Happy Las Vegas Day!

October 2nd, 2012

Five years ago today, Ian and I said ‘I do’ in sunny Las Vegas. I’d love to say we’re celebrating by larging it up on the strip somewhere, but unfortunately that’s not the case! Never mind…. next year perhaps 🙂

I can’t quite remember when it started, but somewhere over the years we picked up a silly obsession with ‘jazz hands’. It was probably me who started it and then I tainted Ian with the sillyness….. On our wedding day we informed our photographer we wanted a ‘jazz hands’ pose…. to say she was confused and didn’t understand what we wanted to do is an understatement. After many minutes of us waving our arms around at her, she kind of smiled and said…’Oh. Jazz hands? Errr…o..k..a..y..’

After 12 years together we’re still just as silly and do many daft things that no-one else would get….. and that’s just one of the many reasons why we’re together!

Happy Anniversary Ian! 🙂

I love it when a plan comes together……..

October 9th, 2011

As we sat and looked out across the marina, watching the boats gently rock back and forth on the water, the impossible almost seemed possible. We discussed our current situation, our goals and more importantly our fears; or rather my fears of the future.

Ian listened and gave me his advice, the way he always does. Always truthful, and sometimes Read more »

What happens in Vegas {Part III}

August 12th, 2011

So this is the final part of ‘What happens in Vegas’ a guide to getting married in Las Vegas, based on my own personal experience…..if you missed the previous posts, you can catch up here —-> Part I and Part II

Flowers: The flowers were arranged by the chapel, and this is quite common. For us, the groom’s boutonniere along with the brides ten rose custom bouquet was included, but as lilies are my favourite flowers, I upgraded to the oriental lily mix bouquet. I wasn’t disappointed, they were absolutely stunning. I was so gutted when I had to leave them in the hotel room when we left Vegas, but we couldn’t really take them with us on our road trip, it would have been silly!

My lovely flowers a few days old…..

Marriage Licence: You don’t need to apply for this until you arrive. Available from Clark County Clerks Marriage Bureau, at the time of writing this the price is $60. You must have sufficient ID with you; birth certificate and passport are fine, but BOTH of you must appear in person and the licence is valid for one year from the date it is issued. As Las Vegas holds over 100,000 a year (about 315 per day!), you can imagine how busy the Marriage Bureau gets. You can now Read more »

What happens in Vegas {Part II}

August 5th, 2011

As I have been asked so many times what it was like to get married in Las Vegas, it made sense to write a guide based on my own personal experience. The “What happens in Vegas” guide, started last week, and was originally meant to be a two parter. However; I realised there was too much information to cover over two posts, so it’s now turned into a three parter…..or a trilogy! So on we go…..

Hair / Make-Up: Make sure you know how you want your hair and make-up to look. Just because you’re getting married abroad, doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared and have trials done! I had hair and make-up trials done a few months before we got married and took photos of everything; I really didn’t want the “big American hair and make-up” thing going on! It’s a good thing I did as well, because even armed with a photo, I still had to “have words” with the girl doing my make-up. She had taken it upon herself to give me make-up, right up to my eyebrows – YIKES!!! When I sensed it wasn’t right and opened my eyes to ask her what she was doing, she glanced at me, then back at the photo and then back to me, and when I told her I didn’t want it like that, she looked at me shocked and said “Really”?! “Errrr…..yes”. So ALWAYS go for a trial beforehand and have images have how you want your make-up, so hopefully you won’t have to wipe it all off and start again!

Luckily the girl doing my hair had a better idea of what she was doing. I had my hair and make-up done at the Christophe Salon in the MGM Grand; as we were staying at The Signature it made sense. I wanted somewhere easy to get to on the morning of the wedding and somewhere that I’d found good reviews for. A couple of days before we got married I called in to confirm my appointment and check that everything was okay; I can’t say it was the friendliest place I’ve ever been in, but apart from the make-up incident, it was okay!

Photographer: You will find that most places on the strip (especially hotels) provide a photographer. Weddings are obviously big, big business in Vegas, so having this as part of your package is pretty common. Our photographer was included; she put us both at ease and gave us clear directions for posing etc. But with the amount of weddings that these guys do, you’d expect them to know what they’re doing! We had some photos taken in the chapel grounds, but as we wanted some photos done on the strip as well, we booked the same photographer for an extra hour afterwards. You can’t go to Vegas and not have your photo taken under the famous sign!

We also upgraded our photography package and paid to get all our images on a CD. We were also pleasantly surprised when we returned to the chapel the next day to view our photos, that they didn’t try and sell us anything else. We had already decided that after spending $495 on the CD, we didn’t want to buy anything else. They sat us in front of a computer and left us to view our images, wished us every happiness and then sent us on our way. No hard sell. Nothing. Magic!

