Haley and Robert | Heartfelt Destination Wedding in the Las Vegas Desert

Meet Haley and Robert, a smashing, dashing, wonderful Aussie couple from Sydney! They love the desert and the red fiery rocks surrounding areas in Las Vegas as much as we do. But that is not what endeared us to them. After just finishing their wedding recently, and meeting their family and friends, it was driven home to us very strongly, that they have the kind of love that endures. We discovered this as we listened and watched them become united as one, husband and wife. One couple, one new life, and a ready made family to start life, with precocious and delightful Peyton, their little boy. We loved Peyton’s voice, as he called for his “mummy” and “daddy” in the most precious little Australian accent. (Yes, Americans are easily besotted by an accent other than our own, us ladies are, anyway. And those eyes! Peyton had the most beautiful eyes!) That endeared us right to that boy immediately, as well as watching him eat the occasional cupcake bribe Rachel offered to get him walking down the aisle, just before his lovely mum followed in her stunning wedding gown. (Adding a little hurrah here also for the love of Grandmothers, who wrangle active little boys with patient love and care during weddings and whom did such a good job!)

Prior to the wedding, Haley and Robert had mentioned to us that they wanted to add in their own vows during the ceremony. We love that! It seems to really make such an impactful moment for the couple, as they hear spoken the kind words of love and appreciation which come right from the heart of the other. And true to form, those words they wrote and spoke to each other, really did make an impact. When Robert began speaking his vows,  Haley listened, and it all seemed to become real in that very moment for her. She really was marrying this wonderful guy, Robert. And we watched as her tears came, and her heart took in the sweet messages he was telling her. That moment, was the crowning glory of the ceremony, we felt. And all of the speeches, toasts, cake cutting, and celebrating, although fun, and with warmth, love, and happiness, could only add to that one heartfelt moment.

At Cactus and Lace Weddings, we see quite a few weddings. Obviously, it is our business after all. But the ones we seem to enjoy the most, involve the couple who are able to express their love and devotion to each other, often in very simple words. Our officiant, Pastor Jason Ham, easily incorporated them into the ceremony. These little vows are just written from the heart. They are written by regular people, using regular words. But the power that comes from a few little words is immense. Poets have struggled to say what we felt that day, through the simple word.  Robert and Haley, you nailed it. It touched us, just to see your reaction to each other, in those quietly spoken and touching vows.

May your life be full of love, full of many of those simple little endearing words, full of surprises and joy, to hold your love as close as it was today. May the winds of life that blow your way, be reminders that wind and challenges, like the breezes that came on your wedding day, come, but also go. Hold hands and stay close, and remember what brought you to each other today. Congratulations with all our love, from Lory, Rachel and our team, at Cactus and Lace Weddings. “Hip Hip Hooray!”


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Those Awesome Aussies | Smoke Bombs and Copper Metallic Elopement in Valley of Fire, Las Vegas

Genevieve and Luke hail from Australia, a far away and amazing place to call home. Living on the coast of the South Pacific Ocean sounds like something mystical in itself. So it made sense to us, that in looking for a wedding venue, they wanted something as lovely, mystical, and spectacular. Just as amazing as that place they call home, yet with the lure of a world class travel destination nearby, like Las Vegas. So having the Valley of Fire, at Seven Sisters as a wedding venue was a perfect solution! And they didn’t mind the September heat, since they understood from experience!

We really loved getting to know Genevieve and Luke, especially on the day of the wedding. Genevieve had chosen her sisters and good friend to be her bridesmaids. They were fierce in making sure that she was not seen by the groom before hand. In fact, they had her so well hidden in the limo, that we couldn’t even see her when we peeked in! And it was a good thing, because our favorite thing is to see how the groom reacts to seeing his lovely in her wedding gown. Some grooms are very private in their reactions, you can just barely see that they are affected. But we watched Luke over and over during the first moment and even later during the reception. He was really taken by Genevieve in her dress. We loved how he looked at her, almost like he was mesmerized. We live for that look! We find it so endearing; yes, girls really like that kind of stuff! Every now and then, we would catch him looking at her in the sunlight, or during the bridal photos, and it seemed like he loved her in that dress as much as she looked marvelous being in it.

