Sometimes wedding planning can spin out of control and you find yourself with a wedding you just didn’t imagine. Erin and Mike originally planned for a wedding in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, but it started to consume their lives, and their bank accounts. So the couple turned to Las Vegas and planned the intimate, fun wedding they truly wanted, in a Bellagio Penthouse Suite. I’m obsessed with Erin’s Vera Wang White gown, which looked incredible in their couples shoot with The R2 Studio at the Neon Boneyard. Total fashion mag material!
Erin + Mike’s Top Tip for Other Vegas Couples
My tip to anyone thinking of getting married in Vegas would be to find the “venue” that fits your personality. We liked the elegance of the Bellagio and they have an unbelievable wedding team that handles every last detail. And the edginess of The Neon Boneyard and Museum matched our personalities! Also, we found their seems to be this negative “stigma” associated with getting married in Vegas and I still can’t figure out why this is. (VEGAS IS AMAZEBALLS!) If you get push-back from friends and/or family, just politely remind them that, this is your day with your soon-to-be spouse and in the end it is all about the two of you.
Why Las Vegas?
We have always LOVED Vegas, it has always been “our getaway city.” We had originally planned this over-the-top, outrageously priced wedding in Sedona, but it became a monster. A very expensive monster, that took over every facet of our lives. So we cancelled all of that and turned to our “getaway city,” VEGAS! We wanted simple, elegant and NO FUSS.
(Okay…are you ready for their first look? It’s kind of amazing… -Kelly)
The Ceremony: Bellagio Penthouse Suite
While we were dating, we’d stayed at many resorts on the strip, but never the Bellagio. We decided if we were going to do Vegas, we wanted the wedding to be in one of the most beautiful resorts. We cut the guest list down to immediate family only and Mike’s best friend/best man. We had already booked The R2 Studio as our photographer, and we couldn’t imagine anyone else capturing our wedding. The Bellagio would only allow their photographer for their chapels, etc; however we could do their “Suite Wedding Package” and R2 could still shoot it. The package came with a smaller suite, but we upgraded to the Penthouse.
Again, “no fuss,” so all I did for “setup” was have the House floral department arrange my bouquet and his boutonniere. The room had a rich dark color scheme and floor to ceiling windows, it spoke for itself. R2 suggested the ceremony be in front of the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Strip, and it worked out perfectly. The suite was so large I was tucked away in the bedroom, while everyone else took their places. My little brother walked me down “the aisle” and we said our own vows in front of our family; it was small, simple and perfect. It was just about us and our love.
Favorite Wedding Memory
There are a lot of great memories that stick out from that day. But one of our favorites was the morning of the wedding. We had room service bring us a great big breakfast. I don’t think we woke up that morning until 10AM! So we sat there in these glorious white robes, with this delicious breakfast spread, in front of a huge window overlooking the Strip, just the two of us. It was romantic, peaceful and relaxing. I loved the tranquility of that moment with my husband-to-be; no chaos…just us.
Post Wedding Vogue Shoot: Neon Museum
Because we weren’t able to shoot any photographs on the resort property, R2 suggested The Neon Museum for pictures. We arranged a limo to take us immediately following the ceremony. Our family hung out for “cocktail hour” while we snapped those amazing pictures amongst iconic Vegas history! When we got back to the suite, Bellagio catered a dinner for us and our family in the Suite. After that, everyone hit the Strip for whatever fun they desired! The next day we all met our guests down in the sportsbook for some betting fun!
