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
Opting for a bohemian, relaxed wedding with natural details, Morgan and Erick chose the perfect venue for their day: the Historic 5th Street School. Full of handmade touches (made by the bride and groom and purchased from Etsy artisans) this wedding featured earthy details and tones with a subtle desert vibe. Straight out of the pages of a magazine, florals were stunning as well, completing the lush natural feel at this eclectic downtown Vegas wedding full of personal details.
THE CEREMONY + RECEPTION — Historic 5th Street School
We went with a modern, natural look … minimal, indie-ish, boho. Our colors were mostly jewel-tones. We DIYed candles for our wedding favors! For my bouquet, my focal point was a protea, the rest was dahlias, eucalyptus, and some other random things. My bridesmaids had the same bouquets minus the protea. My flower crown was eucalyptus and peonies. Our ceremony altar backdrop and cake stand was built by my husband out of old pallets. We used a lot of different greens for our table runners and arches, like ferns and different types of eucalyptus. Our wedding stood out from the crowd because of our location — though we were in Vegas, it just didn’t feel like you were in the middle of a big city.
My favorite memory was our first look, it was very calming for me, and if we hadn’t done that, I think I would have lost it at the “altar.” Also, I loved our photobooth, so fun.
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM MORGAN + ERICK:
Hmm, some advice, use all the help you can get! If you have the money, please do find an amazing photographer, it is worth it!! Every penny! Gaby, I can’t say enough good things about her. Also make sure to have a great support group, aka bridesmaids; they are what keeps you glued together through all the emotions.”
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . gaby j photography member of the LVW photography directory
CEREMONY VENUE . Courtyard, Historic 5th Street School
RECEPTION VENUE . Courtyard, Historic 5th Street School
FLORAL . Bud + Vine / CATERING . Memphis Championship BBQ / CAKE . Freed’s Bakery / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – BHDLN, shoes + necklace – Anthropologie, bracelet – Free People, garter – Nestina Accessories / BRIDESMAIDS . Free People + Anthropologie / FLOWERGIRL . Jen’s Pirate Booty / GROOMSWEAR . John Varvatos, Shoes by Aldo, Tie Clip by The Crafty Store / RING BEARER . H&M + Le Beau Tie / RENTALS . RSVP Party Rentals / STATIONERY + PAPER GOODS . Kelli Murray / ENTERTAINMENT . DJ Demario / CAKE TOPPER . michiemay / BARTENDING . Liquid Courage / RING PILLOWS . Scout + Whistle / ALTAR WALL HANGING . Soñadora / PHOTOBOOTH . Smashbooth
Dax and Gee are Las Vegas locals who chose a Strip hotel to get married at. Gee says it was because it was “the only chapel that we’ve been in that didn’t feel cheesy and it felt very intimate.” The chocolate brown and light pink tones keep the chapel very modern and airy, it is one of my favorite Strip chapels, too.
These cyclists chose a tandem bike theme, adding in rustic details like burlap and handpainted signage. (Bikes also showed up at their cute engagement session at Spring Mountain Ranch!) Friends and family drew together to make almost everything at this event personalized by hand; from the decor and cake to the photography, a family member or close friend helped make it happen. Such beautiful work, and full of special meaning.
THE CEREMONY — Garden Chapel at Flamingo Las Vegas
The ceremony was very intimate. We only had our closest family and friends come for the reception since the maximum seating in the chapel was less than 60, but it was the best choice we made. The glass doors, marble floors and beautiful lighting made it ideal for photos.
THE RECEPTION — Maggiano’s Little Italy at Fashion Show Mall
To sum it up the reception was simple awesome! We had 110 guests and Maggiano’s gave us the best package out of anybody in town. The ambiance and family style dinner made it feel like a really big family gathering instead of a wedding reception. The view (of The Strip ) from the banquet hall is exquisite. It didn’t feel crowded or tight, the service was on-point, and all of our guests kept commenting on how much food there was and how they have never expected that kind of dinner for a wedding … and it was the least expensive package they had! And even when I had major brain lapse and had to make changes last minute (like right before we did our grand entrance) our banquet captain and coordinator at Maggiano’s made it happen with no fuss.