She was lovely there was no doubt. From top to toe, and even her personally designed wedding ring. There is something in seeing a bride in her gown and finery, well, she just seems about as perfect and graceful that day as we can ever imagine. Her makeup was perfection and her hair! Long, lovely, styled perfectly by the ever talented Ruby Finch Salon But she wasn’t the only one rocking their wedding attire.

Luke had found the most amazing tux. The color was the deepest royal blue in luxurious velvet. It looked classy, masculine, and awesome! Between Luke and Genevieve and their bridal party, this wedding was stylin’!

To keep with the theme of desert and industrial vibes, we went with a teal green velvet fabric for a statement color on the table, with cactus, copper accents, with a repeating minimalistic kind of copper metallic vibe going on all around. So our chairs were an industrial copper, and our talented Rachel (she said it was her father, really) had created a wonderful copper arch with a very cool shape and minimalistic feel to it. We decorated it with delicious florals (all of our flowers were fantastic and from our favorite florist The Front Porch ) and added soft white sheers to create a really striking arch. We even put a cactus in Genevieve’s bouquet, and to keep the bride safe, the Porch surrounded it with lots of greenery to protect it from being touched. It was so very unique, kudos to the Porch for making real our vision!

Part of that vision included a teeny, tiny, lovely copper metallic cake, created by the wonderful Peridot Sweets. Tiffany did a marvelous job! Unfortunately, September was warm enough still, at 106 degrees, that it slowly melted like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. But the couple didn’t seem to mind because, guess what! We also had donuts for the cake reception! With the help of Pink Box Doughnuts, there were some amazing lovelies on hand to eat.
And last, but not least, we added some additional vibrant color to this already colorful affair. SMOKEBOMBS! Check out the pics!

We also wanted to say, hats off to our cohorts in the videography/photography world who combined forces with us to document this day! www.Purelightcreative.com Great job everyone! And many thanks to the wonderful family and friends who came from so far away to support and celebrate with this fine couple on their special day! Best Wishes Genevieve and Luke!

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We knew you were smart like that | A Lovely Fall Wedding in the Red Rock desert of Valley of Fire

We, that is Rachel and I, here at Cactus and Lace Weddings,  were just talking about how much we are looking forward to the cool and lovely weather which generally starts the end of September and really hits the big lovely in October and November. Being locals, we wait for the air to turn crisp and to cool down after the extravagant high heats of the summer.  For many of us, October and November are the payoff months for suffering through burnt fingers touching hot steering wheels, running from the car to the air conditioning, and hopping from one cool spot of water on the pool deck to the next, all the time saying, “Ouch, ooch, ouch, ooch,” as you run! It really is quite comical!

October and November, even into early December bring mild temperatures, and it rarely rains. A great time to get outside and explore all Nevada has to offer. Many couples plan their weddings and subsequent honeymoons around these months, as well as in the months April and May. And the Valley of Fire vistas during these months are  hands down the best photographic red rocks around. We have Red Rock Canyon beat! And no hiking involved, our sites are just off the paved path, but with views that are so amazingly wonderful.

What a great idea to have your wedding in the Vegas desert during this time of year. We knew you were smart like that! It is pretty epic to do a elopement or wedding there, we have to admit. And, once your vows are said,  you and your guests can enjoy the cool desert and its spectacular scenery at Scenic Valley of Fire. Many of our clients look at other wedding companies advertising weddings and assume we are like them. Those folks spend about 15-20 minutes for the ceremony, shoot a few pics and load you back up on the bus. Yes, that is right, on the day of the wedding, the other guys bring out the bride and groom, and wedding party, and spend 15 minutes in the desert,  take a few pics, have the ceremony and head back to Vegas!

What! No way! Of course, we are very partial since this is our backyard, so to speak. We are in one of the most scenic places in the world, after all! The fire colored rocks, vast desert expanse, and cholla cactus, sage, desert flora and fauna (that means plants and animals for all you non science peeps out there) are out of this world amazing! At Cactus and Lace Weddings, after your vows are finished, we allow for an hour and a half give or take, to take pictures, sit and eat desserts and toast to the new couple, catch up on all the family doings with great auntie Sarah, get those precious family and friend hugs, explore the lovely area, and let people really experience the wonder and unreal beauty that is here. Most of all, after the hectic getting ready, and rushing that happens on a wedding day, after your vows, you can finally RELAX!

