Archive for the ‘Las Vegas Wedding’ Category

10 Reasons I Love My Vegas Wedding!!!!   Leave a comment

1. It’s an AWESOME destination within only a few hours drive!

Vegas is a hot travel destination and even hotter wedding destination. It’s only a few hours drives from SoCal, has a huge variety of venues (hotels, chapels, mansions, all-inclusive banquet halls, country/golf clubs, restaurants), has a ton of great spots to take incredible wedding pictures, and is the perfect place to go over the top or sweet and low-key. Best of all, EVERYONE LOVES VEGAS!!!

Awesome Wedding Photo in the Las Vegas Sign Graveyard by Mike L. Photo

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2. Vegas has the most awesome vendors ever!

Right now I am watching a TLC episode of “Fabulous Cakes” specifically on Las Vegas cakes. In Vegas vendors go big or go home.

The mid-stage of a 3 ft x 4ft Las Vegas Strip Cake built by Freed's Bakery (Do you recognize the Wynn and the Rio?)

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3. I get to spend the whole weekend with my guests.

From our rehearsal dinner to our meet and greet to the ceremony to the reception to the morning after brunch. Mr. Darcy and I have several events/days to spend time with our guests. I can’t wait! I am so excited!

4. In Vegas the party never ends.

I have made a list of five different bars where we can continue the party after the reception.

Parasol Up Parasol Down Wynn Las Vegas

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5. Shopping!!!! OMG! Shopping!

I mean really Caesars’ Palace, Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Fashion Show Mall, the outlets, Mandalay Bay, Paris, Encore/Wynn, Venetian, Cosmopolitan, and the Palazzo are just a few places that have incredible shopping. I can shop for all my honeymoon attire and some cute stuff for our honeymoon suite.

La Perla Siena Baby Doll

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6. Awesome Photo Locations!

From Paris to Italy to Egypt to New York to Red Rock Canyon to the Neon Boneyard in Downtown the possibilities are endless. And thanks to a great deal being ran by Moxie Studios Mr. Darcy and I will be exploring Red Rock Canyon or the Neon Boneyard for our e-pics.

Red Rock Canyon

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Neon Boneyard

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7. The Food!

Celebrity chef’s restaurants abound and there is nothing more than good food and good wine that Mr. Darcy and I enjoy. From Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill to Charlie Palmer’s Aureole to Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse the choices are endless.

Aureole at Mandalay Bay Resort

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8. The Spas!

I love an awesome spa. The experience is just so aaaahhhh! I always feel renewed after a day at the spa. I love having a massage, a facial, and enjoy the facilities. Las Vegas has some of the most awesome spa facilites there are from Caesar’s Palace Qua Baths to the Venetian’s Canyon Ranch Spa.

Qua Bath's Massage Room

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9. Many famous weddings have taken place here.

The most famous wedding is probably Elvis and Priscilla. Other stars who have married here are Judy Garland and Mark Herron, Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley, Axl Rose and Erin Evelyn, Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra, Billy Bob Thorton and Angelina Jolie, Mickey Rooney and Eva Gardner, Jane Fonda and Ted Turner, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, and Micheal Jordan and Juanita Vannoy.

10. Anything goes in Vegas.

I don’t have to follow the traditional wedding schedule (bridal party photos, ceremony, photos/cocktail hour, 4 hour reception).  We could have a theme wedding if we wanted to. We could get married in our car. I could wear a red dress and have my reception at In-and-Out.

Photo from my Favorite Vegas Wedding

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Why do you love your wedding locale? Is it as awesome as Vegas?

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Wedding Tipping   Leave a comment

In Vegas tipping can sometimes make your trip ($20 dollar bill trick anyone). Tips are an important line item in all wedding budgets, because if you forget to add them in you may be find yourself struggling to figure out this expense in the few days before your wedding. Vegas weddings are unique in their tipping rules, because they are often not held in a traditional banquet hall. You should have all your tips ready to go in marked envelopes. Here is my Vegas wedding tipping guide:

1. The Concierge- I would give them a larger tip up front if you want to use their services, through out your stay (like if your honeymooning there). The concierge will make your show and dinner reservations and can tell you which seats and tables are the best or the best time to attend a show or exhibition. $20 plus is acceptable, depending on the services provided.

