When we think of a Las Vegas wedding, we definitely think of glamour, sparkles and a relaxed affair that will hold epic memories for years to come. And that is exactly what Kelly & Nick’s fun-filled golden Las Vegas elopement was! Shot by the wonderful Renee Green, Kelly tells the story of how she and Nick came to be, and why they chose a Vegas wedding!
We met on Tinder and Nick was my first Tinder date. We matched in November 2015, messaged back and forth one Sunday, and then I logged off and forgot I had the app. It was January 2016 when I logged back in again and saw an unread message from Nick asking for a coffee date. Luckily, he was still on the market and keen to go on a date! We both agree that once we met, we just knew we had met our ‘person’!
Nick is a vintage aircraft restorer and outside of his career, he has his own personal aircraft restoration projects. We always joked that when one particular plane was finished and sold, that would become my engagement ring. I had always wanted to do a vintage pinup photoshoot with the plane once he finished it, so we organised it with our photographer. After a couple of hours of shooting, Nick asked to get a nice photo of us together with his finished project. Right there in front of the plane, Nick proposed. It was completely unexpected and is now such a special memory!
From the beginning, Nick and I were torn between a traditional white wedding and a Las Vegas wedding. We wanted to share our wedding day with family friends but also wanted to get married our way. When we sat down and crunched the numbers for a traditional Australian ceremony and reception, it just didn’t sit right with us. If we were going to save for such a big event, we wanted to spend our money on something we really wanted. We thought ‘Why don’t we do both?!’ Instead of a reception, we decided to go to Vegas instead.
We ended up having a traditional white wedding ceremony in Australia (Summergrove Estate) with 130 family and friends in attendance. Then two days later, we jumped on a plane with our four best friends and photographers, and headed to Vegas! When we arrived in Vegas, each member of the group (including our two photographers) got a welcome pack full of Vegas essentials, including a trip program and matching ‘Maddocks Wedding’ hoodies as a souvenir. The day before the wedding was an unofficial Bachelor & Bachelorette party, so the boys went to a gun range and the girls went shopping. We all had dinner together at Top Golf Las Vegas before the big day. The morning of the wedding, Nick I got ready together and met our guests in the lobby to be picked up by our limo driver for the day!
We decided to pick that one outfit that we’d never really get to wear anywhere else, and we both ended up in sequins. It’s Vegas! You have to go sparkly! Once we had a vision in mind, we set out to make it happen. I had always imagined gold sequins for Vegas and tried many styles before settling on one from Forever New. I always knew I wanted to make a jacket for the occasion, so I got started on it months in advance. It was about 6 months in the making, but totally worth it! I also definitely wanted my own tiara, but none of the options I found were ‘Vegas’ enough. I ended up making my own tiara and shoes.
Nick found almost everything he needed on ASOS, but it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. It took a few months of wrong packages to finally find the correct matching jacket and pants! We only realised the day before that we hadn’t bought Nick’s Vegas ring, so when I was out with the girls I picked one up from a shopping mall kiosk The Gentleman’s Smith. For a cheap ring, it is great quality! He still wears it today along with his wedding band!
We were so lucky to scrape in before COVID hit as we were married in 2019. When we got engaged, I just assumed we would have a 2020 wedding in order to have enough time to plan. Nick insisted we have a 2019 wedding because he was so excited to get married and I am so thankful he pushed for it! The ceremony was at Graceland Wedding Chapel.
We chose this venue because it is so iconic and we wanted the true Vegas Elvis Wedding experience. We left it up to the venue and their typical packages which made it extremely fuss-free! Elvis sang 3 songs during the ceremony and his readings were hilariously Elvis themed. He was honestly fantastic, and we laughed through the whole experience! Elvis walked me down the aisle to ‘Falling in Love With You’ and it was the most ‘Vegas’ experience anyone could ever have. My bouquet was from the venue and lasted about the length of the ceremony!
We were really impressed by our Elvis! There are all kinds of Elvis impersonators in Vegas and you don’t get to choose who you get. Ours was honestly amazing and hilarious!
We took four of our best friends with us. We told them to wear whatever they wanted. They had no restrictions and we just said ‘Pick your ultimate Vegas outfit’.
After the ceremony, the day was one big photoshoot, with champagne flowing and the tunes cranking in the limo between destinations. We had pre-planned our photoshoot day with all of the locations we had always admired from a-far (thanks Pinterest!). The day was filled with multiple little adventures, including extra bottle shop trips and lunch at In-N-Out Burger.
Our last destination in the limo was in the middle of El Dorado Dry Lake bed, which our driver was kind enough to head off the beaten track for. It was windy as anything, but we spent a good hour or so running amuck out there, popping champagne, and dancing.
Our photographer Renee Green and I went to the same high school but met all those years later at a local bridal expo – a bit of a ‘Hey, I know you!’ moment. I fell in love with her photography straight away so I knew we were a good match, but once the idea of Vegas was put out on the table, we just knew it was a match made in heaven. Renee saw our vision straight away, and I think having a photographer who is so on board with such a concept helped us to execute the perfect day. Considering our Vegas plan was a ceremony and a full day photoshoot, she was an integral part of the day and we now consider her a part of our wedding party (and a lifelong friend!). She truly made the experience magical.
As we had so many iconic Vegas locations to shoot at throughout the day, it’s really hard for me to pick one because it was as if we had multiple photoshoots in one day. The images at the Neon Museum mean a lot to Nick and I because we had previously been there before and dreamed of having wedding photos there, thinking it surely would never happen. The dry lake bed images truly capture the fun of the day and how awesome it was to run amuck in Vegas with your best friends! The late evening images capture the love and intimacy we felt on the day.
The whole day of having our dearest friends together in one of our favourite cities was unique and amazing in itself. No one in our group had experienced a Vegas Elvis wedding, so we all went in a little blind. There are so many precious moments to look back on, like the whole group shouting out song requests in the limo between locations, and everyone singing at the top of their lungs. We laughed so much that day and it was awesome to share the Vegas hoopla with the group. It was also nice to have all of the formalities left behind from our Australian ceremony, which gave us permission to not take the day too seriously and just enjoy being a little bit ridiculous.
After all our location hopping, we headed back to the Flamingo Hotel where we gave our guests a rest and headed out with our photographers to get some extra shots. We ended the day perfectly in Caesars Palace Gardens. After a quick nap and some dinner, the night was capped off in true Vegas-style at Hakkasan Nightclub.
In regards to planning a wedding, do whatever you want. Think that ‘Pinterest dream’ is unrealistic? Take the time to look in to how you can make it happen. Don’t feel like you have to stick to what is expected, or what others suggest. Once we told our family of our changed plans, everyone was thrilled for us. Even our most conservative family members got a kick out of it. Everyone understood that Elvis in Vegas trumped feeding 130 people.
Polka Dot Wedding: “Do you have any special stories to share from the day?”
Kelly: “… What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
Thank you to Kelly & Nick for sharing their FABULOUS day with us! And to Renee Green for these incredible photos of their super fun wedding. What a perfect feature for our Gold Issue!