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.


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.


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!


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!


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!

Elise Kyle Wedding-142logo look2 Elise Kyle Wedding-169logo look3 Elise Kyle Wedding-221logo Elise Kyle Wedding-228-2logo beach1 Elise Kyle Wedding-239_edited-1logoPerfect. Simply perfect. Can you beat that backdrop?

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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

A Wedding Story: Sarah & Jon

Wedding photography is one of those catch 22 sort of things. You can’t really break into the business without experience, but people are (understandably) reluctant to hire a wedding photographer who has never shot a wedding before. The best way to get into the business (and to find out if you really want to commit yourself to wedding photography) is to shoot a wedding with an established photographer. I was lucky that my friend Lane of Lane Baldwin Photography in Cleveland invited me to come and get some experience by shooting Sarah and Jon’s lovely wedding at the Club at Hillbrook with her.  In spite of the sore back and feet at the end of the day, I had a wonderful time and learned a lot. I’m so grateful for this experience with Lane and getting to shoot my first wedding with a couple as warm and friendly as Sarah and Jon, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to shoot more in the future!

Sarah had a hairpiece for the ceremony and another for the reception, as well as these silver shoes for the ceremony and a great red pair for the reception! Love brides who love shoes :)

These are Sarah’s great reception shoes – love the hearts on the soles!

I love how crafty Sarah is – she made all of the invitations herself and each was a little different.

She made the pinecone cake toppers as well, complete with little diamond ring and top hat!

There were about a million gorgeous locations around the venue for photos – and the weather was perfect!

Thank you, Sarah and Jon, for letting me come with Lane to be a part of your special day. Best wishes on the rest of your life together!

Ceremony & Reception: The Club at Hillbrook

Florist: Lowe’s Greenhouse

Makeup: Lindsay London

Cake: Just for You Bakery

Ceremony Musicians: Cleveland Institute of Music

Paper Goods: DIY

Bride’s Dress: Images Bridal

Groom’s Suit: JoS. A. Banks

Cake Topper: DIY

Primary Photographer: Lane Baldwin Photography