Desert Elopement in Las Vegas


May 19, 2021
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Hotzel Photography

After dating for six years, Ankia and Ignatius (Iggy) had joked around a bit with the idea of eloping. However, it was after having a serious conversation on how they imagined their wedding day that the South African couple realized a classic elopement was actually exactly what they desired. 

“Both of us love traveling to the U.S.,” the couple says, “and immediately knew that if we were going to elope, we were going to do it properly – THE VEGAS WAY.”

Beyond the glitz and glam appeal of a Vegas wedding, Ankia and Iggy felt inspired by various elopement photos on Instagram and Pinterest that pictured couples in a gorgeous desert landscape. 

Neither of our parents was shocked about the elopement,” Ankia says, “since both Iggy and I are usually the people to do things the way we want to do it and we don’t typically follow traditions.”

Using Instagram to look at vendors and pictures they were tagged in, Ankia found the perfect fit in Hotzel Photography. “I would definitely recommend finding a photographer that can assist you with your wedding plans,” the bride says, “since they know the area and usually have a recommended vendor list which you can use to further help with other arrangements.”

While everything seemed to be coming together quite seamlessly, COVID-19 came to mess with their plans. (We’re sure many of you know the feeling.) 

“Our initial elopement date was scheduled for the 17th of June 2020, but due to travel restrictions, we had to cancel and postpone our elopement plans with our vendors until further notice,” the couple says. “Once we found out in October that we were allowed to travel to the USA again, we immediately started communicating with our vendors again, and we were able to establish a new date.”

While Ankia and Iggy tell us they did spend more money on their destination elopement (as opposed to a traditional wedding in South Africa), they saved by doing some fun DIY projects.

“I made my own bouquet the day before the wedding. We drove to downtown Las Vegas and I bought a bunch of flowers and I made it that night,” the bride says. “On the actual wedding day, we rented a bunch of pillows, carpets, table and goblets and set up our own cozy spot in the desert to have drinks and eat cake.”

Ankia and Iggy know elopements and destination weddings are not everybody’s cup of tea (especially family members who want to be a part of the big day). “But, I have not met one person who hasn’t told me how much they loved our wedding pictures,” says Ankia. “Many say they are shocked with how brave we were and how inspired they felt.”

We hope you feel inspired to follow this couple’s lead if you feel a pull towards eloping far from home as well! It’s your decision after all. 

Vendors: Photographer/Coordinator: Hotzel Photography; Ceremony/Reception Site: Valley of Fire State Park; Cake: Cardenas; Makeup: Gladice Mua; Hair: Meg Dela Cruz; Gown Designer: Bride & Co; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Eurosuit

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