Erin + Mike’s Las Vegas Wedding Guestlist and Budget
Just ten guests were invited to this $6000 affair (which included four nights in the Bellagio penthouse, but not photography and gown)
Vendor and Venue Details:
Photographer: The R2 Studio / Ceremony Venue: Bellagio Penthouse Suite / Post-Wedding Bridal Shoot Venue: Neon Boneyard at The Neon Museum / Wedding Dress: White by Vera Wang “VW351011“ Organza Fit and Flare with Flange Skirt in Blush Pink / Hair + Makeup: Allyson Stagg of Las Vegas Style Sirens / Bride’s Shoes: Nine West / Groom’s Suit + Menswear: Jones of New York / Catering: Bellagio / Floral: Bellagio Floral Department / Celebrant: Rev. Jerome G Blankinship / Transport: Bellagio / Corset Alterations: Janet Kirkman Bridal Redesigns (Scottsdale, AZ) / Purse: Charming Charlie / Earrings: Etsy / Gold Ring: Heirloom / Custom Wine Bottle Labels: made by a friend
To me, perfume is about memories, and there are very few days in our lives that are as memorable as a wedding day. So why not enhance those memories by choosing a scent which will trigger a sweet revisitation of your wedding day every time you (or your mate) smells it? You might already have a signature scent, but this is a great occasion to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.
But, where to start? To answer this question I turned to Angela Sanders, a writer at the fabulous Now Smell This perfume blog to assist Little Vegas Wedding readers as they consider wedding day perfumes. Each Wednesday for the next month Angela will be recommending three perfumes for three unique Las Vegas wedding venues, using her expert knowledge in scents. The mini-series will close out with a post of general tips, including where to go perfume shopping in Las Vegas.
Today, Angela’s posts start with what perfume you might wear to a boho wedding in the desert at sunset, surrounded by the warmth of your closest friends.
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Your wedding dress is in the closet and invitations are in the mail. The only question remaining is what perfume to wear.
I believe a fragrance should not only suit the person who wears it, but should complement with the mood of the day. After all, you wouldn’t dab on the same scent to attend the Indy 500 as you would for a Chanel runway show, right? With that in mind, I’ll be sharing three wedding scenarios, each with three perfume possibilities over the next three weeks. Today’s suggestions are for a desert wedding.
For you, your wedding is all about the experience. You want to smell the desert sagebrush at night and stay up late while your fiancé’s best friend, the chef, makes paella on the fire for dinner for your friends who have pitched tents nearby. For your honeymoon, you’re driving a Volkswagen Bus across the Mojave. Here are a few perfumes that will stamp your spirit on the day:
Vero Profumo Rubj Eau de Parfum: Rubj (pronounced “ruby”) features orange flower, but thick and laced with something that hints at a naughty interlude spent in the tent sometime before the wedding bonfire. The daring among you might want to sample Vero Profumo Onda for the honeymoon. [Read full reviews of Rubj and Onda]
Aftelier Sepia: Mandy Aftel, based in Berkeley, makes all of her fragrances from natural materials. She doesn’t chase market share but relies on the originality of her compositions to draw true fans. Sepia was based on her memory of a ghost town—old wood, the desert, an almost sweet and evocative decay. [Read a full review of Sepia]
Guerlain Jicky: Here’s one for both you and your honey. Jicky is bright with lavender, warm with amber, and intriguingly fetid with civet. Remember artist Francis Bacon’s quote, “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness”? That’s Jicky. [Read a full review of Jicky]
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Be sure to come back next Wednesday to read Angela’s scent suggestions for a classic Vegas chapel wedding!
Angela Sanders has been writing for the popular perfume blog Now Smell This since 2006. The Lanvin Murders, her mystery novel featuring a vintage clothing store owner, will debut in June 2014.
The Golden Girls of Camuto: clockwise from left 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
I don’t normally post giveaways on my site (saving most wedding contests and freebies for Little Vegas Wedding’s sister site, Wedding Day Giveaways, you should follow it!) but I love Vince Camuto shoes, and thought some of you might like to know about their Pair Made in Heaven contest!
Vince Camuto has partnered with The Knot to give away a pair of shoes for the bride, their bridesmaids or groomsmen, issues of The Knot magazine and a bottle of Vince Camuto’s “Femme” fragrance.
To qualify, click the image above or here and follow Vince Camuto on Pinterest and re-pin any images from the Vince Camuto and The Knot page to your own Pinterest board. The lucky winner will be selected at random. Contest closes April 21 2014. Open to residents of the United States, full rules here.
