Rachel and Joe’s Las Vegas Elopement

las vegas wedding

This lovely British couple married in Las Vegas and wanted to share their story. Rachel, originally from Surrey and Joe, from Leeds now live in Manchester. They met through work at an advertising agency, and Joe took Rachel to the dump for their first date! Rachel now runs the Career Break Site.

They had been together for ten years before they got married. “I think it’s important to get to know someone really well!” said Rachel. Joe proposed while they were on holiday, and Rachel was so surprised that she didn’t even say yes at the time. The couple knew they wanted to start a family and being married before having children was important to them. She did say yes eventually, though, and they were engaged for two years before they actually tied the knot.

They had already made the decision that an elopement would suit them so they kept it a secret. They never discussed any option but Las Vegas. They wanted to elope and of course Vegas is the ultimate eloping destination! Rachel had visited Las Vegas a couple of times before and really liked it, and they planned to have their honeymoon in California.

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They were both very busy so they booked the whole package through Trailfinders. The package includes a ceremony at the ‘A Special Memory’ wedding chapel, a huge limousine, and a photographer. Rachel told me that when they were leaving he said ‘See you again’ which she didn’t think was very appropriate! Aaah, Vegas, how I love you!

Rachel and Joe stayed at the Aria for the few days they were in Vegas. They speak highly of the breakfast buffet and said their room was lovely. The night before their wedding they met up with a friend of the family who lived in Ls Vegas, who took them to an off-Strip, non-touristy restaurant, which they enjoyed. After dinner he drove them up and down the strip and told them about the history of the various casinos.

Rachel wore a red jersey dress (she wanted something that would not crease in her suitcase) and red heels. She wasn’t too keen on having flowers, but they come with the package, so she carried a single white rose. Joe wore jeans. He never wears suits, but he did go to the effort of ironing his shirt. Their witness was an old school friend of Rachel’s who now lives in Las Vegas. She was the only person let in on the secret of their elopement. Rachel said that she was so nervous during their ceremony that she doesn’t remember any of the vows, so she was please that the officiant was able to keep the ceremony short.

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Rachel says that their families were quite pleased that they had eloped, after all, they didn’t have to organize or pay for anything, and they had a little celebration with their families when they got back.

Rachel say she thinks a Vegas wedding is great for those who don’t feel the need for a ‘proper’ wedding and she doesn’t think friends and family mind as much as you might think they will. “In fact, I spoke to someone whose daughter was due to get married shortly after and when I told her I eloped, she said she wished her daughter had been as kind,” she told me.

The epilogue to Rachel and Joe’s Las Vegas wedding arrived nine months later. He’s called Nate and they are absolutely thrilled with him.

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Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel

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I recently attended the wedding of a British couple at this little chapel. There are several chapels on Las Vegas Boulevard (otherwise known as the Strip) but this is the only on at this South end. It is a little way down and the other side of the road from the Mandalay Bay, and a little way up from the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign”.

They offer several different packages, from a $260 basic ceremony plus a few photos to a $3100 package where they provide flowers, a limo, lots of photos and online webcast of the ceremony. We had their $2100 package and everything was lovely. A limo collected the bride, her mother, and myself from the Cosmopolitan, and we had bottles of water in the back, their more expensive package comes with champagne. We didn’t need it, I had picked us up a couple of bottles on the way that morning, so we had a glass or two in the room.

vegas chapel bench

We arrived at the Chapel, and the groom and guests were waiting for us under their pretty garden pagoda, providing some much-needed shade. Their office staff were as pleasant in person as they had been by email and come out to greet us and give us our flowers. The officiant arrived and was careful to usher the groom and guests into the Chapel without seeing the bride. We had photos of the bride and her party before going in, then photos all the way through the ceremony. The officiant performed a lovely ceremony, all by heart, so he has obviously performed quite a few of these. The couple were able to tell their friends and family back how to watch the ceremony online, so they could feel like they were involved too. More group photos in the chapel and then off to the famous sign for our photos there. Then we went back to the Cosmopolitan, where they were staying.

vegas chapel inside

The offices and bathrooms are not too photogenic, but the couple don’t really see them, and they are far from your wedding photos. The staff are all pleasant and efficient, and everything ran quickly and smoothly. The couple received their marriage certificate within a week or so of return from their honeymoon.

