Holly and Chris are a couple who met through work and decided to get married in Las Vegas because they wanted “a place our guests would remember,” in addition to their wedding. Their wedding day looked like an absolute blast, from the sweet first looks Holly had with her dad and her husband-to-be, to the retro-Vegas shots at the Fun City “pink” Motel which coincidentally matched their wedding palette! Blush pink and gold created a modern, airy and fresh atmosphere at both their ballroom ceremony at Mandarin Oriental and the reception that followed at Joe’s Stone Crab. Simply gorgeous.
WHY LAS VEGAS?
I was born and raised in southern California and Chris was born and raised in central Illinois. We both met while serving in the Marine Corps together and just decided Vegas would be a great place for everyone to travel to instead of one of our hometowns. Vegas is so fun and completely different from any city we have been to. We wanted a place our guests would remember … including our wedding!
CHOOSING THE VENUES
I knew I didn’t want anything cheesy. I didn’t want a chapel ceremony or outdoor since it’s so hot in Vegas. I wanted something elegant and classy. I felt that Mandarin Oriental and Joe’s Stone Crab provided that. The process wasn’t easy though. I researched and researched to find the perfect location!
THE CEREMONY — Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
The ceremony was very romantic! It was a basic room but Mandarin is so beautiful that it didn’t need many decorations. I did have blush uplighting which made the room pop! It was so pretty and flirty. I personally chose all the music myself. Chris and I love music and I knew I wanted something different and unique.
THE RECEPTION — Gigi Room at Joe’s Stone Crab, Caesars Palace
My theme was vintage classic. Not shabby chic vintage, but more Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. The Gigi room is so romantic and classy! I wanted all my guess to feel special. We only had 35 close friends and family there so we knew the Gigi room would be perfect for that. We also had blush uplighting which changed colors once dancing started. We also had beautiful centerpieces, a wonderful cake and a DJ.
WEDDING DAY CHALLENGES
I felt that everything went smoothly! I knew little things would go wrong but nothing extreme. I think all brides should know that a big event like a wedding won’t be perfect and it’s fine if it’s not. It’s about getting married in front of your best friends and loved ones. The only complaint that I really have is the heat but we knew there was nothing we could do about that, especially since it was the middle of July! We couldn’t take that many pictures outside so we went into a lot of hotel lobbies and in the shaded areas for pictures.
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM HOLLY + CHRIS
Just to do your research. I felt that looking at blogs, websites, TV shows and anything about Vegas helped me with the wedding. I knew where to book hotels, limos, flowers, cake and everything else from the web. We did make a trip about a year before the wedding to look at possible venues which I think made a world if difference. Everything looks different in person!
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We planned on a very small wedding of about 20, but it grew to about 45. In the end 35 guests were able to join us, which was the perfect amount! I didn’t really have a budget in mind I just knew I didn’t want to go overboard and worked with a 10k budget. However that jumped to 16k, which was fine with us. That covered everything from my dress, plane tickets, flowers, an amazing dinner service and everything in between. I knew it was money well spent because my guest couldn’t stop talking about the food!! The only splurge I had was the ceremony flowers that I ordered through Mandarin Oriental but they were so big and beautiful!
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Unposed Photography
CEREMONY VENUE . Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
RECEPTION VENUE . Gigi Room at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab
OFFICIANT . Rev. William McFarland III / DAY OF COORDINATION . Archel Rowling Events / FLORAL . The Palette / Ceremony Flowers: Mandarin Oriental / CAKE . Hott Cakez / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – David Tutera, Frew’s Bridal / HAIR + MAKEUP . Stevee Danielle / BRIDESMAIDS . Frew’s Bridal / TRANSPORTATION . Las Vegas Limo / STATIONERY + PAPER GOODS . Champagne Press / ENTERTAINMENT + LIGHTING . Bliss Entertainment
I always feel so fortunate to be able to feature Vegas elopements on the site. These intimate little weddings are a peek into the most private side of a couple’s relationship, and the photos are always so emotional. Today’s feature elopement from Taylored Photo Memories is no exception. Dominique and Anthony chose to marry in the gardens of the Springs Preserve, and looked so happy and relaxed doing so. So simple, so beautiful.
More from their photographer:
Dominique and Anthony are going down as one of my all time favorite couples. They chose a to do a small Springs Preserve wedding rather than a big fussy wedding in their hometown. One of the first comments Dominique made to me was how she did not like being the center of attention, and that they would need help posing. Pictures were very important to her.
Taking their pictures, as it turned out, was very easy. Dominique and Anthony basked in their happiness making the wedding photo shoot easy. They were relaxed and playful, complete naturals. Posing came easy, their love shined through as they held hands, looked into each other’s eyes. They forgot I was there and enjoyed each other and their special day, making my job easy. All I had to do was capture what was already there.
