Reception Venue: Border Grill

Located at the far south end of the Strip inside Mandalay Bay, Border Grill is a vibrant Mexican restaurant with indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for fun rehearsal dinners, large or small reception dinners or even morning after brunch.

Serving “Modern Mexican” the restaurant will customize your meal to be anything from passed hors d’oeuvres to buffet style to a sit down meal, and can include adds in like ice cream buffet, dance floors and several levels of alcohol service that can include premium margaritas and other cocktails.

Border Grill Las Vegas
Mandalay Bay
Rooms available: 10, Indoor and Outdoor
People: Up to 500
Information, including menus, photos, room layouts and pricing here:
Border Grill Las Vegas Special Events

Photos:,,, and Ryan Jackson Photography

Etsy Lust: Cake Toppers

For this week’s Etsy Lust I selected some cute cake toppers. Some are Vegasified, and some are just some beautiful simple toppers ready in a hurry for those of you last minuters. ;)

1. Not just an Elvis cake topper – a LEGO Elvis cake topper from FoldedFancy 2. Classic, simple font topper in custom colors from BetterOffWed (ready in 7 days!) 3. Personalized couple with Vegas sign by MudCards 4. Light and airy bunting by BooBahBlue 5. Amazing 3D Stratosphere sky diving couple topper by AnnaCrafts

Small & Simple with a Pantless Groom {Springs Preserve}

Welcome to my wedding! Although the wedding was two years, four countries, three homes, and three five jobs ago, the details still shine in my mind, and people still speak fondly of tiny things about the wedding, which makes me happy. Mr M and I wanted it to be more like a family and friend reunion crossed with a wicked time in a city we loved – Las Vegas!

It was a small 40 person affair in early May that ran an entire week full of food, fun and family. The main event featured an outdoor ceremony at the Gardens Arboretum at the Springs Preserve followed by a reception at Border Grill and an after party in a media suite at Mandalay Bay.

DIY elements mixed with fabulous photo locations and candid journalistic photography style for a memorable event. I also did quite a bit of Polaroid photography as the day went on. 

The entire week was full of events for the forty attendees. Even though we were all scattered across timeshares, hotels, apartments and homes in Las Vegas, most people made it to atleast two events.

Food is incredibly important to us, so we scheduled a range of events to allow people to sample the food and restaurants we love in Vegas. There was a thank you dinner at Raku izakaya for our wedding party and celebrant, a rehearsal dinner at Lotus of Siam, a welcome drink event at Todd English P.U.B. at CityCenter, wedding day breakfast at M&M Soul Food, the wedding events themselves of course, plus the day after champagne brunch at the Wynn Buffet, and another in suite party at our Palazzo room. The final event was a “just us” dinner at Guy Savoy, though. I could not have asked for anything more.

Click to enlarge panoramics

One of the best things was having my former coworker, photojournalist and tech whiz Ryan Jackson to document not only the day of the wedding, but the events in the days leading up to the wedding, too. He took some great photos at the rehearsal dinner, the welcome party, and shot for more than 14 hours the day of the wedding, giving us not only great candid shots of the drama as the day unfolded, but amazing panoramics and custom “Ryan Jackson” photos for which he has become well known in journalism and new media circles. I had deeply considered other local photographers for the day, but in the end, I do not regret asking Ryan to come along.

My parents live in Bangkok for part of the year, and my mom picked up gifts for the wedding party, a second dress and jewelry for me in addition to her own custom wedding outfits. She braved the political riots that year, even, to pick up her silk two piece suit. Crazy!

My morning of getting ready and having a leisurely breakfast with my dad was held up when my hairstylist, Candace Campbell of the I Do Crew was a no show. She did not pick up her phone either. I had to scramble, missing my make up appointment at MAC and having to do it myself, and missing breakfast in the process.

Luckily the woman doing my mom’s make up, Veronica Robles, came through and had one of her hair stylists meet me an hour before the wedding. THANK YOU VERONICA!

The groom forgot his pants, holding up the ceremony, but things went on, eventually. Guests stayed cool by using their fan programs (that I designed and assembled myself) and drinking ice water.

An amazing move turned out to be renting a classic Cadillac. It was a beautiful photo prop, relaxing even in insane downtown Vegas traffic, and elicited all sort of comments from nearby drivers. No regrets, even if we had to wake up incredibly early the next morning to return it.

Another vintage touch was using my Polaroid for our guestbook. People went nuts with it, and I have so many amazing one of a kind photos because of it.

Another great idea was doing a very fast, very hot 1 hour shoot at the Neon Boneyard with our wedding party.