The garden and lawn are pretty and provide a nice backdrop. The chapel is wooden, inside and out, and tastefully decorated. There is enough seating inside the chapel for a very large party by Vegas standards, and there is a good-sized parking lots outside. This is one of my favorite non-casino chapels. I like the location and I like the chapel itself.

vegas chapel pagoda

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Annie and Mick’s Las Vegas Wedding Vow Renewal

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Annie and Michael Lampard from Stratford upon Avon, in the UK met in high school. They liked each other, but were both very shy back then, too shy to do anything about it. They grew up and both got married to other people, but those marriages ended and eventually they got together when we were 35 and 36 respectively. They got married in 1991.

Mick had always wanted to go to Las Vegas, and his 60th birthday was coming up. They booked five days at the MGM. Coincidentally, Annie and Mick’s 20th wedding anniversary was coming up that same year, so Mick suggested that while they were in Vegas celebrating his 60th birthday, they might renew their wedding vows too.
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Annie and Mick are a fun couple, and they briefly considered a “hound dog wedding’ which would be conducted by an Elvis lookalike. In the end they chose the renew their vows while in a helicopter flying over the Las Vegas strip at night. Annie said “that proved to be one hell of an experience” and they cannot recommend it enough.

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They chose a cowboy theme for their outfits, Annie’s cowboy boots were white leather, and, as you can see from the photos, she looks great in them, especially along with the tiara! Mick wore a black Stetson type hat with his cowboy gear. Annie’s flowers were white roses. She did her hair herself but had found a make-up artist to come to the hotel room for just $35.

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Some of the couple’s family thought they were a little crazy doing this in Las Vegas, but Annie’s son and daughter-in-law thought it was great idea and came along to Vegas to join in the celebrations.

The four of them were collected from the hotel by a white limo in the early evening to be taken to the airport. They had a bridal bouquet, buttonholes, a bottle of champagne and a wedding cake all waiting for them in the limo. At the airport they met with the minister, photographer and wedding organizer to go through all the procedures for the ceremony. They made sure to get lots of photos taken before, during and after the flight. After leaving the airport they all had a meal in the ‘Wild Onion’ restaurant in Hooters and shared their wedding cake with some of the waitresses.
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They certainly made the most of their five days in Las Vegas, seeing the surrounding areas. One day they visited the Grand Canyon, and drove to Utah another day. They spent one evening in the Downtown area of Las Vegas, eating at the Main Street Station casino, which they enjoyed. The Strip does have so much to see, though, and they spent a lot of time trying out all those casinos.

Annie said “Vegas is a great place to marry or renew your vows. It’s a very exciting city so much to see and do. Very glitzy and has become our favorite destination to date, so much so we went again 2012 and we hope to return again and again!”

For more information on planning your Las Vegas wedding, email Claire or visit her website. For updates, “like” the Las Vegas Bridesmaid page on Facebook.

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Weather in Las Vegas

weather

It will not come as a surprise to many people that weather in Las Vegas is quite often hot and sunny. I am asked about the weather in Las Vegas quite often, by my friends back home in England, and also by couples asking me to organize their weddings for them as part of my Las Vegas wedding planning business.

Las Vegas is a city in the Mojave Desert. So, we do enjoy sunshine all year round. We have 300 days of sunshine a year on average. But that leaves around two months’ worth of not-so-sunny days. Vegas does have seasons, which I find surprises some people.

The Winter months are pretty mild compared to most places, around 15C or 60F in the daytime, and usually accompanied by strong sunshine in the middle of the day. The sun sets early in the day in the Winter, at around 4:30pm, then it gets quite cold quite quickly in the Winter. We see temperatures around the freezing level most nights during December through February. The Winter is not especially rainy, though we do see some rainy days, we also get a few sandstorms, but these tend to be away from the Strip. The mountains around Las Vegas do see some snow, and you can even do a little skiing on Mount Charleston.

High Summer is hot. August, the hottest month, sees daytime average temperatures of 39C or 103F. The sun will be too strong for being outside for any length of time to be pleasant. However, this means that nights are also very warm, with low temperatures of around 23C or 74F. The benefit of being in the desert is that the heat is very dry, and it is often humidity that makes us sweat a lot. Another drawback of August is that this month can bring the few rain storms that we see in Las Vegas.

