Valley Of Fire Desert Wedding Stylized Shoot

So we had a marvelous time this year, back in February, as Cactus and Lace Weddings held a stylized shoot for national and international photographers. The Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Convention comes to Vegas every year, and we held the workshop in our backyard, the Valley of Fire. It was a blast, from the very beginning, planning with ourselves and Rey of Light Seniors, featuring some stunning models, local to our valley, all the way to the end with an entire group of talented photographers we were privileged to  rub shoulders with that day from all over the world. We make a party out of it, have a catered luncheon that is amazing, and have a great time eating cake at the end all together! That is a lot of deliciousness right there!
Part of doing shoots like this, is having other blogs and publications show interest and or publish our work and our workshops and weddings. We are always excited when that happens because the focus is on the work of the great many amazing photographers who attend as well as the many vendors who donate or charge close to nothing for their support and help to bring it all about. So with out further ado, Cactus and Lace Weddings features the post from Elysian Bride.

Planning and Stylizing – Cactus and Lace Weddings @cactusandlaceweddings
Models and Planning – Rey of Light Seniors @reyoflightphoto
Floral – The Front Porch Flowers @thefrontporchflowers
Beauty Hair & Makeup – Ruby Finch Salon @rubyfinchsalon
Quartz Crown – Emma Katzka Bridal @emmakatzkabridal
Bridal Ring and Earrings – Gaia’s Candy @gaiascandy
Calligraphy and Invitations – Nikki Daskalakis of Shotgunning for Love Letters  @shotgunningforlove
Suit – The Black Tux – @theblacktux
Wedding Dress – My Wony Bridal  @mywony_bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses – Jenny Yoo @jennyyoonyc
Cake – Peridot Sweets @peridotsweets
Catering and Coffee – @sweetsauce_coffee
Venue – Valley of Fire, Las Vegas, NV

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Top Five Ways to Save On Weddings Costs from Cactus and Lace Weddings, Las Vegas Wedding Specialists

Las Vegas has always been known for being the easy wedding capital of the world.  But getting married has evolved into a multi million dollar business. That is a big shift from weddings in Grandma’s day, which used to be a simple affair. Got married in the local church, guests had punch and a slice of cake made by Aunt Nanette, and the whole cost, probably ran about $300.00 if that. Today’s average weddings according to Wedding Wire can cost easily upwards of $30,000.00 or more. And if you live in a large metro area like Daniel and Melissa shown above did, (areas such as New York, Boston, or Los Angeles), that $30,000.00 may pay for just the venue alone, without all the other costs!  I can think of lots of things that I could use that money for, couldn’t you? But all is not lost!

We here at Cactus and Lace Weddings wanted to help brides and grooms understand that there are good, solid ways to save on weddings. You don’t have to go under financially when starting a new life together. Since we consider ourselves wedding specialists here in Las Vegas, here are our five top tips to saving on the most expensive parts of weddings.

