"I got engaged last night..."
And with those words, my love affair with the bride who came to be known as Princess Hayley began! When I first got her email, I was actually doing a wedding in Tucson, Arizona, but I wrote her from my iPhone because no bride should have to wait! After a series of notes and texts, we met in person...Along with her fiancé, Bryan, her father, her sister, and even her brother in law! Hayley explained that her entire family was relocating to Texas, and she needed a planner who would be at one time mother, father, sister, and best friend. We hit it off immediately, and I was so happy to be with her over the course of her planning, especially on the days that her family couldn't be. Over the course of nearly a year we shared so many sushi dates, coffee runs, and meetings that I am now officially "framily" - a friend that the Freeman and Heard clans consider family. Having gotten to know them all, I have to say...It's an honor!
Hayley asked me for a wedding unlike anything her friends and family had ever seen before. Her big buzz words were drama, sparkle, bling, and sexy. Yet at the same time, she wanted to ensure that her wedding would stand the test of time, and that her photos would still look amazing in 20 years. Challenge accepted!
Whenever a bride starts the conversation with "nothing anyone has seen before" I always want to start with the dress. After all, the dress is the showpiece of the day, and the garment that turns a regular woman into a bride. Knowing that Hayley would never be satisfied with an off the rack wedding dress, I introduced her to Mina Olive. We worked with the owner, Megan, for 9 months on Hayley's custom blush wedding dress, which featured a fitted bodice embroidered with thousands of crystals and beads, and A line skirt of hand cut rosettes, and a detachable train. Rather than having a strapless gown, Hayley opted for sheer chiffon straps which were pleated, allowing her to have a more open back.
Knowing that she would spend her entire night on the dance floor, Hayley searched for a pair of flats that would hold their own against the drama and pageantry of her dress. She settled on these crystal embellished Giuseppi Zanetti sandals, which went along with her to her honeymoon.
Bryan, ever the romantic, sent his bride a love note while he dresses with his groomsmen just two floors down. He donned a classic, timeless black tuxedo that he personalized with dapper cufflinks and a new watch, which was gifted to him by the bride.
There is a lot of talk of rings and things while planning a wedding. I told Hayley when we first met, "There is no such thing as the perfect ring, until the perfect man puts it on your finger." She loved that, and added two diamond encrusted bands to her engagement ring. The groom's wedding band was engraved with "I Love you Most."
Our friends from Make Up in the 702 were on hand, providing hair and make up to Hayley and the bridal party. After a few trials, Hayley decided to wear her blonde hair up in a classic chignon. An antique broach served as her something borrowed, and secured her veil in the back.
Planning the ceremony was one of the most difficult tasks we had, as Bryan dreamt of getting married in a church, and Hayley wanted something outdoors, in front of an art sculpture. To compromise, we booked a courtyard which sat between The Smith Center and The Las Vegas Children's Discovery Museum. Knowing what was to come in terms of design and decor later that evening, we designed the ceremony with a soft, romantic palette of white, ivory, and pink. To soften the architecture, Naakiti Floral hung chiffon drapes topped with stands of crystals. A circular platform served as the staging, and we set two large glass pillars at the top and the back of the aisle. Topped with roses and hydrangea, and with crystals hanging down around the base they were both timeless and modern.
Bryan was so looking forward to marrying Hayley, and beamed as he walked down the aisle with his brother. They were followed by a team groomsmen in sharp, tailored tuxedos escorting bridesmaids in black Amsale gowns, courtesy of Bella Bridesmaid. Pink and lavender roses provided a pop of color.
So there is always this moment before the bride goes down the aisle. I adjust her bouquet, tend to her dress, fix her veil, and in this moment nothing else matters. As I stood there waiting with Hayley and her father, I was struck by how proud he was of her and her choice, how ready she was to marry Bryan, and I just thought that it was one of the most perfect parts of the day. When she turned the corner, there was a collective gasp at how beautiful she looked.
