Festive Destination Wedding in Las Vegas

Tamara and Karol opted for a festive Las Vegas destination wedding, one where they embraced all the city has to offer couples.  This wasn’t a quickie Vegas wedding however, the lovebirds selected the city for the special meaning it had right from the start of their relationship.  The newlyweds shared their story (and their wedding planning advice) with us!

Las Vegas held a special place in our hearts.  It was our first trip together as a couple, I proposed to Tamara in Vegas on New Years Eve 2014, and we had such great memories from all our trips to Vegas that it was just a natural perfect fit to be married in Vegas.

A favorite moment from the day for the groom?  When Robert our photographer set Tamara and I back to back where we then turned around to see each other for the first time that day.  Seeing Tamara in her dress was an emotional wonderful moment that I will remember forever and Robert captured it for us magically. 

Our photo stop at the Neon Sign Museum was really cool and was a great backdrop to capture some iconic and unique photos with our wedding party.

  

We wanted a fun environment with a great strip view for our guests to enjoy.  The Hard Rock Cafe had this cool vibe and a good location on the strip.  We had a lot of family coming in from overseas and many North American guests were coming to Vegas for the first time so we wanted their first Vegas experience to be memorable.  Our Hard Rock Cafe coordinator Christy was amazing and very detailed oriented and patient.  She connected us with a great décor designer from Naakiti Floral Design that helped create the vision we had for the floor space at the Hard Rock.   

The couple’s destination wedding planning advice, now that they are newlyweds?

Communicate with each other through the process.  A local professional wedding coordinator is a good idea when trying to plan an elaborate wedding.  We coordinated everything ourselves but we now have a whole new respect for what wedding coordinators do. 

You will go over budget no matter how stringent you are.  Be ready to spend more than you planned for.

However, if there is one tip we can give anyone planning a destination wedding is to spend the money on the best photographer and videographer you can.  They will help capture and create memories that will make you smile every time you look at your photos or videos.  Robert Evans and Jeff Berlin were our dream team and we cannot thank them enough for their efforts, patience, and amazing eye to capture these memories on our special day.

To see more of this Las Vegas destination wedding, check out the video highlights here!

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Robert Evans Studios

Wedding Vendors: Bride + Wedding Coordinator/Designer: Karol & Tamara Warminiec, Wedding Location, Venue Coordinator, Food + Beverage: Hard Rock Café Las Vegas Strip (Christy Rasmussen), Florist & Décor Designer: Naakiti Floral Design, Officiant: Angie Kelly, Videography: Robert Evans Studios, Cake: The Gourmet Cake Factory, Desserts (cupcake tower and chocolate covered strawberries): Retro Bakery, Wedding Dress: Valencienne Bridal, Hair and Makeup: Perfect Hair And Makeup

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Desert Wedding Photos You’ll Flip For

Alex and Austin wanted something a bit different for their wedding photos. This cute couple opted to drive six hours in the rain to a destination that would lend itself to picture-perfect images and a day these two won’t ever forget. Their photographer, Jenna Noelle Photography, shared how this day came to be.

After throwing the wedding day plans out the window, they were stoked to have an opportunity to capture beautiful photos out in the middle of nowhere with no stress of planning or wrangling family! This couple was a joy to work with not only because of their flexibility and willingness to drive 6 hours through the rain to our destination, but because their story is so amazing.

Austin is a Columbine survivor who became addicted to the drugs prescribed to him to treat his wounds. After a decade of struggling to cope, he went sober, met Alex, and started managing an addiction recovery center in Steamboat, where he has been able to be a voice for those who fall victim to over prescription of pain medications. You would never guess, meeting this couple, that they have been through so much, but it’s clear that their bond is unique. They are effortlessly a gorgeous couple and it was truly a privilege not only to work with them, but to have such a beautiful location to do it in.

The bride-to-be, Alex, also shared with us special moments from the day and their experience.

This was our engagement photo shoot. I wore my wedding dress for two reasons, the first being more logistical, in that we weren’t sure when, where or whom would be attending the wedding and I wanted some professional photos in my dress just in case we decided to elope. The second reason was that I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to have a wedding portrait in a place as beautiful as the dunes! 

The shoot at the Sand Dunes was what I had envisioned from the beginning, and when Jenna actually agreed to it I was over the moon! We were extremely lucky to have found such an adventurous and talented photographer – she captured it better than I ever imagined. 

The day was really such a blast with so many funny memories, which are always my favorite. It was all unknown territory and quite the adventure – Austin and I had never met Jenna in person until we arrived at the Sand Dunes, which we had never visited prior to this trip. However, through all the unknowns, it fell together perfectly, all thanks to Jenna and her boyfriend, Raymond. I felt like we were all old friends by the time we left the shoot, which is a priceless memory in itself. 

 

Austin and I planned very little for this particular event, as we do with most events, and it was absolutely perfect. I’m sure more planning would have made certain things easier, but we wouldn’t have these funny little memories that made it so special. My advice is to not take things too seriously and go with the flow – don’t let the little things ruin beautiful moments. 

Congratulations to the nearly-weds!

Destination Wedding Photographer:  Jenna Noelle Photography

Location: Great Sand Dunes National Park, Wedding Dress: The Altar Bride

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Laguna Beach Wedding Location – Pacific Edge Hotel

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I recently got a little staycation in over the weekend in posh Laguna Beach, CA at a boutique hotel you may not have heard about, but needs to be on your radar.  The Pacific Edge Hotel, standing right on the Southern California sand, is home to 39 oceanfront rooms, a happening restaurant scene, and beach bungalows for day use that might be the best kept secret in So Cal!  And of course you can get married here too!  If you’re looking for an oceanfront wedding venue for an intimate event, this spot is super unique to say “I do” at.

