Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito presents this beautiful backyard wedding celebrating Anna Lyssa and DJ Johnson. Images by Altf Photography.
It isn’t often that I am hired as a surprise gift to a bride, but that is exactly what happened when the mother of the bride, Sandy, called to bring me into the planning process of her daughter’s wedding. The bride, Anna Lyssa, is a corporate event planner for an oil company in Texas, she explained, and for once she wanted the bride to be free to relax and enjoy the process while having someone cater to her. This idea, well, I just loved it! But I also know how hard it is for us Type-A personalities to relinquish control and let someone else handle the details…no matter how much we may say we want to!
And yet working with Anna Lyssa and her groom, DJ, was such fun! We quickly found our groove together, and alternated between discussing broad strokes versus each and every details. The planning process took over a year, and in that time we worked together, played together, enjoyed engagement photos, hair and make up trials, tastings, and mock ups which all leaded up to their beautiful backyard wedding.
Load in took place over the course of three days will furniture moving out, cleaning crews coming in, lighting being strung, and tables and chairs being set. While Anna Lyssa wanted the comfort of being at home, she did not want to compromise the level of formality that comes along with a wedding. She herself donned a stunning, heavily embroidered Lazaro Wedding dress procured from Couture Bride, along with a floral metallic crown and a long cathedral veil.
Finally, on the morning of October 3, 2015, RED Hair and Make Up arrived onsite to make all of the women their most beautiful. As the ladies were dressing upstairs, the team from Naakiti Floral was on the ground adjusting the lighting, raising the orbs, and setting gold chiavari chairs around the grass, giving guests a view of the family’s fountain and, behind it, the Las Vegas Strip.
Buses, cards, and limos from Abraham Limo fetched guests that were scattered throughout the city, and delivered them to the home where they were met with flavored water, fresh fruit skewers, parasols and sunglasses. Guests grabbed programs, which the bride had created herself along with the menus and escort cards, embellishing them with gold foil and laser cut edging. As the sun began to set, guests took their seats and the music began to play.
Before heading down the aisle, the bride and groom touched around the corner of a wall, with the bride drawing a little tuxedo on his wrapped and sprained finger.
The family was then lined up, and the bridal party began to emerge from around the side of the house. The groom’s daughter, who became quite attached to me, refused to go down the aisle. Instead, while I carried the bride’s train, she was so sweet and she “carried” the back of my dress! Little angel! I would take that baby home if they let me!!!
Anna Lyssa was walked down the aisle by her stepfather, and joined by father. Together, they gave her to DJ, who escorted her to the top of the landing where they were married by a family friend.
As soon as Anna Lyssa and DJ were pronounced Husband and Wife, we moved guests into the house for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, giving us tome to transform the yard into their reception. Tables and chairs were brought in and draped with textured ivory linens. Gold beaded chargers, metallic votives and candle holders, and florals in shades of eggplant and lavender were placed throughout.
All the while, the bride and groom posed for their formal portraits with family and friends in the front of the estate, before heading down to the valley of the hills for some truly beautiful photos in front of the vegas skyline.
The bride and groom were then brought back to the yard and introduced to their guests. Rather than go into a first dance, they thanked everyone for coming. Stations were opened and guests were free to feast from multiple carving stations, action stations filled with pasta and salads, and a full bar. Guests took turns toasting the couple before being brought to the side of the house where the bride and groom prepared to cut their cake.
The five tiered confection was designed in honor of the flowers in the family home. Roses were hand painted in a watercolor style, and metallic accents were painted on to tie in the decor. As it was truly a work of art, we set it behind a hanging frame which the bride and groom cut through. Our groom, DJ, has quite the sweet tooth. To keep him satisfied and in a nod to his expansive sneaker collection we also had a personalized groom’s cake and platters of cookies, brownies, and treats from the kitchen of Peridot Sweets.
While the guests enjoyed their cake and a photo booth by JoySquad we once again transformed the yard, quickly removing all of the tables and chairs, and setting up lounge furniture to create a dance floor. The couple took turns dancing with their parents, and DJ held his daughter for a special dance before the floor was opened up to guests. With Mike Fox & Company providing the music, the couple was surrounded by friend and family on the floor all night long.
And, in a twist, as the limos and buses pulled up to take their guests home the couple stepped on the floor and shared their last dance to “So High” before departing through a sea of sparklers.
Months later, I love trading emails with Anna Lyssa and her family, getting updates on their life in Texas, and reminiscing about their amazing day. In one note to the creative team, the bride and groom shared:
It is with pure nostalgia and bliss when we think about our dream wedding this past October. Having no preconceived visions (rare... I know), it just felt perfect that we held our wedding in my parent's backyard. With ample space, a phenomenal view of the strip, a gorgeous set of mountains and a really intimate setting we were able to host our friends and family for a decidedly non-vegas style wedding, while still incorporating bright lights of Las Vegas!
Thanks to Andrea Eppolito coordinating the affair, Naakiti Floral Design transforming the space, Ray Esposito, owner of SES Catering, providing the delectable hors-d'oeuvres and main dishes, along a host of additional vendors who came together to create these magical moments, our wedding was truly everything we could have imagined for it to be. Mostly, we are blessed to be able to look upon that day as the best day of our lives!
I truly have the best job in the world, as I get to watch people celebrate the most amazing love stories. New families are created, lives are shared, there is laughter and tears, cake and champagne….and somewhere behind the scenes I get to watch it all!
Can you not just feel the love between all of these amazing people!??!? The bride, her mother, the groom, their daughter….It was all so wonderful! Love them as much as I do? Leave your well wishes below! And if you have any thoughts for our creative team, we love to read them!
In case you missed it, check out the high light reel of Anna Lyssa & DJ's wedding by Lighten Films.
Presenting the Planner & Creative Team
Planning and Design by Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito
Officiated by Pascal Watty
Catering & Bar Services by SES Catering and Ray Esposito
Floral provided by Naakiti Floral
Rentals and Furniture by Sit On This
Photography by Altf Photography
Videography by Lighten Films
DJ & Music by Mike Fox & Co.
Hair & Make Up by RED Beauty
Dress by Lazaro
Veil and Bridal Salon Services by Couture Bride
Shoes by Dolce & Gabbana
Wedding Cake by Peridot Sweets
Spanish Guitar by Robby LeBlanc
Transportation by Abraham Limo
Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito is often published, with works featured by the likes of BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The NY Times, LA Times, Junebug Weddings, and more. With an eye catching style that shares not only the story, but the soul, of a wedding, Andrea's clients praise her for being their wedding planner, event designer, advocate, and friend.
An internationally acclaimed speaker, Andrea appears and speaks at events for the Engage! Luxury Wedding Summit, NACE, The Knot, the Wedding MBA, and more. Named the Best Wedding Planner in Las Vegas (2013, 2015, 2016), Wedding Professional of the Year (2011) and ranked as one of the top 50 wedding planners world-wide, Andrea works with celebrities, athletes, executives, and all people in love!
Based in Las Vegas, and working as a destination wedding planner world wide, you can learn more at www.AndreaEppolitoEvents.com.