Every Monday this year we are highlighting a unique Vegas wedding venue in the Ultimate Vegas Wedding Guide! You’ll find today’s hidden gem at a garden center named Cactus Joe’s, en route to Red Rock Canyon in south Las Vegas.
Cactus Joe’s Blue Diamond Nursery + Wedding Chapel
12740 Blue Diamond Road, Las Vegas | 702.875.1968
Capacity: Up to 14 in the chapel, more for receptions | Indoor + Outdoor Sites Available | Hosts: Ceremonies + Receptions
Find Cactus Joe’s on Facebook
Just the Deets
Cactus Joe’s is a garden center and nursery, but it’s a unique one. Set on 7.5 acres of desert gardens selling large cacti, rocks, pottery and garden furniture and art is a very rustic wedding chapel. The venue is overlooking the mountains further south of Las Vegas in Blue Diamond, and is a very whimsical and eclectic venue with a southwestern theme. And don’t forget all the animals (mostly rescue cats and dogs) running around the grounds.
The chapel is something out of the Old West, and is a very adorable (read: tiny) chapel made out of wood. The chapel holds just 14 guests, but the grounds could host a reception of many more people.
The woman who toured me around the grounds told a very charming story about “Lindsay Low-ham”, the resident pig at Cactus Joe’s, who made a guest appearance at a wedding in the chapel one time. She thought it was fortunate the German couple getting hitched there thought it was good luck. I thought it was completely charming and memorable!
This location is very near to Red Rock Canyon and would make for some fantastic photo opportunities before or after the wedding. Of course there are also some fabulous photo spots in the nursery — 7.5 acres with over 2,000 plants including some amazingly huge cacti make sure of that.
I’ve held off on publishing this venue because unfortunately it’s been hard to get answers to some questions about the property. The contacts I was given for people who officiate weddings at Cactus Joe’s did not seem to garner any response to my questions for ceremony pricing. Your best bet is to call Cactus Joe’s directly if you have your heart set on this venue.
Double check their hours of operation. In the summers, they sometimes close down mid-week.
You will also need to arrange for your own catering and rentals if you would like to host a reception here. A wedding planner is advised.
Searching for the perfect venue for your Las Vegas wedding? Be sure to check out the other posts in the Ultimate Vegas Wedding Venue series, or peruse the Vegas Wedding Venue Directory!
Photos: Little Vegas Wedding
Sometimes I’m not sure how I get so lucky, getting to feature the most creative, amazing couples who bring in so many personal details and DIY elements into their weddings. Laren and Sam’s wedding on a bright, sunny day at Las Vegas’s Gilcrease Orchard, photographed by Dennis Dayrit, is no exception.
Be wowed again and again by the bright pops of apple red, the gorgeous setting and the emotional moments at this rustic orchard wedding! Almost every detail of their wedding was handmade by themselves or by loved ones. As Laren, the bride, wrote: “It’s like that saying, it takes a village to raise a child, well it took a village to plan this wedding. We had so much help from our friends and family. People came out to help set up, cook, clean, prep, and design. I have the best friends and family.” If you want to see more of Laren’s creativity, be sure to check out her blog, The Little Lion Girl!
Gilcrease Orchard was an amazing setting for the ceremony and a Godsend. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding but we were having a lot of trouble finding a venue. I had thought that I could use a picnic site from a camping venue only to find out that it wouldn’t be possible only a month before the wedding. That was my mini-wedding meltdown. I think everyone has one. So we emailed a few places, the lodge at Mt. Charleston, Springs Preserve, The Farm, and Floyd Lamb Park to name a few. We knew right away that Gilcrease was it.
Mark, the director, gave us a tour and when he walked us down that aisle through the apple trees it was like magic. We somehow found this little piece of heaven a few miles from home. Everything happens for a reason I suppose.
My mother passed away almost six years ago and before she died we talked about if I ever got married and how we would style it. She was an artist, which is where I got my Photoshop skills from, and told me that if I ever got married it needed to be really unique. She advised that I have no flowers and just do something out of the ordinary but fun. So when I was planning my wedding I kept thinking back to that.
