If you are on the fence about marrying in the desert near Las Vegas at any of the spectacular natural venues available (ie., Red Rock Canyon, Grand Canyon and so on) today’s wedding will push you over the edge, solidly into the “We have to do that NOW” camp.
A few months back, Cactus and Lace Weddings approached me to help promote a contest they were running for a couple get married at a styled wedding at the Valley of Fire. Dozens of you entered, but ultimately Canadians Dawn and Scott won the package. The pair flew down with their daughter and other loved ones for their intimate November elopement and cake and champagne reception surrounded by a gorgeous desert setting.
From the palette drawn from Mother Nature to the succulent-adorned floral designs and the vintage wood furniture paired with touches of lace, your heart will be racing and you will be feeling the lovvvve in this little family. Longing for your own stylish wedding set in the heart of an amazing natural area? Read more about desert weddings here or check out the packages Cactus and Lace Weddings now offer. A stylish desert elopement … with none of the stress.
WHY LAS VEGAS?
Scott and I met five years ago. He is in sales and I am a firefighter in Toronto. We have a small daughter together. We both have a love for Las Vegas and try to go at least once or twice a year. During our first trip there together, we rented a car and drove out to the Grand Canyon, but in the back of my mind I thought to myself “How cool would it be to get married/elope out here in the desert?”
When I saw the contest listed on Little Vegas Wedding, I just had to enter it but I never thought a girl from Canada would win. I was so surprised and shocked when I heard from the girls at Cactus & Lace that I had actually won!
THE CEREMONY + RECEPTION
I can’t say enough about how amazing the entire experience was. I had a Skype conversation and many emails back and forth with Cactus & Lace but never in my wildest dreams would have ever imagined the experience would be as perfect as it was. When we pulled up to the ceremony site my eyes welled up. Everything was absolutely perfect.
The girls at Cactus & Lace listened to everything I said and as a result totally nailed my vision and my taste. The ceremony was just as we both wanted it to be: personal, non-denominational and quick :)
The photos are breathtaking and I have three new friends who helped to create one of THE most memorable days of my life.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Cactus and Lace Weddings
CEREMONY + RECEPTION VENUE . Valley of Fire
OFFICIANT . Pastor Jason Ham / WEDDING STYLING . Cactus and Lace Weddings / FLORAL . The Front Porch Flowers & Gifts / CAKE . Gimme Some Sugar / HAIR + MAKEUP . Brandy Norris Hair / TRANSPORTATION . Presidential Limousine / RENTALS . Cactus and Lace Weddings
Two tickets to paradise? Well, almost. You have to pay your own way to get to Las Vegas, but once you are there, Flora Pop Weddings and gaby j photography promise to take good care of you and get you hitched in a wedding contest they are hosting.
Enter to win a super stylish elopement package — the contest ends tonight, in just a few hours. It’s as easy as heading here for the details, and sending an email, so get on it!
Photos: gaby j photography
Josh and Stephanie chose the perfect venue for their modern, yet traditional wedding: Canyon Gate Country Club! The sweeping views and gorgeous ground were the perfect complement to their purple-hued wedding day, a one-stop destination venue for them and their guests. Romantic candles and roses, purple uplighting and a beautiful view from the ballroom completed this gorgeous day. I love that the couple chose to have breakfast together the morning of the wedding, too. A lovely moment of calm in what was sure to be a busy day!
If you want to learn more about this venue, be sure to read the Ultimate LVW Venue Guide post, including posts of more real weddings there!
WHY LAS VEGAS?
We have family all over the US, we knew that there would be a lot of people flying in and we felt it would be cool to have them fly into someplace cool, instead of Los Angeles or Orange County. We looked at many different venues, we knew we didn’t want anything on the strip or in a hotel partly due to the cost and partly because we really wanted something mellow and romantic. Kristen and Canyon Gate really gave a great impression during our initial meeting, after going there we both knew that it was going to be our venue.
Both Josh and I are business owners, we knew we wouldn’t have endless hours to plan, so the fact that Canyon Gate handled the menu and had easy to navigate bar packages and vendor references was really helpful.
THE CEREMONY — Patio, Canyon Gate Country Club
We kept the ceremony short and sweet — it began at 5:30 ended just before sunset. We then had an hour long cocktail hour before our reception. Canyon Gate let us pick the location out of two available gazebos, as well as the colors we wanted the seats and overhang to be. We tried to save on flowers so the only ceremony decor we had that Canyon Gate did not supply was the flower petals on the ground and the lanterns placed at the end of the aisles.