We didn’t use the limo driver from the chapel for our “offsite” photos; we booked one from an independent company (I can’t remember who). Mainly because the limo driver has to leave you wherever your last stop is…..so if you go straight from the chapel to the strip and your last set of photos are taken at the famous Vegas sign, then that’s where you’re stranded!! Our limo driver from the chapel took us for a tour of the strip and then dropped us off back at the hotel, where we had another limo driver pick us up and drive us around for an hour – he was such as dude!!!

Videographer: A videographer and a wedding DVD, along with live internet broadcasting and for eight hours immediately following our ceremony, was included in our package. At the time you could also pay a little extra to keep the video “live” for a couple of weeks after, just in case someone missed it; we just paid for four days. I think it then stayed accessible in the archives for about a year, but you had to pay if you wanted to view it. You’ll find that most places do this now. You give your “guests” a log on ID and then they can just log onto the website and watch the live broadcast as you get married.

Next week: Flowers, marriage licence (it was supposed to be this week, but it’s now been moved to the final part of the ‘trilogy’!), witnesses, gratuities plus some other Vegas ramblings that may come in useful! 🙂

What happens in Vegas…. {Part 1}

July 29th, 2011

Your wedding day is one of the most important and magical days of your life, and once you start planning the big day, you realise just how much there is to do. There are so many things to organise; the rings, a venue, the flowers, wedding cars, the dress, suits, the reception, bridesmaids, a best man, a photographer, a videographer, a hairdresser, the honeymoon – Phew!!! …..and this isn’t even an exhaustive list! But when the day arrives, you realise the time spent organising everything has been totally worth it.

But what happens when you get married abroad? What happens when it’s just the two of you? When I tell people that Ian and I got married in Las Vegas their eyes light up and they want to know what it’s like. They also think that there’s no stress involved – but trust me, there is! Maybe not as much as organising a wedding for 150 guests, but you still have to co-ordinate everything…..rings, venue, flights, flowers, dress, suit, hairdresser, make-up, accommodation, car hire, marriage licence – all from 5000 miles away! You don’t have the luxury of visiting the venue, you just have to do as much research on the internet as possible, cross your fingers and hope you’ve made the right choice!

So from my own personal experience of getting married in Las Vegas, I thought I would share some information. If this helps even one person, I will be a happy bunny 🙂

Wedding Venue: Research. Research. …..and research some more! Organising your wedding from 5000 miles away can be quite daunting; you don’t have the luxury of visiting potential venues! There are soooooo many chapels and hotels in Las Vegas to choose from, so where do you start? The internet is your best friend; Trip Advisor in particular. I used Trip Advisor in order to plan our whole trip, not just the venue. There are reviews on there for nearly every chapel on the strip as well as any hotel that holds weddings. I also purchased a book “Neon Nuptials – The Complete Guide to Las Vegas Weddings” and it did exactly what it said on the tin – it’s a very honest, no nonsense guide to 56 venues on the strip. Deciding what kind of wedding you want may help you to narrow down your list of potential venues…..if you want a Rocky Horror theme or to be married by Elvis; you’re not going to get married at The Bellagio!!!

Once you’ve decided on your venue, phone them to have a chat and make sure they are friendly and can accommodate your requirements. Communicating by email isn’t going to give you a real idea of the level of customer service that they may or may not provide.

With help from Neon Nuptials, Trip Advisor and other internet research, we decided to get married at Chapel of the Flowers. It got rave reviews and the staff couldn’t have been friendlier, they made everything perfect. Working on time differences took a while to get used to, but if I emailed with a question out of hours there was always a reply within the next couple of days. When I phoned up panicking about something, no matter how small, they were super friendly, answered any questions I had, and put my mind at ease. We wanted to write our own vows, we wanted to have “our song” played, we wanted to get married in the gazebo outside and we didn’t want a religious ceremony. The important thing was that we tailored everything to suit our needs. After the ceremony and photographs our limo driver gave us a tour of the strip before dropping us back at our hotel.

As you do your research you will find some really cheap and nasty chapels with some really bad reviews…….be warned!

Dress: Remember that when you’re getting married abroad, you’re going to have to transport your dress. I chose mine from the Maggie Sottero destination range, which meant it was pretty lightweight and easy to carry. Which leads me onto flights…..

Flights: When organising your flights, be sure to mention that you’re getting married and that you need to transport your wedding dress and even the grooms suit. When Ian and I got married, we flew with BMI and they were really helpful. We were both able to take our clothing on board as extra hand luggage and the Stewardesses made sure we had somewhere to hang them up.

Rings: Don’t forget to take the receipts for your rings with you. It’s always best to have proof that you bought them in the UK and took them over with you.

I really hope this has been useful…..next week: Hair and make-up, photographers, flowers, marriage licence and more!