Posts Tagged ‘Vegas Wedding Tips + Advice’

Incorporating Lomography and Unique Photo Styles Into Your Wedding Day

I absolutely love vintage photography like Polaroids and Lomographs (I’m not talking Instagram) and love when they are used at weddings. Although brides tend to save them for photobooths or guestbooks, sometimes you might get lucky and get a photographer that believes in the gorgeous depth of film photography or even Polaroids, a once-common, now-obscure photo art. (A Vegas based photographer who likes to use Polaroids is Gaby J)

So what’s the link to weddings? Lomography is gaining in popularity with those willing to get a bit adventurous with their wedding photos, and I think this really works with most Vegas couples. If you are not into tight, posed wedding portraits and favor more spontaneous photo style, you may want to look into Polaroids or Lomography. Lomography is named for the classic LC-A camera which was a cheap camera born in the 80s and includes “toy” cameras like the Diana and Holga. I myself have an action sampler – a plastic cased camera with no viewfinder that takes four photos within seconds of eachother.

The hallmarks to Lomographs are vignetting – darkened edges, bright colors, light leaks and unusual bright and dark patterns, spontaneous moments. It’s a kind of alternative photographic method. It’s a very fun, artistic way to capture your wedding day.

Photos from my wedding, showing Polaroids and the photo table we had set up

Fun ways to incorporate this trend would be to have a toy camera in a photo booth, ask your wedding photographer to use one, or have a friend take shots during the evening. I stocked up on film and left my Polaroid hanging around – people had great fun with it and some of my favorite wedding photos my Polaroids. Sometimes toy cameras do not work that well in dark photos, as is often the case with receptions, but buy a flash or use a Holga at your Neon Boneyard shoot and be stunned by the results.

Drawbacks: They are NOT for perfectionists – light leaks, blurry shots and darkness can alter photos dramatically. But these styles of photography can make a great addition to more traditional wedding photos. Also, it can be an expensive endeavor. You can still buy Polaroid film online through the Impossible project, but it’s pricey. If you go the Lomo route, you have to buy regular film, get it developed and buy the cameras.

You would be well served to use these 10 rules of lomography as you shoot, with a lomo or not, at your wedding or any day!

1. Take your camera with you everywhere!
2. Use it any time of day
3. Lomography is not an interference in your life – but part of it
4. “Shoot from the hip” (try experimental, new perspectives)
5. Get close!
6. Don’t think (by extension: don’t pose)
7. Be fast
8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film…
9. … or afterwards either
10. Don’t follow the rules (even these!)

[photos from clockwise from top left 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

DIY wedding day beauty


Recently a bride on The Knot Las Vegas forum was considering the option of applying her own make up for her wedding. It’s something I did, although not really by choice!

When my hairdresser was a no-show the morning of my wedding, it pushed my schedule into disarray. I had to cancel breakfast and my appointment at the MAC Pro store at Caesars Palace Forum Shops, and had just thirty minutes to apply my own make up. It’s not something I would wish on any bride, and I was very glad I had done a few things to prepare. Although not because I suspected this might happen.

In retrospect, it really worked out for me, although I was excited at the prospect of being pampered and vamped up for the wedding.  My face stayed in place in the heat of Vegas (through an outdoor wedding AND an outdoor shoot after), and because I did it myself, I looked like…well, me. Not to say MAC couldn’t do a great job, but I was worried they might go a bit heavier than I do, and make it look like a little unnatural. I wanted my face to pop in photos, but not THAT much!

Here are some things I did ahead of the week of the wedding to help put my best face forward. I think these should factor into anyone’s timeline and plan to get married.

1- Studied Youtube Tutorials (cost – FREE!)

Because I am not made of money, I only made an appointment for the day of my wedding to have my make up done. I know some brides will have their makeup done for engagement shoots, rehearsal dinners, the wedding day and for a day after shoot, but that wasn’t going to happen. Because I’m quite poor at applying makeup, I educated myself for free by watching basic makeup tutorials on YouTube so I could look great the entire week, and everyday.

These tutorials provided the skills I needed in:

  • long wearing makeup
  • best application tips for photography
  • looking glam but natural

I recommend watching these videos if you want to start somewhere.

