When Wesley proposed in the middle of COVID we originally wanted to run away, just the two of us, somewhere picturesque. I mean, look at the two of us; he proposed by sneaking us into a park that overlooked the NYC skyline (this was when parks were shut down due to COVID in New Jersey). Yet, our families pushed for a traditional venue. We looked at two venues and ended up booking the second one which was an alpaca rescue. Throughout the wedding process it only became more stressful and further from our vision.
At a certain point, we decided to elope so the day was more about us than all the family. We went from May 2022 to eloping on our four year anniversary, December first 2021. We fell in love with the red rocks of the Valley of Fire in Nevada.
I did the research on elopement packages and stumbled upon Cactus + Lace (insta@/@cactusandlaceweddings) which is an all women team of photographers and planners. We did book them and they were very open with communication throughout the whole process. For the first time, I felt at ease. For a fraction of the cost, we were able to do exactly what we wanted to do.
We invited a few friends and family and my own company’s videographer. My mother’s best friend, Lisa, booked us a room at the Aria Resort & Casino with the most beautiful view of the strip and the city. All together, there was ten of us flown in for our elopement!
The night before the wedding, Wes, Me, My Mom, and Lisa had some slamming Mexican food from Nacho Daddy not too far from the hotel - the vegan options were amazing and the margaritas were delicious! Wes and I went back to the hotel room and set our alarm for seven am.
Wedding Day: Getting Ready
We woke up and both realized - we needed to write our vows! He got to work immediately and I took a bit longer to regain consciousness before my shower. Brian + Joe (our friends and groomsmen) picked Wesley up and they got ready at their airbnb. My mother, Tiffany, Sarah, + Danielle (my friends and bridesmaids) arrived and so did hair + makeup and our getting ready photographer!
I just wanted to say, my makeup has never, ever looked better than on my wedding day and it did not budge once (even when I cried hysterically after our vows). My hair was perfect and lasted for several days after that day in which we did a photo session with a local photographer the day after.
While my dad or sister could not make it due to health issues and what not, I am forever grateful I had this moment with my mother. Growing up I gave my mom so many issues due to being mentally ill, refusing help, and being unmedicated. Nowadays, I can confidently say she's my rock, my best friend, and my biggest fan. I would of never gotten to be where I am at without her.
A Quick Shoutout to My Gals
I am also so blessed that I have had my closest friends (minus two) come and supported me through out this entire process. When I had a fallout with my best friend (who was going to be my Maid of Honor), Tiffany took over and made sure everything went smoothly. She became my officiant, made sure we looked cute, and did the damn thing. Danielle is my chaotic friend who we had to edit out a lot of things she said that was picked up on the mics. She is an amazing time wherever we go, has an amazing aura, and always brightens my day. Sarah is my hot mom friend that does not tolerate bullshit. Loyal to the end, and has a laugh that is rather maniacal but is rather contagious. Y'all are the absolute best.
Although Darian + Maryanne could not physically be there, I would never get to where I am at through this entire process. Darian, you are my absolute best friend (since we were five!) and I love you more than anything in the world. Maryanne, you give me the bad bitch energy I always needed to thrive and made me confident in everything I do. Forever loving you both SO much.
I did not have real friends for the longest of time and having you all makes life truly amazing. I love each and everyone of you. Thank you for giving me undying support through my relationship, the planning process, and everything in between.
And to their Boyfriends
They also brought their boyfriends so that Wes could have some people behind him since neither his friends or family could make it. The hard truth about eloping or having a destination wedding is that not everyone will come. Sometimes the excuses are valid, but a lot of the time people just do not give the same support to you, as you would them.
Shoutout to Brian, Joe, and my videographer, Jake, for keeping the bro-vibes real and giving Wes support. Also shoutout again to Brian + Joe for always offering to drive, that was super dope of y'all.
We did our first look at the Neon Museum. It is the coolest little outdoor museum of retired neon signs (hence the name). I obviously got there first with ALL my bridal party and mom/Lisa since Wes runs on his own time. I got to explore and kick dirt around in my boots, checking out all the cool signs. Wes arrives and its time to do THE BIG REVEAL!
I do not know why I felt so anxious walking to Wesley, but the nerves definitely kick in with a mixture of excitement. This is our moment, the one we have been waiting for, and it happens in a matter of minutes. To calm the nerves, I stare directly at him as I walk and do not put my focus anywhere else.
After we got some couple’s portraits done, we had everyone else come in, look around, and take pictures with us! Then we got back inside the SUV, and both finished writing our vows on the way to the ceremony.
Then it was time to get married.
You can watch the ceremony below:
The wonderful thing about eloping is that the focus is on you as a couple. We were surrounded by everyone who was genuinely happy for us. I could feel the love and support around us.
All-inclusive Planning: Cactus and Lace Weddings @cactusandlaceweddings
Location: Valley of Fire – Seven Sisters @valley.of.fire
Portrait Location: Las Vegas Neon Museum @theneonmuseumlasvegas
Officiant: Amanda Monk of Jubilee Occasions @jubilee_occasions_
Desserts: Caked Las Vegas @cakedlasvegas
Florals: The Front Porch Flowers @thefrontporchflowers
Hair and Makeup: Ruby Finch Salon @rubyfinchsalon
Photography: Kayla Doty and Amanda Monk of Cactus and Lace Weddings
Videography: Christina Hernandez Artistry
After the elopement, we went to Hank’s Fine Steaks and Martini Bar. Surprisingly, this was one of the more vegan friendly spots on the strip and the drinks were delicious. I had mushroom risotto which was to die for. We drank and ate and had a great night. We stayed out a bit in the casino after, but went back to the hotel room.
A Weekend in Vegas
The next day, we met up with a local photographer, Jenni (insta@/jenniphoto.co) who did a photo session of us on the Fremont Experience! We woke up at 6 am to be able to catch sunrise and it was well worth it because our pictures came out AMAZING. She was such a sweet individual, and had us doing the cutest prompts. She was so personable and knew of the best spots - I totally recommend her for anyone looking for a session!
After a nap, the group of us went to and experienced OMEGA MART, which is one of the coolest art installations in Las Vegas. I totally recommend going - you can literally spend hours there, figuring out all the hidden secrets. After, we went to the Seven Magic Mountains and enjoyed the 76 degree weather.
The last few days we ate, drank, went to a boxing match and enjoyed our time together until we flew home. Marrying my best friend was absolutely perfect in every way - eloping was so much more amazing then we ever expected and if we had unlimited funds and could redo it, we would do the exact same over again.
Want to see elopements I've done? Check these bad boys out:
PSA: I'll hop on a plane, anytime, anywhere.