Spring and Fall are very lovely in Las Vegas, and these seasons last the longest. We have long, sunny days and the temperatures can be quite hot, but depending on the time of year, cool enough to be outdoors comfortably, especially at the beginning and end of the day.

Month High Low
January 58° F (14° C) 34° F (1° C)
February 63° F (17° C) 39° F (4° C)
March 69° F (21° C) 44° F (7° C)
April 78° F (26° C) 51° F (11° C)
May 88° F (31° C) 60° F (16° C)
June 100° F (38° C) 69° F (21° C)
July 106° F (41° C) 74° F (23° C)
August 103° F (39° C) 74° F (23° C)
September 95° F (35° C) 66° F (19° C)
October 82° F (28° C) 54° F (12° C)
November 67° F (19° C) 43° F (6° C)
December 58° F (14° C) 34° F (1° C)
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Celebrity Las Vegas Weddings

I am told that Las Vegas issues approximately 120,000 marriage licenses a year. That’s quite a lot of people walking down quite a lot of aisles, so it stands to reason that some of them will be celebrities. Possibly the most famous would be Elvis Presley and Priscilla Anne Beaulieu in 1967, but there have been plenty more celebrity unions in Las Vegas since then.

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow:
Another of Las Vegas’ very famous residents, Frank Sinatra, aged 50 at the time, married a much younger Mia Farrow, then 21. They married in a private ceremony at the Sands on July 19 1966. Unfortunately their union only lasted two years, Mia was served with divorce papers in front of everyone on the set of “Rosemary’s Baby,” and the divorce was finalized in 1968.

mia frank

Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford:
The Hollywood super-couple married in the Little Church of the West on the Strip in 1991. Their marriage was always overshadowed by rumours that Richard was gay. They divorced in 1995.

Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie:
In the days before she met Brad Pitt and became half of “Brangelina”, when she was just 24, Angelina Jolie married Billy Bob Thornton, 20 years her senior. This was back in May 2000, not long after she got her prominent “Billy Bob” tattoo. Angelina was marrying for the second time, Billy Bob for the fifth. They married in jeans at the lovely Little Church of the West at the South end of the Strip. Both of them were doing crazy-in-love things at the time, such as wearing vials of each other’s blood around their necks. The marriage lasted until 2003.

angelina billy bob wedding

Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley:
The Bon Jovi frontman married his sweatheart back in 1989 at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. I am pleased to report that they are still together and have two children.

Ross Geller and Rachel Green:
OK, OK, they’re not real people, but super-popular Friends characters, the on-again off-again couples Ross and Rachel had a hilarious drunken wedding at a fictional Las Vegas Chapel. Monica and Chandler were together at the time, and had been rolling died to decide whether they should have a wedding. Fans were thrilled to see them finally get married, even though it did end in divorce, the third for Ross.

Noel Gallagher and Meg Mathews:
Oasis’ Noel married his bride at the Little Church of the West with an Elvis impersonator. In a nod to Oasis’ greatest influencers, Beatles music was played quietly on a piano during the ceremony.

Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander:
The pop singer was in Vegas for New Year’s ’03/’04 back when she was 22. She decided to extend the party by marrying her childhood friend, Jason Allen Alexander at the Little White Wedding Chapel in early January. She didn’t go for traditional wedding attire in choosing a baseball cap, jeans and a t-shirt, and a hotel bellman walked her down the aisle. This marriage famously ended a 55 hours later.

Axl Rose and Erin Everly:
After a proposal of “marry me or I’ll kill myself” by Guns ‘N’ Roses front man Axl Rose, lucky for him, Erin agreed. She was reported to be his inspiration for his song “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. They married on April 28, 1990 at Cupid’s Wedding Chapel. Just three weeks afterwards, Axl filed for divorce, soon after that they reconciled only to get annulled less than a year later.

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf:
This is not the typical union you expect from a Las Vegas wedding, but Vegas born-and-bred Andre married tennis champion Steffi Graf in a private ceremony in their Las Vegas home. They still live in Las Vegas now with their two children.

