The courtyard at Historic 5th Street School in downtown Las Vegas is fantastic. It’s light, it’s airy and as you’ll see with today’s wedding, it’s incredibly flexible, working for a combined ceremony and reception venue.
Amping up the vintage feel of the setting, Candace and Bobby used antique touches for their theme, incorporating old books, glassware and lace details. The pops of red in Candace’s bouquet work so well against the pastel backgrounds. Not only that…but the venue’s history worked well for these two teachers. Such a fantastic choice for an outdoor wedding!
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Susie and Will
CEREMONY + RECEPTION VENUE . Historic Fifth Street School
WEDDING PLANNER . Archel Rolwing Events / FLORAL . Enchanted Florist / CAKE . Nothing Bundt Cakes / HAIR . Hair Creations by Amanda Mae / MAKEUP . Brianna Michelle Beauty
Submitted via Two Bright Lights
Elopements are magical on their own, bringing a sense of intimacy and ocean of emotions. Karolina and Ross, today’s couple, eloped in Las Vegas a few years ago as Ross prepared to deploy.
These high school lovebirds celebrated again, three years later, with a marriage blessing and vow renewal at Joan of Arc Catholic Church and Venetian, in front of their friends and family. The mix of Old World charm and classic Italian architecture and gardens at the hotel appealed to the couple, Karolina especially.
A ballroom bubbling over with blooms designed by Naakiti Floral and event design from Andrea Eppolito brought the evening together in such an elegant European fashion. I am especially enchanted by the traditions and customs they wove into their day. From Polish toasts to serving dessert first to their guests at the banquet, life (and love) is sweet for these two.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Meg Ruth Photo
CEREMONY VENUE . Joan of Arc Catholic Church
RECEPTION VENUE . Venetian Resort & Casino
WEDDING PLANNER . Andrea Eppolito Events / FLORAL . Naakiti Floral / CAKE . Peridot Sweets / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Eve of Milady, shoes – Betsey Johnson / HAIR + MAKEUP . Makeup in the 702 / BRIDESMAIDS . Alfred Angelo / GROOMSWEAR . Men’s Wearhouse / DESIGN + DECOR . Sit on This Decor Rentals / ENTERTAINMENT . DJ Mike Fox & Co.
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
Mixing the fun and frivolous side of Las Vegas with a modern, luxury venue is one of the best things about having a wedding in Las Vegas. For fun-loving couple Seth and Kaitlyn, this combination turned out to be perfect! This pair road tripped from the northeastern United States to Vegas for their wedding with their travel companion Harry, a Chinese Crested, and a car full of DIY’d details and decor. Everything else came from an array of some of the city’s top vendors: images by Meg Ruth Photo, LED Unplugged for that amazing marquee LOVE sign and floral, and Kaitlyn’s whimsical feather and succulent-filled bouquet from Layers of Lovely. And don’t forget the Elvis officiate!
A day filled with love, laughs (doesn’t Kaitlyn look like she’s having the time of her life in every single photo?) with friends and family capped off this vintage glam wedding day for this couple.
Why a Las Vegas wedding?
Las Vegas was our first vacation together when we first began dating over 5 years ago. We just love everything about Las Vegas. There’s something for everyone, and the same goes for when you choose to have a wedding in this city. Seth and I wanted a very intimate get together with just family and close friends. We wanted our day to feel more like a party than a wedding. We just wanted to have fun- it’s Vegas! However, we also wanted to showcase our relationship and have a ceremony/ reception that really embodied our friendship, love, and individual personalities. The Mandarin was both elegant, yet fun; modern yet had remnants of Old Vegas. We fell in love with the venue. We also knew that we needed to have our dog, Harry, involved in some part of the day. We were incredibly excited when we found out the Mandarin Oriental allowed dogs! That was the deciding factor. So, we packed up the car with all our DIY decor and road tripped it from Massachusetts to Las Vegas so our pup Harry could come along for the ride! We made a vacation/ honeymoon out of this entire trip. It was incredibly romantic to drive across the country, just us, knowing that the end result would be our marriage!
Kaitlyn’s favorite memory
Seeing Seth standing at the aisle with our little dog, Harry, dressed in his Elvis suit. Harry looked so adorable and he was such a good boy! I couldn’t stop laughing!
