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 & 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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Brett, Lindsay, Audrey & Mosby: An Aldie Mill Family Session

I was SO excited to do this shoot! Brett has been a good friend of mine for several years now, and his daughter Audrey is just a peach. He’s getting married to wonderful, beautiful Lindsay in summer. This was the first time I got to meet Lindsay and I thought she was just delightful. She fits so well with Brett and Audrey and they were all so natural together. And then there’s Mosby, who is just a big slobbery, smiley goof. It was a very chilly afternoon when we met at Aldie Mill for our shoot, but they smiled right through it like pros. I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Stacey & Frank: Virginia Tech Engagement Session

In some ways, I think doing photo shoots for friends is even harder than doing them for strangers. Even though I always want to do good work for all my clients, my friends and family are the people who have always been there for me and supported me – and are supporting me by hiring me to do their photos – of course I REALLY want to take great photos for them.

So, I was a bit nervous going into this engagement session. Stacey and I were roommates our freshman year at Bethany College. While I think we can both agree that it was a bit crazy of the college to put two only children in the same dorm room (“Oh, you’ve never shared anything in your life? Here, share a space the size of a jail cell!”), we’ve managed to stay friends over the years. Being friends for so long means we’ve seen each other through several relationships, and I was thrilled for Stacey when she and Frank started seeing each other. It didn’t take long to become clear that she was happy in a way that was different than she had been before.

This was my first time meeting Frank, and I have to say, they are a great match. I am not sure I ever would have put them together if I was picking people out of a stack, but seeing them together, they balance each other so well. We met up in Blacksburg to take their photos at Virginia Tech.

Why VT? Frank went to school there and is a football season ticket holder. One of their early dates was a trip down to VT for a game (what a date!) and, Stacey says, VT is where she realized she was really in love with Frank. Doing photos there seemed to make perfect sense, so I met up with them in Blacksburg on a football weekend for photos at Lane Stadium and around campus. It was a gorgeous day for photos and the campus was a great backdrop.

Had to touch the Hokie Stone for good luck before the shoot!

Frank isn’t a big smiler, but I finally got him!

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Two of Stacey’s favorite things – a cupcake and her bling

Saving the best for last – I think this may be my favorite of the whole session

Thank you, Stacey and Frank, for having me shoot your engagement session. I can’t wait to celebrate with you guys!

Location: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (permission to shoot in Lane Stadium must be requested from the university – there are no guarantees permission will be granted)

Save the Date Lollipops: Vintage Confections

Cupcakes: The Cupcake Ladi