  1.  Average Venue-$8798.00  The average cost of renting  a wedding and/or reception area venue is $8798.00  But, that cost can be cut significantly by booking during the off wedding season. Typically, in most states, June, July and August are the most sought after months. By booking at other less popular times of year, you can save significantly. And where you have it makes a difference. To save money, look around and think of places that are un-traditionally thought of for weddings. The old barn down the road, the park, or even National and State Parks. Here in Nevada, those summer months are the hottest actually, and we don’t book at all for outside weddings during the summer months. So the months other than summer, inspire some great deals on hotel rooms, and other items especially if you book mid week or during the winter months. Booking mid week is one of our favorite pieces of advice to brides. And thinking of an outdoor desert wedding? Again thinking of options outside the box, our permit at Valley of Fire State Park allows us to book a spectacular wedding location for several hours at an average of $450 total. Quite a difference compared to the Wedding Wire average $8798.  Compare and shop around for different options. There are great savings to be found.
  2. Average Catering Costs-$6877.00  Keeping it casual can really add savings when planning of food and drinks for your guests. Think of finger foods, or tapas, instead of a full sit down buffet, or if a dinner in the evening after you ceremony is something you would like, think of ways to incorporate food plans that might include  the back room of your local taco restaurant, or Italian family restaurant. Also becoming really popular are food trucks, with amazing variety of foods to make your mouth water. Our Cactus and Lace Wedding brides are usually quite good at coming up with plans to feed guests that are often not conventional. They have included Container Park in Las Vegas, Food Trucks, Tacos n more,  and many other small intimate locations which can seat up to 30 guests. And if you combine a low cost venue, with low cost, fun, ethnic or local neighborhood foods, you can really have a fun economical wedding! We have a wedding which recently booked a Pop Up Pizza Sourdough Wood fired pizza vendor who travels to Valley of Fire. We often serve a small tiny cake and add delicious cupcakes and donuts, instead of a huge and expensive wedding cake. Or does your grandma make great brownies or cookies she would love to make? Think of the amazing possibilities within your local area.
  3. Average honeymoon costs- $3882   If you are wiped out financially after the wedding, take some quiet alone time and drive somewhere near your home for a stay-cation honey moon. Then, next year, on  your anniversary, go somewhere special that you have saved away the money for, without causing stress to your new found togetherness. Or here in Las Vegas, we have the perfect answer to this dilemma. We ARE the wedding and honeymoon capital of the world after all. Make your wedding and honeymoon happen in the same destination wedding location! And booking midweek saves even more. Our favorite times of year here are October, November, and even January and February, and March for cost savings.
  4. Average Band cost-$3848 This is an easy one to reduce. We are all about adding music to add fun, depth, and great atmosphere, but don’t let it break your budget. Have a family friend play acoustic guitar which has a cool vibe, or most everyone has or knows someone who can run a playlist off their phones. Add a blue tooth speaker, and bam! Music time! Music adds a great ambiance to a wedding, so add it. Just make sure the DJ you have is someone from within your own circle at a great savings.
  5. Average Photography and Videography-$3882  Actually, we feel this figure is low according to the professionals we rub shoulders with. But we understand wanting to go with someone less expensive. Please do your homework on this one. Use a professional. Research their work and style online. Social media allows you to really have a great idea of their work and the quality and look of it. We feel that photography and videography are very important. One of the most common complaints we have heard has been from the mother/sister/cousin of the bride or groom lamenting about how they tried to save money on their own wedding and went cheap on the photographer. They used someone who’s work was unprofessional or unskilled and hated the photos. Imagine hating the photos or not getting any! of one of the most important days of your life. There is not chance for a do over. And after the cake is cut, and the guests have gone, you have only your pictures left.  So how to save money? Time. Most photographers offer different packages based on time at the site, as well as other add ons. Decide on your photography budget and try and work with a photographer you like. Remove things that are add ons, like albums, and see if you can find a package that has less hours of photography time built in. Consider wedding elopements or small wedding ceremonies which last only a few hours instead of all day coverage.

All Inclusive Elopements and Small Weddings Speaking of cutting costs, one of the best ways to save money is to downsize the guest list. Back in the day, big weddings were all the rage. Having hundreds of guests, and a huge venue, as well as a huge catered affair were the way to go.  More and more, though, couples are really re-thinking that kind of planning. Even on a small wedding, according to Wedding Wire, the average couple contacts over 25 vendors and hires 10 – 13 vendors throughout the entire wedding process. That is a lot of time and energy spent trying to put a wedding together. More and more often, couples are eloping or planning small intimate weddings and dinners to match for family and friends. And more and more, couples are turning to all-inclusive wedding planning companies to do all the leg work for them. An all inclusive wedding company will customize your wedding by planning with you, we get your desires, wishes, and wants, and we run with that. It belongs to you, it feels like a wedding you would have done yourself, because the ideas and decor are from you, but we execute that. When you use an all inclusive wedding planner, it’s like having a personal wedding assistant to do your legwork and save your precious time and your life. And realistically, that makes so much sense, financially and time-wise.