The Ceremony – Ballroom at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
We wanted a fun ceremony, nothing serious. After all, a wedding is supposed to be a celebration! And we knew, if we had a wedding in Vegas, we needed to have an Elvis officiate! Travis is so incredibly talented. He sang 4 Elvis renditions: “The Wonder of You”, “Love Me Tender”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, and “Viva Las Vegas”! Our ceremony was quick, sweet, and fun-loving! Guests have told us they have never laughed so hard at a wedding in all their lives!
DIY Details + Decor
I hand wrote all the chalkboard signs: the menu, guestbook signs, and seating charts. We made our escort cards out of playing cards correlating to the table numbers and placed silver labels with each guests’s name on each card. We also wanted to pay a tribute to our amazing grandparents (all but one are now deceased) so we made a table with vintage gold framed photos from all of our grandparents’ weddings. It gave a personal touch to the whole wedding, and everyone really enjoyed viewing the gorgeous black & white photos of our loved ones. I purchased many of the frames and small decor items at vintage shops. We also made adorable welcome bags filled with bloody mary fixings, snacks, a travel guide, Vegas magnet, and transit schedule to assist guests in exploring the city. We dropped these off at guests’ hotels when we first arrived in Vegas. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority was incredibly helpful with sending us free maps, travel guides, and show schedules to help fill our welcome bags!
The Reception – Ballroom at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
The Mandarin Oriental’s ballroom is absolutely breathtaking. When you enter, you are taken aback by the wall to wall windows providing an exceptional view of the strip. That, in and of itself, was decor enough. But we also wanted to play on those incredible Vegas lights with bright pops of color in the flowers, linens, and lighting. We wanted our reception to be reminiscent of Old Vegas: a bit of a vintage glam vibe. My favorite part of the reception decor was the huge marquee lights spelling “L-O-V-E”. Just beautiful! Our reception naturally turned into a great dance party fairly quickly, and our DJ was so awesome: he even passed the microphone over to me to do a rendition of the Little Mermaid (Seth, myself, and the bridal party guests had a wild night at Dino’s singing karaoke the Thursday before our wedding)! We also purchased our own props for all our guests to wear during our dance party: Elvis sunglasses with sideburns, Stunner shades, and Groucho Marx glasses- A Must! A total party!
Seth + Kaitlyn’s Vegas wedding tips
HAVE FUN!! Just remember, you are getting the best of the best when it comes to vendors in this town. This is the wedding capital of the world! Keep reminding yourselves that these people know what they’re doing! I’m a bit of a control freak, so it was hard for me to give up all the reigns, but these vendors are literally professionals. I had so much fun planning this destination wedding. It doesn’t matter what your budget is: this town has something for everyone. Shop around and email vendors. Ask them as many questions as you can, and when you find a right fit, you will know. It was such a pleasure to work with everyone- I’m so glad I planned this wedding in the age of email – it really made planning from a distance so easy!
Seth + Kaitlyn’s Wedding Guestcount and Budget
Originally we had invited about 180 guests, but due to it being a destination wedding, we only ended up with 50 guests, which was actually perfect. It made the evening very intimate yet fun. We were able to visit with everyone and still had a chance to dance and enjoy ourselves. My parents were incredibly gracious and helped us pay for everything. The total spent was about $40,000.
VENUE + VENDOR DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHY . Meg Ruth Photo
CEREMONY + RECEPTION VENUE . Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
OFFICIANT . Elvis aka Travis Allen of Tallen Productions / WEDDING PLANNER . day of coordination provided by Scheme Events / FLORAL . Layers of Lovely / CAKE . Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Sloan by Sottero & Midgley, jewelry – Sarah White Jewelry / BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES . Radical Thread Co. / HAIR AND MAKEUP . Amelia C & Co. / GROOM’S WEAR . Men’s Wearhouse / TRANSPORTATION . AWG Ambassador Limos / RENTALS . furniture + linens – Layers of Lovely / LIGHTING + LOVE MARQUEE SIGN . LED Unplugged / STATIONERY . Minted / ENTERTAINMENT . DJ Mike Fox
I am head over heels in love with this evening wedding at Historic Fifth Street School, photographed by Amberlight Collective. Stephanie and Mark infused their September destination wedding in downtown Las Vegas with bright colors and bits of retro snazz in the stationery and favors with help from the ladies of Scheme Events.
Bistro lighting from LED Unplugged infused romance into the courtyard, which hosted both their ceremony and reception. There are many gorgeous details at this wedding, but my favorite part is probably the Quaker-inspired “voicing of support” portion of their ceremony. Friends and family were invited to share a story about the newlyweds, share advice or otherwise celebrate the new marriage. A beautiful way to involve everyone in the wedding! Read on for more details and tips from Stephanie and Mark…
Why did you choose the Historic Fifth Street School for your wedding?
