Lately I’ve been hearing some rumblings that perhaps Calico Basin and Red Rock Canyon aren’t as accessible to weddings as they once were, due to some recent changes to the permit system.
However, there is no denying the place is gorgeous. Incredible rock formations, beautiful colors and a special intimacy that can only come from getting married in the natural beauty of the desert. Kelsey and Adam chose to marry (after getting engaged) there before joining friends and family at a festive reception after. Sounds perfect for this down-to-earth couple who also chose to support artisans where ever they could in their wedding day.
THE CEREMONY — Calico Basin at Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is our favorite spot in Las Vegas. We wanted an outdoor wedding and Red Rock is such a beautiful location it was the obvious choice. It was the location Adam proposed to me as well, so it holds a lot of memories for us. We also wanted the reception festivities to stay within the Summerlin area, so Red Rock made an easy venue to get between the different locations for the wedding festivities.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR
(We were going for) simple, natural, and as DIY as possible. We wanted to keep it small and intimate with a personal touch. We wanted our actual wedding ceremony private to keep it as intimate as possible, but we opened up our reception to close friends and family. We kept it simple by holding the reception party at Adam’s parent’s house. We had an open bar so people could make their own drinks as they pleased, and the majority of the food was homemade. All decorations were either handmade or purchased through Etsy to support independent artists. We had a succulent/desert theme which we incorporated through our colors (greens and purples with highlights of gold and silver) and flowers (succulent centerpieces and succulent bouquet and boutonniere). We made our own wedding invitations, centerpieces and signs.
My favorite part of the planning process was just being able to enjoy the reward of all of our hard work at the great reception party we had. While we kept our wedding simple there was still a lot of planning involved. It was nice to be able to enjoy all of the work everyone had put in to make our day so special. Another part I enjoyed was being able to support independent artists. Etsy was a great resource and I feel like a lot of our wedding items were truly unique and original.
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM
Make a lot of lists! The only thing that kept me organized was making lists. It felt satisfying being able to mark stuff off as we went along. At the end of everything there was only one or two things that I had forgotten, but they were minor and not really significant. If I had not used lists to keep myself organized a lot more would have been forgotten! Another good thing to remember is that everything will still be okay even if something is missed or goes wrong. There’s always something that’s going to go wrong but it’s such a big day and you are surrounded by such loving and supportive people that no one would really care if you forgot to put out a certain favor or sign, etc. No one knows the difference and they’re most likely having a good time anyway!
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . City Wedding Tours
CEREMONY VENUE . Calico Basin at Red Rock Canyon
RECEPTION VENUE . Private home
OFFICIANT . Norma with City Wedding Tours / WEDDING PLANNER . City Wedding Tours / FLORAL . Succulently Urban / CAKE . Nothing Bundt Cakes / BRIDAL FASHION . Adrianna Papell
Shai and Kali both live and work in Las Vegas, and elected not only to have a very Vegas wedding … they had four days of Vegas wedding! After all, if you’re inviting friends and family from all over the world, best to be a good host, right? Their wedding itself took place in Tropicana’s chic Havana Room, which was a nightclub at one time but is now just for private events. Not surprisingly their wedding was full of music, very appropriate for the venue. Love all the moments and personal stories Kali shared from her wedding in this post.
WHY LAS VEGAS?
We picked our date solely because it was on a three-day weekend, so people could stay longer and enjoy time in this fantastic city. We had a dinner and table service for about 40 people on Thursday; a rehearsal dinner and hotel suite party on Friday; a fantastic wedding Saturday; and a private room with a bar and brunch for football Sunday.
Anytime someone asked me where we were getting married, I would say Las Vegas followed immediately by, “…but not like a Vegas wedding, we’re not getting married by Elvis!” In our own way, though, it was a very Vegas wedding. After all, we rented a venue on the Strip that used to be a nightclub! The Havana Room at the Tropicana is now used for private events and the moment we stepped into it and saw the incredible chandelier at the center we were sold. My husband, Shai, was born in Jerusalem and so while I am not Jewish, having a Jewish wedding was a no brainer for us.
