I love a romantic, traditional wedding, and Julie and Gaetano’s wedding at Lake Las Vegas was just that, overflowing with love and personal details. They were married at a venue well-suited to Julie’s vision of a fairytale wedding, the gorgeous Capella Di Amore at Hilton Lake Las Vegas, a dramatic chapel that hovers over water. Despite losing her voice, Julie powered through and married her sweetheart. Soft pink colors mixed with Tiffany blue and a hugely dramatic wedding gown perfected this classic Las Vegas wedding and make this couple’s dream day come true.
The Ceremony –Capella Di Amore at Hilton Lake Las Vegas
Before I met Gaetano, I was that little girl who dreamt of a fairytale wedding, I always knew I wanted to feel like a princess on my big day. So when my Prince Charming asked me to marry him I couldn’t have been more thrilled to start planning. I chose the Hilton at Lake Las Vegas because of their beautiful chapel on the bridge. It was exactly what I was looking for! Our wedding was beautiful and a very special day in our lives.
There were a couple small speed bumps along the way. I completely lost my voice on the wedding day — I woke up and could hardly make a sound! I actually found it a blessing in disguise. I was able to kick my feet up while my sister/maid of honor handled everything. I drank warm tea and saved my voice for my vows. I was able to say them and be heard. Another minor issue was my flowergirl dresses, I decided to get crafty and make them myself. I used the prettiest tulle, full of glitter. Unfortunately glitter is really itchy! My flowergirls were all red and begging to take their dresses off after we took pictures. They sure did look cute though.
DIY Details + Decor
Other than the flowergirl dresses (the only DIY projects that went wrong, thank goodness!) my sister and I made the flowergirl wands, table numbers, menus, seating name cards, bouquet for the toss, favors, garters and much more. I saved a bunch of money making these myself and they gave my venue a unique feel.
Julie and Gaetano’s Wedding Tips
One planning tip I have is pick a good wedding coordinator! I was so lucky to have Debbie (Ravella’s wedding coordinator) she was so good at keeping me organized and on time. She was very helpful in making decisions before the wedding and helping my wedding day to go as smoothly as possible. We had a guest list of 75 people and everyone knew where to go and what to do.
Mo and Casey travelled from Down Under to get married in Las Vegas! Coming from so far away, this couple did things up right and included all the little Vegas touches they wanted, including a mini-concert from Elvis (with showgirls) and a roving magician that delighted guests during cocktail hour. Mo went the extra mile and even surprised her new husband with some surprise guests and a light sabre battle with the Dark Lord, Darth Vader himself. Bently and Wilson Photography captured all the epic moments.
The coolest thing I think they did was a same-day vow renewal (yes, you read correctly) where they did things in that classic Vegas style, at the Graceland Chapel with an Elvis impersonator! Be sure to come back on Wednesday to see their day after wedding “encore” bridal shoot!
Why did you choose Las Vegas? Casey and I (Mo) live in Brisbane, Australia. We met online and just knew it was love from our first date in July 2012. Fast forward 8 months and we decided to get married. Las Vegas was initially a bit of a joke, “Hey, lets go get married in Vegas!” but once I started to Google venues and Vegas weddings – I was hooked. Even though it was literally on the other side of the world, Vegas was exciting and offered a lot more variety for our wedding than what we had at home. It didn’t take much to convince Casey either. We set our date, booked our venues, set up a wedding website then sent out save the dates to 100 friends and family all around the world.
The Ceremony – Chapel at Flamingo Hotel We picked the Flamingo Hotel as a ceremony venue because they allowed outside vendors for a reasonable fee. We also loved the gardens there for a photo opportunity. Initially we were booked to get married outside at the Gazebo but on our scouting trip we fell in love with the newly remodeled indoor chapel. The chapel was so beautiful we didn’t have to add any additional decor. Looking back we are definitely glad we chose this venue.
We didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony so we traveled separately from our hotel to the Flamingo. I waited in the bridal suite until the start of the ceremony and my 6 year old son was our ring bearer and looked great in his little tux. We are so glad we had a videographer as we can hardly recall most of the ceremony. We spent most of the time just grinning at each other truly madly deeply in love and so excited to be finally getting married. We chose to have a civil ceremony and wrote our own vows. It was such an amazing moment when we were announced as husband and wife and our first kiss was electric.
We hosted guests at Carlos n Charlies in the Flamingo Gardens for a short cocktail hour following the ceremony whilst we did a quick photo shoot around the Flamingo. As entertainment we hired Jason Bird to do some strolling magic and our guests are STILL talking about his amazing tricks.
The Reception – Di Carlo & Calabria Rooms at Maggiano’s, Fashion Show Mall We couldn’t go past Maggiano’s for their incredible reputation for great food, value reception packages and the hardwood decor. We dropped off all of our decor two days before the wedding and were very impressed with Maggiano’s set up of our reception. The decor, food and premium open bar absolutely wowed our guests. The ‘LOVE’ lights and uplighting from LED Unplugged transformed Maggiano’s Di Carlo & Calabria room.
Our guests were greeted by Elvis and the Showgirls who performed during the first course of dinner. After the main course we had speeches, our first dance then cut the cake. The rest of the night was a blur of cocktails, great music and amazing desserts. Our last dance was to Dean Martin’s ‘That’s Amore’ and it turned into a great drunken sing along with all of our guests. Nobody wanted to leave when the lights came up.
Any standout memories from the wedding day? The absolute stand out moment from our wedding was the groom’s surprise wedding visit from Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers. Casey is a huge Star Wars fan and loves all things sci-fi and fantasy. He had absolutely no idea that this was even planned. The DJ, who also happened to like Star Wars, transformed the visit from simply a meet & greet photo-op into a full blown epic light sabre battle between Casey and Darth Vader. A truly memorable ending to a perfect wedding day.
And what about that same day vow renewal?
Throughout all of our wedding planning, Casey and I were constantly asked whether our wedding would be in a little chapel with a hip-thrusting Elvis officiant. Unfortunately the stereotype of a Vegas wedding as it is portrayed in the movies is well and truly alive in Australia. To feed the stereotype, and because we think Elvis is super cool, Casey and I decided to have a same day vow renewal at the Graceland Chapel. We were in and out of there within 15 minutes while our guests were on a party bus tour of the Strip. In contrast to our traditional ceremony, Casey and I were able to completely let loose and just have fun. Our Elvis was amazing and made the experience unforgettable. We loved it that much we posted the video on YouTube for all the world to see!
Did you DIY or make anything yourselves for the wedding? Having an international destination wedding made DIY decor really difficult. Luckily, I was able to ship items to our wedding coordinator at Culinary Pros. We really wanted feather centrepieces at our reception but the quotes were outrageously expensive at between $120 – $180 per centrepiece. So we decided to DIY, I purchased everything through eBay and had 13 feather centrepieces at a total cost of $400.
Mo + Casey’s #1 tip for others marrying in Las Vegas
Our top tip for international couples planning to marry in Las Vegas is don’t count on the exchange rate! Unfortunately for us when we started planning the wedding the Australian dollar bought $1.07 US Dollar. About 6 months before our wedding the Aussie dollar crashed to just 80 US cents. So in essence the cost of everything planned for our wedding went up by 27% + the added expenses of international transaction fees. Needless to say we totally blew our budget – but we wouldn’t change a single thing about our perfect day.
[Also] We were completely blown away by Langdon Videography and they were an absolute stand out vendor for us. In my personal view – videography is a MUST for destination weddings because pictures alone just don’t do the event justice particularly when sharing with friends and family who couldn’t travel to the event. Initially I was quoted over $3000 by some of the bigger, more popular cinematic companies in Vegas – but our $1200 package with Langdon Videography went above and beyond our expectations.
Mo + Casey’s Guestcount and Budget
We had 30 guests and our wedding day cost approximately $15,000US not including any attire or travel expenses.
LVW readers! Today I have a very special guest post for you from one of the founders of My Hotel Wedding, a fabulous site that is dedicated to amazing weddings in hotels!