The views we have are really even more lovely than pictures can really portray. There is an ethereal beauty here, that is not explainable in words.  You really have to experience it, and then your life is changed forever! Ok, well, let’s just say, being here really will touch your heart and soul, and you will remember this day forever. Trust us, we are only telling you what our past brides and grooms have said.

So if you are recently engaged, we hope you think about having a wedding you have dreamed of for years, away from the hustle and bustle, in your own private paradise, in a place guaranteed to awe your guests, create an absolutely  memorable day, and head back to Vegas afterwards for that great Vegas night life awaiting you and your friends. Vegas performing artists include, Celine Dion, J-LO, Widespread Panic, and the O shows, Mystere and tons more.  Here is a link with all the events for October coming up in Vegas. http://www.lasvegas-entertainment-guide.com/las-vegas-events-october.html

Or if Vegas party life is not your thing, then stay and hang out with us and think about having our favorite traveling pop up pizza guy, Yukon Pizza, set you and your guests up for wood fired artisan pizza in the desert! All of us work really hard to make  your day terrific! We would love to have you visit us and let us make your wedding or elopement carefree, stress free, and lovely. And at the end of it all, the desert will offer you the best wedding gift ever. A quiet moment holding each other on your wedding day, watching the sun set, and feeling the love you have for each other in that moment.

There we said it.

So just, simply elope…. feels good in your brain doesn’t it?

See you soon!

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True Original Desert Wedding and Pizza Reception | Valley of Fire

Every once in a while, you meet a true original. An Audrey Hepburn-esque kind of spirit. A girl who is true to herself and not afraid to be herself. And once in a while this independent, outgoing free spirit, finds herself a boy who loves her in all of her independent glory. A boy who is just as independent, and loyal, with a strength to match her own. This is one of those loves stories that started back when they were both kids. A girl and a boy, back then, who met in junior high, in band, no less. Then in high school, they became close friends. And shocker, they both grew up in Las Vegas. (Yes, people really do live there, work there, and like our couple, go to high school there.)

Jennifer and Ryan. It has a very nice ring to it, doesn’t it. And speaking of ring, did you see Jenn’s ring? There is a story to that ring. It belonged to Jennifer’s great grandmother. We will get to that in a minute.

How did this proposal all come about, you say? Let me tell you how it went. Ryan knew that he wanted to marry Jennifer. He also knew that Jennifer was going to wear her great gran’s heirloom ring when she got married. So how could Ryan arrange that without alerting Jenn? Well, first, one must talk to her parents and let them in on the arrangement. SO… Ryan asked her parents to brunch without Jennifer, didn’t say anything to them initially in the invitation, and wouldn’t you know, they figured out something was up in that clairvoyant way parents do AND BROUGHT THE RING TO BRUNCH.  He was floored, but they all kept it a secret for several months. Ryan and Jennifer went on a vacation, and as couples do, decided to go for a walk together. Ryan stopped by the bright blue waters of the cold North Atlantic, a beautiful Nordic beach in Iceland, and quietly asked Jennifer if she would marry him. And our spunky Jennifer’s reply? “Yeah, OK, Sure!”  and guess what? “SURE” is what is found written on Flora-pop’s teardrop trailer in glowing Neon. Fate? Probably. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cactus and Lace Weddings always encourage our couples to have the wedding which they envision, and which will make them personally happy to attend. That way, they stay true to themselves and that makes for a happy celebration. So Jennifer and Ryan began toying with ideas that would really make this wedding their own.

First, they decided to start the afternoon with pictures at the fabulous Neon Museum. (Neon being a trend here.) Jennifer’s hair and makeup was done by the always fantastic Ruby Finch Salon. Their chosen delightful officiant, Victoria Hogan, of Florapop, is a lovely soft spoken gal who sports a silver teardrop trailer as part of her accouterments. Victoria is a wonderful breath of fresh air in our wide open desert and we were so pleased to be working with her again. She is also the florist and made a glorious bouquet of unique florals for Jennifer.

