I have to admit something: I am obsessed with The Smith Center. The art-deco architecture, the great location and the mix of indoor and outdoor spaces add up to one killer wedding spot. It’s no surprise that Ryan and Danette chose the famous performing arts venue for their romantic wedding.
Dressed up in roses and draping with black and white decor, the venue allowed this couple to shine on their wedding day…and for their wedding party to get a little dancey later on. Every detail was taken care by Scheme Events of and allowed Ryan and Danette to just enjoy their amazing day.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE SMITH CENTER?
It is a beautiful location which gave us a few options when deciding if we wanted an indoor or an outdoor wedding. It gave us an urban city feel while offering the capability to customize the venue to tie into our theme.
THE CEREMONY — Courtyard at The Smith Center
The ceremony was held in the courtyard of The Smith Center, which is a naturally stunning location and the perfect size for our wedding. With the addition of white flowers, white draping, and everyone we loved surrounding us it was everything we could have imagined and more.
THE RECEPTION — Troesh Studio Theater at The Smith Center
The theatre was perfect stage for all to showcase their jokes and dance moves. The night started off with a roast before the toast that had everyone laughing at the jabs from Ryan’s close friends. It led into the jokes and our hidden secrets from Ryan’s brother and best man and the maid of honor. Once the dinner was done and the dancing started there was everything from the Montana country dance, to Bruno Mars, to the Sigma Chi sweetheart serenade (that’s a thing…) everyone had a blast. Even Ryan’s 90-year-old grandparents made an appearance on the dance floor.
The best moment of the day was our first look. We had a quick moment to see each other and have a few moments to ourselves in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the day. It was refreshing to get our focus on each other right before the ceremony when there are so many other things going on around you.
LAS VEGAS WEDDING TIPS FROM RYAN AND DANETTE
Hire a wedding co-ordinator or planner. It made our lives so much easier. We used Scheme Events and our co-ordinator Francesca had an answer for everything. We used all of her vendor recommendations and she was only a phone call away anytime we needed something. We only had one mishap with our venue but Francesca was there to keep Bridezilla from making an appearance…kind of. When Bridezilla came out she just giggled and refocused me.
GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET
We had a budget of $35,000 and a guest list of 100.
I swoon for autumn, I’ll admit it. And a wedding in the fall in Las Vegas? Even better! Christophe and Nicole are two locals who met while working at a high-end restaurant together. They married in the beautiful gardens of the JW Marriott. Can you even tell when looking at the photos that their nuptials were in November?
Nicole was a gorgeous bride with her retro-style makeup look and a wedding dress that evoked old Hollywood glamour. I love that they were able to sneak away from their reception to do some bridal portraits in downtown Las Vegas and on the Strip to finish the night. Be sure to check out their wedding film from Memory Lane for some shots of the reception.
WHY NICOLE AND CHRISTOPHE MARRIED AT JW MARRIOT We chose to marry in Las Vegas because we live here and we both have family all over the globe which made it difficult to pick somewhere; Vegas just made sense for us. After seeing venue upon venue we were starting to become a little discouraged. While i was out looking at venues with my mom we made one last stop at the JW Marriott and fell in love!
THE CEREMONY — Lagoon Patio at JW Marriott Las Vegas
We didn’t want a big wedding and tried to keep things as simple as we could, but still nice. We also got lucky with perfect weather for our outdoor ceremony! For our reception we rented out a small space on the second floor at Spago in Caesars Palace. The food and the service was incredible.
FAVORITE MEMORY Something we will never forget about our ceremony is forgetting our rings! Our officiant was supposed to be carrying them but she didn’t have them…nobody did. Everyone looked like deer in headlights. Christophe ended up using his dad’s ring and I used my sisters. It definitely brought some entertainment.