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You can get married on the sand in front of the Pacific Edge Hotel, a surprisingly rare opportunity in Southern California!  You can even opt for dinner outdoors too, alongside the beach bungalows that are a must-do for any wedding weekend (but more on that later).

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Or you can go inside into one of their intimate event spaces, all still overlooking the ocean of course.  The Villa is a newly renovated private beach home on property that opens up to the outdoors with French doors and delights guests inside with hardwood flooring, a stone fireplace and beach decor that sets the perfect mood for a wedding of 40 guests or less.

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For a small property, there’s lots to choose from for your wedding (and other events like rehearsal and post-brunch) so you never have to leave!  The Deck is a fantastic outdoor restaurant, also available for a buyout and otherwise bustling on a Friday night.  Or checkout Driftwood Kitchen for more amazing views and some seriously good food too.

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One of my favorite parts of the Pacific Edge Hotel are their beach bungalows, small (10 people or less) indoor event and day-use spaces with decks sitting right on the ocean’s edge.  Take over one or all of them (each uniquely designed by local celebrity designers and surf brands) and your wedding party will have the most fun pre or post-wedding day at the beach!  You can order in fresh fish tacos, poke, ceviche and so much more and you’ll be treated like kings and queens as you get ready for or recover from the big day.

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If you’re planning a bachelorette weekend in Southern California, this is a fantastic idea too!  And at the end of the night, you and your guests just go right upstairs to your rooms to retire until tomorrow.

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The oceanfront rooms at the Pacific Edge Hotel are charming, the food is fantastic, and the sunsets and surf views simply can’t be beat.  For an intimate destination wedding or a weekend away before the big day, be sure to check out the bungalows, The Deck, and so much more at this hidden gem in Laguna Beach.

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San Diego Ocean View Wedding Venue: Cape Rey

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If you’re looking for a wedding venue with an epic ocean view but barefoot in the sand isn’t exactly your style, then consider Cape Rey Carlsbad in sunny San Diego, where the weather is {almost} always perfect, the beach is just 150 steps away, and the ceremony site overlooks the big blue Pacific Ocean.  The Cape Rey Carlsbad is one of San Diego’s newest hidden gems for weddings, with a fantastic ceremony lawn and garden, a great outdoor entertaining space for cocktails and even dinner beneath the stars, and a mega ballroom that’s pretty enough to satisfy the most discerning couples.

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Besides the beautiful event spaces you have to choose from, a highlight from my recent visit was the food.  The trendy lobby bar and restaurant, Chandler’s Restaurant, a local favorite, is also the catering department for weddings.  That means you’ll get a fabulous restaurant-quality meal for your first as newlyweds!  The fresh seafood, local fare and great wine selection give you and your guests a great culinary experience to remember.  (And the bar scene during off wedding time is pretty great too…)

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The Cape Rey Carlsbad has a relaxed beachy vibe while staying true to its hotel roots to give you a great and well-rounded weekend experience when you visit.  The property is small enough to feel intimate when you run into your wedding guests in the lobby or by the pool, but large enough to house weddings with up to 650 guests, so you can invite just about everyone you know!  It really is the best of all worlds here and you can’t beat San Diego for a domestic destination wedding spot!

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And if you just got engaged, then even better news – book Cape Rey Carlsbad by March 31, 2017 and receive $1000 off your ceremony fee PLUS 15% off their evening wedding package prices.  Mention this offer when booking and be sure to get your amazing savings!  For more information, be sure to visit Cape Rey Carlsbad.

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Photos Courtesy of Cape Rey Carlsbad.

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New Laguna Beach Wedding Location: The Ranch at Laguna Beach

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Tucked away just 350 yards from one of Southern California’s most pristine beaches is a hidden hideaway unlike anything else in the area. Laguna Beach may be know for its boutique surf hotels and mega luxury resorts but at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, we discovered something a little bit different.

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A brand new hotel, The Ranch was once a Girl Scout retreat before its current owners developed the canyon into a summer camp-like luxury resort fit for the kid in all of us and the grownup with ultra high standards. I got the chance to visit The Ranch recently and as a Southern Californian, this might be the best weekend getaway or staycation around.

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You’ll disconnect with little to no cell service as you unwind in a cabin-like building adorned with swanky suites and incredibly comfy beds. The rooms were designed by the local trending home store, Tuvalu Home Environment, and the result will make you want to move in.

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The food is outstanding, the ranch hands as they call them (the crew that will drive you from place to place via golf cart) couldn’t be more friendly, and the golf, if you partake is pretty special, complete with wild deer on the course.

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But it’s the wedding venues at The Ranch at Laguna Beach that are truly jaw-dropping. Imagine guests in a rally of golf carts out to a clearing deep in the forest where a wedding deck sits, surrounded by vast trees and beautiful gardens, with twinkle lights all around. It’s rustic glam at its finest, with all the amenities, service and cuisine you can expect from a five star hotel.

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Or say “I do” on the golf course, under trees lining the 1st and 9th fairways before moving into the ballroom to dance the night away.

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No matter where you wed at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, you’ll find total privacy, a rare connection with nature in the Orange County area and the best of both worlds on land and sea (your ranch hand can easily cart you out to the ocean for a welcome party, late night fire pit experience, or just a day at the beach).

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is brand new, so while it may be Southern California’s best kept secret for now, it’s too good to be for long.

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