Jennifer and Ryan also wanted to have a reception out on the desert floor of the Valley of Fire. They wanted to get married there and why not have their friends and family mingle in the beautiful Valley of Fire and party there too! So a good friend of Ryan’s, Alex White, owner of the traveling pop up pizza company, Yukon Pizza of Las Vegas was brought on board to create artisan pizzas with an heirloom sourdough recipe that has been in his family for over a hundred years. Alex handled the crowd with ease, and provided plenty of wood fired pizza and salad to keep everyone delightfully full. Paige Vickers also created some adorable menu cards that match perfectly with the whimsical feel of the day.

Overall, we think Jennifer and Ryan celebrated in style. An epic pop up, pizza-fied, in-glorious awesome day. And Jennifer, you really rocked the green wedding dress.

Thanks you two for letting us share your day. We thoroughly enjoyed it and send our best wishes and love to you both. And if you ask if we would do it all over again? SURE!

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Cactus and Lace Weddings- We have an amazing team!

Being on the other side of the camera this week was a great experience for us all, here at Cactus and Lace Weddings. We forget what it is like to have our pictures taken instead of taking the pictures! But we wanted to show all of  you out there who we are and let you get to know us. We want to show you that you can put your trust and confidence in us, so we can work with you as we bring  your wedding day to life. So here we go, let’s meet the friendliest, happiest, easiest to work with, most talented bunch of people ever to throw a wedding!

Lory: (in white) Lory loves art, she loves scenic places outdoors like the Valley of Fire, she loves people, is especially patient, (very helpful in this business) she especially loves to hear how the bride and groom met, when they fell in love, how they knew, and all the good points, and loves the artsy side of photography. Weddings combine all of that for her in one great big, gigantic, happy party, set in the most lovely place on earth,  and includes cake usually. Lory loves it when the bride and groom choose her favorite cake flavors by wonderful happenstance. Chocolate is good, but salted caramel is so much better. Or peanut butter cup and chocolate combined. Or berries in whipped cream frosting… oh my goodness. But we digress…

On a wedding day, she is absolutely happy-excited. Just like the bride and groom, Rachel and Lory have been waiting for this day, planned details down to the last little flower petals, organized every possible thing, and we feel like the start of a marathon has begun! Lory was wearing a Fitbit once for a wedding, and clocked 8 miles! Our day usually lasts about 12 hours from start to finish the day of the wedding, and we usually don’t sit down once that wedding starts, until after everything is put away at night. To Lory, her husband and kids are so very important, and she loves seeing new families being created on wedding days. There is no feeling like it on earth, no matter what your beliefs are in that regard. Love trumps everything. And it always will for her. Marriage is that important. (PS, Lory will usually cry at your wedding, no charge)Lory loves See’s candy, lovely delectable cake (as previously mentioned), and patisseries. Just thought you might want to know that.

Rachel: ( in black) Rachel is amazing. Putting all her amazingness right here in this paragraph is pretty hard, cuz there is a lot of amazingness. She is kind, talented, artistic, creative, detail oriented, and hard working. She is a super hero to all who know her. Pretty sure her husband and kids think so.  PRETTY and AMAZING, equals pretty amazing. Rachel loves hats, and she can pull off looking fantastic, like Audrey Hepburn fantastic, in any hat you stick on her head. She is a very brilliant light in our little part of the universe. And she loves cake, too. And chocolate, and lots of good things. She really loves good cuisine. And she loves to travel. The girl loves traveling so much, she hacks travel. She makes those frequent flier miles really fly. But Rachel has a hidden talent. Rachel has the voice of an angel. The girl can sing. Once, when a couple wanted to have a first dance, they had left their music in the car, which happened to be a great distance away, so Rachel bless her heart, was coerced, cajoled, and coaxed by Lory, who knew what kind of voice this girl has, into singing the loveliest of classical music songs, with notes that soared right over the desert like no one has ever heard before or since… simply amazing. The couple were astounded, and danced slowly wrapped up in each others arms, to her singing a truly magical song . And Lory cried, again.