On the day we visited Fifth Street School, we had seen several venues across town and it was the only one that we walked into and immediately felt excited about. When we walked in to the courtyard, we both knew it was the place for the casual, fun atmosphere we were going for. I am a Las Vegas native, and my mom actually went to school there when she was growing up. That added significance, combined with the fact that it is perfectly restored and such a unique historical space that is so incongruous to its surroundings, made it exactly what we were looking for.
I am from Vegas, but Mark is from Ohio and more than half the guests would be traveling, (we referred to our wedding as “half-destination’). We wanted to pick a place that was fun for the people traveling, but also not a pain for the locals to get to. It was important to us to find a place that would highlight Vegas as a fun place to visit, but that also showed visitors another side of Vegas they might not get to see otherwise. Being inside the courtyard feels like you’re in a completely different kind of Vegas, and it was that side of the city we wanted our guests to see. It was perfect.
The Ceremony — Historic Fifth Street School Courtyard
We did a lot of research trying to find a ceremony format that we felt fit us. We weren’t huge fans of the traditional format – the thought of walking down an aisle gave me heart palpitations and neither of us could stand the idea of being married by someone who had no idea who we were. And, most importantly, we didn’t like the idea that our friends and family would spend a large part of our wedding celebrating without us. Whether at the beginning, when we would be separated before the ceremony, or the actual ceremony where we would stand in front of everyone and not get to interact, or afterward, where you leave for ages to get pictures taken. We didn’t want any of that – so we decided we would scrap it.
When we got engaged, Mark laid down only one request – that his friend Tim would to be the one to marry us. Tim is one of Mark’s oldest friends, and since it was important that we be married by someone who knows us and knows who we are as a couple, that was a no-brainer. Ahead of the ceremony we did a cocktail hour/photo session where Mark and I would greeted our guests, gave hugs, and took pictures with all the groups of family and friends who attended. This was a little stressful, as I wanted to make sure that we got pictures with everyone, but I preferred it to sitting in a back room somewhere freaking out. When the time came, we had our DJ announce it by playing the first part of Queen’s “The Wedding March,” which set just the right fun, lighthearted tone we wanted.
As everyone took their seats, Mark and I held hands and walked across the courtyard with everyone else and took our places with Tim at the front, with our family and friends seated all around us. We decided to do a Quaker-style wedding after finding the format on a wedding blog – it basically involves the initial exchange of vows, followed by a voicing of support by friends and family – which invites anyone to come up and voice their support for our union by telling stories, giving advice, or just telling us they love us. This was my favorite part of the day, as our parents and friends came up and made us laugh and cry. We were able to hug each of them and have them as a part of our ceremony pictures, which was incredibly important to me.
The last person to speak was Mark, who made a toast to his father, Michael, who is no longer with us. Everyone in the crowd was given a shot of either Crown Royal (Michael’s favorite) or Coke, and all of us toasted him and all of our family who weren’t able to be there on that special night. Taking the laughter and love from those stories, we ended the ceremony with a ring exchange where Mark’s mom Chris handed me his ring, and my mom Pam handed Mark my ring, and the rest is history.
The Reception — Historic Fifth Street School Courtyard
First of all, because we were planning from across country, I really gave the Scheme Events girls and their amazing team of vendors free reign on the space. Bistro lights were the splurge that I really wanted, and since we were using the space both for ceremony and party, it was important the seating could transition easily. We did picnic tables, scattered with some circles of lounge seating, but Traci & Scheme really did whatever they thought best and they did an incredible, incredible job. The lighting was absolutely perfect. And the flowers by Layers of Lovely were staggering. I gave them barely any guidance – basically just preferred colors – and they created the most beautiful, perfect arrangements for the space and the atmosphere we wanted.
After the ceremony, Mark and I went off for a little time by ourselves and to take a few pictures with Danette. Have I mentioned she is amazing – everyone should hire her right now. We wandered over to East Fremont to get some neon pics in the meantime, our guests went right into eating and partying – the food was done masterfully by Masterpiece Catering, and everyone was raving about how amazing the food was. As is the story for most weddings – we didn’t really get a chance to eat.
Everyone’s favorite part of the reception was the ice cream sandwich and popsicle desserts, which we did in lieu of cake – since neither of us are that big on it. For a warm Vegas evening, it was divine.
