Stylish Family-Focused Vegas Wedding with a Magical Desert Backdrop

Gaby J. Photography

February 14, 2020

Sarah and Dave fell in love with the desert when Sarah lived in Arizona acting as her younger brother’s caregiver as he recovered from a heart transplant. It was a difficult time, but the beauty of the desert had a real impact on them. When Sarah returned to New York, the couple started looking into weddings in the Southwest, and planned their wedding for exactly one year later; there was no better place to celebrate their love for one another and their families. 

When it came to planning, they improvised most of it and chose elements that felt really special to them. They didn’t have a budget, instead keeping everything reasonable and making decisions that felt right for them along the way. They wrote their own vows, chose vendors whose aesthetics they loved and kept their guest list very small to give themselves a day that felt so very them.

Their ceremony was held in the Sure Thing Chapel in downtown Las Vegas, where they were surrounded by their closest friends and family. Sarah was walked down the aisle by her dad, read the vows they wrote to one another while holding back tears and exchanged rings. “The most special moment was being able to be joined by my brother,” said Sarah. “We were so thankful that one year after his transplant, we were able to share our love with him and the rest of our group. The beautiful, minimalist chapel was the perfect place for them all to gather together.”

After their ceremony, Sarah and Dave hotfooted it into the desert for their post-wedding photo shoot, and an intimate reception of donuts and champagne. They then joined the rest of their wedding party for karaoke and sightseeing on the Vegas strip. “It was pretty fun walking through hotels and casinos in our wedding clothes – strangers were congratulating us and sending lots of well wishes our way,” said Sarah. “Getting married in Las Vegas can seem stereotypical, but it was so fun. We highly recommend it!”

“I wish we had known to believe in ourselves more!” said Sarah, when asked if there was anything they wish they’d known about wedding planning before they began. “We tended to worry about our guests a lot – we wanted them to have a fun and comfortable time since we asked everyone to travel from the Midwest. We spent some time questioning our slightly weird wedding and in the end, it was a great day that our guests loved. Don’t be afraid to be yourselves and do the wedding that’s right for you. It’s supposed to be an expression of your love and relationship, not just a template for you to fill out. Your loved ones will support your decision and just enjoy spending time with you, they’ll have a nice time regardless of what you choose to do!”