Gino & Crystal

Elopement in the Desert Sands of Las Vegas


October 18, 2023
Words by Marisol Acosta
Photos courtesy of Pharris Photos

When Crystal and Eugene “Gino” met briefly at a college party as students at the University of Houston, they had no idea that fate would bring them together again. Months later, Crystal’s dearest friend and roommate thought to introduce the two, not knowing they had already met. From that moment on, the two were inseparable. Over the years, they built a beautiful life together. Through their love for each other, they embarked on the journey of parenthood and welcomed their first child.

But there was another adventure they wanted to begin: marriage. Gino had always told Crystal he wanted their engagement to be an intimate proposal. But on the day of Crystal’s 30th birthday party, surrounded by friends and family, Gino dropped to one knee and popped the question.

“It was such a beautiful moment, and everything was just perfect,” says the bride. “This was the complete opposite of how Gino always said that the moment would be, and I was totally surprised!”

As the couple began planning a picturesque Italian destination to say their vows, they received some very joyous news. They were expecting a second little one due August 2023! Having already had plans to visit for a vacation, the couple thought it would be the perfect opportunity to plan the elopement of their dreams in the jewel of the Nevada Desert: Las Vegas. Crystal had a particular aesthetic in mind for her nuptials that would transcend the typical Vegas wedding. Her wedding coordinator took that vision and ran with it. 

A half-hour drive from the city lights of Las Vegas lies the Jean/Roach Dry Lake Beds. Surrounded by a mountain range, the cracked white dry lakebed has often been the subject of everything from films to stunning high fashion photo shoots. The lakebed stretches for miles and would make for breathtaking photos, but Crystal wanted to add a touch of class and luxury to this barren land. A classic car would really highlight their vibe, but most rentals would not allow them to drive it onto the lakebed. After many hours of researching and countless phone calls, they found the perfect car they were looking for…a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible. To accentuate the classy vibe, the bride chose a spray of flowers to drape over the back of the vehicle consisting of baby’s breath and a variety of budding white flowers.

As the bride readied herself for her big day, her dear friend (and also their photographer), gave her a very special gift. “[She] delivered a prayer over me as the bride from my head down to my feet and she also gifted me a white bible with my new last name and our wedding ceremony date,” the bride tells us. “This is a moment that was so special to me and I plan to pass this down as a tradition to my daughter on her wedding day!”

When the big moment came to share their vows, the bride’s House of CB gown flowed in the desert winds. The silhouette of the gown gently hugged the new life inside of her. Her bouquet courtesy of Flora Couture consisted of a variety of white garden roses, lisiantus, and ranunculus flowers accented by Geraldton waxflowers. The groom appeared in a classy, perfectly tailored suit by Olympus Stylings.

Making the choice to have an intimate affair created a connection and memories that Crystal and Gino will forever hold close to their hearts.

“Being away from home and with just the two of us allowed us to be fully present in the moment with one another and truly take in all of the joys of our ceremony and wedding day overall,” reflected the bride. 

Vendors: Photography & Videography: Pharris Photos; Wedding Planner: Kariss Farris; Location: Jean/Roach Dry Lake Beds; Florist: Flora Couture; Hair & Makeup: J’adore Belle Brand; Gown Designer: House of CB; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Olympus Stylings; Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo; Groom’s Shoes: Ferragamao

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