THE CEREMONY – The Havana Room at Tropicana
While the venue was modern and glamorous, we had many personal and DIY touches, starting with my dress. I had three dresses for the evening, my ceremony gown, my mid-reception dress and my post-reception dress. We wanted to do a first look but I didn’t want Shai to see me in “my” dress before the ceremony so I wore my mid-reception dress … which just happens to have been my grandmother’s wedding dress from 63 years ago. My grandparents were too frail to travel to Vegas for the wedding so I had her dress altered ever so slightly (only change was to fit my bust) and it came out more incredibly than I could have ever imagined. All of our grandparents were/have been married for over 50 years and so they have been such strong examples of love and marriage for us.
Our ceremony was a sweet 20 minute Jewish ceremony. The ceremony was probably my favorite because it was so us. I loved looking around at all of our guests!
THE RECEPTION — The Havana Room at Tropicana
For our first dance, we had a choreographed routine to “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles. While it was always my husband who messed up when we practiced, it was me who almost messed up at the wedding and he saved us. There is one picture of us dancing when I am laughing that was from this moment. Everyone kept coming up to us saying how much they loved it. For the father-daughter dance we started with “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath; a song I grew up singing with my father, before fading into “Daughters” by John Mayer.
I had a garter with a mini flask on it so Shai took off the garter and took the shot! Then, as we are both in the Air Force, my groom and all of his groomsmen serenaded me with “Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” straight out of Top Gun.
With family flown in from Israel we did some Israeli fold dances as well as the hora, when they lift us up in chairs — that was such a blast! The rest of the night was spent dancing nonstop. We put the lighting and sound systems to good use.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR
All of the signs were chalkboards that I wrote and some that I even painted. I also handpainted all of the candle holders throughout the venue (over 50) as well as painting all of the bottle and putting together all of the centerpieces. I also made all of the bouquets and boutonnieres. We had custom kippot (yalmukes) with our names and wedding date for the guests to wear if they wanted and to keep. I didn’t want a white aisle so instead I had a purple one with gold and purple petals, leading up to our beautiful chuppah dripping in crystals to flow with the chandeliers throughout the venue. In addition to wearing my grandmothers dress we had pictures of all of our grandparents framed on our card table. It was our way of having them with us.
My husband had a videographer for our engagement and so before the ceremony started, the projection screen came down and played our video. It was kind of like bringing everything full circle. When everyone else was out, my dad and I had a moment just to ourselves that was really special. I had him take a selfie so we could remember it. I think it really helped calm him. When we finally started walking the aisle (to “Hold On” by Michael Buble) I may have been the only one not crying! I was just so excited I could not stop smiling!
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM SHAI AND KALI
Our advice for couples looking for a wedding in Vegas would be to really take the time to look at all the venues. There is probably no where else in the country where you can find so many venues in such a concentrated area that range in every possible aspect. I had a binder of all the places I inquired with. From there we picked our top seven venues to visit, then we picked the one that fit us the best.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We had about 120 guests and our budget was about $40,000.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . gaby j photography member of the LVW photography directory
CEREMONY + RECEPTION VENUE . Havana Room at Tropicana
CAKE . Layers Bakery / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Casablanca from Patricia’s Boutique, vintage; shoes – Christian Louboutin / HAIR . Hallee Chenowyth at Haute Fringe Salon + Spa / MAKEUP . Kim Katuniss at Square Salon / BRIDESMAIDS . New York and Company / GROOMSWEAR . Express / VIDEOGRAPHY . George Street Photo
Opting for an autumn wedding, Danielle and Joey went chic with a country club reception venue. Danielle happens to be a wedding planner at one of the large Strip hotels, so no detail was overlooked. A pink and Champagne color palette kept the theme feminine, especially since it was paired with romantic roses and rhinestones all over. So pretty!