We couldn’t agree more. From our experience as a wedding planning and all inclusive wedding business, we understand the ins and outs of planning. We do it every day. We have learned the tricks of the trade to putting on a wedding, staying in budget, and having a great conclusion. Our vendors give us discounts, we pass them on to you. Really, we do. We take on the job of contacting all those vendors, and we hire them, so you do not have the headache, nor the liability of not knowing who does a good job or not. And not having to stay up all night to do that after working all day. We have been trusted consistently over and over by brides from all over the world, who included us in their wedding planning. Why try to hire 35 vendors when you can hire one and let them go for it? They are extremely happy they do. So they can say “I do” with a happy heart and a fuller wallet.

So to wrap it all up, be a rebel. Go against the status quo.  Stay focused, think of your options, make this a wedding YOU both will enjoy. Work out a budget, both of you. If you are wise, creative, and are willing to do what you want for your wedding; whether  quirky, elegant, or boho, involves prime rib, tacos, quiche or corn dogs, it will turn out wonderfully. And it can be the peaceful, joyous, and wonderful experience you will remember forever, with out breaking your personal bank. Be original, be you, and go for it! And for those brides who decide that their time is more valuable to them, and want a great and joy filled experience with no stress, consider us at Cactus and Lace Weddings! I bet we can come up with a great plan for you, too! Contact Lory or Rachel, and find out how to save on your Vegas elopement experience with us. But remember, we limit our weddings to 24 per year to provide the best, most intimate, and leisurely day for each of our clients. No cookie cutter, no rush in rush out. We let you truly enjoy the Valley of Fire at a slower pace, so you can truly experience the wonder, the beauty, and the vast quiet of the desert with those you love.

Happy Weddings from Lory and Rachel at Cactus and Lace Weddings!



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Who in the heck knew? Cactus and Lace Weddings | Las Vegas Wedding

So I was thinking the other day. That in itself is cause to pause. But I was pondering all the weddings that Rachel and I have planned, and all the couples we have met and loved. We really have loved each and every one. Seriously. In love with them, their little idiosyncrasies. The little things that make them individuals. The qualities in each relationship that they show when we are planning together. The way he goes along with her as she discusses wedding wants and wishes. To support as she looks for the dress that will make her feel like a goddess. The way she makes sure, unbeknownst to him, that our bakery provides a certain kind of outstanding chocolate chip cookie because he gets so excited about them. Or helps him arrange for his “garage band in high school friend” to play acoustic guitar music while they dance.

“He gets me.” “She understands who I am.” “I am a high energy person, but he keeps me grounded.” All of this made me start thinking about my own relationship with my husband.

My husband has been my rock all of our married life. He has supported me in my diverse paths like a pillar.  He signed up for a crazy, and wild ride when he asked me to marry him. He says it was me who asked. Not! I am, after all, a traditionalist when it comes to things like that. Yet, I embrace the opportunity to be spontaneous, on occasion. To make a decision based on emotions only. Or on how my heart feels about it in any given moment. He is more methodical. The idea of owning a business instead of working for someone else seems foreign and “risky”.  So how do we embrace those differences in our personalities? Really learn to love those quirks, qualities, and characteristics that make us unique. I mean, no eye rolling behind his back, no “putting up” with things your fiance does while talking under your breath why it drives you crazy. Want to know how? Ok, I am coming to that, just give me minute…Planning a wedding brings out all the quirks and curve balls in a relationship. Who do we invite? Who do we leave off the list? Where should we have the wedding? How much should we spend? Yada, yada, yada. It is enough to drive even the calmest most sane person over the cliff, and for those of us who are a little more emotion driven, well, you can see where I am going her, did I say her, I slipped, I meant here. Seriously, though, it is where you really see the inner workings of a overworked mind. It can be tough on relationships, but oh so worth the trouble. So how do you get through it and keep your sanity?