They wanted a beautiful outside setting for their elopement in Las Vegas. We chose the Springs Preserve. It offers many different natural settings that matched the beautiful simplicity of this couple. Dominique was a total DIY bride and got it right! She wore a beautiful custom-made, flowing tulle skirt with a simple feminine white blouse. Dominique’s little sister made the silk sash she wore around her waist and the bride used parts of that to make her own bouquet. A simple ornate headband was the only accessory in her hair. Anthony the groom, a tall handsome man, wore all white to match his bride. He was hip and masculine, with a smile full of love only for his new wife. His eyes lit up every time he looked at her.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Taylored Photo Memories, member of the LVW photography directory
CEREMONY VENUE . Springs Preserve
OFFICIANT . Angie Kelly, Peachy Keen Unions / BRIDAL FASHION . top – LOFT, tulle skirt – Space 46 Boutique, accessories – Urban Outfitters
The city of Las Vegas is the natural complement to a swank nightclub wedding. LVW has featured a few through the years, but none as high-energy as Jimmy and Alice’s wedding today! Wedding planner Andrea Eppolito submitted their luxe wedding at Chateau Nightclub, and tells the story of the day so well. Feast your eyes on the gorgeous photos from Adam Frazier of this wedding held at the base of the romantic Eiffel Tower, which not only married a couple, but all the best elements of a Vegas wedding: incredible views, lots of dancing and vibrant similes. On an amazing side note, Andrea continued to work through the wedding despite sustaining a broken toe during as the day got started following a statue-related accident. Now that’s dedication…
More from Andrea Eppolito, the planner of this pretty purple party-tastic wedding:
Meet my bride Alice, a chef who owns a restaurant in Southern California, and my groom, Jimmy, who works in the tech industry. When Jimmy met Alice through mutual friends as an undergrad, he was immediately smitten with his bright eyes, big smile, and her vivacious, insatiable appetite for life. Alice was drawn in by Jimmy’s “swag” but wanted to make sure that the big man on campus was serious before she fell head over years. Ten years later, Alice & Jimmy finally decided to make it official with a Las Vegas wedding that was as bold and high energy as the two of them are.
With a strong color palette and the desire for a high energy, sexy wedding, Alice and Jimmy booked Chateau Nightclub & Gardens in Las Vegas, as the venue offers the best of the city – beautiful spaces, gorgeous views, top notch food and wine, and entry into one of the city’s hottest nightclubs for the post party!
After downtown bridal portraits, they returned to Paris, where they held a personalized ceremony in the interior of the club, sparing guests from the 105 degree heat! A friend officiated the ceremony, pulling together the sweet and tender moments from their last 10 years together.
For the reception, guests headed up to the rooftop patio, which was dressed in white drapes, purple linen, and teal accents. They feasted on butler passed hors d’oeuvres and enjoyed action stations, an open bar, dancing, and both a photo booth and a flip book station. After a toast by Alice’s father, her brother serenaded the couple with a beautiful performance of “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel.
As a surprise for the newly married couple, and to start the party properly, we showered them with confetti as they took over the dance floor, celebrating with their family and friends all night long!
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Adam Frazier
CEREMONY VENUE . Chateau Nightclub, Paris Las Vegas
RECEPTION VENUE . Chateau Nightclub, Paris Las Vegas
WEDDING PLANNER . Andrea Eppolito Events / FLORAL + DECOR . Naakiti Floral / HAIR + MAKEUP . Your Beauty Call / ENTERTAINMENT . DJ Mike Fox / FLIPBOOK . A Flying Camera / CINEMA . Lighten Films
A common question I get is what kind of upgrades and freebies you can expect to get if you are having your wedding in Las Vegas. The answer (as always) is: it depends.
It depends on the time of year, how vocal you are about your wedding, how friendly you are, how conscientious the person you are dealing with is, how much you tip, availability of what you are requesting is etc., and so on. But here is a list of some things other couples have received.
Walk the Strip and visit the casinos after the wedding (leave your wedding attire on) you’ll be surprised on the amount of people that buy you drinks. – Andy H
Free glass of Champagne at Scarpetta at Cosmopolitan the night we got engaged! – Allison D
The Mandarin Oriental includes a free two-night stay with their wedding packages (in their bridal suite: gorgeous!) My husband and I also found that you get a lot of free Champagne from restaurants when you tell them you just got married! Hahaha! – Kaitlyn A
Upgraded to an Emperors Suite at Caesars Palace (but only because they made some errors.) – Mara F
At Venetian, we got a free suite upgrade, but I think it had more to do with the hotel being super full, not the wedding dress I was holding. - Kelly, Little Vegas Wedding editor
I posted a question about flying with my wedding gown on JetBlue’s Facebook page. Two hours later I got a call from them and they upgraded us to Even More Space and Speed seats for free! So cool! – Allison D.
