is Arizona again?

(West of New Mexico, which is west of Texas. Arizona does not have a beach.)

If all you know about Arizona is that it's filled to the brim with gun-totin' border-guardin' out-of-touch Californian-wannabes, well you're not wrong. But a) none of those folks are invited to the wedding, and b) there are lots of great things about Arizona, like our tacos. And John McCain!

The Phoenix metro area is where Becky's family calls home, though more and more her parents escape the heat and dodge their creditors up at their cabin in the White Mountains. It is in the backyard of this cabin that the wedding will take place!

6600 feet higher than the Valley, the White Mountains have a completely different climate and landscape than what you probably associate with Arizona. On the 140-mile drive from Phoenix—which is incredibly scenic—you will notice a point where the saguaros give way to Ponderosa pine and the temperature drops about 30 degrees.

Bison Ranch

The wedding venue is part of a small vacation community called Bison Ranch. There are no bison at Bison Ranch and it's not a ranch either, but it does have a small Bison Town with a Western flair—you'll spot the brightly colored buildings on your right as you approach on the highway. There are a variety of accommodations on the Ranch, all within a short walking distance of each other and the events. (More on lodging options here.)

Bison Ranch is pretty far from civilization, though is itself extremely civilized! The roads are paved, the cabins are more like single-family homes. In fact, the only thing you'll find all that rustic is the Internet connection. You may luck into a Wifi signal near Bison Town, and the cell reception has improved greatly over the years, but it's best to plan on being disconnected for the weekend. Don't worry—you'll be spending it with your 120 new best friends!

The Cabin

The Nelsons have made a lot of memories at the cabin:

  • It's where Harry first met Becky's family (a note to the ladies: If you find yourself dating a dude who doesn't thinking twice about spending a week out in the woods with your family he's never met, strongly consider marrying him)
  • It's where we celebrated Scott Nelson's 60th birthday in 2012, recreating the Olympic games in our backyard with hula hoops and oven mitts (Harry won a gold medal for not hitchhiking away in the middle of the night)
  • It's where the smash YouTube sensation "The Maniacal Squirrel" was filmed (212 views and counting!)
  • And where Jill's wedding dress was snatched from the brink of burning up in the worst wildfire in Arizona's history (which did eventually claim the Nelsons' first cabin.)

It's also where, less than a year ago, Harry and Becky stood out on the patio under the Milky Way and decided that, by hook or crook, that was the exact spot they wanted to get married. ("Hook or crook" translating mainly to "If they can find fancy enough Port-a-Potties.")


October is a beautiful time to be in the White Mountains. Though most of the trees are pines, Becky and Harry have chosen their date to coincide with the fall color—and the full moon! The wedding is outdoors and so are the other weekend activities, with backup plans like umbrella heaters, and roofs if needed. Expect daytime temps in the 60s, possibly 70s, evenings in the 50s, cooler overnight. The rainy season is generally over by October. Bring a jacket for evenings and comfortable walking shoes.

Sold! How do I get there?

Great question. Click on over here for details on travel and accommodations.