2. The officiant- It is typical to tip the officiant or donate a sum to the church, but in Vegas most chapels include the officiant. This doesn’t mean s/he shouldn’t get a tip. $25-$50 is sufficient based upon your package, how well a job he does, etc. Seeing as most brides who get married in a chapel only meet the officiant 10-15 minutes before their ceremony $25 is really sufficient unless you have a particularly difficult or long ceremony then a bit more may be appropriate.

3. The Wedding Coordinator- If you are getting married in a chapel then you will have your own planning coordinator, who may or may not be your service coordinator on the day of. This makes things a bit complicated. I am on my third wedding coordinator through the chapel, but very pleased with her. She has been super helpful and quick to answer all my questions. I hope she will be there the day of. For this coordinator I would recommend a tip of $25-$100. For me if she is there the day of and everything runs smoothly, she will get $100. If she is not I will split the tip between her and the service coordinator. I will give the servicing coordinators all tips for the ceremony (officiant, coordinator, ceremony musicians, photographer,and coordinators) in marked envelopes prior to the ceremony to distribute.  If you have a coordinator who you have hired outside of your venuesa tip is not expected, but may be given. Up to $500 is acceptable. Another great option if you feel your coordinator rocked it is to send a thank you note with some pro-pics for her portfolio.

4. Ceremony Musicians- This vendor is often included in most chapel packages, but tip should still be given. $15-$25 per musician is reasonable.

5. Photographer/Videographer- It is not required you tip these vendors unless they are not owners of the studio/business. The standard on this is 15-20% of the bill or $50-$200 per person. I will probably tip our photographer for the ceremony $50 because they are contracted through the casino and not owners of their own studio. My other photographers are the owners of the studio, so tip for them is unnecessary.

6. Delivery Persons- The people delivering your cake, flowers, linens, etc. to the wedding site deserve a tip to. $5 to $10 per person will do the trick. Pass an envelope with 5 or 10 dollar bills to your coordinator, so s/he can distribute them.

7. Wedding Reception Staff- The onsite coordinator, maitre’d, serving staff, bar tenders etc. are all included in this. Generally most venues charge a service fee which covers the tip for all these vendors, but make sure to double check with your venue. If a service fee is not included in your final bill then 15-20% of the food and drink fee should be given to the maitre’d or banquet captain to distribute among staff. I have a service fee included in my venue contract, but I will be giving an extra tip to my onsite coordinator. She has been incredibly helpful and gone above and beyond. I will be giving her a gift, thank you note, and check the day before or the day of.

8. DJ/Band- Some think this is optional, but I feel it should be done. If the DJ is not the owner of the company, then a tip of $50-$150 should be given. If it’s a band $20-$25 per musician is appropriate. Just hand this marked envelope to your on-site coordinator to distribute or have the best man give it at the end of the reception.

9. Transportation- 15-20% of the bill should be given to the drivers/attendants for all your transportation. If you will not be using this transportation either have a responsible guest distribute the tip or contact the company to see if you can give the tip to them ahead of time.

10. Hair and Make-Up: 15-20% of the fee should be given to your hair and make-up people, whether they are coming to you or your going to them.

11. Impersonators- We don’t have one of these at our wedding, but a lot of Vegas brides like to do an Elvis impersonator (if your looking the one I have seen most recommended on The Knot Vegas Board is Travis Allen). If you do have one you should tip between 15-20%.

12. Valets- You want to make sure you befriend these guys, because there going to be the ones running for your car or hailing you a taxi for every last minute wedding appointment you have. If they’re hailing you a cab then $1-$2 if they’re pulling up your car $2-$5 will do the trick. Some tricks to get your car quickly (it can take up to 30 minutes to get your car from valet) is to call ahead or give them a bigger tip up front and tell them your not feeling well. Keep an envelope of ones on hand in your purse for tipping these guys.

13. Bellmen- These guys are very important part of your wedding. They will deliver your dress, your alcohol for your in-suite reception/after party, or wedding cake for your in-suite reception. They will deliver the welcome bags to all your guests. Keep an envelope of five dollar bills with you so you can easily pull one out and hand it to them every time they deliver a wedding item to you.

