Intimate “I Do’s” in Las Vegas


June 24, 2016
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Cactus and Lace Weddings

Newlyweds Virginia and Luis are no strangers to seeing the world. After meeting in Ecuador and getting engaged on a beach in the Galapagos, there isn’t a couple more suited for a destination wedding than these two.

“We are no strangers to travel, being that our families live in two different countries, but we picked Vegas sort of on a whim (how most people pick Vegas, I suppose),” says Virginia.

When Luis popped the question, he planned an entire trip around the proposal. “He had planned the whole trip around the proposal, so that in itself felt like an engagement, a wedding and a honeymoon,” says Virginia.

With such a romantic trip under their books, the duo knew they didn’t want a long engagement. Both of their families live in different locations, so Luis and Virginia knew they wanted a far away wedding, just for them. “So a quick and dirty Vegas wedding seemed like a great compromise and decent contrast to our intimate Galapagos engagement.”

Despite a few grumbles from friends and family, all of their loved ones understood their decision and weren’t surprised by a quick Vegas ceremony.

Nine of Luis and Virginia’s closest friends and family watched them swap vows, including the bride’s parents, the groom’s brother, the bride’s best friend and a few friends who were in Ecuador when the newlyweds first met.  

Neither Luis nor Virginia had ever been to Vegas, but knew they were in for an unforgettably fun time. Despite Virginia describing their nuptials as quick and dirty, the red rocks and delicate details made their intimate nuptials beautiful and sweet.

“I am not the most detail oriented person and the idea of planning any kind of wedding seemed daunting to me, so I knew I needed some help,” says the bride. After a quick internet search, they discovered Cactus and Lace, a small operation out of Vegas that specialize in elopement planning and small desert weddings – a perfect fit for Luis and Virginia.  

After an initial phone call and a week of planning, Luis and Virginia were ready to wed eight weeks later. “They made everything so easy and stress free – from organizing and order the cake, transportation, all of the small details, photography, everything was perfect,” says Virginia. “All we really had to do was show up!”

When it was time for w-day, Luis and Virginia said “I Do” at The Cabins in the Valley of Fire state park, about an hour outside of Vegas. Prior to the actual ceremony, Luis and Virginia both hadn’t written their vows. Through tears and room service, they wrote and read them together, creating a beautiful and intimate moment.

Once the actual ceremony was ready to begin, a purple-haired Officiant handed Virginia her bouquet upon arrival and was ready for the two to become one.

“There were just a few chairs and the arbor, draped in white cloth and eucalyptus, set with the most incredible backdrop of rolling red mountains, desert as far the eye could see and clear blue sky.”

While the bride’s father walked her down the aisle, the score of the film True Romance, a favorite of the newlyweds, played. After the Officiant read a poem and Virginia and Luis exchanged traditional vows, the couple said their own vows.

The bride said her vows in English while Luis said his in Spanish. “Although we both speak both languages, it seemed appropriate for us to each read our vows in our own native tongues,” says Virginia.

A reception filled with toasts, champagne and cake followed the ceremony. After relaxing and reminiscing, the group loaded up in a stretch Escalade and finished the day in true Vegas fashion – at the Cesar’s Palace buffet.

For those who are in the midst of planning their own destination wedding, Luis and Virginia advise, “Do what you want for your wedding! I get the family pressure, but in the end, it isn’t about them, it’s about your experience with your partner. You’re doing yourselves an injustice if you make the wedding about anything else but just that.” 

Vendors: Photographer: Cactus and Lace Weddings, Wedding Planner: Cactus and Lace Weddings, Ceremony/Reception Site: The Cabins, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, Gown Designer: BHLDN, Grooms Clothing Designer: Men’s Wearhouse.

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