Kandee Johnson: Perfect Wedding Day makeup or Perfect Wedding Day Makeup (love this girl!)
Makeup Geek: Easy Makeup for the Modern Bride

There are tons of men and women giving makeup tutorials online, so look for the person who best teaches to your knowledge base, speed of learning and style of makeup you want to go for! There are ones for virtually every skin tone and ethnicity, natural or heavy look, airbrushed and mineral makeup. Look around!

2- Prepped my skin (cost – $0.50 – $80)

I was so distraught over the state of my skin before my wedding I actually looked into seeing a dermatologist, and I started to get monthly facials. A huge expense! I really wanted another option, so I started to shop around and was reading many forums about acne. Such a thing exists! I considered ProActiv and Clarsonic, but decided on Paula’s Choice.

I have loved Paula Begoun since I saw her on Oprah many years ago, and have followed her advice when it comes to cosmetics suggestions, so I was very happy when she came out with her own products. 10 months out from my wedding I was trying to find a way to get rid of blackheads, and came across her line of BHA products. Initially I got some samples – they come in small packets that cost $1-2. They worked well, so I invested, and got some AHA, BHA and moisturizer that completely transformed my skin. It made it more even toned and smoother, and lessened my breakouts which I was still getting in my 30s. Yikes!

For the cost of a facial, I had a few months worth of products. I actually gave up my monthly facials about six weeks in.

Got a new box o’ Paula this week!

This isn’t really an ad for her products, but they did work for me, and they did work for my husband who is now a devotee. I highly recommend checking out her line a year or so from your wedding day if you struggle with fine lines, blackheads, acne or uneven skin. The trial size sample packs make it easy to try at a low cost, starting at $0.50! It has the possibility to work wonders and really make you glow. Not just on your wedding day, but everyday.

3- Product knowledge (cost – FREE to $75)

I am a knowledge junkie, so I surfed around online for suggestions of good products, and booked a trial/tutorial at MAC. They cost a little bit of money, but they will help you pick good colors, give you a face chart and you get an in-store credit to buy product, which I spent on the perfect foundation for me, something I’d never bought. I also asked for tonnes of samples at Sephora and bought and returned a lot of products to find the combination hat worked for me.

As you see in the next section, I was not afraid to try all sorts of products and price ranges.

4- Products upgrades (cost – $25 – $100)

1: Ardell 120 demi black lashes $4 2: MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation $36.50 3: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Lotion $18.95 4: Paula’s Choice 10% AHA Skin Revealing Body Lotion $22.95 5. Chanel Blush Brush $48 6. Korres Mango Butter Lipstick SPF 10 $18 7. Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder $32 8. Make Up Forever Full Cover Concealer $32 9. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer $36

I invested in a few things for my wedding week makeup. I’m a drugstore brand girl who loves to browse at Sephora. I just can’t bring myself to buy all my brushes at that expense! But, I did buy a few things I think are important if you want to do your own makeup:

  • A good blush brush!
  • Excellent foundation that really matches your skin tone the week of the wedding, depending on if you are tanning (faux or not)
  • Waterproof, bombproof concealer
  • Primer for your skin and eyelids
  • Bought a sheer powder for touch ups
  • Learned how to work false eyelashes!

Here’s a tip; Sephora carried mini sizes of many of these products, so if you just want them for a few day’s use, they’re perfect, and a fraction of the cost. I think I got a mini size of the primer for 100 points, so for free, and a mini pot of the face powder for $8. Paula’s Choice, as I mentioned, sells trial packets of her products for about $0.50 and you can sometimes get free shipping.

5- Waxed my brows!

I had a really great esthetician a few years ago who helped me manage my brows before the wedding. I think the arch and taming of the hair really helped me look clean and polished, and I recommend you start this about three wax cycles out from your wedding, just so there aren’t any surprises in terms of breakouts or ingrowns or such. So, approximately 4 months before the wedding, and then get your final wax five to seven days out.
Good luck finding the beauty routine that works best for you, and do not be afraid to do your own make up on the day! Do you have any suggestions for DIY Wedding Day Makeup? Leave a comment!

Having an Green and Eco-friendly Las Vegas Wedding

I know, I know…this blog post title seems like an oxymoron. What is eco-friendly about Las Vegas?