Make sure you have all your tips set aside in marked envelopes before you leave for Vegas, that way it’s simple and easy. Make sure tipping is a line item in your budget, so your not caught off guard by this expense.

How much did you spend on tips? Was it a large portion of your budget?

My sources for this post are:

http://www.freedsbride.com/las-vegas-wedding-tipping-procedures

http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-budget/articles/wedding-vendor-tipping-cheat-sheet.aspx

The Dollars and Cents of it All   Leave a comment

Planning a destination wedding incurs many line items that may or may not be featured at a non-destination wedding. I want to talk about the ins and outs of a destination wedding budget. I will be specifically addressing Las Vegas, but many of these items could be applicable to any other destination wedding. When you decide upon a destination wedding, you must decide to what extent you are going to host and take care of your guests. You have several options, rehearsal dinner for all guests, meet and greet/ welcome party (fun activity or party to greet all guests upon arrival), planned grouped outings (hosted or non-hosted), after party, and morning after brunch. The number of activities/parties you host will depend on the number of guests and your budget. Here is a sample of a weekend weddng in Las Vegas.

Thursday-

Rehearsal in Chapel

Rehearsal Dinner with Wedding Party and Immediate family at restaurant near Chapel

Friday-

Welcome Party/ Meet and Greet- Brides in Vegas have several options for this. You could host an in-suite welcome party where guests can stop by, go bowling, set-up bottle service at a club or bar and reserve private area for guests, book a pool cabana, or do a tour of the Las Vegas strip.

Saturday-

Ceremony and Reception

After Party- You can meet up at a club, piano bar, or lounge in any of Vegas’s hottest hotels

Sunday-

Morning After Brunch- You can host this at one of the many buffets in Vegas or at a beautiful restaruant or do something more formal in-suite.

Mr. Darcy and I have decided upon the following schedule for our Vegas Weekend Wedding-

Friday-

In-Suite Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner with Wedding Party and Immediate Family

Meet and Greet- Las Vegas Strip Tour on Double Decker Bus

Saturday:

Bridal Breakfast in-suite for the bridal party

Ceremony and Reception

Sunday:

In-Suite Morning After Brunch

Our goals for the weekend were 1. Provide as many meals to our wedding party to help them cut their costs and 2. To provide our guests with ample oppurtunity to celebrate with us and to thank them for taking the time to come celebrate.

We are still considering an after party for later in the evening. I really like the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan.

Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan

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Isn’t it pretty? Wouldn’t it be fitting to party with our wedding guests inside a giant chandelier, post wedding? My only concern is post wedding exhaustion. We will see.

The next line item that becomes a big deal for a destination wedding is transportation. You really help should your guests with transportation, especially if they are flying into somewhere and will be lacking wheels. 99.9% of our guests will be driving to Vegas, so we don’t have to worry about transporting guests from the airport to their hotels. We are providing transportation from the ceremony location to the reception location, though. We are also providing one bus from the reception to the ceremony location (Caesar’s Palace to Mandalay Bay) for guests, who want to return there instead of going around the strip.

Another line item for destination weddings’ is the welcome bag. These are not necessary, but go a long way in helping your guests feel welcome and extra special. Welcome bags can range from lavish to basic. Ours will be more basic, but have a few personal touches. Here are the basic elements of our welcome bags

1. Container- tote or gable box, we haven’t decided yet

2. Water Bottles- 2 smart waters with tags that say, “The smartest thing Mr. Darcy ever did was to ask Miss Austen to marry him.” and the other will say “The smartest thing Miss Austen did was say yes.”

3. Snacks- Mr. Darcy’s mom will be making Kifles (a Polish cookie) and I will be making Coconut Macadamia Nut Bundt Cake (a Hawaiian recipe)  to represent our two heritages.

4. Hang Over Kit- This will include mints, gatorade packet, and advil

5. Welcome Note- handwritten note, thanking guests for attending

6. Maps and Information about Destination- The concierge at the Mandalay Bay has agreed to give us a local entertainment magazine, map of the strip, and some other information for all our guests.

