Travel: Grand Canyon and My Own Las Vegas Wedding

I’ve been a slacker on this one, but figured it might be time to get around to blogging some of my 2015 travels, to include my biggest adventure – heading off to Las Vegas for a week for good food and drinks, a Grand Canyon side trip, and…getting married!! My now-husband, Jared, and I decided that we were really excited to get married, but didn’t want to have a big bells-and-whistles wedding – it just wasn’t the best fit for us. So we called up our two best couple friends – Jen and Matthew and Chris and Annie – and said “so…if we were to get married in Vegas, would you come?” And that’s how we ended up in Vegas with some of our best friends, getting hitched! So I wanted to share some photos from Las Vegas, our day trip to the Grand Canyon, and a few of our wedding pics – I shot the details myself, and then the photographer from our resort shot the ceremony and posed shots after. I hope you enjoy this quick peek at our special day and great vacation!

If you haven’t been to the Grand Canyon, GO. I planned this excursion (we used Pink Jeep Tours) as one of those “we’re this close, we should go” sort of things…and I didn’t regret a minute of it. It is a breathtaking spot and there is no photograph that can really convey the breathlessness of it. Just go.
On the drive back, we stopped at the Hoover Dam briefly. We didn’t do the tour, but it was still impressive to see from the outside and hear some of the history.

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This was Jared’s first time in Vegas, so of course we had to wander and enjoy the strip at night. We hit up Lago at the Bellagio for dinner and the watched the fountains outside after.

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The day before the wedding, Jen and Annie and I hit up the Grand Spa and then had a delightful lunch at Paris overlooking the Bellagio and its fountains. As a side note, the guys went to Hooters for wings and played KISS mini golf because, yes, apparently that’s a thing.  That night, we all met up and went for delicious tapas at Julian Serrano. We also spent some time drinking at the The Chandelier, because who wouldn’t want cocktails inside of a massive sparkly chandelier? vegas7vegas6Vegas-34logo

Vegas gets an average of 4″ a rain a year, and I felt like it all came down during the week we were in town! Luckily it didn’t affect our plans too much – and we were rewarded with a rainbow as we looked out our hotel window on our wedding day!

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My favorite saying after the ceremony was “if you’re not poolside an hour after you’re wedding, you’re doing it wrong”. Aside from getting married, perhaps the best decision we made the whole trip was renting a pool cabana to hang out in the rest of the day. Our own private space with food, drinks, and the opportunity to float on the lazy river. Can’t beat it! We had just enough time after the pool closed to grab quick naps, then clean up and head to dinner at Voodoo Steakhouse and catch the Penn and Teller show, where Jen, Matthew, and Jared all ended up getting on stage!

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Overall, this was an amazing trip. I always say every couple should walk away from their wedding feeling like it was exactly what they had hoped for, and we definitely felt that way with our Vegas getaway!

 

Wedding Day Info:

Accommodations and Ceremony Location: MGM Grand

Bridal Gown: Rene Ruiz @ Nieman Marcus

Bridal Shoes:  Christian Louboutin

Groom’s Suit: no idea, but his only instructions were to wear a suit that didn’t start with “bathing” or “birthday” so….

Ceremony & Wedding Portrait Photography: Cashman Photo

Wedding bands (including bride’s custom engagement ring and bands): Jared

Bridal Jewelry and Bridesmaid Gifts: Konplott

Cupcakes and mini-cakes: Corner Cakes, MGM Grand

 

 

 

 

Elise & Kyle’s Laid-Back Beach Wedding

You may remember Kyle and Elise from the surprise engagement scavenger hunt that Kyle sent Elise on, ending with a sparkly ring, a big “yes”, and a celebration with some of their closest friends at one of their favorite local hangouts. Well, they got married in October in a low key beach celebration in Florida and I was lucky enough to go along for a few days and capture the festivities.

Elise and Kyle, thank you so much for having me be a part of your day! Your wedding was simply lovely and everything about it captured who you are as a couple and showed how much you care about each other and your friends and family. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and gorgeous sunsets together!

prep1Elise’s dress was STUNNING and, depending on the light, it would alternate between white and this lovely blush color. So perfect!

prep4I love me some shoes and thought it was so cool the guys’ shoes took center stage at this wedding! Kyle had custom-painted kicks for himself and his groomsmen in Doctor Who and Star Wars themes. prep5 prep3 prep2 Elise Kyle Wedding-117-2logo look1

Kyle and Elise opted to do a first look before the ceremony. I loved how excited they both were!

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Beau was somewhat less than thrilled. “Hey, guys, can we hurry this up? I know food comes next!”

ceremony4They opted to do a handfasting ritual during their ceremony, which I thought was a lovely and unique touch.

 

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Wedding favors for the guests: “Nice Day for a Wit Wedding”, a beer homebrewed by the couple! They took a few minutes between the ceremony and reception to sample some themselves on the balcony of the beach house.

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Brunch reception! What a fun idea – omelet bar and mimosas – you can’t go wrong!

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After the reception (but before the after party!) we snuck back out to the beach for some sunset shots and I was SO glad we did. Perfect ending to their wedding day!

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Wedding day info:

Ceremony Site: Serendipity on the Shore

Reception Site: Seabreeze Island Grill

Wedding Coordinator: Kelly Manke, Simple Weddings

Bridal Gown: Icon Bridal & Formal

Groom’s Wear: custom suit

Jewelry & Accessories: various, Etsy

Cake: Publix

Hair: Corie Jean, Create You Salon

Invitations, Makeup, & DJ: Friends of the couple

Favors: Homebrewed Belgian wit-style beer

Honeymoon: Relaxation at the beach house and a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Cara & Mark: Old Town Alexandria Engagement Session

These two are pretty much the perfect couple. Seriously. It’s SO easy to see how much they love each other. They’re cute and they’re goofy and it was easy to see how much they enjoy just being together! And I love their story – dated in high school, went their separate ways after graduation, got back in touch, did the whole “hey, we should visit and catch up” thing, and then Mark popped the question, complete with family and fireworks (no, really, there were fireworks)! How is that not perfect?

They’re also very accommodating – they were willing to get up at the crack of dawn to meet along the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria for their shoot, which they rocked, in spite of the drizzly start to our day!

Cara and Mark, thank you so much for having me do these photos for you! I had such a fun time with you both and hope you enjoy your Washington (State!) wedding in November! Best wishes to you both!

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Mark & Linda’s Ben Breman Park, Alexandria Engagement Session

I was excited when I got my first message from Mark. I had donated a gift certificate to the Yellow Ribbon Fund as an auction item, and Mark got the gift certificate from the auction and wanted to use it for engagement pictures with his fiancee, Linda! I knew they’d be great people because they were supporting a great charity, but I really knew they were awesome when they told me they met at a neighborhood martini night. :)

We had fun checking out their neighborhood park, Ben Brenman Park – it’s sort of tucked away in an Alexandria neighborhood and I’d never realized it was there! Really cute place – lots of walking trails, a great lake with fountains, cute gazebo. Definitely a great place to spend some time with these two.

Thanks again, Mark and Linda, for having me out to do your photos – it was wonderful to meet you both!

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