of, but Darrin directed everybody from the beginning of the ceremony, all the way until dinner was served. Thank you Darrin!
Everything turned out beautiful!
Here’s a video, so have a look for yourself!
Hilton El Conquistador Resort
The Wedding Details
If you’ve hung around after that long video, that means you want the details. I’ll try my best not to bore you, but I love my wedding so much that I just might go a bit overboard. If so, you’re excused, just scroll down to what details you really want to see!
Hilton El Conquistador
The Bridal Suite
When you have a wedding at the El Conquistador, they will provide a Bridal Suite for the night before, and the night of your wedding, and it’s huge! In fact, we were able to have our wedding rehearsal dinner there, courtesy of my AMAZING niece and Maid Of Honor, Sharon. She prepared a build-your-own-taco bar. And it was Delish!
Of course it comes with a king size bed and kitchenette area.
Outdoor Ceremony at El Conquistador Sunset Point
One of things I love most about Tucson, Arizona are the beautiful mountain ranges. Sunset Point has the perfect backdrop of the Catalinas, and will make for stunning mountain-and-desert landscape wedding.
Once I saw it, the deal was done.
Our Wedding Flower Arrangements Centerpieces
I had a vision of what I wanted my wedding to look like, and what I mostly saw were flowers. In fact, whenever someone would ask me what my colors are for my wedding, I would have to stop and think because I didn’t have a set color, so I would respond, “Flowers!” And that’s exactly what I got.
The florist I chose was Patty at Sauliz Floral Dezigns. Patty asked me what my vision was and my budget. Let me tell you, she did not disappoint.
I’m going to be totally transparent with you, my reader, because I know some of you have a budget to adhere to and want to know how much everything costs. Now remember, these prices are in Tucson, Arizona. It’ll be more expensive or cheaper wherever you live at.
My flower budget was $2000. This covered all the flowers for the cross, mine and Maid Of Honors bouquets, boutonnieres for my groom and his best man and table centerpieces for our reception.
Since we had an outdoor ceremony in June, Patty had to use silk flowers for the cross.
For the vases used on my table centerpieces, I went all over Tucson, to all the Home Goods stores and bought the same type of vases. I saved a ton of money that way rather than buying them online or even going through a florist.
Our Wedding Photo Booth Alternative
Our wedding budget was $10,000 in the beginning but we ended up spending almost double that. We needed to cut corners somewhere and Photo booths are expensive to rent, so I put together a selfie station.
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First I ordered this stand that will hold a big vinyl backdrop. What I really liked about this is that it can go as tall as 7 1/2 feet and as wide as 10 feet. Plus it comes with stabilizing sand bags (didn’t need them) and 3 big clamps to hold your backdrop in place.
Second, I ordered a backdrop. I love roses and this one fit my theme plus the price was right. It was perfect!
Third, I ordered these cute signs package to add a little fun to the photos.
How I kept Wedding Drama To A Minimum
I belong to a Facebook Group called The Wedding Connection and I’ve learned a lot from it. Brides are constantly complaining about drama from their bridal party. To keep this from happening we just had two people, our Maid Of Honor and Best Man.
Let me tell you it, made everything so much simpler.
Don’t let anyone pressure you about your bridal party. Choose people who mean a lot to you and truly care about you. I chose my niece, Sharon, as my Maid Of Honor. We’re only 12 years apart and, besides my husband, she’s my best friend.
We didn’t get ready in the traditional robes but because I’ve added a bit of a Hawaiian flavor to our wedding (that’s where we went for our honeymoon) I wanted something more us. We got ready in Sarongs. I wear these all the time in my everyday life, whether it be winter or summer.
You can get them on Amazon:
Our Wedding Cake And Topper
For us, the highlight of our cake is the our Pittsburgh Steelers Custom Bobble Head. We ordered it through BobbleGr.am
It is a bit expensive at a little over two hundred dollars but to us, it’s worth it. It’s something we would display in our home and not a one time use.
Once you order it, they will email you at each stage of the sculpting process to make sure it meets with what you want. We’ve had to make a few changes, like changing the jersey number from Antonio Brown’s , since he is no longer with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and changed it to Juju’s number. They had no problem with it at all.
