1970s Meets Western Boho Desert Elopement

Hollie and Ollie had always discussed how they imagined their wedding day, even before getting engaged, so they hit the ground running when Ollie proposed. “We always knew we wanted a one-time wedding,” the bride explained. “Neither of us are very comfortable with being the centre of attention and we also felt very protective of our ceremony. It felt sacred and only wanted our closest friends and family there to witness it.”

They decided that a destination wedding would be the easiest way to keep things intimate. Once they’d decided this, they knew it had to be the desert. “Red rocks and cactus’ are what our dreams are made of! We also love 70s style and country music so we wanted to incorporate all of this into our day!”

Armed with a £15,000 budget, they hired Cactus and Lace Weddings to photograph and plan their day. “I had a really specific idea in mind for what I wanted our day to look and feel like so I was nervous about planning our wedding over email, but Lori made the whole thing so easy. We shared a very detailed Pinterest board which made it so easy to visually express what we had in mind, and Lori just got our vibe instantly. While we booked a package with them, including location styling, prop hire, flowers, cake – the works! We had a say over every aspect of the day so it didn’t feel like a package at all, we just didn’t have to deal with the logistics of it from thousands of miles away!”

They chose Friday 13th March 2020 as their wedding date, as they’ve had many significant things happen to them on Friday 13th’s, specifically their first date. “Our mums thought we were mad due to the bad connotations but as always before it turned out to be very lucky for us!” the bride said. “Our wedding happened just as the pandemic was really taking hold and was the last full wedding our planners were able to put on. Two-days later Vegas was shutting around us, watching the Bellagio fountains perform to a totally empty Las Vegas strip was really bizarre! We were due to stay in America for a two-week honeymoon, we ended up having four-days before we were told by our airline to come home and went straight into a four-month lock down. If we’d picked any other date, even just a day later, there’s no way it would have gone ahead.”

Their ceremony was held at the Severn Sister rock formation in the Valley of Fire National Park, just over an hour from the Las Vegas strip. “It poured with rain all morning right up until I walked down the aisle. Finally seeing our vision brought to life in the most beautiful place on earth was incredible. I walked down the aisle to Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny and its’ dreamy, otherworldly feel matched our surroundings perfectly. One of our guests told us after that a huge bird of prey had flown over just as things got started, landing on a near by rock watching over as our officiant lead our ceremony.”

 Ollie and I said our own vows to each other and just before we were pronounced man and wife, the bird few away and the rain came again! We had a little drinks reception before doing our first dance In front of our wedding arch. The Valley of Fire has a very special unique energy and saying those words to each other, in that place surrounded by our very favourite people felt like pure magic! The bird and the rain only added to this feeling!”

They continued the celebration with an accidental pizza party in their hotel room. “Because of the pandemic, our original reception venue cancelled on us 24 hours before, so we were left in the lurch with 20 guests that had flown thousands of miles to see us get married! After a pep talk from my mum, we decided to host a pizza party in our hotel room, and Ollie and I said afterwards how it was actually the reception we’d always dreamed of – and it made the eye-watering room upgrade we’d treated ourselves to on a whim seem so much better value! In our wildest dreams we never thought we’d have a Bellagio fountain view wedding reception on our budget, but life has a funny way of working sometimes!”

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