That is the very reason we first thought about creating Cactus and Lace Weddings. First we live here in Las Vegas, THE wedding capital of the world after all. But we wanted to smooth the road for couples, by pass all the irritating conversations that talks of weddings can bring on. We want to create peace and calm in the storm,  by providing a well planned, intimate, simple, yet elegant, and joyous gathering to bypass all the craziness of planning a huge event. By focusing on creating an intimate wedding of family and friends, or just the two of you, we bring it all back to the real reason we marry. We limit the number of weddings we do. We don’t take all the weddings we are asked to, because we want it to be a good fit for all of us. No cookie cutters, no conveyor belt weddings on our end. We focus on the love. Love for each other. Love of family who want to celebrate with us. Or, as some couples do…saving that big celebration for later, and having just a two of you kind of wedding. To be alone in a vast desert, and tell each other how you really love that person, with only the desert winds to be a witness. It really is magical either way..

We love doing the details. And our couples tell us it was worth every dang dime. The planning, the decor, and especially creating something elegant, classy, fun, joyful without breaking the bank.  Elopements are very cost effective with your money and your time. Did you hear me? Your time….your life…we only have so much time to spread around. Add wedding planning on top of your already full life. See where we come in? We give you your life back. To enjoy.

And my husband? He supports. I call him “Mr. Logistics” because he is in the background when I need him, so lovingly and willingly running errands for me at the last minute. One time, he drove completely out to the Valley of Fire because one of our vendors needed a longer extension cord for her generator. That is love, folks. He loves me through the crazy times, gives me neck rubs while I sit planning at the computer, kneading the muscles in my neck, when my neck muscles feel like steel. Because he loves me. And because he knows I want to help you show up at your wedding feeling relaxed, knowing that you made the right decision to do your wedding this way,  joyful, in awe of the Valley of Fire, and to focus on each other, and not be the harried mess that having a large wedding creates of us. My husband wants you to have the day you have dreamed of the moment you met The One. And so he continues to support and love me so that gets accomplished. Can’t beat that. No wonder we have stuck together for 4o years. I am proud of that. We are not perfect. We compromise a lot. It has not always been easy. But I have to say. My relationship with him is the most worthwhile thing I have ever spent life on this planet working on and creating. Here is to you, Mr. Logistics.

This is the article I found recently that really got me thinking about all this. I think you may enjoy it too.

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Michael and Shannon’s Winter Desert Elopement | Las Vegas Wedding

What to do when it’s going to pour buckets of rain on your outdoor wedding? We have lots of options, but the easiest way- you just reschedule to the following day, of course! That is exactly what we did! Eloping with only a few guests, makes changing the date last minute possible. Aren’t small weddings the best?!

Shannon and Michael, hailing all way from Australia, gave us a lot of creative freedom with decor and we went wild! We are so grateful to our wonderful clients, many like Shannon and Michael, who give us full trust to create and design for them.

So for this wedding location, we picked the Cabins at the Valley of Fire, near Las Vegas, Nevada. A small intimate little place right in the heart of deep red cliffs, and sandstone hand built brick cabins from 1930’s, and which were built to shelter the Conservation Corps troops during the depression era. They came to build the roads for the Valley of Fire, create camp areas, build trails, and forge out a tiny hint of civilization out in the great vastness of the Mojave desert, in this magnificent fiery place of jagged rocks and sharp geo-formations.

We used those deep fire colors as a theme, and had deep jewel tones of red, softened with pops of soft dusty blues, like the Nevada desert sky on a soft evening. Our textures ran from soft spun silk blue table runners, (so soft you just want to wrap your face in the softness of it all) to rough textured macrame, on the table as well as which made up a very cool backdrop for us by the cake table. For table decor, we built upon a lovely rustic wood Napa Table, provided by RSVP rentals in Las Vegas. we added fresh pomegranate seeds and berries to match the red macarons and bright deep red berries on branches in champagne glasses, gold rimmed plates, and gold hand lettered place names by Melissa at Epoch Designs. Our florals really brought out the deep, dark reds, with hypericum berries, Pheasant feathers, ranunculus, blush roses, amaranthus, parvafolia, black magic roses, safari sunset protea, deep red orchid,and brought in dusty blues via blue thistle and blue seeds of the eucalyptus in an epic flower explosion. We also used quail and guinea feathers to offset the deep reds and cool whites of the florals. We played up the winter theme a tiny bit by using the bold deep red berries on branches there too. All done so beautifully by our favorite florists at The Front Porch Flowers. And our cake, oh, our lovely cake. An amazing naked cake concoction of chocolate cake and whipped cream, with succulent fresh raspberries and blackberries, so sweet! Accents to the cake were tasty macarons, as well.  Skillfully and tastefully baked and decorated at Peridot Sweets by Tiffany Jones, the owner.

