Shai and Kali both live and work in Las Vegas, and elected not only to have a very Vegas wedding … they had four days of Vegas wedding! After all, if you’re inviting friends and family from all over the world, best to be a good host, right? Their wedding itself took place in Tropicana’s chic Havana Room, which was a nightclub at one time but is now just for private events. Not surprisingly their wedding was full of music, very appropriate for the venue. Love all the moments and personal stories Kali shared from her wedding in this post.
WHY LAS VEGAS?
We picked our date solely because it was on a three-day weekend, so people could stay longer and enjoy time in this fantastic city. We had a dinner and table service for about 40 people on Thursday; a rehearsal dinner and hotel suite party on Friday; a fantastic wedding Saturday; and a private room with a bar and brunch for football Sunday.
Anytime someone asked me where we were getting married, I would say Las Vegas followed immediately by, “…but not like a Vegas wedding, we’re not getting married by Elvis!” In our own way, though, it was a very Vegas wedding. After all, we rented a venue on the Strip that used to be a nightclub! The Havana Room at the Tropicana is now used for private events and the moment we stepped into it and saw the incredible chandelier at the center we were sold. My husband, Shai, was born in Jerusalem and so while I am not Jewish, having a Jewish wedding was a no brainer for us.
THE CEREMONY — The Havana Room at Tropicana
While the venue was modern and glamorous, we had many personal and DIY touches, starting with my dress. I had three dresses for the evening, my ceremony gown, my mid-reception dress and my post-reception dress. We wanted to do a first look but I didn’t want Shai to see me in “my” dress before the ceremony so I wore my mid-reception dress … which just happens to have been my grandmother’s wedding dress from 63 years ago. My grandparents were too frail to travel to Vegas for the wedding so I had her dress altered ever so slightly (only change was to fit my bust) and it came out more incredibly than I could have ever imagined. All of our grandparents were/have been married for over 50 years and so they have been such strong examples of love and marriage for us.
Our ceremony was a sweet 20 minute Jewish ceremony. The ceremony was probably my favorite because it was so us. I loved looking around at all of our guests!
THE RECEPTION — The Havana Room at Tropicana
For our first dance, we had a choreographed routine to “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles. While it was always my husband who messed up when we practiced, it was me who almost messed up at the wedding and he saved us. There is one picture of us dancing when I am laughing that was from this moment. Everyone kept coming up to us saying how much they loved it. For the father-daughter dance we started with “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath; a song I grew up singing with my father, before fading into “Daughters” by John Mayer.
I had a garter with a mini flask on it so Shai took off the garter and took the shot! Then, as we are both in the Air Force, my groom and all of his groomsmen serenaded me with “Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” straight out of Top Gun.
With family flown in from Israel we did some Israeli fold dances as well as the hora, when they lift us up in chairs — that was such a blast! The rest of the night was spent dancing nonstop. We put the lighting and sound systems to good use.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR
All of the signs were chalkboards that I wrote and some that I even painted. I also handpainted all of the candle holders throughout the venue (over 50) as well as painting all of the bottle and putting together all of the centerpieces. I also made all of the bouquets and boutonnieres. We had custom kippot (yalmukes) with our names and wedding date for the guests to wear if they wanted and to keep. I didn’t want a white aisle so instead I had a purple one with gold and purple petals, leading up to our beautiful chuppah dripping in crystals to flow with the chandeliers throughout the venue. In addition to wearing my grandmothers dress we had pictures of all of our grandparents framed on our card table. It was our way of having them with us.
My husband had a videographer for our engagement and so before the ceremony started, the projection screen came down and played our video. It was kind of like bringing everything full circle. When everyone else was out, my dad and I had a moment just to ourselves that was really special. I had him take a selfie so we could remember it. I think it really helped calm him. When we finally started walking the aisle (to “Hold On” by Michael Buble) I may have been the only one not crying! I was just so excited I could not stop smiling!
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM SHAI AND KALI
Our advice for couples looking for a wedding in Vegas would be to really take the time to look at all the venues. There is probably no where else in the country where you can find so many venues in such a concentrated area that range in every possible aspect. I had a binder of all the places I inquired with. From there we picked our top seven venues to visit, then we picked the one that fit us the best.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We had about 120 guests and our budget was about $40,000.
VENDOR + VENUE DETAILS :
CAKE . Layers Bakery / BRIDAL FASHION . dress – Casablanca from Patricia’s Boutique, vintage; shoes – Christian Louboutin / HAIR . Hallee Chenowyth at Haute Fringe Salon + Spa / MAKEUP . Kim Katuniss at Square Salon / BRIDESMAIDS . New York and Company / GROOMSWEAR . Express / VIDEOGRAPHY . George Street Photo