DIY DETAILS + DECOR All of our centerpieces and table decor at the reception were made by me. Also as the wedding favors, one of my best friends who is a chocolatier special made chocolate boxes and chocolates just for our wedding. Something fun we did at the ceremony was write love letters to each other that we enclosed with a bottle of wine. The plan is on our first anniversary to drink the bottle of wine and read each others letters.
NICOLE + CHRISTOPHE’S WEDDING GUESTCOUNT + BUDGET We had 50 guests at our wedding and ended up spending about $15,000 for everything.
Mo and Casey travelled from Down Under to get married in Las Vegas! Coming from so far away, this couple did things up right and included all the little Vegas touches they wanted, including a mini-concert from Elvis (with showgirls) and a roving magician that delighted guests during cocktail hour. Mo went the extra mile and even surprised her new husband with some surprise guests and a light sabre battle with the Dark Lord, Darth Vader himself. Bently and Wilson Photography captured all the epic moments.
The coolest thing I think they did was a same-day vow renewal (yes, you read correctly) where they did things in that classic Vegas style, at the Graceland Chapel with an Elvis impersonator! Be sure to come back on Wednesday to see their day after wedding “encore” bridal shoot!
Why did you choose Las Vegas? Casey and I (Mo) live in Brisbane, Australia. We met online and just knew it was love from our first date in July 2012. Fast forward 8 months and we decided to get married. Las Vegas was initially a bit of a joke, “Hey, lets go get married in Vegas!” but once I started to Google venues and Vegas weddings – I was hooked. Even though it was literally on the other side of the world, Vegas was exciting and offered a lot more variety for our wedding than what we had at home. It didn’t take much to convince Casey either. We set our date, booked our venues, set up a wedding website then sent out save the dates to 100 friends and family all around the world.
The Ceremony – Chapel at Flamingo Hotel We picked the Flamingo Hotel as a ceremony venue because they allowed outside vendors for a reasonable fee. We also loved the gardens there for a photo opportunity. Initially we were booked to get married outside at the Gazebo but on our scouting trip we fell in love with the newly remodeled indoor chapel. The chapel was so beautiful we didn’t have to add any additional decor. Looking back we are definitely glad we chose this venue.
We didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony so we traveled separately from our hotel to the Flamingo. I waited in the bridal suite until the start of the ceremony and my 6 year old son was our ring bearer and looked great in his little tux. We are so glad we had a videographer as we can hardly recall most of the ceremony. We spent most of the time just grinning at each other truly madly deeply in love and so excited to be finally getting married. We chose to have a civil ceremony and wrote our own vows. It was such an amazing moment when we were announced as husband and wife and our first kiss was electric.
We hosted guests at Carlos n Charlies in the Flamingo Gardens for a short cocktail hour following the ceremony whilst we did a quick photo shoot around the Flamingo. As entertainment we hired Jason Bird to do some strolling magic and our guests are STILL talking about his amazing tricks.
The Reception – Di Carlo & Calabria Rooms at Maggiano’s, Fashion Show Mall We couldn’t go past Maggiano’s for their incredible reputation for great food, value reception packages and the hardwood decor. We dropped off all of our decor two days before the wedding and were very impressed with Maggiano’s set up of our reception. The decor, food and premium open bar absolutely wowed our guests. The ‘LOVE’ lights and uplighting from LED Unplugged transformed Maggiano’s Di Carlo & Calabria room.
Our guests were greeted by Elvis and the Showgirls who performed during the first course of dinner. After the main course we had speeches, our first dance then cut the cake. The rest of the night was a blur of cocktails, great music and amazing desserts. Our last dance was to Dean Martin’s ‘That’s Amore’ and it turned into a great drunken sing along with all of our guests. Nobody wanted to leave when the lights came up.
Any standout memories from the wedding day? The absolute stand out moment from our wedding was the groom’s surprise wedding visit from Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers. Casey is a huge Star Wars fan and loves all things sci-fi and fantasy. He had absolutely no idea that this was even planned. The DJ, who also happened to like Star Wars, transformed the visit from simply a meet & greet photo-op into a full blown epic light sabre battle between Casey and Darth Vader. A truly memorable ending to a perfect wedding day.
