A Mini-moon Under the Desert Stars

by McKenzi Taylor

When you fell in love and you were proposed to, it was likely just the two of you; intimate, romantic, and private. The upside to social distancing is allowing you to forfeit the big glam wedding and get back to where it all started: intimate and romantic. You can slough off the stress and social pressures that come with larger weddings and elope; on your own or with a couple of close friends.

From the location and decorations, to wardrobe, music, accessories, and preparation; you get to make your nuptials all about the two of you. Welcome to your lavish, intimate, and romantic elopement.

Start with the setting. Las Vegas has some breathtaking natural locations. Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Floyd Lamb Park, Dry Lake Bed, Eldorado Canyon, The Neon Museum or Cactus Joe’s Plant Nursery; the choice is yours. Let your imagination run wild and choose a setting that feels meaningful. Elopements have the distinct advantage of accommodating interesting and exotic locations that may not work for a larger gathering. Once you decide on that special location to say “I do,” check with an experienced wedding coordinator who knows the lay of the land and can obtain any necessary location permits. Having an authorized permit will be your best friend.

Splurge on yourself and your future husband
With the money saved on not having a traditional lavish wedding, you can afford to splurge on yourself. Allocate part of your budget towards a beautifully detailed wedding dress that will not only make you feel like royalty, it will be a keepsake you can enjoy in your wedding photos and forever. You can also pass it down to a future daughter or wear it again should you throw a big wedding celebration later next year. Design or purchase a dress that suits your unique style and imagination. Maybe your fiancé wants a custom suit or something more creative; you have the scope to do it.

Flowers are synonymous with romance and a luxury bouquet makes the moment. Rather than a basic bouquet, go for wildflowers, peonies, garden roses, orchids, or sunflowers. Lavish your bridal bouquet with exotic pops of color.

Accessorize and go for a theme
Are the two of you adventure seekers? Wild about vintage? Want to pull a page from your favorite romantic movie or novel? Maybe you would love to recreate the scene of your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding day. From the location and dress, to the accessories and music; don’t spare on the details.

Embrace tradition
Though elopements have long been thought of as impulsive and rebellious, that narrative has changed and continues to evolve as COVID-19 and social distancing are changing just about everything in our lives. Your elopement can hit all the beats of a traditional wedding: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. You have the time to find creative ways to incorporate these items.

Make a day of it and take your time getting ready
A lot of couples like to start their wedding photo shoot while they are getting ready for their big day. Have the photographer be present while you are having your hair and make-up done, and don’t forget your future husband’s preparations. You are bound to get some great surprise photos from this. You can even ask your photographer to capture the moment your partner sees you in your wedding dress for the first time.

Arrive in style
Whether your dream car is a spruced up ’57 Chevy convertible, a classic Cadillac, a Rolls Royce, or stretch limousine, Las Vegas has plenty of car rental companies (including vintage cars) to suit every taste.

Music is essential
Go for an acoustic guitar or violin for musical accompaniment. Choose a song that is meaningful to the two of you. You can choose one signature song for your walk down the aisle and another song for your first dance as a married couple.

Pictures to last a lifetime
To make things interesting, you can hire two photographers: one to shoot digital pictures and one to shoot on film. Digital photography allows for unlimited and candid shots. Film is more limited and needs to be posed but shooting a handful of posed photos on film will give some of your pictures that softer film quality.

Arrange for your favorite bottle of champagne and your dream cake to share after the ceremony, but don’t end your wedding day there. Keep the day going with a post-wedding sunset drive, a three-course meal, or small group dinner if you invite a handful of guests to your wedding.

Take a mini-moon
You are already in one of the best cities in the world! Since travel is currently limited, you can exchange vows amidst Las Vegas’ natural desert terrain and transition to your post-wedding mini-moon right in Sin City.

By McKenzi Taylor, Owner of Cactus Collective Weddings, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. cactus-collective.com