Today is my husband Jamie and my 7th Wedding Anniversary, and I thought I’d kick off our fun new Real Weddings blog series by sharing my own wedding. Everyone is always so curious about the wedding of a wedding planner, and for good reason! You want to know what the pro would do (and not do!) Well, this pro took her wedding to Vegas!

lauren and jamie wedding
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I’m a lifelong Houstonian, and Jamie is originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (technically Lower Sackville, a suburb), and was living in Calgary, Alberta when we met. So our guests were literally coming from every corner of the US and Canada. We are “Vegas People”—it’s where we met for the first time, and one of our favorite vacation spots. What better place to get married, and also give our guests the opportunity for a fun long weekend? Having the wedding in Las Vegas is very much what made the wedding “Lauren & Jamie.”

May 15, 2008 was a Thursday. Every day is a wedding day in Vegas. The idea was for most guests to make it in from their respective hometowns on the day of the wedding and be able to have a fun weekend vacation for themselves. We set the ceremony time a little later so that it would give everyone time to get in and get settled. We had taken one planning trip to Las Vegas in December to look at locations. As we went from hotel to hotel, we quickly realized that the chapels were just not us. We did take a look at some of the “hospitality suites” as well, and it was started to leave me crestfallen, as though we weren’t making the right choice in Vegas after all.

As luck would have it, a good friend who was working in the gaming industry found out that we were in town, and put us on the list for a buddy’s infamous annual holiday party taking place in a suite at Mandalay Bay on our last night there. This was also technically our favorite part of the planning. As soon as we arrived at the party, I knew that the lavish suite (or something like it) was EXACTLY what we were looking for. So when we got home, I started doing research on the best luxury suites in Las Vegas, and one at Caesars Palace really caught my attention—The Absolut Suite. The colors were phenomenal. It was so flashy, so Vegas, and just the right size. So, sight unseen (other than internet photos) we booked it.

For the rest of the bookings, I heavily relied on online research, and The Knot was really my #1 online resource. We didn’t need much—the room was already so ornate that décor wasn’t necessary. I chose professionals that were small, local, and kind of funky. In Vegas, there are so many “wedding factory” type businesses that you would literally be a number on their schedule for the day. That wasn’t for us. I chose the talented Pam at The Palette for personal florals, the super-fun and amazing James at Glam Squad for hair and make-up and an uber-hip brand new bakery started by one of the coolest couples in Vegas—Retro Bakery to do the cupcakes—we were one of their very first weddings! And keep in mind, this was 2008, just as the wedding cupcake trend was starting to take off.

I did rely on my Houston friendors as well. I chose Kristen Adcock with Invitation Solutions to design our mod white, magenta, and turquoise invitations. My Watters gown came from Priscilla of Boston (now closed, so sad), and alterations were lovingly done by my darling Widad . The veil was handmade by the one and only Arlene at Beautiful U. And when it came to choosing a photographer, I knew that a Vegas stranger wouldn’t do. So I asked the incomparable Craig Davis and Chip Gillespie along with their lovely wives April & Jeanette to join us at the celebration…and do us the honor of taking some of the most badass wedding pics ever captured. And they did!

Jamie and I arrived a few days early to get settled, hang with friends, and do a little wedding leg work. The day of the wedding was calm—we gave ourselves plenty of time to get ready, and we made the decision to “stay together” all day. We were in a 4 bedroom suite with the large common great-room, so Jamie peeked in on me between hanging with the guys, bringing me water and cute Sofia Blanc de Blanc cans with straws while I laughed with my BFF and Maid of Honor, Kari. Jamie and I both got dressed early to get some photos prior to the ceremony. This was one of my favorite moments of the day. We must have walked 2 miles around the Caesars property.

The ceremony was short and beautiful, performed by the jovial Rev. Phil Larimore, and the cocktails flowed as soon as we said “I do!” We loved having 50 of our closest friends and family come from afar to celebrate with us! The next morning, we woke up early to head to the day after photo session we planned with Craig & Chip at The Neon Museum, a well-kept secret at the time that contains some of the biggest pieces of Las Vegas history—the neon signs! We loved this session—the time we got to spend as newlyweds together and the incredible photos that were produced!

My advice to all present and future brides and grooms has always been to really let YOU come through on your wedding day. Know and acknowledge tradition, but throw it out the window if necessary!

More photos HERE

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