It’s a city built in a desert with huge water consumption rates, buffets and restaurants that ship in tonnes of food from around the world, lots of cars – but hear me out. It IS possible to have an ecologically sensitive wedding there. It’s maybe not the MOST sensible place to have a wedding if being green is one of your biggest priorities in a wedding, but there are some venues you can consider if it’s important to you.

What do these two buildings above share in common…? There are a few venues you might consider above others if you are ecologically sensitive in your everyday life and wish it to extend to your wedding:

ARIA at CityCenter  (above left) is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, hotels in the world to become LEED Gold certified. The property has also received 5 Green Keys from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, the largest international program evaluating sustainable hotel operations. The complex it is in, CityCenter, features a number of ecologically minded points as well:

  • Energy and heat at CityCenter comes from a natural gas plant onsite, which reduces emissions. They also recycle heat to heat the water for the hotels.
  • Water is conserved and recycled. Reductions in water usage are 30 percent and 43 percent within the buildings and 60 percent for landscaping
  • Their limo fleet are natural gas powered
  • Much of the construction waste from the previous hotel (Boardwalk – home of the best hotdogs ever – R.I.P) to exist on the site was recycled and even reincorporated
  • Low-wattage lighting keeps public space lighting more efficient, and native local plants were used in the landscaping to keep water needs lower
  • Window glazing, building shades, and light-colored rooftops reflect the hot desert sun, and help keep cooling costs down in the buildings

You can read more about CityCenter and ARIA’s commitment to the environment here.


Springs Preserve (above right) is a LEED Certified venue, and where I held my wedding, incidentally. They feature an ecologically minded cafe and catering service in addition to a venue that has a clear focus not only on sustainability, but educating visitors about desert living.

They host a series of videos about being a LEED complex, and the various ways they try to live sustainably. This not all just for show, either. I can personally attest to the staff’s commitment to being green. They were very clear about reusable water dispensers and compostable cups instead of bottled water. Their catering department and cafe focuses on locally grown, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Meetings and other events, not just weddings, focus on environmentally responsible practices and sustainability.

Your guests also have access to the gardens and education centers of the Springs Preserve, perfect for entertaining in between events.

As far as venues, the Desert Living Center uses green construction and exist to educate visitors about green design. It’s also a great place for a reception, as the indoor spaces feature recycled carpeting, straw bale insulation, and cooling towers. There is solar power, wind power, recycled everything, xeriscaping and very little grass to sustain – making almost all of their venues ecologically minded.

Seriously – Springs Preserve is so amazing, even if you do not have your wedding there, I recommend you visit to learn more about desert living, the history of Las Vegas and think about your future.

There are also a few vendors you might consider if you want to keep it ecological and elegant:

The Las Vegas florist An Octopus’s Garden will source and use native and local plants and flowers. They also suggest you rent vases and containers, and focus on using entire living plants for tablescapes instead of cut flowers. The florists shy away from using preservatives to make the flowers last long, and to save them from being dumped into the environment afterwards. They use succulents and grasses native to Nevada, and use natural elements like wood, stone and sand to help decorate instead of plant material.

Las Vegas stationer and designer Visionary Pen run a letterpress that is human powered and use non tree based paper, made from cotton, bamboo and even elephant dung! They are conscious of ink materials, and use their extra paper and cut offs for other projects, or donate them to schools. How awesome are they?!

And to get to the reception? You can corral every one together at a central location and have an EarthLimo bus pick them up. EarthLimo is a Vegas company that uses biodiesel, liquefied petroleum gas  and hybrid technology in their buses, limos and shuttles.

You might also consider reducing your impact before and during your event as well: electronic invites or recycled paper and water soluble ink. Buying local to reduce transport. Thinking about how often you need your bedsheets and towels washed in your hotel. Consider spending a bit more money and renting glassware and plates for any showers, parties or events around your wedding. These are all factors you can consider even if you do not want to go with a certified “green” venue.

For real Las Vegas green couple wedding power, check out this wedding highlighted on Eco-Beautiful Weddings. It’s amazing!

Photo credit: Voyages Destination, Lovely Las, An Octopus’s Garden

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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