Everyone arrived via Presidential Limousines, looking all dolled up; with hair and makeup done by our favorite salon, with stylists team, Cora and Monet, at Ruby Finch salon. Shannon and Michael were married at the end of a beautiful bright, sunny, cool winter day. (Not a drop of rain!) They stood facing each other, at the head of a quiet, small red rocked canyon, surrounded by a circular ground formation of eucalyptus. They were accompanied by two best friends, Steph and Jackie, who traveled all the way from Australia to support their dear friends.

Shannon and Michael, very much in love, were great to work with, and are a very easy going, fun loving couple. All enjoyed each other’s company, and although the weather was a tad chilly in the shade, it was warm basking in their love and friendship; and all celebrated! Cheers!

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Sean and Kasey | The Good Luck Wedding, Valley of Fire, Las Vegas Wedding

They say that a rainy day is good luck for a wedding. At least, that is the wive’s tale. And for Sean and Kasey, it seemed that the old verbiage is true. For, although the day started out with a steady drizzle as Sean and Kasey and their large party of family and friends arrived at the beautiful Valley of Fire, after a short wait the clouds seemed to dry up, and we received full cooperation from Mother Nature. We loved our gentle inclement weather though, because the gentle soft rains made the red sands absolutely vibrant, and the clouds added a wonderful sense of the dramatic to our photography, and also because to keep warm, Kasey wore a lovely stole over her gown that kept her pretty warm. It looked great on her and she wore it with such grace.  To keep everyone else warm, Sweet Sauce Coffee kept everyone comfy with flavored hot chocolate and special coffee blends at her barista cart.

Kasey and Sean had special vows prepared for the ceremony for Pastor Ham to read, and there were some very lovely as well as funny moments during the ceremony. In addition, we had contacted a wonderful string quartet to serenade Kasey as she and her bridal party  proceeded down the aisle beginning with a lovely rendition of “Come Now Fount of Every Blessings”, as well as other songs. Music added a lovely touch to this very amazing wedding. During the ceremony, Kasey’s special friend played a wonderful musical piece on the guitar. And one of my favorite moments; as they listened to the special number, they cuddled together to listen and held hands. I love to see it when a couple treasures each other, holds hands, and even smooches a bit…Yay for love!

And guess what flavor they chose for the cake?  Yup, my all time favorite, Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Peridot Sweets, a top notch Las Vegas bakery created a wonderfully decadent cake with silver and white delicate filigree covering each of the four corners of the two tier and very delicious cake. And sitting atop the cake were three animal figurines representing Kasey, Sean, and Mary, Sean’s sweet little daughter who is five and a cutie. A polar bear, elk and cute little cub represented the new family. And, last but not least, lining up the dessert bar were a variety of multiple cupcake offerings guaranteed to fill every sweet tooth, and decorated with purple butterflies, white polka dots on purple and lavender, and cute little miniature bouquets resembling a perfect little miniature carnation in white.

And not to be outdone, the Front Porch Flowers created a wonderful array of floral creations full of lush greens, peonies, and roses. Gracing the arch were impressive floral sprays and green cascading down the arch with flowing lavender and white fabric. Fabulous floral always brighten up even the gloomiest of weather. Such a lovely day! And Sean and Kasey ordered a lovely album of their wedding. It turned out beautifully and was delivered in a hand carved wooden keepsake walnut box.

Kasey recently said in an email to us,

Dear Rachel and Lory,
We received both packages yesterday, and everything is perfect! So many treats–I love it. Thank you for all the hard work you did. It really was such a tremendous experience and now we have beautiful ways of remembering it!
Kasey and Sean
Friday, June o2, 2017
Rachel and I would like to add, best wishes! And a long and very happy life together! Ciao!

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