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Viva Las Vegas Destination Wedding

Words by Kelly Ryan
Photos courtesy of Sonya Yruel

Christina and Rabbit are a rambunctious couple who met eight years ago while working at a bar. Once engaged, the couple was the perfect image of two rebels ready to face the World together and who were going to start it the way they wanted, regardless of family opinion. Given the couple’s lively attitude and taste for things flashy and fun, it made sense they tied the knot in the flashiest place on Earth, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Having a destination wedding in Las Vegas gave the couple the chance to narrow down the guest count. Christina booked the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel because it was big enough for all of her guests and she was able to hire her own wedding photographer for an extra fee. Being a wedding photographer herself, Christina stressed the little details and made sure the ceremony and reception portrayed the exact image in her head, all while being fun and tasteful.

“I’ll never forget being on the outside of the chapel: the doors of the chapel were shut, my dad and I were in the back seat of the Cadillac and Elvis was driving,” Christina recalls. “I was so nervous, shaking, holding my dad’s hand, when the door opened and I could see all my family and friends. Everyone was cheering!”

Flashing lights and fog greeted Christina as she was escorted into the chapel in a bright pink convertible Cadillac driven by none other than Elvis himself – making the ceremony quite theatrical and fun for everyone. It made sense for the couple to indulge in some of the typical aspects of Sin City because it wouldn’t be a Vegas wedding if Elvis wasn’t present. A neon Vegas-styled sign read “Mr. & Mrs. Rabbit” (made by Christina’s father) greeted the couple and the guests into the pre-reception.

The couple's loved ones were greeted with handwritten letters scribbled with love and gratefulness. Soon the time for traditional dances with family members came. “I think the most tear jerking moment was Rabbit and his mother’s dance together,” Christina reminisces. “She had just finished radiation and chemo because she had been battling breast cancer. Vegas was her first trip to the mainland in about five years.” (Rabbit’s mother calls Hawaii home.) Christina grabbed Rabbit’s little brother and joined her husband and her new mother-in-law on the dance floor, bringing tears to everyone’s eyes.

After the first Elvis-style reception, the wedding party made their way to the Palms for a second reception which was better suited with a balcony, separate rooms and even a chance to gamble downstairs. “The Palms was great because it’s a young and cool hotel,” Christina says. “They also had really awesome condos which most of our guests rented.”

When the wedding ceremony was over and the reception had finally died down, Christina looked back on her wedding and says it was the epitome of everything she envisioned. A funky Vegas theme mixed with tasteful elements made Christina’s wedding ceremony and reception a theatrical memory every guest will remember for a lifetime.

“Be you!” Christina exclaims. “Trust your gut and hire people you trust. Also, details and favors should be meaningful, useful and not useless. Do things which mean something to you. Weddings are about celebrating your love for one another, don’t forget that.”

Photographer:  Sonya Yruel, Wedding Planner: Staci Bajuniemi with Vivacious Design and Event Planning, Ceremony/Reception Site: Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel/Garduños at The Palms, Gown Designer: Amy Fink, Florist: Lori McNeill, Grooms Clothing Designer:  Volcom, Ties.com, Vans, hatguys.com, Bridesmaids: Amy Fink, Groomsmen Clothing Designer: Volcom, VansTies.com, Couple’s custom sign: John McNeill General Contracting, Stationary: Yelley, Custom Map: Kacey Schwartz, Hair and Makeup: Le Burge’t Salon

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