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Sonoran Rooftop takes the global stage

Posted on April 15, 2014

If places could be celebrities, then the Sonoran Rooftop Terrace would be the star of Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa. Just Google “Sonoran Rooftop” and your screen will be filled with mentions of our picturesque venue from photographers, bridal sites and many newlywed couples’ wedding pages from Tucson to Korea and back.

The Sonoran Rooftop Terrace is newer than the historic sections of Westward Look, yet our desert architecture and stunning views of the Sonoran Desert (or endless stars on a clear night with the rooftop down) might evoke thoughts of Tucson’s early heritage. If you’re considering having your wedding on the Sonoran Rooftop, here are five wedding traditions seen in Tucson over the centuries to consider:

  • Morning weddings: In the 1880s – the Old West days – people who settled here from the East also brought along wedding customs that emigrated from England and Europe. One of them, setting weddings in the mornings, was actually church law until the late 1880s. In the desert, morning weddings were probably more of a convenience, so the wedding party wouldn’t suffer the full heat of day. Tucson also draws a lot of its heritage from the Spanish, who protected the original Presidio San Agustín del Tucson. Spanish weddings are traditionally held in the early evening.
  • Wedding dress: Yes, Queen Victoria started a trend of wearing an elaborate white wedding dress, but most brides of the day didn’t have the means. Even those who did often chose colored dresses – especially for afternoon weddings. Many western brides made do with their Sunday best dress, often because they set out for their honeymoon right after the wedding and white dresses weren’t practical for travel in the dusty desert. Spanish brides wore black silk dresses and veils.
  • Veil and lasso ceremony: A common Mexican wedding tradition, which is a part of many cultures across the globe, is the veil and lasso ceremony in a wedding. Many weddings in the American West also adopted this tradition. After exchanging vows, a “lasso” (actually a ribbon or rosary) is placed in a figure-8 shape over the kneeling couple’s shoulders, to symbolize infinity. A veil would then be draped over the groom’s shoulders and bride’s head or shoulders during prayer, which symbolizes the couple’s union.
  • Horse-drawn carriage: Couples in the Old West really did ride off into the sunset (or mid-morning sun) in a horse-drawn carriage, surrey or buggy. Friends would often decorate the carriage. Some things never change – much.
  • The Shivaree: This custom (formal name: chiavaris) was common in rural America and the Southwest – although caution would dictate any modern version! After the bride and groom retired to their home, the wedding party would make enough noise for the couple to come out of the house and invite the guests in for a party, during which the guests would play pranks on the newlyweds. If you’ve ever seen the movie classic “Oklahoma!,” which was filmed on a ranch south of Tucson, you can see a staged shivaree as well as a surrey with fringe on the top during the main characters’ wedding.