Now about our Cake.
The Hilton El Conquistador Tucson has a bridal fair every year and it is the biggest in this area. This is where I met Jamie with Jamie Cakes. She had the best tasting cakes in the whole place, especially the Pink Champagne flavor.
Jamie was very easy to work with and the best part about selecting a wedding cake, is the cake tasting. Her cakes were really yummy! We told her what we wanted and $605.00 later, this is what she created:
The cake was so good that I couldn’t stop eating it…LOL
Our Wedding Invitations & Timely RSVP’s
For our invitations, we went with Shutterfly. Everyone loved our invitations and comparatively to what others say in the Wedding Connection Facebook Group that they’ve paid, ours was very inexpensive. Of course I ordered them when they were having a sale, which is all the time!
For 75 invitations we paid $176.00, not bad at all.
One of most complaints Brides have is getting RSVP’s in a timely manner. We sent out our invitations 2 1/2 months before our wedding and got 90% RSVP’s in three weeks of sending them out.
I was unsure of how this would work, but I didn’t put an RSVP reply card in our invitations (to save money). I created a our Wedding Website at The Knot and just put our RSVP link in the invitations. After about two weeks of sending out our invitations, I sent out a message on Messenger to all my invitees with the link. All they had to do then was click on the link!
Now some didn’t have a Facebook account or Messenger app, so I either emailed them the link or texted it to them.
Of course, you’ll always have those that lag and will have to be nudged but there’s nothing you can do about those people. Just grin and bare it..
Tucson El Conquistador resort
I wanted something cute and unique for our wedding favors. Favors that would be useful and something our guests would enjoy.
I purchased some Palm Leaf Favor Bags from Favor & Flowers. My sister, Charlene, decorated them for me with small flowers and ribbon. They came out so pretty!
Then I got some Garden Bon Bon’s from Moulton. These look like a box of chocolate bon bons but they are actually garden seeds! How cool is that, huh? Well anyways, I got a variety of different seed bon bon selections. They have Cocktail Garnish, Italian Herbs, Culinary Basils, Edible Flowers, Herbal Teas, Grilling Herbs, and Birds & Butterflies.
The way they work is you just place a bon bon on top of soil, whether it be in a pot or just on the ground, then water it and it’ll grow! These would make for great unique gifts, especially for teachers and for Mother’s Day!
Next I bought small clay pots at Hobby Lobby.
Then I printed out small instructions for how to grow them to stick in each favor bag.
My sisters and I put the bags together the night before our wedding and the next day, we placed a bag on the tables for each guests. Let me tell you, they were a hit!
Hilton El Conquistador Tucson
Our Guest Book & Card Box Lantern
For our guests book we wanted something we could put on our coffee table, and a photo book was the answer.
I’ve heard it happening all the time where someone has cards stolen at weddings because the card box isn’t secured. My sister, Evelyn, made one for me using a big Lantern from Hobby Lobby. She put flowers and butterflies and a string of butterfly solar lights inside. She also had her husband cut out a slot to slide the cards in. Then, she secured it with a padlock. It came out beautiful.
Tucson wedding reception venue
Our Fun Reception
The highlight of our reception besides our first dance was the Garter Toss. My Groom is a quiet man and will only dance in private. He didn’t know what to do during the garter toss so he danced for me instead. So sexy, I loved it!
You know when you watch a great movie, after several days, you wish you haven’t seen it yet so you can watch it again? Well that’s how I feel about our wedding. I wish we could do it all over again!
Are there any other details about our wedding you would like to know about? If so, just put it in the comments and I will reply.
I loved reading about your wedding. I’m a widow and I recently got married last month. We had a beach wedding in New York. So fun!
Hi Kristin, thank you so much and congratulations! I’m a follower of your blog the Runaway Widow and enjoy reading your blog posts. I saw your wedding post and it was beautiful as well! While reading your posts, I was thinking that you and I have so much in common. I was widowed 5 years ago. My tagline is “Harnessing strength from loss to fuel life’s best journey.” Only another widow would understand that and that is what we have done. I wish you many, many years of happiness!
Loved all your photos. I just got married last month. I was widowed 4 years ago.