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

 

 

 

 

Cara: Old Town Alexandria Maternity Session

You may remember Cara and Mark from their Old Town engagement session a couple summers ago. They were so much fun to spend the day with, so I was beyond excited when Cara reached out to me and said they wanted to get together for another shoot – because they were going to be parents!! So it was back to Old Town with Cara and Mark, and this time we added in their chocolate lab Hercules, who was looking forward to being a big brother and hoping his new sibling is as entranced by squirrels as he is.

The day we met up with SO COLD. I have to give major props to Cara and Mark for being real troopers and sacrificing the warmth of their coats for a few shots. It’s also a good thing we got these photos done when we did, because their daughter made her debut just over a week later!

Cara and Mark, thanks for letting me be a part of another momentous event in your life. I look forward to meeting your expanded family!

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I love Herc’s adorable bow tie! He will be a dapper big brother for sure!

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Cutest. T-shirt. Ever.

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I loved this so much – Cara got an engraved spoon from Etsy and served dessert one night with the spoon, to tell Mark “You’re going to be a Daddy”!

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Jhonna, Ryan, Quinn & Riley: Northern Virginia Maternity and Lifestyle Newborn Photography

Jhonna and Ryan first appeared on my blog in 2012 (!) when they were expecting their first baby, Quinn. Now Quinn is turning into an adorable young lady and is officially a big sister to baby brother Riley!! I got together with Jhonna, Ryan, and Quinn in October for a maternity/family session and then got to see them all again when Riley arrived in November. This is a compilation of both those sessions – they were keeping Riley’s name a secret until he was born and the maternity photos would have given away the first letter of his name, so I couldn’t share some of these until after he arrived!

Needless to say, I adore this family and am so lucky to watch their family grow! Thanks again to all of you for inviting me into these special moments.

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Justin, Sara, Sydney & Rootbeer: A Burke Lake Park Family Session

I always love seeing this family! They are SO much fun, cheerful, wear wonderfully coordinated outfits, and consider their chocolate lab part of the family – and if you know anything about me, you’ll know that makes them awesome in my book! We met up early on a Saturday at Burke Lake Park and had fun exploring (and avoiding a disc golf tournament!) to get these shots. Thanks again, guys, for sharing your family with me for a morning! I hope you had as much fun as I did.

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Amanda & Nick: Cleveland Park Anniversary Session

I had SO much fun with Amanda and Nick! They love their Cleveland Park neighborhood and they decided to celebrate their fifth anniversary with a photo session around some of their favorite places to hang out. They also seem so much like newlyweds and couldn’t stop laughing for the whole session! Anniversary sessions may be one of my new favorite things to shoot – it’s awesome to be able to capture a couple’s love and commitment as it evolves over time.

Amanda and Nick, thanks for sharing your morning and your wonderful corners of Cleveland Park with me!

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