Brooke is sharing her Las Vegas wedding which, naturally, happened in one of the loveliest Strip hotels. Read on for all the details from a hotel wedding pro, and to see the gorgeous images of the day by Micah and Megan Photography. (I can’t get over that midnight donut bar…)
Greetings Little Vegas Wedding readers! I’m Brooke, co-founder of My Hotel Wedding. My sister (previously a Catering Manager at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel) and I started My Hotel Wedding to be your one-stop site for seamless hotel wedding planning. We realized that with our combined knowledge and experience we had lots to share with couples planning hotel weddings. I am honored to share my Vegas wedding experience with you.
My husband and I met in film school and we both work in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry. When it came down to choosing a location for our wedding, we didn’t want LA, but also didn’t want to go too far from home. We had family and friends flying in from all over the country, so we wanted a location with easy access from the airport…VEGAS!!!
First we had to choose our Vegas venue. Our top three contenders were the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas (since my sister worked for the company :) ), the Bellagio (because it’s stunning) and the Mandalay Bay (a personal fave). We chose the Four Seasons because of their ability to provide a truly customized wedding experience. Although the rooms and chapels were lovely elsewhere, they only offered wedding packages, which were unable to be customized to our taste when it came to food and beverage options.
Once we chose the Four Seasons everything else easily fell into place. Dennis Silknitter, our Catering Manager, made everything a breeze from the planning to the wedding day itself. One of our favorite planning memories was the tasting; we tried what felt like half their menu! Everything was divine! The final choices were hard to make, but we came up with our perfect wedding menu. Although we tried and tried to say no, we ended up saying yes to a midnight handmade donut station, which was a complete hit!
For our florist we chose Naakiti Floral Design who came highly recommended by the Four Seasons. Randi, the owner/founder, was amazing to work with. She greeted us at her studio off the Strip where we browsed thousands of images. She worked with our budget and even helped us find the perfect wood chairs to match our hot pink and purple theme.
By the time our wedding day came, I was so excited that I woke up at 6am ready to go! Our wedding day flew by, but was full of wonderful memories; from my grandma’s face seeing me in my wedding dress to the first look with my hubby Gordon. By the way, we recommend having the first look before the ceremony as it gets all the jitters out.
Another favorite moment that we’ve written about in our hotel hints, is taking a moment for just the two of us after the ceremony. We went back up to our suite and were able to have some time alone to freshen up, enjoy each other’s company as husband and wife and munch on delicious hors d’oeuvres sent up from the hotel.
All in all our wedding day was perfect. Every detail was meticulously handled by my sister and Dennis so that we could just enjoy. To see more photos from our wedding and all the vendors we used, visit our full blog post.
We hope you enjoyed hearing about our Vegas wedding experience. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out via email to brooke AT myhotelwedding DOT com or visit My Hotel Wedding for tips, tools and total inspiration for your hotel wedding!
Lauren and Dwight were married at Red Rock Country Club on one of those spectacular evenings with a desert sunset where the sky turns cotton candy pink. Although this was technically a destination wedding since the bride and groom live in California now, the couple met in Las Vegas and Lauren’s father is a chef at Red Rock Country Club.
Little touches of Vegas whimsy were included in decor details including the guestbook, seating cards and wedding favors, many of which were handmade. The wedding palette of bright pops of pink and lime green carried over into the florals and amazing candy bar. I can’t stop drooling over the amazing photos of the food though… Read on for more details on this wedding from the bride!
The Ceremony – Red Rock Country Club
The ceremony was on August 3, 2013 at Red Rock Country Club. It was a beautiful evening and our family pastor married us. We handed both of our mothers roses during the ceremony, we had my cousins and uncle sing before the wedding, and the pastor had us make a sculpted heart out of clay, which represents our love for each other. The Emerics showed up before the wedding and we hit it off from the start. I felt very comfortable with them and they took amazing photographs of our day.
