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


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  3. Rachel Garcia

    I LOVE the picture of you finding out that he forgot his pants! Hilarious!

  4. Kelly

    Oh man. I love Ryan (the photographer), but I was SO UPSET in that moment and felt so vulnerable!

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