Mike Tyson and Lakiha Spicer:
High profile boxing champion Mike married his girlfriend and mother of his two children, Lakiha, who lived in Henderson, just outside of Vegas in 2009. His third marriage, they had their ceremony at La Bella Wedding Chapel.

Sinead O’ Connor and her therapist, Barry Herridge:
The couple got married in the back of a pink Cadillac at the Little White Chapel in Vegas, her fourth marriage. Seventeen days later, ex-nun Sinead announced their marriage ended, then some time after that she announced they were reunited.

elvis_priscilla_wedding

Elvis Presley and Priscilla Anne Beaulieu:
Last but certainly not least, when Elvis was 32 and reportedly the highest-salaried entertainer in the world, he married Priscilla Anne Beaulieu, who was 21. They had their ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel at 9am in a quiet ceremony in the hotel owner’s suite.

For more information on planning your Las Vegas wedding, email Claire or visit her website. For updates, “like” the Las Vegas Bridesmaid page on Facebook.

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A Wedding Breakfast at the Cosmopolitan

view from cosmopolitan vegas

I was recently involved in organizing a wedding in Las Vegas for a British couple and their guests. They had a small party, themselves and six guests. They were staying at the Cosmopolitan on the Strip and they had their ceremony at the Little Church of the West.

They had solid plans for the evening, they had tickets for everyone to see fabulous Beatles LOVE show at the Mirage after an early dinner at Smith and Wollensky on the Strip. Our challenge was to find somewhere for a few drinks and some small snacks just after their ceremony. They didn’t want a full lunch, because they were having that early dinner, and they wanted to flexible on timings, because they were not completely sure how long the ceremony and photos would take, and did not want to rush them. Ideally, they wanted somewhere not too far from where they were staying, the Cosmopolitan. And, they had come all this way to Las Vegas in October from the UK, where it is pretty chilly at this time of year, so they wanted to be outdoors if possible.

My first suggestion was any one of the nice restaurants in the Bellagio, that have views out on the the fountains. But, no, they do not have an afternoon cocktail hour, they require customers to buy a meal, and many were not open during this mid-afternoon period we wanted. We considered the Rhumbar in the Mirage, an outdoor bar with seating, which not only gets some sunshine but also had happy hour during the time we wanted to be there. We also considered the bar and restaurant at the top of the Mandalay Bay, close to where they were having their ceremony, but they were closed in the afternoon too. It seems easier said than done to get a little sunshine with our drinks on Las Vegas!

The couple had been fortunate enough to be able to upgrade to a suite in the Cosmopolitan. They had a closet and guest bathroom, and a small kitchen area with a large fridge, and a living room area that was separated from the bedroom. They were on the fifteenth floor on the North side of the hotel, so, instead of a view of the Pool, as the South side gets, they had a vast views of the Bellagio fountains, some might say a better view than the restaurants in the Bellagio itself. The Cosmopolitan offers an impressive room service menu, including a party drinks and nibbles selection. So, we decided to have the wedding breakfast in their suite. We ordered a cheese and crackers plate, vegetables and dip, fruit, and enough glasses for us all. I picked up some champagne and beer on the way. It was a lovely, relaxed break in the day and in my opinion, worked better than any of the other options we considered could have done. We were able to have a toast on the balcony, mingle with all the guests, watch the fountains, exchange gifts, refill our own glasses, and keep picking at the food whenever we wanted. Some of the party were able to pop down into the casino for a quick spot of gambling, and take a few photos with tables and the dealers since it was still a fairly quite period.

The suite was spacious and lovely. The furniture was very modern and mostly purple, so just to my taste. There were enough places to sit for our small party, and we could sit outdoors in the sun or come indoors to cool off as we wished. And of course we had that awesome view. I loved this location for a Vegas wedding breakfast.

For more information on planning your Las Vegas wedding, email Claire or visit her website. For updates, “like” the Las Vegas Bridesmaid page on Facebook.