7. Starbucks Card- We may add a $5 Starbucks card also. I am not sure on this.

The key to welcome bags though, is not what’s in them, but how you distribute them. Every hotel is different in their policies, some have them delivered to the room, some will hand them out at check-in. Plus, when your having a destination wedding at a place like Vegas, your guests could be staying every where. You must decide whether to distribute them to each hotel or to hand them out at one time.

Did you have a destination wedding? What extra line items did you have in your budget?

Practice Makes Perfect…Feeding People   1 comment

So now we have discussed where we will be rehearsing the ceremony (in my parents’ suite) now I have to figure out what to feed these people. I know really, how many event must a bride be expected to plan? Just kidding. I am totally going to feed all these very important people, who are taking part in the most important ceremony ever for both Mr. Darcy and I. The question is just what to feed them. Here are the options:

1. Yummy Italian food from Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Chicken Parmesan

Source: Maggianos

Pros:Their food is super yummy. They deliver and delivery includes set up and all utensils, plates, etc. They are budget friendly.

Cons: We are having Italian for the reception, although be it different style of Italian.

2. Jason’s Deli.

Loaded Baked Potato

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Pros: This caterer offers everything from deli trays to chili and corn bread. They even have a potato bar package I am totally digging. (Caesar salad, potato bar with baked potato, chili, broccoli and cheese soup, sour cream, bacon, cheese, butter and green onions, and strawberry shortcake yum.)

Cons: They don’t bring all the extras with them.

3.  Pizza and Beer.

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Pros: Cheap and Easy. Mama Austen loves the idea, although she will not partake of either.

Cons: I probably won’t eat because I don’t want to be bloated the next day.

I know there are other options, like Mexican (heartburn) or BBQ (bbq sauce and tutus don’t mix). What are you serving your VIPs at the rehearsal dinner?

Finding a DJ (aka the bane of my existence)   Leave a comment

So I have booked all our vendors, except for a DJ. To be completely honest I was all for an ipod reception, but Mama Austen absolutely insisted on having a DJ. After doing a lot of research regarding the issue, I am glad I listened. I started my search on the internet, the best friend of most brides. I found six DJs with good reviews and e-mailed all of them. Two weeks later no response, so I had Mr. Darcy make some phone calls. Still no response. I got on the internet again and found a new DJ to contact, High Flyin Entertainment. They emailed me back within a couple hours and I set up an appointment with Mike during Mama Austen’s and I last trip to Vegas. Our meeting with Mike went very well. He asked about the types of music we would like to play and shared the packages they offered with us. They offer two packages a basic one and a premium one. Mama Austen and I wanted the basic one and we wanted Mike to be our DJ, since he was the one we met with. Well after informing Mike we were ready to book with the basic package, but that we wanted him to be our DJ. Mike let me know that the only way I could guarantee him as our DJ was if we paid twice as much for the premium package. I did not want or need the extra services offered in the premium package. I did not end up booking with High Flyin Entertainment, because of this. I really am disappointed with this. I really liked Mike and felt like he was a good fit, but was unwilling to spend an extra $500. Now I am back on the search for a DJ. Did you ever have a vendor try to pull a bait and switch on you?

Posted April 24, 2011 by kcoleybear in Las Vegas Wedding, Wedding Enterainment

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Planning a Wedding Without an Inspiration Board…Part 2   Leave a comment

As I have mentioned before, I did not make an inspiration board for our wedding nor do we have a “theme.” What I have done is to take inspiration from the two very important places/people, our reception venue and Mr. Darcy and I.

Our Venue

In my last post I spoke about our flower choices and how they were defined by the elaborate beauty of our reception venue. Other decisions were based off our venue as well. 1. Not to have a traditional sit-down meal. This would have cramped the room and limited space for dancing. 2. Not to have lighting. The room is lit in a lovely amber glow and we decided not to mess with this aspect of the venue. 3. To splurge on beautiful textured linens, rather than over-the-top florals. We wanted to complement the room not compete with it. 4. The colors were chosen based off the room. The deep red and gold look gorgeous in this room and were perfect fits. For an accent color we chose something cool to punctuate the warm glow of the room. We went with a blue to bring out the blue in the walls.