Instead of flowers, and my bridesmaids and I carried umbrellas. Tablescapes had handpainted and dyed bottles and vintage tins from my mother-in-law’s home, filled with an assortment of different plants and feathers. We covered the tables in butcher paper and put pencils everywhere so people would draw on them.
I made my own dress and it cost less than $150, with a red striped belt that was a ribbon from Jo-anns. I designed all the invitations on Photoshop, printed them out on card stock and hand addressed them myself. The music was also all done by me just using good old iTunes and different playlists.
My husband and I built the wedding arch and wrapped it with twigs from a tree that had fallen down in a storm in my in-laws backyard. We also built the keg stand/bar with the help of my father-in-law. All of the candles and soy melt favors came from my dad and stepmom’s candle company, Collective Scents.
All the food was of course homemade. My amazing aunt cooked tons of chili a few nights before and we reheated it in big pots on portable burners. My sweet mother-in-law baked cornbread and after our disaster with the desserts threw together some batches of cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries and even had one of her friends make some cakes in jars, which got rave reviews.
The drinking jars were all ordered online and covered with chalkboard heart stickers that I cut out myself and the plates were all old pie tins that we collected over a year and a half with the help of friends. My in-laws built the photo booth area with the vintage doors and supplied all the dress-up items for the photos from their antique booth at Charleston Antique Mall. When our guests showed up they took photos with an Instamax and that turned into our guestbook. The day was such a success and my friends and family still talk about how much fun it was. I’ve even had requests for a repeat night!
I have so many amazing memories that its hard to pick just one. My 3-year-old niece who was my flower girl calling me a princess. Our groomsman Joe pulling out a unicorn mask and taking shots through it. One of my best friends surprising us with a floating candle ceremony where we lit candles for each other and the people we love and placed them in the pool. Being surprised with our cake. The funny butt picture of all the guys.
Two nights before the wedding my best friend, her fiancé, and brother all came over to help make desserts. It was a nightmare. The only dessert that survived to the wedding was the candied apples. We even tried to put together a cake and it was so poorly done that it ended up falling over. I laughed to tears. Some things are just better saved for the professionals. In the end her mom and dad, who are very much like my own parents surprised us with an adorable two layer cake from Albertsons that looked like a much better version of the cake that fell over. We topped it with a paper cut-out cake topper that was an homage to the haunted mansion. I had to have Disney thrown in my wedding somewhere.
But I think my all time favorite memory was the way my husband had to stop and take a moment just to cry as he was saying his vows, it was the most touching and overwhelming thing I’ve ever been a part of. I hope that everyone gets a chance to feel that loved. This was definitely a wedding put together with love.
Angie Kelly of Peachy Keen Unions was our officiant and she was such a pleasure to work with. She was quick to respond, showed up on time and helped pull everything together and she delivered such a beautiful ceremony. I would recommend her to anyone looking for an officiant. And I can’t forget my photographer! The amazing Dennis Dayrit. His pictures were exactly what we were looking for, and his prices were insane. This guy can’t be beat.
Laren + Sam’s Budget and Guestlist
We were on a very strict budget. We were expecting around 200 people and had to stay under $10,000 for everything including the honeymoon, but I wasn’t willing to compromise on what I wanted for price so I made almost everything by hand.
Vendor and Venue Details:
Photographer: Dennis Dayrit Photography // Ceremony + Reception Venue: Gilcrease Orchard, Las Vegas // Wedding Dress: DIY by the Bride // Hair: Friend of the Bride // Makeup: By the Bride // Catering: Homemade, Alcohol from Costco, Total Wine & More // Cake: Albertsons // Celebrant: Angie Kelly of Peachy Keen Unions // Stationery: Designed by the Bride // Chair and Table Rentals: RSVP Party Rentals // Vintage Furniture: Charleston Antique Mall // Portapotties: All American Waste Services // Candles: Collective Scents // Umbrellas: eBay // Suspenders: eBay