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TOP 10 REASONS TO HAVE A DESTINATION WEDDING

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I am a wedding planner and have been organizing destination weddings for couples getting married in Central Park, New York City for some time and, more recently, weddings in Las Vegas.  Sometimes couples who contact me are weighing up the pros and cons of a wedding at home versus a destination wedding.  Sometimes they are considering a couple of different locations for  destination wedding.  There are many reasons why couples choose to have a destination wedding, here are my top ten.

simplifies the guest list – if you have a wedding at home this can often lead to feeling the obligation to invite everybody you know, and everybody your parents know!  Many couples would prefer not to spend their entire wedding day doing the rounds, and chatting with distant relatives who they haven’t seen since childhood, isn’t it better to spend the most important day of your lives with the people most important to you? The more distant acquaintances are least likely to be able to make a destination wedding, so this keeps the guest list nice and short, and the couple is more easily forgiven for not inviting the bride’s sister’s hairdressers’ cousin.

memories – of course the couple and their immediate family will remember their wedding as a very special day, but often for he guests all those family weddings at home tend to merge into a memory of one big wedding.  Make your special day unique for your guests, too and go somewhere different and do something unique to you!  A  different location allows for more creativity with the venue, food, activities and attire, and your photos will really stand out.  You could even add some local wedding traditions of the destination!

costs – a destination wedding can turn out to be the economical option because it tends to keep the guest list smaller.  If you just take your close family and friends with you, that can keep to budget down.  In some cases the guests may pay for their own travel or hotel, which of course makes a huge difference to the budget.  You could ask your guests to pay for their own travel expenses as their wedding gift to you instead of traditional gift, who needs more towels and toasters?  Many hotels and travel agents offer packages for special event groups.

reduce needless anxiety – don’t waste time and effort visiting dozens of venues in your area, and worrying about who should sit with whom at the wedding breakfast or all the other details that the guests may not even notice!  A destination wedding often involves fewer guests so should allow the couple to spend more time thinking about important things, like sharing their wedding day with their loved ones.  In a lot of cases this means less worries about the weather being good, if you choose a location with sunnier or more predictable climes than your own.

combination – going away for a wedding can combine a family reunion, sightseeing, family bonding, romantic travel a fun vacation with all the most important people in your life and your big event all in one, and this makes it something special for everyone involved.  Kill two birds with one stone, and find a location that would provide something interesting for the couple and the guests, that way you will still be talking about the fun you had together at your Ruby wedding anniversary!

it keeps the groom happy – it’s his day too, you know!  And boys get excited about going to new places, and they can be involved in organizing the events the couples do with their guests, this is far more interesting for the guys than picking out flowers, colors or wedding favors.

gets a professional involved – a destination wedding often involves hiring someone to help out with the organization side of things.  This takes a lot of stress off the couple, and allows them time to relax and enjoy the scenery.  The couple don’t have to search through the venues themselves, or meet with dozens of photographers, if you can find a wedding planner that listens and communicates well, and is on your wavelength, then they can take a lot of weight off your shoulders.  They can use the tried and tested team of people they have used regularly, and the couple can be assured that all will run smoothly on their special day.  In many cases a professional wedding planner will have preferential rates from their team, due to passing them such a lot of business, so can offer very competitive prices.

minimize possibilities of feuds – the bride and groom are often from different towns, or even countries, and choosing one home town over another may cause difficulties within families.  If the home town of one of the families is chosen over another, it could be seen as that family having the upper hand over the organization of the day.  If the destination is somewhere different for both sides of the couple, this levels things, and will make that location a special place for the future.

provide a more easily accessible location – if the bride and groom are from different home towns, and perhaps live and work in a third town, the majority of guests will have to travel to attend the wedding anyway.  Not all towns have great hotels and places for people to stay, and often guests find they have to travel to the reception, and then further travel to their hotel, if you choose to have a destination wedding, you instantly have more places to choose from, and you can choose somewhere with lots of appropriate available accommodation that is easy to get to and from the reception.  In many cases it might be that it is easier to choose a destination that could serve as a midpoint, and reduce travelling for many of your guests.

everyone really gets to know each other – this is a great way for the bride and groom’s separate families to spend intimate time together and really bond and become part of each other’s families.  In many weddings in this modern age, the couples’ parents don’t always know each other so well, and this could be a great opportunity for getting to know each other’s whole families.  Because weddings away from home tend to take a few days rather than a few hours the whole party can spend a lot more time enjoying the event.

For more information on planning your Las Vegas wedding, email Claire or visit her website.  For updates, “like” the Las Vegas Bridesmaid page on Facebook.

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