THE RECEPTION — Ballroom, Canyon Gate Country Club
The reception was important to us, we are very close to our family and wanted them to have a great time! We paid for an open bar and went with the buffet style dinner so guests wouldn’t be restricted to their tables and could walk around and socialize. Josh and I also went with a sweet heart table so we wouldn’t separate any of our bridal party from their spouses and so we could have a little bit of alone time. Canyon Gate gave us choices of table linen, seat covers, plates and silverware. Up lighting was from VOX DJ’s.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR
My mother and sister deserve all of the credit for the majority of the decorations. I am lucky to have them! The centerpieces, table numbers, sweetheart table details and the favors was all them. Candles were the recurring theme I went for.
My favorite moment of the day was having breakfast with Josh the morning before, it was nice to have a quiet moment with him before all the crazy started. Our first look was also lots of fun! The most challenging was wrangling the family and wedding party for photos!
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM JOSH + STEPHANIE
Enjoy it! How many other wedding venues also happen to be the fun capitol of the world? Josh and I made sure to make a weekend out of it when we went on the venue search and the tasting, we also stayed for a week as our honeymoon.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
The total guest count ended up being about 92, the grand total including vendors and some of our wedding party accommodations was about $22,000.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Sun & Sparrow (Associate Photographer)
CEREMONY VENUE . Patio at Canyon Gate Country Club
RECEPTION VENUE . Ballroom at Canyon Gate Country Club
FLORAL . Enchanted Florist / CATERING . / CAKE . Cravin Cake Bakery / STYLING . Rouge Skin / HAIR . Extensions and color by Beto Zamora / MAKEUP . Makeup by Kelly Williams, Kelly Wi / GROOMSWEAR . Men’s Warehouse / ENTERTAINMENT . DJ Henry Jones from VOX DJs / LIGHTING . VOX DJs / PHOTOBOOTH . Shutterbooth
Flappers, finger waves and feathers set the scene for Randy and Brianna’s Roaring 20s themed wedding. The ceremony was in the gorgeous gardens of JW Marriott, and everyone moved over to LDS Hall for the reception which went all out on the vintage theme. It was fab to see all the guests in their Gatsby-inspired best, and the details and decor are just amazing for this themed wedding in Las Vegas.
THE CEREMONY — JW Marriott Las Vegas Lodge at the Lawn
The ceremony was outside on the grass area at JW Marriott. We had white chairs and white carpet down the aisle. The carpet had burgundy rose petals. Although the ceremony was very simple, the surroundings and landscaping were beautiful.
THE RECEPTION — LDS Reception Hall
The reception is where the 1920’s theme came together. We had white chiffon drapes with white lights hanging from the ceiling. Rod iron columns were along the perimeter of the gym. We had feathers, roses, and candles as the centerpiece for each table. The DJ played 1920s music during dinner, which really set the mood. The reception was beautiful!
A stand out moment was having our 1920’s style wedding come together! The bridal party looked amazing. The reception was beautiful. Our guests even dressed up, which was a lot of fun.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We had close to 200 guests at our wedding and the budget came in around $11,000.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . JOA Photography
CEREMONY VENUE . JW Marriott Las Vegas Lodge at the Lawn
RECEPTION VENUE . LDS Church Event Hall
OFFICIANT . Family Friend / FLORAL . I Do Flowers For You / CATERING . Family Friend / CAKE . It’s a Piece of Cake / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – David’s Bridal / HAIR . Ashley Perkins / MAKEUP . Kim Katunis of Square Salon / GROOMSWEAR . Men’s Wearhouse / TRANSPORTATION . AWG Ambassador / FURNITURE, LINEN + PROP RENTALS . A Special Occasion / CHINA + GLASSWARE . Current Events / STATIONERY + PAPER GOODS . David’s Bridal / ENTERTAINMENT . Neon Desert DJ Services / VIDEOGRAPHY . JOA Photography
Today’s sassy couple is the first real wedding post of 2015, and it’s such a great one. For starters, it’s an in-suite wedding, held in a super-sized V Suite at the former THEHotel (which changed into Delano in September 2014).
Also Jessica, the bride, wore an incredible Victorian-style corseted gown with a victory roll hairstyle. Since both she and her husband are gamers, so there was a Portal and Mass Effect themed wedding cake and an amazing space-themed shirt for the groom, Michael. Their military wedding followed by cake and Champagne reception were casual and intimate, and brought all the best elements of family and love together.
WHY LAS VEGAS?
I was a Las Vegas local for nine years before I got married, and a lot of the dates that my groom and I went on happened while I was still living in Vegas. His grandparents live there as well, so it made it convenient for him to stop by and visit me (we had a long distance relationship). The location was convenient and definitely fit into our budget. Plus the city itself just has so much to offer in terms of venues, so why not get married in one of the wonderful resorts? We chose to get married at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay before it got replaced by the Delano. It was absolutely beautiful; the contemporary styling fit in with what we wanted in an in-suite wedding!