Personal Pic taken by Mama Austen

Yes, that’s a typical picture of us. Me smiling big and showing all my teeth and Mr. Darcy’s sedated smile. Our styles and relationship is the most defining aspect of our wedding. Some influences Mr. Darcy and I have had on our wedding are our heritages. I am very much attached to my Hawaiian heritage and wanted to incorporate it into the wedding. I felt the most appropriate place to do that was the ceremony by incorporating the Hawaiian lei exchange and Hawaiian marriage prayer. The tradition I am most excited about is getting married in a circle of orchids created by our family and friends.

Source: Get Married in Hawaii

I love this tradition, because when Mr. Darcy and I say our vows we will be surrounded by the love all our family and friends.

Mr. Darcy is Polish, but isn’t enthusiastic. as I am about mine. Still, I wanted to incorporate this into the wedding ceremony also. Our solution, the tossing of herbs as we walk down the aisle as man and wife. This is so that we will have a fruitful union. Mr. Darcy is growing rosemary (to honor my late my grandmother) and lavender (to honor his late grandmother) for the tossing.

Although Mr. Darcy may not subscribe much to his Polish heritage he does to his Irish, Fighting Irish, that is. Mr. Darcy’s heart bleeds blue and gold and this will most definitely be part of our wedding day. It will be seen in the groom’s cake, our entrance to the reception will be to the Notre Dame Fight Song, and my something blue will be a Notre Dame garter.

Source: Lets Dance Garters

These are just of the few elements Mr. Darcy and I have decided to incorporate into the wedding, that are reflections of us.

What’s the inspiration for your wedding? Are you incorporating some of your loves into your wedding?

Miss Austen’s Tips for Hosting a Las Vegas Wedding   3 comments

More and more brides are heading to Vegas for their weddings. The reasons are numerous. For Mr. Darcy and I the decision came down to the fact we wanted a destination wedding, it it offered our guests a variety of activities and hotels, and we really love to go to Vegas. Here are some of the tips I have compiled so far for planning a destination wedding in Las Vegas.

1. Join theknot.com and start posting on the Las Vegas board-

These ladies are incredible. The sticky at the top of the board has a list of recommended vendors

and a site listing all the past and present Vegas brides’ bios. Talk to these ladies. They are sweet,

helpful, and awesome.

2. Most Chapels don’t allow outside vendors for photography, videography, and floral.

This is a trick you need to know if your planning on getting married at one of Vegas’s many

chapels. Some do allow you to pay hefty fee to pay for outside vendors. This monoply on vendors also

means there can be hefty fees involved. Here was Mr. Darcy and I’s solution, non floral bouquets and

boutonnieres and not adding extra time for our photography through the chapel.

Source: Croska on Etsy

Source: Wedding Bee

Source: hART Jewelry on Etsy

Source: Jewel Box Ballerina on Etsy

These are Mr. Darcy and I’s non-floral elements. It just wasn’t feasible for Mr. Darcy and I’s budget to pay $30 for bouts and corsages, $350 for my bouquet, and $90 for bridesmaid bouquets. A lot of the chapels include packages with standard floral options. My package came with a small rose bouquet (I will be using it for a toss bouquet), but to upgrade these were the quotes I got.

3. Use the hotel conciegre

The conciegres of Las Vegas are gods. Go over and introduce yourself to the concierge at the hotel

where you will be staying/hosting the wedding. The concierge at the Mandalay Bay has helped us

to make all our dinner reservations (and made sure we got the right tables) and took care of our

show tickets for our honeymoon and they are giving magazines and maps for all our wedding

welcome boxes.

4. Join the club for the hotel your staying at, like they’re facebook page, and sign up for their emails.

By joining M Life Players Club Mr. Darcy and I were able to get 30% off our “O” Cirque de Soleil

show. We booked our honeymoon suite during one of Mandalay Bay’s 30% off sales.

5. Ask your vendors for recommendations.

Our florist help us to find our photo booth company and DJ. If you trust your florist to create

you beautiful centerpieces you can probably trust her to give you good recommendations on

other vendors. This advice is good for any bride.

Are you having a destination wedding at a popular location? Do you  have advice for other destination wedding brides?

Posted April 11, 2011 by kcoleybear in Las Vegas Wedding

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