A Catholic ceremony transitioned into bridal portraits at some downtown Vegas landmarks before getting the night going at DragonRidge Country Club. Danielle and Joey’s wedding incorporated personal loves, cultural and religious history and, most importantly: friends and family. (Not to mention a few fun Batman details. How many can you see?)
THE CEREMONY — Joseph, Husband of Mary Catholic Church
The ceremony was very emotional and deep for us. With our shared Catholic faith, having it in the church was very important to us both. It was filled with tradition and was the focal point of our day.
THE RECEPTION — DragonRidge Country Club
Our reception was a blend of both of our cultures. Keeping with Joey’s Chaldean roots, and still having modern traditions as well. We wanted the reception to be elegant and beautiful, yet FUN! We both wanted something elegant, yet grandiose for the reception. DragonRidge was the only venue we saw that we both fell in love with instantaneously.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR
The floral was made by my aunt, who is also a floral designer at Mandalay Bay. It was very special to me knowing that she made all of the floral that was carried down the aisle, as well as on the tables. My veil was also handmade from Etsy, along with my handkerchief, which was a gift from my bridesmaids.
Our friends and family. As beautiful as everything was, it would’ve been nothing without them to celebrate with us!
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM JOEY AND DANIELLE
Don’t get caught up in the whirlwind of what a wedding “should be” or any drama that ensues. Enjoy every moment and focus on your partner and the love you have for each other…that’s what it’s really all about!
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Fabio & Adri members of the LVW photography directory
CEREMONY VENUE . St. Joseph, Husband of Mary Catholic Church
RECEPTION VENUE . DragonRidge Country Club
WEDDING PLANNER . Bride + bridesmaids / FLORAL . Mandalay Bay / CATERING . DragonRidge Country Club / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Eve of Milady, veil – Etsy / HAIR + MAKEUP . Kristin Kowal / ENTERTAINMENT . Knight Sounds / VIDEOGRAPHY . Jeremy Helal
One of my favourite Vegas events (that I have yet to attend) is the annual Wedding and Portrait Photographers International conference. Known as WPPI, this event hosts thousands of photographers in Las Vegas every spring. Many photographers attend learning sessions, pay to access models and styled shoot set ups to try new thing and add to their portfolio and network. Naturally a time of renewal, this spring conference is great for amazingly imaginative styled shoots and inspiration, too, much of which I get to share with you, dear readers!
We’ll kick things off with a simple elopement-style shoot that showcases the natural simplicity of desert scenery and a couple’s intimacy. Rustic detailing, a vintage wedding dress and handmade accessories turn it into a gorgeous concept, perfect for low key couples. Can’t you just imagine these two whipping around the desert in a dune buggy in their wedding gear? Of course, you know I had to include it because of that darn cute dog, too!
This feature is one of a few organized during WPPI 2015 that I have coming in the future weeks. Prepare to get inspired by new ideas, new vendors, concepts and venues!
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Ivory Lime Photography by Angela Stewart
STYLED + COORDINATED BY . Jenn Burnett Photography
STYLED SHOOT VENUE . Shot on location east of Las Vegas
BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Dress Me Sew Chic / HAIR . Hair by Ashley Nichols / MAKEUP . Carly Ryan Makeup Artist at The Batterman Group / BOUQUET + BOUTONNIERE . Burlap and Bling Design Studio / FLORAL CROWN . Forever Hooked
Jesse and Nick who were actually married in June in California, but opted for a post-wedding shoot in and around Las Vegas. (The couple had not had a photographer at their courthouse wedding.) You’ll see some of the amazing urban backdrops of Sin City including spots in and around downtown such as the Container Park, Smith Center and east Fremont – locations these two Vegas locals love. Also included is a sunrise session at the fantastic Apex sand dunes, just north of Vegas. This otherworldly landscape is an amazing place to do photos!
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Urban Safari Photography
SHOT ON LOCATION AT . East Fremont, Container Park, Symphony Park at Smith Center, Cleveland Clinic and Apex Sand Dunes