Dashing Mojave Desert Wedding


June 18, 2020
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of

Citizens of Scotland, Michelle and Rory, visited Nevada in 2016 and fell in love with the serenity and sunshine of the desert landscape. Years later, when deciding where to say “I do,” the couple’s decision was a walk in the park… Valley of Fire State Park, to be exact.

“We wanted somewhere within driving distance of Las Vegas, which is a reason we chose the Valley of Fire,” the couple says. 

Due to the long-distance travel costs, however, many guests wouldn’t be able to make the U.S. ceremony. That’s when the couple decided to host two celebrations, one in Scotland and the other in Nevada. Knowing this would be a huge undertaking, Michelle and Rory brought in experts to handle the nitty-gritty of destination wedding planning. That’s when they hired Amanda from Cactus & Lace Weddings, who immediately got to work sourcing vendors for hair, make-up, transportation and food for the desert occasion.

Most communication between Amanda and the couple took place over Skype or email. The bride found the video calls to be a nice touch because it made everything more personal and helped to build the relationship.

“By the time we met in person on the day, I felt like I was meeting an old friend, which was lovely,” Michelle says.

Another great planning resource: Facebook groups. The couple located a number of groups providing recommendations and helpful tips for planning a destination wedding from the United Kingdom. 

“There is a lot of support out there, so I would suggest joining groups specific for your destination,” the bride says.

With the destination planning under control, Michelle and Rory focused on sprinkling in some fun details for their special day in the desert. They planned to use an old guitar amp as a card box, old vinyl records for a “guestbook”, and, instead of traditional wedding favors, cacti – so guests could take a piece of the desert home with them.

When their desert ceremony day finally came to fruition, Michelle and Rory were all smiles. The red rock glimmered in the afternoon sun, as the two beamed with joy, committing to forever with each other.

“There is a lot of pressure on couples today due to social media etc. and It is easy to get sidetracked by trying to please everyone else or wanting a big fancy wedding as that’s what everyone else does,” the bride says. “Remember that your family and true friends will love and support you with whatever you choose.” 

Vendors: Photography: Amanda Monk of Cactus and Lace Weddings; All-inclusive Planning: Cactus and Lace Weddings; Location: Valley of Fire – Seven Sisters; Flowers: The Front Porch Flowers; Officiant: Jason Gray; Guitarist: Michael Lucarelli; Cake: Las Vegas Custom Cakes; Pizza Dinner: Yukon Pizza; Hair and Makeup: Ruby Finch Salon; Rentals: Blooming Belles; Transportation: Earth Limos

Couple in Punta Cana doing a destination wedding by the ocean
Destination Weddings at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva
Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Destination Weddings
Black couple getting married in Jamaica
Jamaica Destination Weddings
Couple in Cancun doing a gazebo destination wedding
White couple getting married in Punta Cana, DR
destination wedding couple throwing rose petals in costa mujeres
Iberostar Weddings

Find a Vendor

Access our list of vendors based on your destination location.