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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Windy Valley of Fire Wedding at The Cabins: Patrick and Molly

With about a week before the wedding, Molly emailed us expressing her concern about the weather. We had been watching the forecast, as well. Previously, about 10 days out, it was smooth sailing. Now, a few days away, it seems that we were due for some actual weather. Here in Las Vegas, the only usual weather we have is sunshine. But not this week. This week, we were looking at stiff winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph. (Which, for those of you unfamiliar with wind, is pretty steep.)  And blowing red desert sand and gravel does great things for low cost skin dermabrasion, but it’s not so great for an outdoor wedding.

So we were all a little concerned. Except me. I knew that that wind was going to fade. No doubt about it. I was so sure everything would be o.k., I felt positively calm. Well, the day loomed, the weather report kept reporting wind advisories and told us to batten down the hatches, figuratively.  Obviously, my calm nature did not prevail. But as luck would have it, (and actually luck had nothing to do with it) we had planned, just in case, to switch our wedding location to the Cabins, at Valley of Fire, where Rachel had the great idea to put the table inside. So I thought, we can put the wedding arch in another little cabin. And we did!

The more we planned and had thought about it in the days prior, the more excited we became, because all of a sudden – we had a wedding with the picturesque look of a rustic old French Villa.  Molly had picked a lovely silver blue as an accent color, which combined with the red hand carved sandstone blocks of the Cabins, along with our vintage silver accents, and French provincial furniture, was absolutely breath taking. And her  choice of flowers in lovely arrangements of blue hydrangea and David Austen roses, in white, created by our favorite florists at the Front Porch Flowers was stunning inside those small red walled sandstone rooms. So elegantly rustic. Serendipity. This wedding was really adding up to something even more amazing, and we thought it was pretty lovely to begin with. And as the wedding began, and Molly and Patrick stood together to take their vows, our officiant, Judy Irving of Wedding Vows of Las Vegas,  did a lovely, and thoughtful job of the ceremony.

We do have to say, this wedding was sure full of the awesome Irish heritage. The Irish are culturally, great story tellers, and this group was no different. What a fun group they were too! Molly and Patrick had both sets of parents present and the siblings on both sides as well. All kinds of stories about Molly and Patrick were being told. Add a little bit of the sparkling champagne with fresh blackberries in the flutes, and the stories really began to fly about. It was such great fun, being in such a wonderful loving family environment. We were constantly laughing with them, as one story ended, and another began. So much fun! We felt like we were at home.

We got to hear that Molly met Patrick when she was 19 years old. Such a young thing. Well, actually, Molly’s mom met Patrick first, although she had no idea at the time that he would become her new son-in-law. After dropping Molly off at college at the dorm, Molly’s mom asked out loud as she was leaving the dorm, if anyone needed anything, as she was going to run to the store. Patrick piped up and asked for a case of water. So according to Mom, she met Patrick by chance. They figured that out much later.

They began to date and as those things go, Molly and Patrick became a pair. We asked,”So Patrick, when did you know she was the one?” According to Patrick, it happened this way. She was moving out of her dorm, and he happened to be moving out of his place too. He told her he was moving, and she said ” Well, I am coming with you, aren’t I?” And the rest is history.

(And yes,  the silver cat statues is an whole other story by itself.)

The wind did blow like the dickens. Our hair did look like Supermodels under the big fan, and Molly, how did she do in the stiff wind in her gown and beautifully done hair? Well, we think she looked amazingly lovely. And the wind could not change that one bit.  Molly’s hair and makeup were lovely, natural, understated – and held up through 50 mph wind gusts! Great job Ruby Finch Salon! Great job Molly, Patrick and family for your great ability to roll with those winds and tumbleweeds and come out wonderfully! It will be a day to remember!

Congratulations Patrick and Molly! Our very best wishes to you for a wonderful and loving life together. Add congratulations  also, on the 30th wedding anniversary this year of both sets of your parents. What a feat! The best is yet to come!

Wedding design and planning – Cactus and Lace Weddings
Hair and Makeup – Ruby Finch Salon
Flowers – The Front Porch Flowers
Officiant – Judy Irving
Cake – Peridot Sweets
Photography – Cactus and Lace Weddings Lory Fabbi and Rachel Garcia
Venue – Valley of Fire, near Las Vegas, NV 
Stationary – Epoch Design

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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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