As a surprise to Hayley and Bryan, we arranged to have a shower of rose petals fall from the balcony above in celebration of their first kiss. No one but my team had any idea that this was coming! As they kisses we opened bundles of petals, eliciting "awe's" (and hundreds of photos) from the crowd.
While the guests moved over to the Keep Memory Alive Center for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, the bridal party stayed behind for portraits. Both Dalisa and John Michael Cooper were on hand, and as always, the end results were just spectacular.
Can we all just take a moment and look at this bridal portrait of Hayley?!?! The dress, the face, the tulle...I literally stopped breathing when I saw this. It will go down as one of my favorite bridal photos of all time!
A princess bride cannot drive to her wedding in just anything! We stopped short of a horse and carriage, opting instead for a black Rolls Royce Phantom with suicide doors.
Guests entered the Keep Memory Alive Center to find a team of waiters standing at the ready, with silver trays filled with champagne. Hanging from each glass was a scrolled escort card denoting the guests name and table number.
The reception was the perfect blend of masculine and feminine. Tables were dressed with black sequence and black satin linens, and topped with ivory and pink floral arrangements in varying heights. From the ceiling we hung black chandeliers, and in the center of the room we set a white dance floor with the couple's monogram. The bride and groom's sweetheart table was anchored with a black tufted love seat and a row of floating candles. We worked with lighting designers to create a progressive lighting display that moved from soft pink to amber, and on to deep purples and white.
If the dress is the showpiece of the day, then the cake is the star of the night. And this cake brought the WOW factor in a big, big way. Created by Tiffany Jones of Peridot Sweets, this seven tiered creation boasted a different flavor and a different filling on each layer. It was suspended from the rigging by three Swarovski encrusted ropes, and swung on a glass base. Set just off to the side of the couple, it was seen from every angle in the room, and cold even be seen through the windows from the street.
I almost can't talk about their first dance, except to say that I will never, ever forget the moment that they took to the floor. The music started, and we were all prepared for a traditional waltz. Instead, as Justin Timberlake crooned "Mirrors" Hayley and Bryan proceeded to do a sexy rhumba that had two hundred and twenty five people out of their seats, up on their chairs, and clapping to the music. It was one of the most rousing moments of my entire career! They looked so comfortable and were just experts out on that dance floor. The way that they moved together and interacted with their guests was playful and sexy and just amazing!
After a dance like that, I figured that they deserved a cocktail! And as I delivered Hayley her drink I got my first good look at her rings on her hand. She asked for bling, and Bryan delivered!
If the first dance was all fun and light and love, the parent dances were just full of sentimental moments. If there is one time during a wedding that I'm sure to cry, it's during the parent dances!
After their three course dinner prepared by Master Chef Gustav Mauler, the bridal party took to the floor for a choreographed version of Pharrell's "Happy." One thing about this group - They could dance! The floor was packed all night, with guests stepping away only to enjoy the open air photo booth provided y The Joy Squad.
When the time came to cut the cake, Hayley and Bryan were very careful not to topple it off of it's swing! They cut into the bottom layer, which was rich chocolate with marscapone cheese filling, and kept the top layer of Maple Bacon for themselves!
A cake like this isn't only a piece of art, it's a structural feat! To ensure that it was properly handled and served, Chef Tiffany returned to disassemble the cake and slice it for guests to enjoy.
As the night came to a close, guests gathered around Hayley and Bryan as they shared their last dance to John Legend's "All Of Me."
In the words of DJ Mike Fox, it was "absolutely perfect."
Thank you, Hayley & Bryan, for inviting me into your Framily!
I will forever love and adore you, your families, and your friends.
Venue & Vendor Information
Las Vegas Wedding Planner: Andrea Eppolito Events
Photography: Alt F Photography
Videography: Lighten Films
Floral: Naakiti Floral
Decor: Sit On This Chair
Venue: Keep Memory Alive Center
Wedding Dress: Mina Olive
Beauty: Make Up in the 702
Cake: Peridot Sweets
Invitations and Stationary: Paper & Home
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.