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
Destination DIY weddings make my heart go pitter-patter, so it just about exploded when Gaby J Photography contacted me about Scott and Sarah’s Vegas wedding. Just 16 guests were invited to the couple’s incredibly stylish and personal in-suite ceremony and restaurant reception, where much of the design and ideas were conceived and created by them.
Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, the thoughtful details Sarah and Scott included in their intimate wedding are astounding, including Sarah’s vintage-inspired Sue Wong gown, a choreographed dance routine and an amazing art deco cake. Even the venues were thoughtfully chosen with the theme in mind. The vintage dining style of The Barrymore and The Laundry Room, a private speakeasy bar inside Commonwealth, kept the Gatsby-esque wedding going well into the night.
Why Sarah and Scott chose Las Vegas
We had an intimate wedding and we really wanted to pick a location that was easy to get to from all over the US and could act as our wedding venue! Vegas was perfect because it allowed Vegas to be the venue and us to hop around town. We felt less responsible for making sure everyone was entertained because… it’s Vegas!
Why they chose “The Great Gatsby” for their theme
We felt a Vegas wedding was the perfect excuse for a theme. I am a librarian and Scott and I always felt very fascinated by the roaring 20s and art deco design. “The Great Gatsby” is a book on decadence and lavishness, not the most romantic book actually, but one of our favorite novels. Plus, if there is one time to be lavish, isn’t it your wedding? We felt like celebrating literature and our love, plus everyone looks so great in 1920s clothes!! Scott really wanted all the men in bow-ties.
The Ceremony – Venetian Prima Suite
The ceremony set up in the Venetian Suite was one of the scarier aspects of our wedding! The Venetian doesn’t “allow” weddings in the suites and we had to be a little sneaky about it. Our family drove all of the flowers and decorations in a van and our guests helped us move everything to our room without having the help of bellboys. We were worried our cover would be blown if the maid service or bellboys saw the room decorated.
The Venetian Prima Suite was huge and we booked the room for the day before the wedding and the wedding day. We spent a few hours early the day before the wedding moving the furniture into the bedroom we didn’t need for the ceremony. It took some time rearranging before we checked out, but it was surprisingly easy.
The room had enough seating for all of our 16 guests! We didn’t need to rent or borrow anything. Even the altar was a console table in the room. It all turned out perfectly. I made the aisle runner so it would look more like a wedding than a hotel suite.
We had a Jewish ceremony and two of our friends read poems “I carry your heart with me” by E.E. Cummings and “Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou. Our cousin Michael played “Canon in D” on the guitar while I walked down the aisle. Afterwards we toasted with champagne! Very Gatsby. It was a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. Having it in our hotel suite made the space feel very sacred because it was also our room for our wedding night.
Our wedding dance! We went to secret private dance lessons (with choreographer Gigi Burton) and did a two song routine with rumba, swing, and the lindy hop. We found the perfect spot in the Venetian and just busted it out. Only a few people knew and we just blew everyone away. It was such an amazing feeling and a relief when it was over – we were so worried we would mess up and fall because we were in our wedding clothes for the first time!
The Reception – The Barrymore and The Laundry Room|
Let me tell you, I contacted about 50 places but my mom found The Barrymore. We wanted somewhere classic, vintage, and intimate: The Barrymore was just right. They only have room for 50 people at a time and had amazing prices on pri-fixe menus. The pictures looked amazing online and we just trusted their event coordinator Heather with all of the details. The cake was AMAZING and the food beyond delicious. We are so happy we chose them.
Afterwards, we reserved the private speakeasy inside Commonwealth called The Laundry Room for two hours of open bar. All of the drinks were 1920s inspired and they allowed us to play music on the sound system that Scott and his best man Chris had curated. After our stay there was over we just wandered down to the Fremont Experience dancing and taking pictures. This is what Vegas is about.
Scott and Sarah’s #1 tip for other couples planning a Las Vegas wedding
Research! Go with your gut and if you have a bad vibe at all with a place or vendor, listen to it. There are so many options in Vegas it can be overwhelming. We wanted to make it our wedding and used different vendors rather than one for the ceremony, dinner, and drinking. Let the city be the venue and have FUN!
Vendor and Venue Details:
Photographer: Gaby J Photography / Ceremony Venue: Venetian, Prima Suite / Reception Venue: The Barrymore / Cocktail Party: The Laundry Room, inside Commonwealth / Wedding Dress: Sue Wong / Hair + Makeup: Makeup in the 702 / Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani / Groom’s Suit + Menswear: Vera Wang for Men’s Wearhouse / Cake: The Barrymore / Celebrant: Rabbi Mel Hecht / Dance Choreographer: Gigi Burton / Bouquet: LaPlumeEthere / Ketubah: Doodlage / Wedding Favors: Copies of “The Great Gatsby” by Penguin House / Ornaments: Mama Made Them
Photo: Barbara Kraft/Wynn Las Vegas
Many of you are hoping to hold your smaller, more intimate wedding in a Vegas hotel suite. And why not? It’s one of the most appealing options about wedding in the city. It can be casual, easy to do, relatively inexpensive and private. You also have a lot of control over the event – you set your own timeline, decorate how you like and hire the vendors you prefer to work with.
However, although many of the fancy hotel suites on the Vegas Strip are fashionably decorated and come equipped with great views, they aren’t necessarily wedding ready. So, what are some things you can do to incorporate a little more of a “wedding” or celebratory feel into your simple suite wedding?
I’ve teamed up with a guru of in-suite wedding ceremonies, officiant Angie Kelly of Peachy Keen Unions, to give you some tips on planning an in-suite wedding ceremony. Angie oversees hundreds of wedding ceremonies in hotel rooms across Las Vegas every year, and often helps her brides and grooms get their wedding suite into tip top shape before the nuptials. She has a lot of great tips and insight into what works for wedding decor in an in-suite wedding … and what doesn’t!
Read on to get Angie’s advice when it comes to in-suite weddings!
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Now and then I’m granted a peek beyond the pretty into the very personal side of weddings, and I feel so privileged to do so. Today the opportunity pops up again, with Tara and Austin’s private destination elopement photographed by Taylored Photo Memories.
This very intimate ceremony consisted of a handfasting that took place in a Loft Suite overlooking at Monte Carlo’s boutique HOTEL32. Officiating this Pagan handfasting was Brenda Mastriano, also known as Lady Elzbet Whitefire.
…See more of this intimate handfasting!
Photos by Taylored Photo Memories
Marcus and LeAnn, wed outdoors on the patio of a Skyline Terrace Suite at MGM Grand and photographed by Taylored Photo Memories, came from Oregon for their destination Las Vegas wedding!
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