When we came back from photos, we had our first dance to “Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space,” by Spiritualized – which carried over our Vegas theme since it is a futuristic cover of sorts of Elvis’ “Fools Rush In.” We did our Father/Daughter, Mother/Son dance together to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Long as I Can See the Light,” and after the first part of it, invited everyone to dance with us.
This resulted in my favorite picture of the night, where my Dad is looking over at Mark dancing with his Mom, and everyone is grinning from ear to ear. After this, dancing dancing dancing, and along with our awesome photobooth and wonderful friends, it was pretty much the best party I could have imagined.
Was there an especially memorable moment of the day?
Every time I tell this story people recoil with horror, but it was such a surreal and hilarious moment, it’s definitely one of my favorite moments of the entire week. I had my dress custom made by a really lovely and talented woman in Cleveland, at A Bride’s Design. The dress was amazing, a simple camisole top with a skirt of layers peach and champagne organza that she had washed over and over to give it a spectacular unfinished look.
We love road trips, so Mark and I drove from Cleveland to Vegas the week before the wedding, as a last road trip before we got married, so the dress rode in the back of our car and got a little rumpled. We took it to a well-meaning dry cleaner in Vegas (who will remain nameless) and asked them to gently steam the skirt to get the big creases out, but not to iron it, since the skirt was supposed to look a little rumpled. When it arrived at my house, gorgeously wrapped in paper and ribbon, it looked perfect. However, when I put it on the afternoon of the wedding, it became clear that the dry cleaner had pressed the organza back to its original sleek finish, not only ruining the effect it was originally meant to have, but also ruining the carefully-cut hem that had been measured precisely for my shoes. My dress was now nearly 12 inches too long.
It was impossible to walk in, so I had my lovely, lovely, PETRIFIED friends get down on the floor and CUT A FOOT OF MY DRESS OFF. They did an amazing job in a blink of an eye, we got in the limo and off we went. It was a hiccup in an otherwise perfect wedding festivity week – but at the time, I didn’t even care. Just cut the damn thing off and let’s do this! The pictures of this are also my favorite, I’m laughing my head off as my friend Amanda cuts my dress!
Were there any DIY or handmade details?
We didn’t really do the DIY thing, since it was tough planning a Las Vegas wedding from across the country. The Scheme girls were amazing and we let them take care of nearly everything. I am a graphic designer, so I did design and create our invites, programs, favors and our VIP passes we sent to guests. We didn’t really have a “theme” to the wedding, but for the paper I took our initials from iconic Vegas signs of the past – so the M was from the Moulin Rouge and the S from the Sands. After I did that illustration, we used it across everything, including some fun VIP passes that were sent as the invitation to our guests – inviting our VIPs to the party of our lives.
Stephanie and Mark’s #1 tip for other couples marrying in Las Vegas
Make sure you have some time to just be together before the wedding. Planning and family and friends can get overwhelming in those days leading up, and you don’t have that time to reflect or talk or laugh together much when things get going. Our road trip out to Vegas before the wedding was the best decision we ever made. It gave us some great time before to just be together before the insanity began, and since we were driving we were out-of-pocket and mostly out of touch. We both agree having that calm time before was just as good as the honeymoon, and I would recommend it to anyone who has the chance – even if you aren’t travelling. Take a weekend before, tell everyone you are turning off your phone, and just be together.
Stephanie and Mark’s Wedding Guest Count and Budget
We had 90 people at the wedding, and my advice here would be this: I was really worried about guest count. I didn’t want to go over on the number we had budgeted for, and in the end I was a bit brutal about cutting our list in order to get within the number. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t have done that – because in the end I felt like I had excluded people who should have been there in order to stay within the budget number, and I regret it. The difference between those extra 5-10 people being there and going slightly over budget compared to feeling like they should have been there… it’s just not worth it.
Vendor and Venue Details:
Photographer: Amberlight Collective / Ceremony + Reception Venue: Historic 5th Street School, Courtyard / Wedding Planner + Event Design: Scheme Events / Wedding Dress: A Bride’s Design, Cleveland, Custom / Floral: Layers of Lovely / Catering: Masterpiece Cuisine / Celebrant: Friend of the Couple / Entertainment: Harry O Productions / Stationery: Invitations, Programs and VIP Passes Designed by the Bride / Printing: jakprints / Photobooth: Shutterbooth Las Vegas / Vintage Rentals + Props: The Wooden Trunk / Bistro Lighting: LED Unplugged / Transport: Earthlimos and Buses / Custom Playing Card Favors: MakePlayingCards.com / Welcome Bag Champagne: Korbel