When Michael and I planned our wedding, we knew we wanted it to be something about us and let people know who we are. In fact, Offbeat Bride inspired me to go all out for my wedding and to know that it’s okay to go against the grain! Besides, Michael and I were not much for the Wedding Industrial Complex in the first place.
THE CEREMONY — V Suite at THEhotel (now Delano)
I didn’t want to be walked down the aisle by my dad as there really wasn’t an aisle in our venue (which was held inside our hotel suite), yet my mother-in-law highly recommended that I do so anyway and that a makeshift aisle was fine. I’m glad that I went with her suggestion, as the conversation that my dad and I had before my procession helped me to bond with him and cope for the rest of the evening.
My family is Filipino, although I did not have my wedding inside a huge Catholic cathedral. So I couldn’t include many of the things that were typical of a traditional, Filipino wedding. However, both of Michael’s family and mine are born-again Christians, so we opted to do a unity candle-lighting ceremony instead. It brought together both families and was a nice blending of the cultures.
THE RECEPTION – V Suite at THEhotel (now Delano)
Initially, we did want a big wedding but to due time constraints, we had to improvise a lot. We were originally going to plan for a courthouse marriage first then a big fat ceremony later (as many military couples do), but even that wasn’t doable with only 3 months of planning available. Due to the entire nature of the military as well as the downside of everyone not living in the same area, only immediate family and close local friends were invited. The wedding was small, yet we managed to pull through and create the wedding of our dreams with just 18 guests! Michael’s mother helped to create our dream day a much more intimate one by providing most of the decorations, as well as cake and champagne.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR
I was able to make my own bouquet! I used left over origami paper and other craft things I’ve saved up for years in order to make it. Everyone at the ceremony loved the way it looked and were amazed that I was capable of making my own bouquet (as opposed to just buying some fresh flowers). It made me feel good to know that the hard work I put into it payed off–even my Maid of Honor wanted one for her future wedding!
We wanted a wedding that showed off our personalities and shared interests: we both liked video games, so we included some of that in our ceremony. The Portal and Mass Effect games are significant to us because my groom and I first met when Portal 2 just came out, and he was the one who introduced me to the Mass Effect games. I also liked all things vintage and romantic, and my groom didn’t mind as well — so long as I wore a corset. ;) This worked out well for the both of us since I was able to wear a Victorian Steampunk-inspired, burlesque dress that was modified to go with my wedding theme. The wedding dress was a nice, wine red color instead of the typical white since I wanted to put at least a little bit of practicality to it. That way, I can re-use my dress for other occasions (such as Renaissance Festival or military dining-outs) instead of wasting money by wearing it only once and trashing it.
The most meaningful parts of my wedding were the ones I expected to have so much impact. I mean sure, everyone expects to have the bride and groom kiss to have the most impact — which is true for me. But there were so many other moments that had the same amount of impact, too. During my ‘getting ready’ session with my wedding photographer, my Maid of Honor wasn’t able to make it to my hotel suite on time to help me get dressed into my gown. I was a bit of a loss in what to do for my ‘getting ready’ shoot, as I did not want to further delay plans. Instead, I improvised by just having my groom help me out while our photographer took pictures of us in those moments. Just the whole session was quite intimate, and it helped me to be closer to my groom that day. The pictures that came from him helping me in my gown and undergarments were some of the best, too!
We didn’t have a rehearsal since we figured that it wasn’t needed for a small wedding, so everyone just winged it. However, that didn’t mean that we were free from slip- ups! Michael messed up some of the words when he recited the vows after our pastor, which initiated some chuckles and giggles from me and the guests. But it was all in good spirit; we all learned to laugh along and just roll with it. I also did not expect my groom to have a shirt with funny-looking sleeves underneath his Air Force mess dress! Everything thought that he was just wearing the standard white shirt, so him taking off his coat to reveal that was definitely a hilarious surprise.
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM JESSICA AND MICHAEL
There was also a bit of tension with my own mother that comes along with wedding planning to the point of having me go into bridezilla mode. When it comes to planning a wedding where the families are from different cultural backgrounds, it can be a headache to plan. I almost wanted to just quit and elope instead, so that I didn’t have to worry about it all. Who knew that even small weddings were stressful to plan? Yet at the end of the day, it all worked out alright. All I just hoped was for my mother to understand that this is my wedding, and that it is okay for me to shape it into my own image.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Gin and Sake Productions, member of the LVW photography directory
CEREMONY + RECEPTION VENUE . V Suite at THEHotel
DAY-AFTER SHOOT VENUE . The Smith Center
CAKE . Manan Bakery / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Glamtasik, shoes – Chinese Laundry, jewelry – Kohl’s, accessories – / HAIR + MAKEUP . Shag Me Salon / BRIDESMAID . Alfred Angelo / CUSTOM CAKE TOPPERS . WTFcharms