I met Megan and Alan 377 days before their wedding in the ultra-exclusive Penthouse Villa of Caesars Palace. That's just over a full year of planning, meetings, phone calls, text messages, and wine that went into transforming the space, so posh and private that it will never even be seen by most visitors into a wedding venue that would give the bride and groom a wedding with all of the formality and tradition that one would have in a traditional ballroom.
When your venue is literally a Roman Palace, you need to plan a wedding that would make the Gods proud. To do that, we called upon our most trusted partners and friends at Naakiti Floral and Sit on This, who over the course of 6 visits and many sketches softened the space, taking it from residential to magical with draping, lighting, florals, and a whole lot of crystal.
The bride dreamed of wearing Pnina Tornai, and Alan made certain that dream cam true, sending her to Kleinfeld New York and even arranging for her to meet Pnina during her first visit. The dress, a modern ball gown with an open back, nude corset called for more traditional hair and make up. In keeping with our Roman Goddess theme, the stylist from Your Beauty Call added a piece of Swarovski head jewelry to Megan's half up do, and added modern make up.
Meanwhile, John Michael Cooper of Alt F Photography set the dress up in the dining room. He proclaimed that this would be one of the dress shots of the year, and in an effort not to ruin it, I am sharing only my image of him shooting the dress from behind.
During our first call, Megan told me that she was going to be my "Bling Bride"...Ya think?!?!
Those baby shoes for the couple's three month old daughter, Beyonca, are everything!
Not one to be upstaged by the bride, Alan took his own fashion risks, making a statement in a custom designed and hand tailored tux by his long time friend and designer, Sacino, who is based in Tampa, Florida.
For Alan, getting ready simply meant a shower and a shave before slipping into his tux. Megan's preparations required a bit more! It took myself and her five bridesmaids to lace up the back of that dress!
Guests began arriving and took their seats on the patio, which Naakiti had transformed into a ceremony space, for the 5 PM wedding. As Alan waited at the end of the aisle, Megan emerged out from behind a crystal curtain to meet her father and walk down the aisle!
This is where things got tricky...And fun! We invited the guests inside for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and closing the drapes. Behind the scenes, we had a team of over 10 butlers from Caesars Palace, crew members from Naakiti, and my own staff that came together to remove one fully designed set, and install another.
Transforming a space, especially one that is somewhat tight and of a unique shape, is not easy. Doing it without any traditional storage space, and without disrupting any of the guests or tipping our hand and showing what was happening was quite a challenge, and I have to commend each staff member that came together and made this happen so quickly and seamlessly. It was nothing short of miraculous.
While the group enjoyed dinner, we once again headed inside, moving around the furniture and brining in the cake, which was set to be a surprise for everyone, including our bride and groom!
Originally, Megan has her heart set on a hanging cake. It was all she talked about and pinned, but I had to say no! The truth is, while they are amazing, I have done it twice this season, and I really believe that each wedding needs to be a unique expression of the couple, and not just a knock off of something they have seen before. And so I asked Megan to trust me and, begrudgingly, she did. I promised her a wedding cake display unlike anything she or her guests had ever seen before. We turned chandelier trend upside down, literally, and placed the cake on top of it on a custom made stand that was hand crafted by Peridot Sweets owner Tiffany Sheree-Jones.
My heart raced as I presented the cake to Megan, and her reaction was priceless!
After their entrees, guests were lead back inside through the drapes for cake, coffee, and a heartfelt thank you from our bride and groom. They marveled at the cake, taking photos, snacking on small desserts, and enjoying after dinner drinks before Megan and Alan cut the cake.
All the while....
We were once again gutting the patio, removing any and all traces of a wedding reception, and installing sleek white furniture pieces, creating an ultra lounge reminiscent of PURE during it's heyday!
DJ Mike Fox took to the mic, summoning guests to the party, which began with Megan and Alan's first dance. For such a modern couple, the groom selected a rather traditional song in Kenny Roger's "Lady" - but it was perfect! The song spoke to every feeling that Alan has for his bride, and added so much emotion and class and sophistication to the nightlife feel of the patio.
Megan then brought her single friends to the floor and tossed the bouquet, starting a frenzy which opened up the dance floor and brought out the party vibe!
Having had quite the day of hair and makeup, ceremony and dinner, cake and dancing, Megan took the opportunity to shed her veil and her very high shoes, getting more comfortable and getting down with her friends and family on the floor!
The groom was in full blown relaxation mode as well, discarding his jacket and taking his bride for another turn on the dance floor. In a nod to his life long dedication to training in all forms of personal security, Alan jokingly arranged for two security guards to be on hand, guaranteeing that his new bride would be protected! At one point the joined our couple on the dance floor, giving them just enough room for a semi-private dance, and giving us a great photo opp!
As it often happens with me and my brides, the line between planner and friend gets blurred, and we become a part of each others lives in such a unique and special way. I love that!
After all was said and done, the newly married Mr. & Mrs. Bridges were off to celebrate, and I headed home to sort through a few hundred photos. A day later, Alan called and invited my husband and I to join them along with six other fabulous couples at a private dinner at Giada's. We accepted immediately, eating, drinking, laughing and toasting long into the night.
I have a feeling that for these two, the celebration isn't going to end any time soon!