By Carolyn Harris • Photo by Eric Butler of Pixel Dust Photography

It rained most of the day during Samara and Abe’s wedding at the Van Dickson Ranch in Skull Valley. It was just the third time in 14 years and 348 weddings that it rained during a ceremony, but this was a doozy.

The day after the wedding, Samara and Abe returned to the ranch to say, “Thank you for making our adventure wonderful.”  It was an adventure, indeed.

The Van Dickson staff, DJ Gary Alan, and AZ Transportation were alert and would not let the weather spoil the day.

So, they got busy: the transportation company did not leave until all guests were safely taken to the covered pavilion, the DJ played longer than expected, and staff rearranged the pavilion for the ceremony, transported guests and the wedding party wherever they wished to go, and we’re sure that nobody got wet.

Eric Butler, owner of Pixel Dust Photography, came prepared for the weather and was able to get some shots between showers. Days later, he returned with Samara and Abe for pictures without an additional charge. Videographer Yannick Apers captured the excitement and adventure about which Samara spoke.

Although it rarely rains in central Arizona, there is even less moisture at the Van Dickson Ranch because it is surrounded by hills and mountains.  If there is a rare shower, it stops in the early afternoon 99 times out of 100.  One time there were showers in the afternoon, and a nervous groom made the call that the ceremony would be held in the pavilion. Staff had told him the rain should stop before ceremony time, but the groom insisted. Of course, it did stop, the ceremony was in the pavilion, and the oak-treed ceremony area was beautiful but empty of guests.

The Van Dickson Ranch has weddings from April through October and insists upon providing dinners of slow-smoked tri-tip of beef. The meals have become legendary, and often wedding guests later book the ranch for their nuptials because of the food, beauty of the property, and excellent service by the staff.

Amenities include use of the ranch from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., a groom’s quarters with lounge and bathroom, a large casita with a kitchen and bath for the bride, tables, chairs, staff with club cars to transfer guests to the ceremony, and a resource list of vendors who have done excellent work for couples at the Van Dickson Ranch.

Learn more at or by emailing [email protected].