DETAILS + DECOR
Every decoration was DIY courtesy my sisters, moms, grandmothers and aunts! That included centerpieces, seating charts, baskets, pillows for the ring, candles and more. Both Dax and I are cyclists here in Vegas and that is why our theme was tandem bicycling!
What stood out the most at our wedding was the amount of love and support we got from our family and friends. In fact, most of our vendors were family and friends. My photographer was my brother-in-law who had to shoot alone as his wife and co-photographer was my matron-of-honor. Our videographer and DJ is a family friend, the photobooth came via a co-worker and our dessert table and cake were made by my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. Even our Pastor is a friend of ours; we were lucky!
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM DAX + GEE
Make it about you two and not what everybody else expects your wedding to be. We had a small budget but our budget went a long way because we did what we believed.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We were able to host 110 guests on a $10,000 budget.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
PHOTOGRAPHER . Alfred & Emma Photography
CEREMONY VENUE . Garden Chapel at Flamingo Las Vegas
RECEPTION VENUE . Maggiano’s Little Italy at Fashion Show Mall
CAKE . Lianamae’s Cake Nook / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – David’s Bridal / BRIDESMAIDS . Nordstrom / GROOMSWEAR . Express / LIGHTING . Elev8 DJs / ENTERTAINMENT . Elev8 DJs / VIDEOGRAPHY . Twentyseven Studios / PHOTOBOOTH . Peek-a-Boothed
Sometimes I’m not sure how I get so lucky, getting to feature the most creative, amazing couples who bring in so many personal details and DIY elements into their weddings. Laren and Sam’s wedding on a bright, sunny day at Las Vegas’s Gilcrease Orchard, photographed by Dennis Dayrit, is no exception.
Be wowed again and again by the bright pops of apple red, the gorgeous setting and the emotional moments at this rustic orchard wedding! Almost every detail of their wedding was handmade by themselves or by loved ones. As Laren, the bride, wrote: “It’s like that saying, it takes a village to raise a child, well it took a village to plan this wedding. We had so much help from our friends and family. People came out to help set up, cook, clean, prep, and design. I have the best friends and family.” If you want to see more of Laren’s creativity, be sure to check out her blog, The Little Lion Girl!
Gilcrease Orchard was an amazing setting for the ceremony and a Godsend. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding but we were having a lot of trouble finding a venue. I had thought that I could use a picnic site from a camping venue only to find out that it wouldn’t be possible only a month before the wedding. That was my mini-wedding meltdown. I think everyone has one. So we emailed a few places, the lodge at Mt. Charleston, Springs Preserve, The Farm, and Floyd Lamb Park to name a few. We knew right away that Gilcrease was it.
Mark, the director, gave us a tour and when he walked us down that aisle through the apple trees it was like magic. We somehow found this little piece of heaven a few miles from home. Everything happens for a reason I suppose.
My mother passed away almost six years ago and before she died we talked about if I ever got married and how we would style it. She was an artist, which is where I got my Photoshop skills from, and told me that if I ever got married it needed to be really unique. She advised that I have no flowers and just do something out of the ordinary but fun. So when I was planning my wedding I kept thinking back to that.
Instead of flowers, and my bridesmaids and I carried umbrellas. Tablescapes had handpainted and dyed bottles and vintage tins from my mother-in-law’s home, filled with an assortment of different plants and feathers. We covered the tables in butcher paper and put pencils everywhere so people would draw on them.
I made my own dress and it cost less than $150, with a red striped belt that was a ribbon from Jo-anns. I designed all the invitations on Photoshop, printed them out on card stock and hand addressed them myself. The music was also all done by me just using good old iTunes and different playlists.