A free appetizer at Gordon Ramsay Steak inside Paris hotel. Highly recommended! – Claire M
We got an upgrade to a corner two-bedroom suite with a Strip view at Mandalay Bay. I just emailed the front desk manager a month before we arrived. – Danny Z
Just a free bottle of Champagne. – Melinda M
Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce will give you any tour guide info, magazines, little goodies like magnets, mints, etc. if you email them! I used these items for my welcome bags for my wedding guests! – Kaitlyn A
To increase your chances of getting an upgrade or something free due to your wedding, here is some advice.
- Wear your wedding attire! Even if you’re eloping, wear your wedding outfits as long as possible because it’s the most obvious sign that you just got hitched.
- Tell people. Not in a snotty “what can you give me?” way, but in a casual, “I’m really excited, we’re here to get married!” way and you might find yourself with free drinks, suite upgrades, a free spa visit or better table at the restaurant.
- Research the $20 trick, if you are angling for a suite upgrade.
- Call ahead. Call the hotel manager, concierge, restaurant host, transportation company, etc., ahead of time and let them know you are coming for a special reason. You might find yourself riding in a town car instead of a regular car, or have surprise waiting for you.
- Of course there are a lot of cool free things to try in Las Vegas anyways. Here are some for you and your guests to check out at Vital Vegas. (There are more suggestions if you search “free stuff.”)
Photo: Kristin Long Photography
Many of you marrying at locations where you cannot use an outside photographer for your ceremony often ask me if it’s worthwhile to hire a separate photographer in addition to the hotel photographer. My answer is always yes. Although your photographer often will not be able to photograph the actual wedding ceremony, they can get amazing photos like the ones in Madison and Matthew’s wedding today.
Their getting ready shots and first look were captured in that oh-so-stylish MGM Grand Skyline Terrace suite. (As well as Madison’s boudoir shots!) This super modern and sexy set of wedding photos set the scene for an intimate Vegas wedding with a host of events and parties over the week — my favorite kind!
WHY LAS VEGAS?
It seemed spontaneous and it was an easy access destination for our world-wide guest list. My husband is Canadian and at the time I lived in Seattle, Washington. We had friends and family come from all over: Whistler, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle, San Francisco, London, Barcelona and even as far as Sydney, Australia!
THE CEREMONY — Gazebo at Mon Bel Ami
The ceremony was magical! It was dark and the gazebo was lit up with candles and strung lights. We had 50 of our closest family and friends there to show their love and support! I walked down the isle to Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine. Our ceremony was short and sweet with so much personalization. We had prepared our own vows for each other and as we walked down as husband and wife Home by Edward Sharpe played throughout the gazebo.
THE RECEPTION — Firefly Tapas Bar
Firefly was amazing they had a room set up for us with linens matching our wedding colors, microphones for speeches, and beautiful candles lit everywhere! We ended up having 70 guests for dinner instead of 50 and they did not skip a beat! The service was superb, too! Our group was a very lively bunch and we continued the excitement to our rooftop terrace suite at the MGM where we had our first dance followed by many Champagne toasts. It was such a beautiful evening.
My stand-out moment was seeing my husband for the first time. The morning went by so fast with hair, makeup, and boudoir photos. I think the first time I really took a deep breath was when I met him out on the balcony of our suite, the sun was shining and I felt that our love was radiating which you can tell from our photos.
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM MADISON + MATTHEW
I think people have a certain idea of what a Vegas wedding looks like, but honestly you can make it whatever you have been dreaming of. The first thing I had to tell people when I told them I was getting married in Vegas is, No…Elvis is not performing at my wedding. Vegas can be inexpensive (well, for a wedding) and still very classy.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We ended up spending more money at the pool parties and clubs the days surrounding the wedding, thanks to an $8,000 MGM Wet Republic pool party ;) But all in all $9,000 for 50-70 people? Not bad at all.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Heather Elizabeth Photography
CEREMONY VENUE . Mon Bel Ami Wedding Chapel
RECEPTION VENUE . Firefly Tapas Bar
GETTING READY SUITE . MGM Grand Skyline Terrace
OFFICIANT . Regina Madiera-Gorden (bride’s mother) / CAKE . Freed’s Bakery / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Nicole Miller / HAIR + MAKEUP . Paige Dorans / GROOMSWEAR . Tuxedo Junction / TRANSPORTATION . VIP Transportation / AFTERPARTY VENUE . MGM Grand Skyline Terrace Suite