Rachel and Lory are really quite different in very many ways, but there is a solid foundation of friendship, love and respect, and determination to suceed for Cactus and Lace Weddings on both sides. We make our differences work for us in each wedding. The best of both worlds melding and colliding and creating a whole new wedding. Every time. Pretty amazing how well it works, every single time. We both believe God is really on our side in this.  Women in business together can do some great things with that kind of help.

Reyanna: (in gold) Reyanna and Lory initially started Cactus and Lace together. Lory saw the potential of the Valley of Fire as a marvelous outdoor venue.  Reyanna was just starting her High School Senior Photography business as well, at that time. So she had two irons in the fire all the time, so to speak, borrowing from the cattle branding vernacular, lol. Rey and Lory worked together to get the backbones of the business going, and then met Rachel. We felt she would add so much to the business, and soon convinced Rachel to come on board as a business partner. Just about then, Rey’s senior business exploded, and she was working day, as well as night, to keep up with both. So it was a hard decision for her to have to give up one to focus on the other. But it has worked out well. Rey maintains our editing portion of Cactus and Lace Weddings, and runs her flourishing Senior business as well. Rachel and Lory have taken Cactus and worked hard to build it up and keep it growing and building a solid reputation of beautiful weddings, and solid service, and dependability.

We have the most wonderful team of assistants to help us put these amazing weddings together. With the help of Amanda and Alexandra as our assistants, who really are family,  and Reyanna as our top photographic image editor magician,  we surely could not do it without their hard work and willingness to serve. As you can see by the pictures  and stories which follow, we really have some amazing people. Each one is very artistic, and willing to put everything they have in their creative little hands out there to make each and every single wedding a true day to remember and cherish for our brides, grooms, and families. We all work very hard. I think many people do not realize just how difficult it can be to take a blank canvas, input the wedding couples’ hopes, and dreams and wishes, in small doses, or with a lot of input from them, (we love either way) then collectively and physically bring a wedding to life on that desert floor in the spectacular Valley of Fire. But when it does come together, it is wonderful to see it rise up and take on a life of its’ own, and each wedding becomes something really indescribably wonderful! We wait with great anticipation to see the brides’ reaction especially when she see’s how her dream has materialized. The look of wonder on her face, or the comments she leaves us afterwards really are our payment. That happiness, and joy from her especially, are the reason we do this.  It just is not worth it otherwise! And we get absolutely giddy when we see how it all works together. We love it!

Let us introduce you to our assistants:

Amanda (in peach) On wedding days, Amanda says she wakes up and is so happy it is wedding day. She can’t wait to get started! She literally is thrilled and brings that happiness with her each time we meet. She is a sharp dresser, and she looks like a million bucks every wedding. We lift tables, chairs, arches and whatnot and Amanda does all that in a dress, but she makes it look effortless, and we laugh together the whole time. She makes hard work fun. Amanda has people skills like no one we know. You can bet if your grandparents and parents are attending, Amanda will have them totally taken care of, pampered, and most of all, she listens to them. She has great love and respect for everyone, and this quality really resonates with people, especially our more seasoned, older generation. Usually you will see them crowded around Amanda, telling her stories and all laughing during our cake and toast reception after the ceremony. This is the time our brides and grooms mingle, visit, and connect, and share their love and joy with all those invited. She helps set up, adjusts florals, and sets decor with us, serves cake to a hungry crowd, troubleshoots, serves the champagne or sparkling cider, keeps us on our game, makes sure we stay tight on our timelines, and is our supportive side kick. ( I was gonna say super-hero sidekick and I would be right on the money) She is indispensable to us, and we love her quick mind, and ready laugh.

Alexandra: (in blue) Alex is new to our team, and we are excited to have her on board. Alex, like Amanda, is multi talented. She speaks several languages, is a world traveler, is a great seamstress, loves vintage clothing and always looks so amazingly put together. She idolizes electro-swing music, and loves to swing dance! She helps us everywhere; serves food and drinks, sets up decor, runs errands, and is an all around good hand. She is also an author, and recently published her first novel. Pretty talented!

Well that is us in a nutshell! Look at these lovely people in the pictures below! Can you feel their love, happiness, and beautiful free spirits! Awesomeness!

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