My husband and I built the wedding arch and wrapped it with twigs from a tree that had fallen down in a storm in my in-laws backyard. We also built the keg stand/bar with the help of my father-in-law. All of the candles and soy melt favors came from my dad and stepmom’s candle company, Collective Scents.
All the food was of course homemade. My amazing aunt cooked tons of chili a few nights before and we reheated it in big pots on portable burners. My sweet mother-in-law baked cornbread and after our disaster with the desserts threw together some batches of cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries and even had one of her friends make some cakes in jars, which got rave reviews.
The drinking jars were all ordered online and covered with chalkboard heart stickers that I cut out myself and the plates were all old pie tins that we collected over a year and a half with the help of friends. My in-laws built the photo booth area with the vintage doors and supplied all the dress-up items for the photos from their antique booth at Charleston Antique Mall. When our guests showed up they took photos with an Instamax and that turned into our guestbook. The day was such a success and my friends and family still talk about how much fun it was. I’ve even had requests for a repeat night!
I have so many amazing memories that its hard to pick just one. My 3-year-old niece who was my flower girl calling me a princess. Our groomsman Joe pulling out a unicorn mask and taking shots through it. One of my best friends surprising us with a floating candle ceremony where we lit candles for each other and the people we love and placed them in the pool. Being surprised with our cake. The funny butt picture of all the guys.
Two nights before the wedding my best friend, her fiancé, and brother all came over to help make desserts. It was a nightmare. The only dessert that survived to the wedding was the candied apples. We even tried to put together a cake and it was so poorly done that it ended up falling over. I laughed to tears. Some things are just better saved for the professionals. In the end her mom and dad, who are very much like my own parents surprised us with an adorable two layer cake from Albertsons that looked like a much better version of the cake that fell over. We topped it with a paper cut-out cake topper that was an homage to the haunted mansion. I had to have Disney thrown in my wedding somewhere.
But I think my all time favorite memory was the way my husband had to stop and take a moment just to cry as he was saying his vows, it was the most touching and overwhelming thing I’ve ever been a part of. I hope that everyone gets a chance to feel that loved. This was definitely a wedding put together with love.
Angie Kelly of Peachy Keen Unions was our officiant and she was such a pleasure to work with. She was quick to respond, showed up on time and helped pull everything together and she delivered such a beautiful ceremony. I would recommend her to anyone looking for an officiant. And I can’t forget my photographer! The amazing Dennis Dayrit. His pictures were exactly what we were looking for, and his prices were insane. This guy can’t be beat.
Laren + Sam’s Budget and Guestlist
We were on a very strict budget. We were expecting around 200 people and had to stay under $10,000 for everything including the honeymoon, but I wasn’t willing to compromise on what I wanted for price so I made almost everything by hand.
Vendor and Venue Details:
Photographer: Dennis Dayrit Photography // Ceremony + Reception Venue: Gilcrease Orchard, Las Vegas // Wedding Dress: DIY by the Bride // Hair: Friend of the Bride // Makeup: By the Bride // Catering: Homemade, Alcohol from Costco, Total Wine & More // Cake: Albertsons // Celebrant: Angie Kelly of Peachy Keen Unions // Stationery: Designed by the Bride // Chair and Table Rentals: RSVP Party Rentals // Vintage Furniture: Charleston Antique Mall // Portapotties: All American Waste Services // Candles: Collective Scents // Umbrellas: eBay // Suspenders: eBay
Ashley & Blayne were married at the Las Vegas LDS Temple, and celebrated afterwards with friends and family in a fabulous backyard wedding with a carnival theme. And they went big with the circus theme: a kissing booth and other fair-style attractions and games, pony rides, an actual big top, a carnival-inspired menu and more. They really captured the feel of a real carnival, I think: fun for all ages, and a casual, memorable vibe for a backyard affair. The photos were taken by a new contributor to Little Vegas Wedding: Chauntelle Graf – welcome, Chauntelle!
More on the details of this DIY wedding from the bride, Ashley, follows…
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