I ordered my stationery suite from Appleberry Ink on Etsy, but did all other stationery myself. I regret waiting until the night before the wedding to finish assembling my programs, but they still turned out great. I was especially proud of my menus.

mandalay bay wedding border grill

Driftwood and succulent centrepieces, a Polaroid guestbook table alongside an all you could eat Mexican buffet with premium margaritas, an ice cream bar and Mexican hot chocolate took place partially indoors and partially outdoors by the Mandalay Bay pool.

mandalay bay wedding border grill

mandalay bay wedding border grill

After the reception, the party moved upstairs to a media suite at Mandalay Bay. Mini vegan and regular cakes from Whole Foods were featured at the cake cutting and a bartender helped serve custom cocktails and beer. Moving to a smaller more intimate location and treating ourselves to a quintessential “Vegas” experience of a suite party with a bartender and late night snacks and cake was amazing. And because it was all self catered instead of done via the hotel, it was surprisingly affordable. We felt like rock stars, if only for one night.

#1 Tip for Vegas brides: Make sure you bring water if you are going to a secondary location to shoot photos.
Also, make sure the groom has his pants.

This was my reaction when Ryan, the photographer came to tell me Mr M forgot his pants back at the hotel, holding up the wedding by a half hour. All hail the man and maid of honor for going to fetch them. And for the Springs Preserve staff for being so patient.

Photos by Ryan Jackson
Polaroids by me!

— — — — —

Wedding Venue: Gardens Arborteum at Springs Preserve / Reception Venue: Border Grill at Mandalay Bay / Afterparty Venue: Media Suite at Mandalay Bay / Photographer: Ryan Jackson / Transport: Cadillac rental via Beverly Hills Rental Cars Airport pickups and inter location transport Presidental Limo/ Wedding Dress: Bridal Debut Sherwood Park – Custom Shrug by Bonzie Designs – Second Dress from Bangkok – Custom Fascinator – FeatherFlair / Jewelry: Vintage / Bride’s Shoes: Calvin Klein / Groom’s Suit: custom from FanPlusFriend/ Groom’s Shoes: Prada / Groom’s Ring: Boone Titanium Rings / Makeup: Bride did it herself / Hair: Makeup To Remember by Veronica Robles (also did mother of the bride makeup) / Floral: Enchanted Florist / Catering: Reception – Border Grill Afterparty – Whole Foods / Afterparty setup, bartending and staff: Culinary Pros Las Vegas / Cake: Whole Foods / Celebrant: Kenny Lozowski / Stationery: Appleberry Ink and bride / Rentals: RSVP Party Rentals / Photo Venues: Neon Boneyard, Las Vegas Sign, Springs Preserve


Tips for a Successful Wedding Venue Scouting Trip to Las Vegas

Doing your homework ahead of a destination wedding is always a good idea, and even better if it’s done in person. It would be great to be able to visit your city of choice multiple times, but in reality, that is just not an option in most cases. So how do you make the best of limited time and budget while on a Vegas scouting trip?

For Las Vegas, a scouting trip is probably best done 7-9 months out, although I did mine 2 months out, so it is possible. Plan for the trip to be over weekdays (Sunday through Thursday) if at all doable, to maximize business hours and to keep your budget low.

Set up meetings with vendors before you leave. Florists, wedding planners (private or on-site), cake tastings, photographers and officiants are all people you should consider meeting. You could also do makeup and hair trials, meet with DJs or entertainment and visit hotels, depending on the amount of time you have to spend.

Other tips:

  • Do as much research ahead of time as possible. Narrow down your list of possible venues to around three to five places to actually view.
  • RENT A CAR! Cabs are easy and buses are affordable, but driving in Las Vegas is very simple and rental cars are cheap. Even when you factor in gas, a rental car can still be cheaper than cabbing it.
  • Try to visit the sites during the time of day you are hoping to hold your ceremony. Keep in mind Vegas can be unbearable from 11am until sunset from May until September!
  • Limit the people you bring with you. Even if your entire extended family is super excited and super involved in the wedding, try to keep your tag-along list small. It’ll just keep things simpler.
  • Bring your camera – and do not just limit to still photographs, shoot video as well. It’ll help you remember things better.
  • If you are holding a multi-site event (i.e., the ceremony and reception are in different locations) consider timing the distance to travel between the places.
  • Perhaps you are considering Las Vegas themed gifts or favors for your guests. Now is a great time to visit stores and pick some up, or see what is available for purchase closer to the wedding.
  • Compose a list of questions to ask your vendors and sites ahead of time. For help, read What to Ask Your Wedding Venue {Real Simple} and 16 Questions to Ask When You Visit Wedding Venues {Glamour}
  • Look for special packages if you already have a good idea of what hotel or chapel you want to use. For example, Mandalay Bay has a “Just Engaged Scouting Trip” package that nets you one to three night’s stay in a suite, a meeting with a wedding coordinator, various other perks depending on how long you stay and 3-10% off your wedding at Mandalay Bay.
  • If you are traveling with your fiance and are a year or less from the date of your wedding, you might consider getting your marriage license on your scouting trip. More information here.

With all of this footwork done, in the days just before the wedding you can then nail down specifics and refine your day of schedule without having to worry!

Photo Credit: LasVegas360




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