What do you get when you combine the keen eye of an interior designer, the stunning backdrop of a Nevada mountainside and genius photographer Chelsea Nicole behind the camera?  One of the chicest, desert soirees we’ve ever seen ’round these parts.  I absolutely adore the comfy yet stylish bridesmaids ensembles.  And don’t even get me started on the phenomenal floral design from Layers of Lovely!  That succulent bouquet is just out of this world!  I’d never guess from these tranquil images of lovliness that this wedding took place just 30 minutes from the Vegas strip.  Check out the full gallery to see even more from this rustic desert fête!

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Ian and I are high school sweethearts and were excited to tie the knot in December after dating for almost 8 years! We’ve known we wanted to get married for a while but decided to pursue our goals first. For me that meant going to school in San Diego and getting my degree and for Ian it was becoming a firefighter paramedic. We spent 4 years driving to and from San Diego and Las Vegas every other weekend to spend time together. It wasn’t much fun at the time, but it definitely made us a stronger couple. We got engaged in front of our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve 2009 and instantly started making plans for our wedding!

We wanted to be budget conscious but still have a beautiful affair, so we opted to have our wedding at Cascada, a gorgeous country club tucked away in Boulder City just a bit outside of Las Vegas. We had originally wanted to get married in October but December meant non-peak golf season and non-peak golf season means much lower prices, so we bumped our date to December to be able to put the money saved towards others areas. Ian and I both really wanted our day to be laid back and not too traditional – especially not your traditional “Vegas” wedding. I’m an interior designer so I used some of my design and crafting skills to save us money by doing the planning myself, along with several DIY projects and the help of lots of wedding blogs. The control freak in me was happy to be able to craft many of our wedding details myself and with the help friends but I was also very grateful to find great vendors, like Chelsea Nicole Photography and Catherine with Layers of Lovely Floral, that were young, fresh, and knew exactly what I wanted.

A few DIY projects we took on to save money were the save-the-dates, invitation suite, programs, crossword puzzles, ceremony twine pomanders, blanket tags, the boys’ neck ties, refinishing an old trunk, escort card display, table numbers, menu, table runners, centerpiece vases, ornament favors, wood planks for centerpieces, tree guest book, my garter, doily sign, and most importantly the cupcakes-in-a-jar. A lot of our design inspiration was drawn from our love of nature, especially succulents. Our entire color pallet was taken from a photo I took on my phone of a bowl of succulents at Home Depot. I decided I wanted our wedding to be flowerless and Catherine executed that beautifully. We decided to use several types of weeds, fillers, wheat, pine flowers, balsa flowers and succulents to bring the vision to life. I found the antique bottles for the centerpieces at the Pasadena flea market. We also used mason jars which I borrowed from my MIL who has a MASS collection, 99 cent store cylinder vases, 99 cent store tea light candle holders and wood planks cut from our old trailer. We used all different types of shabby chic picture frames for our table numbers that I found at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods or Marshalls. We decided to make the ceremony very simple because the backdrop of the Vegas desert was so beautiful. I found a great little white table for $40 at the flea market that we put an old planter on, which housed our programs. We also found a great trunk at an antique store that held the fleece blankets. It was about 55 degrees and breezy during our ceremony so they were definitely necessary and very appreciated by our guests! We decided to buy a lot of things we could use in our house after the wedding, as well as using things we already owned. We literally took the picture frames off our wall the morning of the wedding and displayed them on the fireplace at the venue. Little things like that made such a huge difference when it came to the budget. We decided there were much more important things to spend money on! In the end, our wedding turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined but the best part of the day were the moments we shared with family and friends. Like, chasing around my nephew in my dress before the ceremony, the boys showing up in fake mustaches, my brother-in-law playing the guitar as we walked down the aisle, my choreographed dance to “My Girl” with my dad, our first dance, Ian shoving cake up my nose, and an impromptu rap performance by my brother-in-law and cousin. Those are the things that made our day absolutely perfect!

Wedding Photography: Chelsea Nicole Photography / Flowers: Layers of Lovely / Venue: Cascata Country Club / Wedding Dress: Tara Keely by Lazarro / Shoes: Seychelles / Hair Flowers: Forever 21 / Bridesmaid Dresses: Anthropologie / Bridesmaid Sweaters: NY & Co / Hair: Katie Stocks

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