And what about that same day vow renewal?
Throughout all of our wedding planning, Casey and I were constantly asked whether our wedding would be in a little chapel with a hip-thrusting Elvis officiant. Unfortunately the stereotype of a Vegas wedding as it is portrayed in the movies is well and truly alive in Australia. To feed the stereotype, and because we think Elvis is super cool, Casey and I decided to have a same day vow renewal at the Graceland Chapel. We were in and out of there within 15 minutes while our guests were on a party bus tour of the Strip. In contrast to our traditional ceremony, Casey and I were able to completely let loose and just have fun. Our Elvis was amazing and made the experience unforgettable. We loved it that much we posted the video on YouTube for all the world to see!
Did you DIY or make anything yourselves for the wedding? Having an international destination wedding made DIY decor really difficult. Luckily, I was able to ship items to our wedding coordinator at Culinary Pros. We really wanted feather centrepieces at our reception but the quotes were outrageously expensive at between $120 – $180 per centrepiece. So we decided to DIY, I purchased everything through eBay and had 13 feather centrepieces at a total cost of $400.
Mo + Casey’s #1 tip for others marrying in Las Vegas
Our top tip for international couples planning to marry in Las Vegas is don’t count on the exchange rate! Unfortunately for us when we started planning the wedding the Australian dollar bought $1.07 US Dollar. About 6 months before our wedding the Aussie dollar crashed to just 80 US cents. So in essence the cost of everything planned for our wedding went up by 27% + the added expenses of international transaction fees. Needless to say we totally blew our budget – but we wouldn’t change a single thing about our perfect day.
[Also] We were completely blown away by Langdon Videography and they were an absolute stand out vendor for us. In my personal view – videography is a MUST for destination weddings because pictures alone just don’t do the event justice particularly when sharing with friends and family who couldn’t travel to the event. Initially I was quoted over $3000 by some of the bigger, more popular cinematic companies in Vegas – but our $1200 package with Langdon Videography went above and beyond our expectations.
Mo + Casey’s Guestcount and Budget
We had 30 guests and our wedding day cost approximately $15,000US not including any attire or travel expenses.
Amanda and Skyler, a couple of Canadians, were wed this December in a ceremony and reception at Emerald at Queensridge. This modern, all-in-one ceremony and reception venue just off The Strip is a great place to set it and forget it – all the details are taken care of, and you can enjoy the day as you get ready in the fantastic bridal salon areas. The palette of red, white and black for this affair is stunningly modern – especially on Amanda’s gown. A gorgeous choice for a chic nighttime garden wedding!
More from Davin, the photographer: The wedding was held at Emerald at Queensridge, one of Vegas’ premier Banquet & Event Caterers. I was thrilled when asked by Amanda if I would shoot her wedding even though her wedding package included an in-house wedding photographer. Amanda’s dress was absolutely stunning & perfectly complemented their Vegas wedding! The hall was beautifully decorated with white linens, black bows around the chairs, & hints of red (including red wall-lighting which surrounded the banquet hall) – the perfect colors for a Vegas wedding!
The night time ceremony took place outside & was illuminated by gorgeous tree-lighting & heat lamps which kept the guests warm. Although a quick ceremony, it was very special especially when Amanda walked down the aisle with her two daughters. Because their package included an in-house wedding photographer, I didn’t end up photographing the entire wedding like I normally would. Instead, I left the formals & dancing photos to the banquet’s photographer & danced the night away…which was no problem.
Las Vegas is probably the best spot to really wear what you want to on your wedding day. It might be a downtown vintage era wedding that would suit a full skirted tea-style little white gown. Or perhaps a luxury lounge ceremony that can support a fashion forward and high drama wedding gown label, much like today’s styled bridal shoot. The city can support so many gorgeous looks and styles!