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
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
Eldorado Canyon/Nelson Ghost Town is one of my favorite spots to see wedding photos at, be it an intimate elopement, or a fancy styled shoot like today’s post. It’s that mix of rustic desert landscape, stunning skies and cool buildings, I guess.
Full of soft feather accents, pretty pops of color and just the right amount of vintage accessories and decor, this styled shoot from Archel Rolwing Events photographed by Creatrix Photography is gorgeous. Scroll through and get inspired by the boho chic style! (Isn’t that nearly naked wedding cake divine?)
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Creatrix Photography
STYLED SHOOT VENUE . Eldorado Canyon
CONCEPT + STYLING . Archel Rolwing Events / FLORAL . Desert Rose Florist / CAKE . Cake It To Heaven / Desserts Table . Like Yumm! Confectionary / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Creative Bridal Wear / HAIR . Vegas Unveiled / MAKEUP . Glamour Gore Makeup / GROOMSWEAR . Creative Bridal Wear / VINTAGE FURNITURE RENTALS . Nostalgia Resources / STATIONERY + PAPER GOODS . 1st Impressions Invitations
This absolutely darling destination wedding is fun and fabulous. Sara and Rocky travelled to Las Vegas from the U.K. to get married in a chapel, infusing their wedding day with glitzy emerald green details, drawing inspiration from the bride’s engagement ring. Sara wore a vintage wedding dress and despite it being a destination wedding, this couple customized many parts of their day, including the playing card-style stationery and that amazing vintage brooch bouquet.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR
I came across button and brooch bouquets on Pinterest. I thought they were amazing, but I couldn’t find one with the colours I wanted, and custom orders were very expensive. So I decided to make one for me, and one for my Maid of Honour. It took a lot of work.
Firstly I needed to find the brooches, many of which came from eBay. Some came from family, and some fit our theme, like red sparkly hearts to match my shoes and a little cat brooch, as Rocky and I have 2 cats. I used big gold ones for the first layer of brooches, and then lots of big sparkly green ones. The more sparkly the better! Some of them weren’t the right green, so I used a bit of green nail varnish on the enamel bits to get them the right shade. I was sat with a glue gun, florists wire, and florist stem tape for 3 solid days before I could even start putting them together! It was hard, but absolutely worth it. I got so many comments on them, and given that we were traveling it was great to be able to know exactly what my ‘flowers’ would look like before getting there. I also like having it to keep forever, and being able to give people in my family bits of it in the future when they get married.
THE CEREMONY — Garden Chapel at Vegas Weddings
The ceremony was exactly the simple and fun wedding we were after. We had a ‘first glance’ option in our package, so I arrived before Rocky and most of the guests and I waited in the bridal suite with my Mum and my Maid of Honour. Once all the guests had been seated my Dad came and met me and we walked down the aisle to the Star Wars Throne Room song.
The doors opened and the room felt full of our families and friends. The venue was lit with candle light, and had rose petals scattered down the aisle. All of this made it feel very intimate. Just what we had wanted. We were both a bit nervous, and the ceremony was short and sweet as we weren’t having readings or anything, so it passed by in a blur. Luckily we have a great video as part of our package to be able to watch it again and send it friends and family. A few friends from the UK were able to watch live online through the streaming service that the venue provided. Our recessional was Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.
I’ll always remember walking down Fremont Street for our photo shoot and having people woop and cheer and shout “Congratulations!”
One of the stand out moments was walking into the room in Maggiano’s and seeing how beautiful the team had made it. Spotting all the little decorations I’d given to the team around the room and seeing the beautiful flowers and cake. Overall we’ll remember how much fun the day was! When there’s so much organising and build up you worry that something will go wrong, but everything was so easy thanks to all the great people involved, that we were able to really enjoy it!
THE RECEPTION — Maggiano’s at Fashion Show Mall
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect venue for our reception, a private room at Maggiano’s. We’d visited the day before to give Beth (a manager) our decorations and when we arrived on the day she and the florist had made the room look beautiful.
Rocky’s family is Italian, and they were particularly impressed at the quality of Maggiano’s food. We had a family-style dinner, which meant we passed round shared plates, which was a great way to get everybody talking, and meant everybody could have as much as they liked. We’d selected a package with an open bar and everybody enjoyed it to the fullest extent. The music selection was perfect (lots of Frank Sinatra, jazz and easy listening, which we love) and we all felt so relaxed and comfortable thanks to our wonderful host who looked after us all the whole time. There is nothing we’d change and it was the perfect chilled out evening we’d hoped for.
WHY LAS VEGAS?
The day after we got engaged we started looking at venues. We didn’t want to wait as we knew venues book out far in advance so could be waiting a long time if we didn’t settle on somewhere soon. We knew we wanted to travel for our wedding and wanted something small and intimate, and the UK’s weather is so unreliable! It’s also a great way to start the honeymoon straight away (we went on to spend five days in New Orleans and eight days in New York). We both love the US, so where better to get married than the Marriage Capital of the World?
We looked at a lot of the hotel chapels, but most were either booked, or looked like a bit plain. Rocky found the ‘Vegas Wedding’ company, and saw they had a Garden Chapel. It was perfect!
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM ROCKY AND SARA
You just can’t get enough photos! It might seem tedious at the time, but take the time to get lots of combinations of you and friends and family members. And get individual ones too! e.g. just bride with maid of honour, groom with best man to make sure you have a full set to choose from.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We had a budget of about £9,000 ($15,000) for everything (dress, ceremony, reception, and the honeymoon). We ended up spending about £11,000 ($18,500) and had 14 people join us. We were lucky that our parents helped, and our family and friends gave us money towards the honeymoon. We used HoneyFund to take contributions which was great as we could show people what we would use their contributions for.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Light Life Studio
CEREMONY VENUE . Garden Chapel at Vegas Wedding
RECEPTION VENUE . Maggiano’s
FLORAL . tablescape: The Palette, other: Vegas Wedding / CAKE . Freed’s Bakery / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – vintage from Saint Francis Hospice charity shop in Hornchurch, shoes – custom from MDNY, jewelry – engagement ring, Holts Gems, necklace + earrings, Cosmic Twist, accessories – TARDIS charm, Spiffing Jewelry, headband, Arsiart, phone cover, My Bling Thingz / ALTERATIONS . Gold Needle and Elite Alterations / HAIR + MAKEUP . I Do Updo / MANICURE . Barry M Emerald Green and top coat Barry M Green Glitter, Christophe Salon at MGM Grand / GROOMSWEAR . suit - Moss Bros, shirt – T.M. Lewin, tie + handkerchief – Tie Tack, shoes – Topman / TRANSPORTATION . courtesy Vegas Wedding / LIGHTING . marquee lights, The Letter Lounge / STATIONERY + PAPER GOODS . portraits, Kate Zaremba, Vegas skyline, Architette Studios, printing, Moo