The Reception – Red Rock Country Club
Red Rock and their wedding coordinator did an amazing job and the food was unbelievable. All of their vendors were great and professional and my father is the chef there, so we had a buffet style menu with beef, chicken, and fish and the cocktail hour was filled with amazing appetizers from sushi to shrimp. Naakiti Floral decorated the reception with fresh flowers and we had a candy bar and a DJ from The Music Solution.
I had a cake topper of the bride dragging the groom, which everyone thought was really funny and the cake was delicious. Since I am a photography teacher, we incorporated a lot photography into the wedding such as: pictures of our grandparent’s wedding, a Las Vegas photo clip to hold the guest names, and a photo booth from ShutterBooth, which was a hit. Everyone loved getting into all the fun costumes and we received a memory book with all the images that our guests took.
A stand-out moment was the amazing sunset and the heart that was in the sky while we were getting married. We had a hummingbird fly around the altar, just before I walked down the aisle. And the food! People are still telling us how amazing it was. I was lucky to work so closely with the chef.
DIY Details and Decor
Since I am an art teacher and photographer much of the wedding had DIY touches. Lots of photographs of friends and family surrounded the cocktail hour and cake table. We handmade the fans, which also doubled as the wedding programs. My table numbers and the guest seating were handmade and designed by my matron of honor. I had handkerchiefs embroidered for all the men to wear in their coat pocket with a special message on the one for my husband and the sashes for the flower girls were DIY.
We also had pink and green cotton candy as a favor and I designed the label with a photograph of us with Elvis in front of the Las Vegas sign. We designed our invitations and inserts for the guest arrival to Red Rock and my throwing bouquet was handcrafted with pink and green paper flowers.
The couple’s #1 tip for other couples planning a Las Vegas wedding
When people plan weddings, most people don’t go off The Strip however, most of the guests stayed at the Red Rock Resort & Casino. It was great having friends and family together for the long weekend and spending time together before and after the wedding.
Also, when planning out all the details: double and triple check everything. We had a shuttle service pick-up and drop-off people from the hotel to the country club and they lost our confirmation and almost didn’t pick up the guests from the reception. That was almost a disaster, however we straightened it out before anyone even knew what had happened.
Also, if you are having people come from all over and traveling into an area they’ve never been, make sure they feel welcomed have services available to them. We had a list of things for people to do and we made sure to have a room block available to our guest, so no-one would have issues with their room. Our guests loved the hotel and venue and we had a fabulous weekend together.
Wedding Guest Count + Budget
We had around 100 people and since some of my family and friends live in Las Vegas it was a great place to get married. Dwight and I met in Vegas, so it was the most logical place to have our wedding. The cost for everything was around $30,000 with the long weekend and little touches that we incorporated into the day.
Sometimes my favorite images from a wedding day are the very personal moments a couple shares, along with their photographer. It might be a first look session or the moment immediately following the ceremony when the couple gets to celebrate privately. Or it might be like Lindsey and James’, on the very public Strip!
I love the way Suzi from Vitamin C Photography made the very busy Las Vegas Boulevard feel like it was a private world for James and Lindsey. (Which, if you read on, you’ll discover it was not!) It’s not easy to do and you probably feel like time had to be stopped to get a few of these shots, but they’re really lovely and a nice way to remember to the city these Canadians were married in.
Our first stop was to head to the Cosmopolitan for some just married candid shots. The elegant crystal strands and creative lighting of the Cosmopolitan were a perfect highlight to James’ bright pink vest and Lindsey’s already sparkling dress. We then stopped by one of my favorite spots in front of the Planet Hollywood, where James and Lindsey seemed to be the center of attention to everyone passing by wishing them luck with their new marriage.
Time was short and being late to the reception party with the bride and groom was not an option, so after some quick poses in front of the Paris’ Eiffel Tower we left the Strip. James and Lindsey had their reception at Maggiano’s, a classy and wonderful Italian restaurant located at the Fashion Show mall. Arriving right on time to Maggiano’s we were met by Lindsey and James’ families where everyone took a turn getting a picture with the new bride and groom. Touching toasts, great food, and a lot of dancing was had by all!